The Mandalorian: Give Grogu an Emmy, you cowards
| Last updated
Featured Image Credit: Disney+
Pedro Pascal is the undisputed king of television right now, or so it may seem. The guy is everywhere you look. Recently, Pedro delivered a beautifully nuanced performance as Joel in HBO’s The Last of Us. The show’s iteration of Joel is far more vulnerable than the Joel we know from Naughty Dog’s video game series, grappling with feelings of trauma and anxiety. Now, Pedro can be seen offering a much more mysterious and stoic performance as the helmeted Din Djarin in The Mandalorian’s brand-new third season.
To an extent, we’re seeing a much more vulnerable Din this time around too. In the first four episodes of the season, the character has grappled with guilt surrounding his decision to remove his helmet, and he’s slowly allowing himself to be a true father to Grogu - which is just the most wholesome relationship on TV. As much as Pedro is killing it though, I’m going to say something a little unhinged. Grogu is delivering one of the best dramatic performances seen on TV this year.
Take a look at Grogu in action in the third season of The Mandalorian below.
I hear you. Grogu is a puppet but in the words of Pedro Pascal on Hot Ones, “This puppet is making me cry.” Seriously, week after week, Grogu has well and truly upped his acting game this season and I am here for it. We have to address the little green guy’s range. His comedic timing, his adoration for his father, his want and desire to learn, his bravery in the face of danger … This green puppet can’t even talk and yet emotionally, I am with him every step of the way.
Grogu has always been a staple of the show, bringing a very high adorable factor but it’s refreshing to see him grow into potential beyond that. In ‘The Mines of Mandalore,’ he really held his own which is a tall order when your scene partners are Pedro Pascal and Katee Sackhoff. In terms of the development of the show, it makes sense. Grogu may still be a foundling but he is growing up, and we need to see that emotional maturity. It’s slightly weird that this is a creature that exhibits emotional maturity via adorably cute mumbles, but it’s working. Grogu’s newly-found independence was clear to see during his solo rescue mission.
I honestly felt like a proud parent watching how Grogu had remembered what Din had told him about navigating the planets. It’s not as if Grogu has suddenly become fearless. You could see fear in those big glassy eyes of his, and I continue to adore the ‘nope, not dealing with this’ move as he zooms away in his pram, but Grogu is now able to put his fear behind him to do what needs to be done. This is an animatronic puppet and I was quite literally shouting at the screen saying, ‘Yes Grogu. You can do it,’ tears brimming in my eyes.
Flash forward to ‘The Foundling’ and tears were brimming for a very different reason. Boy oh boy, I have never seen Grogu look as sad as he did while thinking back to his memories of Order 66. Back when Grogu debuted as The Child, I’m sure you’ll have heard someone say that this is a character simply created so that Disney could sell a bunch of toys and, yes, that’s somewhat true - my own Grogu is several feet away - but ‘The Foundling’ proved that he’s so much more than that now. Grogu’s communication is limited but it was clear to see that the memory brought him anguish. Whether he was remembering the fear or felt or the loss of his acquaintances in the Jedi Temple, I don’t know, but it was obvious to see there was deep hurt there.
Grogu still brings plenty of levity to the series. That training scene with the fellow foundling was top-tier. My personal favourite moment was when he got ‘shot’ by the training blaster and just turned around to look at Din as if to say, ‘Uh, dad?’ and I still like watching the lil’ guy just simply waddle along. I appreciate those light-hearted humorous moments all the more now though, because we’re starting to see this character develop a real personality.
I jest when I say that Grogu deserves an Emmy. Really, that accolade should go to teams involved in bringing this animatronic to life. In the years that the show has been going, sure, technical advancements will naturally have resulted in a more expressive Grogu but his growth isn’t just technical. Thanks to the writing, it’s emotional too. It may be called The Mandalorian but this season, Grogu is proving it’s just as much his show as it is Din’s. The marriage of Grogu’s deeply expressive features with Din’s cold helmeted exterior creates a unique on-screen bond that is unlike anything else I’ve seen on TV - and already this season, it feels like we’re seeing what was already an incredible show elevated to great new heights.