Clan Mudhorn heads to the Living Waters of Mandalore only to find that the planet possibly isn’t as vacant as everyone has assumed.
Hello friends and welcome back to Season 3 of The Mandalorian! Chapter 18 (“The Mines of Mandalore”) has decided to throw us headlong into some hi-jinks this week. You want monsters? You want Brave Grogu? Some cameos, some chaos? Well then, let’s dive right in.
In Mos Eisley, the Boonta Eve celebrations rage as Peli Motto (Amy Sedaris) haggles with a Rodian and his horrible suction cup fingers. Peli gets him to pay half upfront for replacement parts to his speeder, which Jawas stripped earlier. After he leaves, though, we see that Peli has been in cahoots with the Jawas all along. She passes along a portion of the profits to the Jawas for the parts so she can slap a nice coat of paint on them before reinstalling. Oh, Peli.
Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) and Grogu arrive. While seeing them (mainly Grogu) delights Peli, Din is all business. He’s there for an IG memory circuit and hasn’t got time for pleasantries. Peli calls the Jawas back in, but they say they can’t get the part. Peli offers Din another droid, an astromech named R5-D4. Hey! He got his bad motivator fixed!
R5’s new mission doesn’t thrill him. To be fair, Din isn’t exactly thrilled to bring him along, either. Still, Din needs a droid to test Mandalore’s air and do some light spelunking. So, R5 joins the team.
With that sidequest down, it’s off to Mandalore and the Living Waters! The trio pulls up on Mandalore, with Din pointing out his childhood home, Concordia, and Kalevala (“Where we visited Bo-Katan”) to Grogu. Keep that in mind for later.
Mandalore’s upper atmosphere is not fantastic, but they make it through. Din mentions the fusion bombs that destroyed the planet’s surface also messed up its magnetic field. Thus, there’s no outside communication. They land, sending R5 heads off to a nearby cave opening to test the atmosphere in the underground ruins. Grogu is anxiously watching R5 go when he vanishes off of their scope.
Din reluctantly gets out to look for the astromech. Inside the cave, he soon reaches a cliff edge, with the ruins of Sundari down below. There he’s promptly attacked by three Alamites. Despite his ongoing difficulty wielding the Darksaber, he ultimately triumphs against the aliens. He collects R5 and returns to the ship, where R5’s readouts show that the atmosphere is breathable. Din realizes that Bo-Katan is right. There’s no curse on Mandalore.
Din and Grogu head back to the cave, floating down to the ruins via jetpack and pod. Unfortunately, as they make their way to where Din hopes the mines will be, Grogu isn’t having the best time. It’s dark, and spooky flying lizards are watching them from the ruins.
You want monsters? You want Brave Grogu? Some cameos, some chaos? Well then, let’s dive right in.
Din kneels to look at an old Mandalorian helmet buried in the dirt when a giant cyborg? spider? Cousin Grievous? bursts out of its hiding space and promptly scoops Din up. Grogu manages to hide and follow. He watches as the creature (primarily metal but with one oversized organic eye) places a caged Din on a rack. It removes his blaster and the Darksaber, tossing them aside. Then, separating from its larger body, the creature walks away to do some other awful thing. Meanwhile, Grogu sneaks over to try and use the Force to free Din. Sadly, he’s only successful in making noise that alerts the creature, so Din weakly tells him to get Bo-Katan.
Grogu flips into his pod and takes off. He ducks lizard-beasts along the way until running into an Alamite. Grogu hasn’t got time for this, so he Force-shoves the Alamite out of the way. Then, he jumps into the N1 and points to Kalevala on the map for R5.
Bo-Katan Kryze (Katee Sackhoff), still sitting moodily on her throne, get news of an unexpected guest from her droid butler. She goes to the window and scowls when she sees the N1 landing. “Let’s get rid of him once and for all,” she tells the butler, assuming it’s Din. That means she’s going to be very snappish at him. “I told you I want to be alone,” she begins as she approaches the ship. However, as soon as she realizes Grogu is alone, she knows something is wrong.
They take her ship back to Mandalore. Seeing the surface made of glass, she tells Grogu it used to be very different. Together the two head towards the ruins to find Din. When another set of Alamites try an ambush yet again, Bo makes short work of them. After her victory, she smugly asks Grogu if he thought his dad “was the only Mandalorian.” Well, no, Bo-Katan, he’s met you before. And the Armorer, Koska Reeves, and Axe Woves? Anyway.
We return to the creature’s lair and arrive just in time to see it with a needle. It shoves it and some tubing into Din and begins draining his blood. Who let this thing be? I need to talk to Jon Favreau.
Bo-Katan comes in blasters blazing, but the creature zaps her with an electrostaff. Spotting Darksaber on the ground, she grabs it. Deftly wielding it, she seemingly kills the beast. Alas, while she’s checking on Din, its head disconnects and sneaks away. Din barely manages to warn Bo-Katan before the creature, back in its larger metal body, attacks her. Giving the Darksaber another shot, she manages to kill it for real this time.
Din passes out and wakes to Bo-Katan making some soup over a fire while Grogu gazes at it longingly. Din points out that Bo was right. They could reclaim Mandalore. In contrast, she’s less convinced now, having seen the ruin. Plus, I don’t know, the nightmare cyborg abominations, maybe. She gives Din the soup. He drinks it but refuses to rest. He’s on a mission.
Bo-Katan says again that the Living Waters aren’t magic. Nonetheless, she agrees to lead Din and Grogu to the Mines. When they arrive, Din asks her where their people would be without their Creed. By way of answering, she talks a bit about Mandalore’s past and the various internal schisms that broke their society apart before the Empire could. Continuing, Bo recalls how she went to the Living Waters as a child when she took the Creed in front of their people as their princess. However, she only participated to make the people happy and her father proud. He was a great man, she says, who died for Mandalore. Din stops and tells her, “This is the Way.” It looks like his words move Bo-Katan.
They arrive at the Living Waters, and Bo laughingly reads a nearby plaque that says that the mines were once mythosaur lairs. The Mandalorians took on the mythosaur skull as their sigil after Mandalore the Great tamed one of the beasts. Din isn’t listening to her spiel, though. He’s too busy removing his weapons and walking into the water. In full armor, Din?! He steps through the water, reciting the Creed, when he suddenly goes under and doesn’t come back up.
“The Mines of Mandalore” pulls a couple of plotline fast ones on the audience.
Bo-Katan immediately dives in after him and makes her way through the murky water. She follows the light from Din’s helmet, finding him laid out on the bottom of the lake. As she swims back to the surface carrying Din, her light picks out a huge, familiarly-shaped head. A head with an open, blinking eye. The mythosaur. Bo-Katan gets herself and Din out of the water and onto the shore. There Din coughs up his swallowed water while a stunned Bo-Katan stares out over the Living Waters. Guess maybe they are just a little magic.
Directed by Black Panther cinematographer Rachel Morrison and written by Jon Favreau, “The Mines of Mandalore” pulls a couple of plotline fast ones on the audience. Both of Din’s missions–to get a new memory circuit for IG-11 and to bathe in the Living Waters for his redemption–have…been completed? Already?
Bo-Katan has defrosted a little–if not entirely toward Din, absolutely toward Grogu. Grogu got to have his own little first solo mission. This is all solid stuff for a show that can sometimes rest on its cameos and one special little green bean.
Will the mythosaur mean anything, or was it just a “Holy shit!” moment? Will Din ever learn to use the Darksaber? As much fun as Chapter 17 was, this was the real beginning of Season 3.
- There was just an electrostaff on The Bad Batch last week. Electrostaff revival!
- Hey, Bo-Katan, do you have any other family that might have been proud of you? Anyone? We went through a whole season of Obi-Wan Kenobi without one mention of Satine. This cannot stand.
- When Din says he’s in town on business, Peli asks if he’s going to overthrow Boba Fett. I guess that means he and Fennec kept their jobs after all.
- Let’s never talk about that spider thing ever again. Send it back to the set of Mad God.