The Mandalorian, season three, episode two — or Chapter 18, “The Mines Of Mandalore”, if you want to follow the official titling — builds on the reintroduction of last week’s season opener to deliver one of the strongest episodes of the show yet. Read on to find out what went down…
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We open on Tatooine, in Peli Motto’s (Amy Sedaris) garage on Boonta Eve. She’s arguing with a Rodian customer over fixing his speeder. She scamming him, working alongside Jawas to exploit more cash, when Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) lands with Grogu in tow.
Grgou leaps straight into Peli’s arms, but Mando is all business — he’s after a replacement IG memory circuit for IG-11 (Taika Waititi). The Jawas tell him they can’t get the part, and Peli tries to sell him an astromech, R5, but Djarin tells her he needs a droid suitable for spelunking; taking the route ahead and testing the atmosphere. She convinces him R5 is ready for adventure and somehow, it’s a successful sale and the new trio fly off to Mandalore through the Boonta Eve fireworks.
From orbit, Djarin explains the geography of the system to Grogu, pointing out Concordia, the moon where he grew up, and Kalevala, where they visited Bo-Katan Kryze (Katee Sackhoff) last episode. He’s teaching him the importance of navigation again and what Mandalore means to their people.
It’s a turbulent entry through a storm, but they break through to the other side, greeted with the sight of a ravaged surface. The fusion bombs from the Empire’s Purge means they can’t communicate with anyone off-world. R5 is first off the ship to take some assessment readings. Grogu is worried for the droid, but finds comfort in watching on the scope — until his signal disappears.
Mando heads out to find the missing droid, leaving Grogu sealed in the ship. Within a cave, he finds a subterranean ruin, but is quickly attacked by some creatures. He defends himself with the Darksaber but is unwieldy with it: he’s not yet mastered the blade. He fells the creatures and finds R5 upended nearby. The pair head back to Grogu and find out the atmosphere is breathable.
“Bo-Katan was right. Mandalore is not cursed,” Djarin says. He and Grogu head to the cave system. The ruin is that of the Civic Center, where Bo-Katan said to go to find the mines. They descend deep, deep into the ground. It’s a desolate place, filled with sinister reptilian creatures and debris.
In the rubble he finds a helmet, but a trap is sprung and Djarin is captured by a huge robotic crab. Grogu remained hidden but follows the kidnapper back to its lair. From within the droid emerges a cyborg which strips our hero of his armaments before stalking away. Grogu looks on and then heads to help his dad get free. He uses the Force to try and free Djarin from his cage, but the noise alerts the creature.
Djarin tells Grogu to get to Bo-Katan, and the Foundling speeds away in his pod. Almost making it out before being confronted by one of the monsters from earlier. He uses the Force to blast the creature away, hop into the starship, and tell R5 to fly to Kalevala. It’s a thrilling escape.
We find Bo-Katan where we left her, brooding on her throne. She’s furious at Djarin’s apparent return, but that changes to concern when Grogu’s distressed little face pops out of the cockpit instead. She immediately asks for R5’s data and heads off on a rescue.
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Coming in to land, she tells Grogu that Mandalore didn’t always look like the wasteland it appears today. When they land, she asks Grogu to help guide her to him. As they overlook the Civic Center ruins, she tells the Foundling that her family once ruled it as a beautiful city, but now it is a tomb.
Grogu is scared, but Bo-Katan tells him she needs his help to find Din Djarin. Grogu turns on his torch and the pair continue. She tells him of the Jedi she once knew and fought alongside. Sensing danger, she pushes Grogu to one side and then pre-emptively strikes against the Alamites, the monsters that attacked Din before. They used to live beyond Mandalore’s cities. She wonders what else may have survived the Purge.
The monster is draining Djarin of blood before it is interrupted by Bo-Katan. It overcomes her with it’s electrical prod, but she grapples the Darksaber and uses it to fell the thing. The creature’s head removes itself and re-enters the large vehicle while Bo-Katan is distracted, taking her by surprise. But she uses the Darksaber to quickly finish it and save Din Djarin.
Djarin awakes to Bo-Katan having made him Pog Soup, a traditional meal that he’s never consumed. She sees the irony. He is stubborn about continuing on his mission to the waters, but Bo-Katan reiterates that there is nothing special about the waters. He says the Creed is how they survived. He owes her a debt, but can’t leave. She offers to take him, but tells him not to thank her until he sees them.
On their way, they discuss how Bo-Katan is pained at how their people fell because of in-fighting, leaving them weak to the Imperial fist. As they enter the grand entrance, she tells Djarin of her royal heritage, of her own time taking the Creed and the pomp and ceremony that came with it. They also talk of her father, who died defending Mandalore.
Arriving at the waters, she reads him a plaque, telling of the story of the Mythosaur and how the mines were in legend it’s lair. It’s how the skull became the planet’s symbol. Djarin silently enters the water, before reciting the Creed.Before he can finish, he is yanked underwater, forcing Bo-Katan into another rescue.
On the seabed, she finds him unconscious, and as she swims up, sees a colossal Mythosaur watching. Pulling him to dry land, she gasps in shock, and the episode ends.
This Is The Way (We Think About It):
This week’s episode saw some brilliant action from all three of our main cast. We got to see everyone put their skills to the test, from Din Djarin’s exploration of Mandalore (and unwieldy demonstration of his Darksaber skills), to Grogu’s navigation, Force abilities and resourcefulness. Most thrillingly, we got to see plenty more of Bo-Katan, who had the chance to reminisce within Sundari’s eerie ruins as well as kick some serious butt when the going got tough.
The theme of grappling with the meaning of Mandalore to both Djarin and Bo-Katan continues to develop. The planet remains rich in meaning for the former, who sees it as a spiritual home, but also has his blind faith in his beliefs challenged when it appears to not actually be cursed.
For Bo-Katan, it is the opposite: this place is haunted with the memories of her family, of her time on the throne, and what the Empire did to their people as a home. To her, it is cursed, but not metaphorically: more literally, a desolate tomb filled with horrors.
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Both are taken by surprise at the episode’s close. Bo-Katan clearly relishes taking Djarin to the sacred waters, undercutting their significance by underlining how much it was part of pomp and ceremony, rather than real purpose, during her youth. Djarin still has reverence for them, reciting the Creed until he is yanked to the bottom of the vast water.
The moment in which Bo-Katan sees the Mythosaur lurking in the depths is awe-inducing for both us and her; here is legend wrought real. Here is proof that both she and Djarin need to readjust their understanding of what it means to be Mandalorian.