The Mandalorian Season 3 Episode 4 trades in the political intrigue of the New Republic for action-packed set pieces in “The Foundling”. Director Carl Weathers gives fans a heavy dose of Mandalorians as the episode picks up with the Children of the Watch in the midst of training. When another creature attempts to make a meal of the armor-clad warriors, a rescue attempt is launched with an unlikely party leader at the helm. While loaded with enough action sequences to shake a gaffi stick at, it does not mean that “The Foundling” isn’t chock full of great character moments.
Despite its 33-minute runtime, The Mandalorian Season 3 Episode 4 gives much to unpack by the time the credits roll. The opening sequence shows Bo-Katan Kryze observing the Children of the Watch train. As Bo-Katan looks on, it is hard to know whether she sees her fellow Mandalorians as a fresh start or just a means to retake Mandalore. The numbers for this convert have grown substantially as dozens are shown training, including a group of young Mandalorians. This is a stark contrast from when Din Djarin was the sect when it was just the Amrorer and Paz Vizla in season 2. As the numbers for the Children of the Watch continue to grow, the anticipation builds to see them return to Mandalore in full force. That time may come sooner than we think as the current planet where they reside proves to be unsafe, even for the mighty Mandalorians. When a giant winged leathery creature, as described by the audio description, makes off with a Mandalorian child, it is Bo-Katan who offers to lead the hunting party to rescue the foundling.
Director Carl Weathers is no stranger to leading action-packed episodes for this. Chapter 12: The Siege featured a fast-paced infiltration of an Imperial base and the beginning of uncovering the Empire’s cloning operations. From battling a giant winged monster with jetpacks to chase sequences in flashbacks, The Mandalorian Season 3 Episode 4 gives that episode a run for its money in the action department. However, where this episode stands apart from Weather’s first time in the director’s chair is the small moments where characters have room to breathe. Throughout The Mandalorian Season 3 Episode 4 things like how the Mandalorians eat without other members seeing their faces, rank transitions, sparring rules, and even how the Mandalorians applaud are shown giving more depth to the group as a whole. Even Grogu gets his own special lesson in Mandalorian culture from the Armorer.
The title, “The Foundling”, works on multiple levels. In many ways, Bo-Katan is still a foundling in this new convert as she is not familiar with all of the traditions that the sect follows. Given her connection to her family and her dealings with Death Watch, Bo-Katan’s past is no secret. While as Mandalorian as any Mandalorian as we have seen on screen, Bo-Katan has a lot to atone for in the eyes of the Children of the Watch. “The Foundling” is a great opportunity to prove herself and become more than a cautionary tale. Conversely, Kyrze also begins to see the group as more than just religious zealots as her experience with the mythosaur may have changed her more than even she knows. The burden of leadership is not one she will likely shake anytime soon, even with a group as unlikely as the Children of the Watch.
Meanwhile, Grogu, the true foundling, finds himself taking his next steps on his own Mandalorian journey. As Din watches Grogu like a father watches his son on his first day of football practice, we see a glimpse of how truly terrifying a Mandalorian wielding the Force can be with the right training. However, it is that connection to the Force that may prove an obstacle for young Grogu. As the Armorer delivers her lesson on the importance of being forged by fire, Grogu relives the inferno that was Order 66 at the Jedi Temple. While the sequence is brief, it is evident that the trauma from that day still remains for Grogu. Even though he is no longer training as a Jedi, confronting his past may be the key to his future as a Mandalorian. The way in which Grogu is able to emote as a puppet is on full display in this episode and is truly wonderful work.
In its short runtime, The Mandalorian Season 3 Episode 4 packs a punch. As we grow closer and closer to their return to Mandalore, the Mandalorians are looking stronger than ever. Carl Weathers offsets exciting action set pieces with brief but intimate character moments that make for a truly special episode. While Din’s arc has taken a backseat, it’s in these small moments that Bo-Katan and Grogu prove themselves as capable members of the Children of the Watch and continue their character arcs set forth by events passed. While “The Foundling” may not be remembered as one of the best episodes of the season, it surely will stand as a turning point for Bo-Katan and Grogu characters as they settle into their roles with the Children of the Watch.
The Mandalorian Season 3 Episode 4 is available now, with new episodes of The Mandalorian premiering Wednesdays on Disney+.
The Mandalorian Season 3 Episode 4 – “Chapter 20: The Foundling”
While “The Foundling” may not be remembered as one of the best episodes of the season, it surely will stand as a turning point for Bo-Katan and Grogu characters as they settle into their roles with the Children of the Watch.