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The Mandalorian

The Mines of Mandalore (The Mandalorian - S03E02) - Live Action Series

Series: The Mandalorian

Title: Chapter 18 - The Mines of Mandalore

Season: Three

Episode: 2

Original Air Date: March 8th, 2022

Runtime: 41 minutes

Credits: Review & Text: Thomas; Page layout & Design: Chuck Paskovics

Discuss the latest Chapter! (Discussion)

"Alright kid, you're ready for an adventure?" SPOILERS.

Peli Motto, the archetypical used car sales(wo)man

I was not too impressed by the season 3 opener for The Mandalorian. The episode was somewhat unfocused and Grogu seemed to be forever stuck in cute gimmick phase, but I needn't have worried too much, since the second season 3 episode shows that Jon Favreau clearly understands that even a toddler like Grogu needs character development and must move beyond the cute gimmick phase. And the episode as a whole had a laser sharp focus on some good old-fashioned adventure with some added comedy here and there to make things fun and entertaining for the entire family.

R5-D4 is less than happy about the upcoming mission

The episode begins with a fun scene showing us how Peli Motto is scamming some poor Rodian. She tasked some Jawas with stealing parts from a speeder, the Rodian owner comes to her workshop to have it repaired, Peli pulls the wool over his face by telling him how long it will take and how extensive the repairs will be... only for the Jawas to have the stolen parts in their posession of course, who come out of hiding once the Rodian leaves. Well, that's how you probably have to make a living on Tatooine, which is currently celebrating Boonta Eve. But then Din Djarin arrives and he asks Peli for an IG memory circuit, but Peli informs him he is out of luck, no such parts exist anymore, but instead she has this excellent astromech in prime condition: R5-D4, who promptly has a malfunction as Peli tries to convince Din that R5 is all he needs. R5, the eternal slacker who successfully managed to avoid getting bought by Uncle Owen for some menial work many years before (I know this is not what happened);... but this time he is less successful. It turns out Din wants a droid to take atmospheric readings on Mandalore and to scout ahead to see if the air is poisonous or breathable. Ultimately a very reluctant R5-D4, who really gets around a lot in the Star Wars galaxy, becomes Din's new astromech, Grogu now has to sit in Din's lap, since his mini cockpit has been reconverted into the astromech port.

Din Djarin kills morlocks with his darksaber

Mandalore turns out to be a disaster area, everything has been flattened by the Empire. Din sends R5 on his way, but he disappears off the scanner a short while later and Din reluctantly leaves the ship, pressurizes his helmet and goes looking for R5. Now I have to seriously question the writing here: why go through all the trouble of acquiring a droid to scout ahead and take atmospheric readings when Din could easily do it all by himself? Anyway, it turns out R5 was attacked by morlocks living underground, and yes, I know they are not morlocks and Bo-Katan later tells us what they are, but for all intents and purposes they are morlocks, they look like morlocks and behave like morlocks. They do attack Din Djarin who has some trouble killing them off. He wields his darksaber, but it's more than evident that he doesn't really know how to use it, it's a clumsy fight but Din gets the best of the monsters and kills them. R5 is recovered and he takes his atmospheric readings, it turns out the atmosphere is not poisonous, there is no "curse" and thus Din and Grogu go underground, in search of the mines.

Not available as an action figure

But it doesn't take long until Din gets attacked by a mysterious mech, Din gets captured and carried away, Grogu managed to hide and follows the mech. The mech is piloted by a mysterious cyborg, the cyborg is even more machine than Grievous and seems to be a floating brain with eyes (well, one eye only really) using a fully robotic body, it looks ever so slightly like the Alien, only as a cyborg. Don't count on Hasbro ever making this character, since the tooling would probably bankrupt them and the mech used by the cyborg will also never get made. And if gets made then only as super deluxe figure. 

Grogu's first proper solo adventure

Grogu manages to sneak up on Din, who is inside a tiny metal cage. Din tells Grogu to fly to Bo-Katan, so she can help. And then we get our first proper Grogu solo adventure. The episode makes it very clear that Grogu understands what people say much, much better now, he even has some proper "baby talk" where you can tell he tries to say something every now and then. Grogu understands Din immediately and goes on his way back to the ship. Grogu gets attacked by a single morlock but he disposes of him with the Force. It seems Luke's training fully reactivated Grogu's prior education at the Jedi temple before Order 66.

This is not downtown Detroit, but Mandalore after the Empire nuked it back into the stone age

Din Djarin had explained the map screen to Grogu before, and even showed him where all the planets and moons are. So Grogu knows where Bo-Katan is, he manages to point his finger at the correct destination making R5 understand where it is he has to go. And it doesn't take long for R5 to arrive at Bo-Katan's palace, where Bo is still lounging on her throne, it seems she really doesn't know what to do with herself. When Bo-Katan sees that Grogu arrived without Din she immediately knows that something must have happened to him. So she takes her own ship and flies back to Mandalore, with Grogu supposed to lead the way.

Downtown Mandalore has seen better days

After a brief encounter with some morlocks that Bo-Katan easily disposes of Grogu eventually leads her to the place the weird cyborg creature is holding Din captive. The creature hooks up Din to some apparatus that drains the blood from his body for some unknown reason. So Bo-Katan doesn't have much time, she needs to act immediately, and act she does.

Hasbro Bo-Katan repack with energy shield and darksaber incoming in 3, 2, 1...

We get a well choreographed (I hope Deborah Chow is watching the series) action sequence where Bo-Katan can show off her impressive fighting skills. While the cyborg is no pushover Bo gets her hands on the darksaber that lies discarded on the ground, the alien creature not knowing what it is really. And with the darksaber she makes short work of the creature. But it turns out that the brain in a jar (well, metal casing) is not dead yet and it manages to sneak up on the mech. But Din warns Bo-Katan just in time and after a brief fight Bo-Katan slices, dices and hacks the mech until the cyborg is dead for good. Din is saved!

Turns out Mythosaurs are not that mythical after all

When Din wakes up again, still a bit weak from the blood draining, Bo-Katan, in a surprising display of motherly (or sisterly?) instincts, cooks some traditional Mandalorian soup for him and Grogu. And all of Din's belongings, including the darksaber, are properly lined up on the ground, Bo-Katan may have a troubled history but she is evidently someone who has honor, she never even tries to snatch the darksaber from Din, since the creed mandates she needs to win it in combat. Bo-Katan, after nursing Din for a bit with her homemade soup, ultimately offers to be his tour guide, she will lead him to the living waters in the ancient Beskar mine, she even talks about the history of the place and the mythical beginnings when Mandalore himself found this place. Once we arrive there Din goes into the pool, quoting his creed, with his armor of course, but before he can fully immerse himself he is suddenly pulled underwater. Bo-Katan does not hesitate one second and immediately dives after him, activating her jetpack underwater. She manages to find Din lying at the bottom of the pool. But when she pulls Din back up to the surface they both encounter a massive creature living in the pool: the Mythosaur! Bo-Katan and Din make it back to the surface in one piece though and now we have to wait for next week to see what the discovery of the Mythosaur will mean. Will Din ride the creature and become ruler over Mandalore? Will he donate it to Bo-Katan's new animal refuge? Will he slaughter it so he can proudly display the skull in his non-existing home? Or will he offer it as a token of his undying love to the Armorer who openly welcomes him back to her cult, agreeing to become the mother of his many children, while never removing her helmet of course? We will find out soon!

"The Mines of Mandalore" was a pretty fun episode. Sure, it was light on plot, but that is pretty standard for The Mandalorian, but what differentiates the typical Mando adventure from your typical The Bad Batch adventure is that The Mandalorian is just a lot more fun and not as pointless, with things clearly building up to something bigger.

The comedic bits in this episode worked pretty well too, Peli Motto as a scheming workshop owner was outright hilarious, she scammed that Rodian really good and she apparently has a lucrative scheme where her Jawa friends demolish speeders and steal parts, so that the people need repairs.

The vistas of a devastated Mandalore were pretty impressive as well and they show us the massive scale of destruction, the Empire utterly devastated the planet. The monsters of the week were pretty great too, not so much the generic morlocks maybe (again, I know they are not morlocks) who were just cannon fodder ultimately, but the weird robotic cyborg creature with his mech vehicle was pretty impressive and a good mysterious villain for this episode. In some ways it feels like a callback to the mysterious Boba Fett first seen in The Empire Strikes Back, the cyborg is pretty cool, badass and very mysterious with an unknown origin. But (real and adult) kids can certainly come up with their own theories now what this weird creature was doing on Mandalore and why it needed Din's blood.

And I am happy to see that Jon Favreau clearly understands that Grogu needs to evolve, he can't be the cute gimmick forever. So in this episode we not only see how he begins to mutter (nonsensical) baby words that at least resemble proper language, Grogu also gets his own mission and he's no longer just a gimmick but for the first time really felt like a proper character. Before people merely wanted to capture Grogu, use Grogu, people fought over Grogu, Grogu finally has some agency of his own. Let's hope Grogu will keep growing as a character and slowly leave the mostly helpless toddler state behind. Grogu certainly can dispose of enemies now by using the Force. I still wonder why Luke let Grogu go just like that, with Force powers and all... that kid is well-meaning of course, but he could also be a real danger to others. I am waiting for Grogu's first temper tantrum... when he doesn't get his space M&Ms because they are bad for this teeth.

The only thing that seemed odd here was the entire "I need a droid" plot... why exactly did Din want a droid? Just because he is too lazy to take the atmospheric readings all by himself, since this is a "job for a droid"? That was weird. But it is my only minor gripe here. I liked how Grogu is shown to be more competent now, with a proper solo adventure (even if short), Bo-Katan came across as pretty likable and very badass in this episode, whereas I didn't like her as much in previous episodes, since she seems to be a bit stuck-up and dogmatic in her own ways. But the tragic tale of the ruler who lost it all is of course a good archetypical story and Bo-Katan fills that role pretty well. I also like it that Bo is shown to have a pretty strong moral compass, she never even hesitates when Grogu appears on her doorstep and she doesn't even flinch or think when Din is pulled underwater, she goes immediately after him, even if she could easily snatch the darksaber from Din if he were dead. Now I really wonder who Din will ultimaltey align with, his cult brothers and sisters or Bo-Katan? Would Bo even want to be Din's proper friend and ally with him posessing the darksaber that she needs to win in single combat so she can be ruler over a dead Mandalore again? Will Bo be friend and ally going forward or a foe? If I had to take a guess I'd say that Bo-Katan will ultimatley be Din's ally.

With episode 2 season 3 seems to be on track. It was fun. It was entertaining. Yes, it's not Andor, but The Mandalorian never aimed to be this serious character drama, it's much more in the tradition of the Saturday morning serials George Lucas grew up with and which he used as inspiration for Star Wars. The Mandalorian is in the best tradition of these older shows. Let's see what happens next week, now that Din and Bo-Katan have encountered a Mythosaur in the flesh!

Added: March 9, 2023
Category: The Mandalorian
Reviewer: Thomas
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