By Josh Reilly B. & George Bate
WARNING: The following review contains spoilers for The Mandalorian – Season 3, Chapter 18
The Mandalorian Season 3 continues to unfold with the release of Chapter 18, titled “The Mines of Mandalore.”
In the Season 3 premiere, Din Djarin and Grogu made a series of pit-stops across the galaxy as they prepared a journey to Mandalore to atone for breaking the creed. Greef Karga, IG-11 (briefly, and mainly as a statue), and Bo-Katan were all familiar faces that appeared in what was ultimately a relatively low-key season premiere, even with the presence of two enjoyable action sequences in the form of the sea creature battle and a space chase with an interesting band of pirates. For those that were frustrated by the relative lack of story progression in that episode, “The Mines of Mandalore” certainly makes up for that and more.
Surprisingly, the journey to the depths of Mandalore that was teased so heavily in promotional material isn’t being saved for a climatic moment towards the end of the season. It’s only the second episode of eight in this third season and almost everything that was shown in the trailers and discussed by the creators prior to the season’s release has already been covered, leaving a huge amount of unpredictability in where the season will go from here. In this episode, Djarin and Grogu make the frightening journey to the world that his clan believes is cursed after the Night of a Thousand Tears. Not everything goes exactly to plan on this redemptive journey, although thankfully the planet’s surface isn’t cursed in the way the Armorer thought it was. After Din is captured by a droid in the caves of Mandalore, Bo-Katan is recruited as she attempts to save Djarin and Grogu from the horrors that lie beneath.
Chapter 18 is a far more focused episode than the season premiere, which played like a collection of entertaining, yet somewhat disconnected scenes. This second episode of Season 3 has a singular focus, navigating Mandalore, which overall makes this installment a more enjoyable and cohesive watch than the previous outing.
There’s a lot of action in Chapter 18, particularly as the beloved duo reach the area below the planet’s surface. Many weird creatures and unusual enemies pop up and must be fought off in order to survive and complete Din’s mission of redemption. Overall, these action sequences are well directed by Rachel Morrison, making her Star Wars debut with this episode (she previously served as the DoP of Black Panther, among other titles). The second episode of Season 3 continues the trend of this show being an all-out adventure series, complete with many battles and fights. Mandalore is certain to be shown again in the near future, and perhaps the next look will be a bit more visually appealing, as some of the underground sequences are a little hard to see due to the relative lack of lighting.
Then there is, of course, the ending. A major piece of Mandalorian history is unearthed by Bo-Katan in a moment that is certainly going to shatter (and perhaps unite) the different clans scattered across the galaxy. The mythosaur, a creature that served as inspiration for the Mandalorian crest and thought to be extinct, still lives in the waters below the planet’s surface. It seems now as if this season will focus primarily on the Mandalorians and that the existence of the mythosaur will play a big role going forward. Fans of Legends / Expanded Universe will recognize the importance of the mythosaur and how monumental it is for one to show up in canon now.
The character arc of Din Djarin in Season 3 that the trailers revealed, that he needed to atone for his sins and make up for taking off his helmet, has now been completed in Chapter 18 as he bathed in the waters below the planet’s surface. It will be interesting to now see where Jon Favreau and company take Djarin from here, but he and Bo-Katan’s unlikely alliance perhaps suggests that Pedro Pascal’s character is heading down the path of walking away from the specific clan and creed that he grew up with, instead serving as a leader to the people of Mandalore. That was expected after the Season 2 finale, but Favreau and others opted to go down the route of regret for Djarin. It’s exciting to see that this atonement story is seemingly now complete after two episodes as it allows for his character to move forward and fully develop.
Bo-Katan is another particular highlight in this episode. As said, she is, perhaps surprisingly, paired as an ally to Din Djarin and it seems relatively likely that this will remain the case for the foreseeable future. Her selfless act of returning to Mandalore to save Djarin and protect Grogu is endearing and allows the audience to empathize with Katee Sackhoff’s character even more (something that wasn’t exactly the case last season as she and the Mandalorian argued about his particular clan and their creed). This is certainly Bo-Karan’s strongest live action appearance yet, and it’s nice to see her in a larger role this season.
The Mandalorian Season 3 continues its adventure style storytelling with an action packed episode. Katee Sackhoff’s Bo-Katan shines in a well-directed episode with plenty of incredibly designed creatures and an ending that is not be missed.