The Mandalorian: Chapter 3 takes Star Wars in a thrilling direction

The Mandalorian Chapter 3 is definitely set in the Star Wars world, but it also pushes the franchise in a new and thrilling way.

Warning: Spoilers ahead for The Mandalorian.

The Mandalorian Chapter 3 is a powerhouse episode in an already great series. Last week’s show was full of its own fun moments, from the Mando’s interaction with the Jawas to Baby Yoda’s force usage, but it also felt like it flew by.

Chapter 2’s stakes were also pretty low; the Mandalorian fought off a couple of bounty hunters and had to track down an egg, which he did poorly until Baby Yoda saved the day.

Chapter 3 embraces its stakes to give viewers an intense and downright thrilling view into the Star Wars world. Just from the opening of the Deborah Chow-directed episode, where the Mando escorts Baby Yoda through the town full of on-lookers, it feels like the lead character is in for some action. And boy, does Chapter 3 deliver.

The Mandalorian’s decision to cash in Baby Yoda for his bounty of Beskar Steel sets off a chain reaction of events. Our lead character gets new, flashy armor forged from his reward (which upsets one of his fellow Mandalorians due to it being from the Empire and leads to a tense exchange before cooler heads prevail). Walking into the cantina for his next job, we see that the other bounty hunters are jealous that the Mando actually succeeded in delivering the asset.

But no matter how much the bounty hunter wants to move on from Baby Yoda, he can’t, which leads to a covert break-in to get the child back.

This is where the episode really shines, blending elements of a spy thriller with Star Wars. The lead character sneaks behind cover and takes down enemies one-by-one. He blends into the shadows like a hunter, using stealth and distractions to hunt his prey. When he looks cornered and all seems lost, he employs one of his many gadgets to escape and proceed with the mission.

Instead of letting our pulses ease up, Deborah Chow’s episode then throws the Mandalorian into a gang of the town’s bounty hunters right after he escapes. Here Chapter 3 embraces its space western element with an old-fashioned shootout set in the Star Wars world, but there’s something that feels more real about it.

It’s not like Han Solo trying to pick off Stormtroopers on Endor. It’s a bounty hunter trying to survive. We see him use every tool he has available to fight off the gang, even when he’s pinned down. Then there comes a moment when he seems to accept his fate, exchanging a long look with Baby Yoda before his inevitable demise comes.

When we think it’s all over for the character, he gets the help he needs from his clan of Mandalorians, giving a thrilling conclusion to an episode that embraced stressful situations and pushed our lead character to the brink.

The adrenaline-filled sequences of Chapter 3 that featured cunning, stealth, and precision felt like something I’ve never fully seen in Star Wars. It wasn’t about dueling but surviving. It embraced the grittiness of staying alive and the lengths a bounty hunter will go to complete his mission.

Chapter 3 of The Mandalorian is part space western, part spy thriller, and part Star Wars. That smoothie of elements makes Chapter 3 refreshing and memorable.

Chapter 3 of the Mandalorian is now streaming on Disney+.