Previously on The Mandalorian: Mando needs to take a special bath on Mandalore because he took his helmet off in front of other people despite making several solemn helmet-based oaths during the 40-50 years that he’s been alive. You’d think one of them would’ve stuck. But before Mando can take his special bath, he wants his old droid pal IG-11 to make sure Mandalore isn’t buttloaded with poisoned air, which is a pretty tall order considering IG-11 exploded his whole entire body in the Season 1 finale. What’s left of him is a statue now, and trying to bring him back to life goes real murdery, real quick. However, thanks to a shoehorned Babu Frik cameo, Mando learns there’s a chance to repair IG-11 if he can find a new memory circuit. Fetch quest, here we come! Oh, and also some stupid sh*t with space pirates happen. The less we talk about that the better.
Right out of the gate, Chapter 18, “The Mines of Mandalore” is not filling me with confidence. For starters, I’m looking at goddamn Tatooine again. A planet this franchise can’t escape to save its life. As predicted by almost everyone last week, Mando went straight to Peli Motto (Amy Sedaris) for his droid part needs, so surely, she’ll be able to help because we just spent an entire episode learning how very super important it is that Mando gets IG-11 working again. Our dude does not trust other droids, and there’s no way in hell he’s working with another one or else the Season 3 premiere was not only boring, but a complete waste of time.
It was a complete waste of time.
Barely 30 seconds after talking to each other, Peli convinces Mando to bail on IG-11 and pay her cash money for R5-D4, the astromech droid who famously malfunctioned in the original Star Wars movie. Folks, I get that this is an all-ages live-action cartoon, but that’s not a free pass to insult your audience’s intelligence whether they’re eight or a decrepit old man who feels like he’s been bitching about this franchise since the dawn of time. You made us spend the whole premiere hearing about how badly Mando needed IG-11, and not even two minutes into the second episode, he’s already over it. I’ve had one-night stands that lasted longer, which is pretty incredible if you know how quick I—
With R5 on board, and raising serious nerd questions about how the hell Mando has been traveling through hyperspace this whole time, our shiny dude gives his green son a space geography lesson as they approach Mandalore. Mando points out where he grew up on Concordia and uses his ship’s instruments to show Baby Yoda the nearby planet where Bo-Katan (Katee Sackhoff) is moodily brooding in her castle. It’s important for Mandalorians to know how to navigate. That way they’re never lost, and yes, there will be a quiz on this later in the episode. Hope everyone took notes!
After successfully landing on Mandalore despite the Empire’s fusion bombs from The Great Purge seriously borking the planet’s magnetic fields, Mando sends out a reluctant R5 to test the atmosphere. He barely makes it a few yards from the ship before he stops showing up on Mando’s screen, which has to be a huge bummer because, as this show has spent this entire time emphasizing, Mando needs a droid for this mission. It’s not like he has the ability to pressurize his helmet or anything. Except, oh wait, he does!
*taps the sign* Folks, I get that this is an all-ages live-action cartoon, but that’s not a free pass to insult your audience’s intelligence. (P.S. I swear to Christ, I will eat Jon Favreau’s children.)
With Baby Yoda secured in the ship, Mando sets off to find R5 inside an ominous-looking cave. Sure enough, it’s filled with some caveman-looking Muppet jagoffs called Alamites, who get the drop on our boy. Completely outnumbered, Mando whips out the Darksaber, which he’s still completely butthouse at using. It’s like the thing weighs a million pounds in his hands. Against all odds, Mando stabs the crap out of his attackers and safely recovers R5, who’s got some great news. The air isn’t poisoned.
Confident that the air is safe enough to bring Baby Yoda into a cave where he nearly got dick-stomped by weird cave-Muppets, Mando is ready to get his special boy bath on. But, first, we’re literally going to take three trips through the same location, which really strains the claim I made in the headline about this being a better episode, doesn’t it? I see it, too.
With Baby Yoda secure in his flying crib dealie and Mando rocking his jetpack, our heroes fly down into the ruins of the capital city, Sundari. Convinced that a random stream of water will flow into the Mines of Mandalore, they trek through the ruins as glowing eye lizard things hiss at them. Mando, in his high moron phase this season, spots an old Mandalorian helmet on the ground, which triggers a trap that absolutely did not make me pee a little at 8 in the morning. You’ll never prove it.
It appears our boy has been captured by a crab droid piloted by a General Grievous-looking cyborg guy. Baby Yoda attempts to mount a rescue, but it quickly goes south. Mando tells him to get his little green ass to Bo-Katan, and he Force jumps right to it.
Wasting no time, Baby Yoda guns his crib back through the ruins and nearly gets eaten by at least one glowy-eyed lizard. After making it back up to the cave, he’s confronted by an Alamite. Unfortunately, what happens next was completely spoiled in the trailer. Baby Yoda knocks the cave-Muppet on his ass with the Force and makes it back to the ship where he points at Bo-Katan’s planet on the screen. R5 gets the message, and they blast off to her castle.
Deep in a hardcore brood sesh, Bo-Katan is not thrilled by what looks to be Mando doing a drop-in. She vows to get rid of him “once and for all,” which is understandable because drop-ins really are the worst. Kill that sonofabitch. However, Bo-Katan’s annoyance is quickly tossed aside when she sees there’s only a terrified Baby Yoda in the cockpit. That can’t be great and will probably involve a whole lot of shoot-shoot stab-stab, so of course, she’s in.
Whoever made the call to let Katee Sackhoff off the chain this season deserves a freaking raise. No longer stifled by The Mandalorian’s flat Spartan dialog that made her character read like a constipated Power Ranger last season, she’s a breathe of fresh air this time around. Her Bo-Katan is just the right mix of jaded and reluctant optimism, and she completely slaps ass.
With Baby Yoda in tow, Bo-Katan treks through the ruins and wrecks a group of Alamites like they’re nothing. The lady is good. Along the way, she playfully chats it up with her little green companion and genuinely seems hopeful for a time when Mandalorians and Jedi are allies again. But enough that, let’s save dipshit Mando from getting the blood drained out of him. God, what a dumbass.
After stumbling into Crabbo’s lair (I’m calling him Crabbo now), Bo-Katan quickly retrieves the Darksaber, which unlike Mando, she doesn’t wield like a dork. Crabbo doesn’t stand a chance, and it’s very clear that the weapon belongs in Bo-Katan’s hands. She tore ass with that thing, and yet, didn’t hesitate to return it to Mando. Despite almost getting his freaking blood removed, he’s still dead-set on that bath, so Bo-Katan agrees to help him find the mines. She’s already down here, and she’s barely holding back a palpable excitement over the fact that the air on Mandalore isn’t killing them dead.
The three of them make their way into the entrance of the mines as Bo-Katan reminisces about her royal family days before civil war made it very easy for the Empire to blow the whole place up. In an extremely heavy-handed bit of foreshadowing, she stops to read a plague on the wall before Mando gets in the water. At this very spot, Mandalore the Great tamed a mighty mythosaur, which became the planet’s sigil. (Read: That skull thing that’s all over the show.) Gee, I wonder why that happened and the pre-episode recap made it a point to mention a prophecy about the mythosaur? Probably nothing. Except, aw crap, Mando just got pulled under. You can’t take him anywhere.
Wasting no time, Bo-Katan dives into the waters and goes pretty freaking deep considering Mando barely slipped under a second ago. Although, he is sporting head-to-toe metal armor, so this will happen. After finding our boy, Bo-Katan stars making her way back to the surface, but the light from her helmet spots something in the water. Something very, very big, and wow, what are the odds? It’s a freaking mythosaur.
— Because this whole franchise is apparently about riding things now (The Book of Boba Fett had an extremely anti-climactic sub-plot about riding a Rancor.) the big question is who’s going to ride the mythosaur? It sure looks like it revealed itself to Bo-Katan, which could be very significant. But there’s also an open question about how Mando got pulled under? Did the floor cave in because everything’s been bombed to shit, or was it the mythosaur? As long as Bo-Katan and Mando don’t turn out to be aunt and nephew and start boning, that’s really all I ask at this point. I’m a simple man.
— When Bo-Katan made her live-action debut in Season 2, she was dead-set on finding Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito) who somehow gained possession of the Darksaber. In the Season 2 finale, Mando takes it from him in combat while having no idea that he’s now the rightful owner per Mandalorian tradition. Bo-Katan is obviously not thrilled by this development, but tables it for another day. That decision results in her Nite Owl forces abandoning her, resulting in all the castle brooding. So with that in mind, why did Bo-Katan give the Darksaber back to Mando? Is it because she’s done chasing the thing, which has only led to ruin, or is she waiting until a proper time to slap Mando’s ass in combat? Which, in retrospect, sounds close to the sex stuff I mentioned earlier. Dammit.
— Last week, I mentioned how my son was uncharacteristically underwhelmed by the Season 3 premiere. The Mandalorian has always been his jam. This week, however: “There’s hope for this season yet.”
— Finally, Ludwig Göransson show really does not get enough constant praise for the soundtrack on this show. I was literally late for work on Wednesday morning because I had to jam out to the end credits music. In fact, if I’m being honest, the concept art is almost always better than the actual episode. I freaking love it, and my family is probably going to murder me because I can’t stop whistling this shit 24/7. The divorce is not going to be a surprise.
P.S. On my quest to find a decent YouTube embed, I stumbled upon this metal cover of The Mandalorian theme, and now I want Mando to have an electric guitar in every single episode. I’m not a tattoo guy, but I would cover my dad bod with every piece of art from this bad boy. (Seriously though, is divorce expensive?)