Come one, come all, fans of The Mandalorian. Each Wednesday morning, we’re breaking down the newest episode, from the best Grogu closed-captioning moment, to what’s going on with the latest friends and foes in Mando’s redemption arc, to what it all means for the rest of the galaxy far, far away. Pop on The Mandalorian theme and dive in. This is the way.
“Chapter 18: The Mines of Mandalore”
Disney+’s Cryptic Plot Summary: The Mandalorian and Grogu explore the ruins of a destroyed planet.
Main Players: Mando, Grogu, Auntie Amy Sedaris, Bo-Katan Kryze, and scaredy-droid.
Director: Rachel Morrison, a newcomer to the Mando-verse who had a hand in some of your favorite movies of the past decade or so: Fruitvale Station, Mudbound, Dope, and Black Panther. (For Mudbound, she nabbed an Academy Award nomination for Best Cinematography.)
Can’t-Miss Star Wars Easter Egg: The Boonta Eve Classic, AKA the Tatooine-hosted podracing event that spawned many a prequel trilogy meme. Wonder how the event’s organizers feel about their former champ terrorizing the galaxy nowadays.
Best Grogu Closed-Caption Moment: [Coos.]
Amy Sedaris Spinoff When?
The best moment of the episode! By far. We’re reunited with Amy Sedaris’s Peli Motto, who speaks Jawaese with an unfair amount of confidence. It’s Boonta Eve, and Motto is bickering and bartering, as always, when Mando and her favorite squishy green friend show up. The scene never amounts to much more than a cameo—she fixes up Mando’s ship, pawns her droid off on him, and sends the father and son on their merry way—but hopefully, amidst all the Macguffins and Star Wars of it all, The Mandalorian never stops introducing us to new, interesting characters in the galaxy along the way.
Welcome to Mandalore
Well friends, we get to see Mandalore, in live-action, earlier than expected. And… it’s… pretty sleepy! As advertised. The planet looks like a weird cross between the Wicked set and an Alien film. Various hungry creatures roam the landscape, probably hoping to eat a Grogu for dinner. There’s a vengeful droid I very much don’t understand, who captures Mando and harvests his blood? Then Grogu jets off to see Bo-Katan and brings her back to Mandalore where she’s suddenly willing to help Mando’s cause? And simply not crabby anymore? It’s all a little strange, at least to my eye. Maybe “Chapter 18” is simply legwork to get us to The Mandalorian‘s endgame. More on that soon.
The Perilous and Frightening Adventures of Grogu’s Continuing Education
Interesting Grogu episode! I’m not sure what to make of the little guy this season. Auntie Amy Sedaris is right—Grogu really does want to talk. There’s about a half-dozen [babbling] closed captions in this episode. Plus, the kid has always been a bright (green) egg, but having the IQ to fly spaceships and navigate the galaxy feels pretty graduate level? After two seasons that focused so heavily on Grogu’s origins and his whereabouts during Order 66, it’s slightly jarring to see that, so far, he’s simply been Baby Mando. All of that said, Grogu’s sleuthing, sneaking, and waddling about during Mando’s imprisonment just about made my week.
Mando is about to break out his loofa, toss in a eucalyptus bath bomb, and get his sweet redemption on when he’s pulled into the water by a Star Wars dinosaur. This episode plays Chekhov’s dinosaur in its repeated exposition dumps, mentioning an ancient creature called the Mythosaur. Apparently, the legend goes that Mandlore the Great—who was essentially Mandalorian Jesus—tamed and rode around a Mythosaur. Back in the day, Mandalore was rumored to be full of ’em. When Bo-Katan saves Mando for the fifth time this episode, she sees the behemoth creature lurking in the water on her way up. Guess she was wrong not to believe in Mandalore’s folktales. So, you have to ask: is the appearance of the Mythosaur yet another sign that The Mandalorian will end with Mando resurrecting and leading his home planet back to full glory? He’ll need his own monstrous beast to ride around, of course.
Official Grogu Metric Rating™
Three and a half Grogus out of ten. Jon Favreau and co. handed Morrison a fairly tough task: introduce Mando’s home planet, dole out a whole bunch of its lore, and tease the beginnings of what very well could be The Mandalorian‘s endgame all in one swoop. After a solid season premiere, the corner of The Mandalorian‘s viewership that hasn’t seen the Star Wars animated series (myself included) is treated to long exposition dumps from Bo-Katan, who thinks she had a Corleone-esque rule over the planet. The Mandalorian is at its best—as it always has been—when it leaves the massive paperweight of Star Wars history behind. The show’s insistence on calling up folks like Ahsoka Tano, CGI Luke Skywalker, and Old Man Boba takes away from its heart: Mando and Grogu.
Next Week on The Mandalorian…
This a tough one. I’m not sure how much rub-a-dub-dubbing in the living waters underneath the mines of Mandalore has to happen for one to be redeemed, but I guess Mando did it? If he did, a trip back to the Armorer has to be in order. Or maybe he’ll stick around on Mandalore to see if there are any other space dinos lurking around. Either way, there’s going to be some sort of reckoning with the Mythosaur between Bo-Katan and Mando. Its mere existence implies that everything (or at least most of what) Mando believed in is true—and Bo-Katan, the former ruler of this place, was wrong to disbelieve the “folk tales.” My best guess is that The Mandalorian will stick with dead-cursed-poisoned-planet recon for another week. Grogu? Stay in your pram. Things are getting dangerous out here.