Last week’s season three premiere of Star Wars: The Mandalorian concluded with Din Djarin on his way to find a memory circuit so IG-11 can be resurrected. From there, he hopes to have the droid accompany him and Grogu on a trip to bathe in Living Waters below the Mines of Mandalore.
In theory, this should allow him to atone for the sin of removing his helmet, which is a big no-no with his cult, the Children of the Watch. Unfortunately, the already challenging quest has been made even more difficult due to the Empire obliterating the planet of Mandalore during the Great Purge. Din Djarin has found evidence that the planet is (barely) inhabitable, but that doesn’t mean the Mines of Mandalore are still there.
Along the way, Djarin managed to accomplish a few other things:
- Saved the Armorer and the rest of his tribe from a giant alligator/snapping turtle (which still barely earned him a greeting).
- Pissed off
Victorian Swam ThingPirate King Gorian Shard.
- Pissed off Bo-Katan Kryze.
Grogu also spotted some Purrgils (i.e. hyperspace whales), which may play a larger role in things down the road.
This week, Din Djarin takes Grogu on a field trip to Mandalore much earlier than many of us predicted. Predictably, things go a bit sideways.
As always, the recap portion of this review will contain plenty of spoilers along with some brief explorations of Star Wars lore.
The episode opens on Tattooine, where our old friend Peli Motto is scamming a Rodian out of his money for a speeder repair. Moments after the hoodwinked customer departs, Din Djarin and Grogu arrive in the N-1. Upon seeing Motto, Grogu uses the Force to leap into her arms.
With that bit of adorableness out of the way, Djarin explains that he needs a new memory circuit for IG-11. Motto responds that IG parts have been discontinued for a long while. When she asks her Jawa contractors if they might have one, the group says that they don’t.
After Djarin continues to insist that IG-11 needs to be fixed immediately, Motto suggests that he buy R5-D4 from her, instead. Despite the astromech’s visibly poor condition (and its perpetual state of abject fear), she insists it can handle such a perilous mission. She even offers to fix the N-1’s astromech port so it can co-pilot the ship.
*Side Note: Although it’s been mentioned before, we’ll point out again that R5-D4 was the astromech Luke Skywalker almost bought instead of R2-D2 in ‘Episode IV’ before it blew its top off. This mishap was later retconned into a purposeful act by R5 to help R2-D2 end up with Luke.
As much as I like Easter eggs and tasteful fan service, however, Djarin accepting Peli Motto’s offer here doesn’t make a lot of sense. In addition to R5 clearly being scared about the mission, it isn’t anywhere near as capable as IG-11, who the Mandalorian had previously said was the only droid he would trust. He also turned down Greef Karga‘s offer of what would’ve surely been a better droid only to end up with this one.
Whatever the case, I’m just glad I decided on a whim to buy an R5 action figure before he became a significant part of this series.
That evening, Din Djarin takes off with R5 despite Peli Motto warning him that the droid’s circuitry is fragile and shouldn’t be counted on.
*Side Note: *Sigh*
On the way to Mandalore, Din Djarin talks to Grogu about how important it is to understand star maps. He also confesses that he’s never been to Mandalore, pointing out the moon where he was raised by his exiled tribe (Concordia) along with the planet where Bo-Katan Kryze is currently brooding inside a castle (Kalevala).
The N-1 enters Mandalore’s turbulent atmosphere and breaks through the clouds, revealing the planet’s massive destruction. After they land, Djarin sends R5 out to test the atmosphere. It takes a bit of coaxing, but the droid finally heads out only to disappear seconds later from their system’s tracker. At Grogu’s urging, Djarin pressurizes his helmet and goes to search for the droid.
He enters a cave overlooking the ruins of the Mandalorian capital of Sundari. While taking in his surroundings, he’s attacked by a trio of creatures (Alamites) who cause him to drop his blaster. Djarin grabs his Darksaber, which he still struggles to wield, and fights back. Thankfully, he’s good enough with the weapon to take out all three alamites.
He then hears R5 beep and finds him overturned nearby.
After picking the droid back up, Djarin leads it out of the cave and back to the N-1. Once they arrive, R5 gives him an atmospheric reading that proves Bo-Katan was right about Mandalore’s air not being poisoned. He leaves the droid and takes Grogu in his pram back toward the cave.
The pair descend through the city ruins to the sewer, using the water runoff to lead them to the mines. Along the way, Djarin finds a discarded Mandalorian helmet. While he’s looking at it, a giant mechanical arachnid sneaks up and slams him to the ground before ensaring the Mandalorian in a metal trap. Grogu hides at first, then follows the bizarre vehicle to its lair, where it places Djarin down near some equipment. It then opens a hatch, revealing the pilot to be a one-eyed alien wearing an even smaller exoskeleton.
The cyclops alien locks the metal trap, relieves the barely conscious Mandalorian of his weapons, and walks away. Sensing a chance to save his adopted father, Grogu moves closer and attempts to unlock the trap via the Force. Unfortunately, this makes it shift and drop, alerting the cyclops alien to his presence.
After Djarin weakly commands him to get to Bo-Katan, Grogu evades a blast from the cyclops alien’s electrostaff before leaping into his pram and taking off. He’s nearly chomped by a bat-lizard creature on his way out of the cave, but makes it to the entrance only for an Alamite to stand in his way. Thankfully, Grogu is able to use the Force successfully this time, throwing the Alamite back. He then leaps into the N-1 and points to R5 on the navigation system toward the planet where Bo-Katan is.
They get the canopy closed and take off moments before the bat-lizard creature can catch up and bite into a little green snack.
Bo-Katan sees Din Djarin’s N-1 starfighter and angrily tells her service droid that it’s time to take care of him “once and for all.” After storming out to the landing pad, however, she’s taken aback when it’s Grogu who opens the cockpit canopy. She also immediately realizes that something happened to Djarin. After ordering her droid to download R5’s data, she gets into her ship (the Gauntlet) with Grogu and takes off for Mandalore.
Once they land on the planet (using the last coordinates from R-5), Bo-Katan has Grogu lead her through the cave toward the location where Din Djarin was captured. Although it’s difficult for her to see the destroyed remains of her former home, she presses onward, telling Grogu about how she was once allied with the Jedi.
Later, Bo-Katan takes out a pair of Alamites with relative ease, impressing Grogu and giving her a chance to remind him that his dad isn’t the only Mandalorian left in the galaxy. She also explains that the Alamites used to live on the planet’s surface in the wastelands beyond the main population centers. She goes on to speculate that their survival means there may be more creatures/inhabitants that did, as well.
Meanwhile, the cyclops alien hooks up Din Djarin to a device that begins extracting his blood. His grunts of pain are interrupted when Bo-Katan shows up and blasts the device before setting her sights on his tormentor. The cyclops alien initially gains the upper hand, but Bo-Katan turns the tables when she spots the Darksaber and wields it like a total pro.
*Side Note: Since I can already see far-right news outlets and fans getting triggered by this scene, I’ll take a moment to remind everyone that Bo-Katan already had experience wielding the Darksaber, hence why she was much more adept with the weapon than Din Djarin. As you may recall (again), Djarin previously struggled with the weapon’s ability to push back against its wielder while he was training with the Armorer.
Bo-Katan goes to check on the barely conscious Din Djarin, completely unaware that the cyclops alien turned itself into an even more terrifying version of the Head Spider from The Thing. He warns her just as the cyclops alien sneaks up on her with his arachnid mech suit, allowing her to take it and its pilot down for good.
After getting Djarin out of the trap, Bo-Katan explains that Grogu led her to him. When Djarin says that she was right about Mandalore not being cursed, she disagrees, claiming that the Empire’s annihilation of the planet was a curse in its own right.
She then tries to insist that Djarin come back with her to the Gauntlet, but Djarin refuses to abandon his mission. While he appreciates Bo-Katan saving him (and will always be in her debt), he’s also determined to seek atonement via the creed of their ancestors.
Realizing that there’s no changing his mind (and despite her clear disdain for ancient Mandalorian folklore/customs), Bo-Katan agrees to lead Din Djarin to the Living Waters under the Mines of Mandalore.
Myth No More
On the way to the mines, Djarin and Bo-Katan discuss Mandalore’s turbulent and tragic recent history. Bo-Katan also explains how as a young girl, she went along with many of the Mandalorian customs she didn’t believe in for the sake of her father, who she greatly admired. When she says that he died defending Mandalore, Din Djarin responds with a heavy “This Is the Way,” prompting her to snap at Grogu for staring.
Upon reaching the mines, Bo-Katan reads an inscription at the entrance:
“These mines date back to the age of the first Mandalore. According to ancient folklore, the mines were once a Mythosaur lair. Mandalore the Great is said to have tamed the mythical beast. It is from these legends that the skull signet was adopted and became the symbol of our planet.”
After taking a moment to gather himself, Din Djarin removes his weapons and steps into the Living Waters. In the middle of reciting the creed, he is pulled underwater. Bo-Katan jumps in after him, propelling herself to the bottom of the lake. She finds the unconscious Din Djarin (who really should be under a concussion protocol at this point) and begins carrying him to the surface.
On the way there, she passes a giant creature that is definitely the fabled Mythosaur…and completely turns her worldview upside down.
The good news is that a lot of cool stuff happens in this episode. The bad news is that characters keep having to make bizarre and downright stupid decisions for it to happen.
We already discussed Din Djarin buying R5 from Peli Motto, but that can be forgiven and forgotten once we get into the meat of the story — especially if IG-11 still ends up coming back down the road. What’s still hard to get a handle on is how Bo-Katan went from not giving a crap about Din Djarin (to the point of wanting to “take care of him once and for all”) to flying into Mandalore to rescue him and lead an expedition into the mines.
You could say that her true self was revealed when she realized he was in trouble (and again when he refused to give up his quest), but I don’t buy it. It’s too much of a turn from the bitter and defeated warrior we saw last episode. Perhaps that part of her history will be explored in flashbacks or expanded universe materials, but right now it feels like a very quick reset from what could have been a much more interesting dynamic between them.
Also, Djarin getting knocked out cold better not become a running theme this season.
Those complaints aside, it was all types of fun watching Bo-Katan kick ass again. I still hold that the reset of her dynamic with Din Djarin was too quick, but the reveal that the Mythosaur is real (and what that will do to Bo-Katan’s belief system) helps make up for it.
Also, how awesomely creepy was that cyclops alien? Even its vocalizations made my blood turn cold. I’m not sure if we’ll get to find out what it was extracting Din Djarin’s blood for, but I really hope we get to find out — either in this medium or some expanded universe material.
As for this series, however, The Mandalorian‘s third season is off to a solid start. Considering that many of us thought his journey to Mandalore would happen much later (or even the climax of the season), it’ll be interesting to see where things go from here.
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