Ricky Church reviews the second episode of The Mandalorian season 3…
After a fairly strong premiere last week, the second episode of The Mandalorian wasn’t as concise as Din Djarin and Grogu travelled to and below the surface of Mandalore so he could perform an age-old ritual and be redeemed in the eyes of his clan. The story bounced around a lot with ‘Mines of Mandalore’s saving grace being Katee Sackhoff’s portrayal of Bo-Katan.
The third season premiere set up this idea that Din would have to complete some smaller quests before travelling to Mandalore, with his first one finding a way to repair IG-11 so the droid could help him map Mandalore’s ruins. He refused any option of an alternative because IG-11 was the only droid Din trusted. ‘The Mines of Mandalore’ opens with Din travelling back to Tatooine and… purchasing an old R5 droid without much pushback despite his demands just one episode ago. It didn’t make much sense for the character and seemed only included to push Din from point A to B quickly as well as briefly remind viewers of Din and Boba Fett’s partnership in The Book of Boba Fett, something oddly not mentioned in the premiere considering that was the series Din and Grogu were reunited.
That was not the only area where ‘The Mines of Mandalore’ didn’t flow well. There was plenty of back-and-forth that just didn’t make sense narratively, most prominent being Din getting captured by some robot/alien hybrid and telling Grogu to travel all the way to Bo-Katan’s planet for help (instead of Grogu just using the Force to save him once again) and the alien just conveniently waiting the few hours it takes for Grogu and Bo-Katan to come back before trying to harvest Din’s blood. Or Bo-Katan taking Din all the way back up from the ruins just for them to immediately go back down to search for Mandalore’s mystic waters.
To the episode’s credit, Bo-Katan does explain she thinks Din’s mission is a waste of time and doesn’t believe in the planet’s superstitions, but to be constantly brought back to the same areas in a way that doesn’t make narrative sense, whether its anywhere on Mandalore or Tatooine, really hampered the story and logic of its characters. It just screamed as a plot device for Bo-Katan to join Din now rather than later.
That being said, Katee Sackhoff made great use of her time as Mandalore’s former brief ruler. She opened up a side to Bo we’ve rarely seen, one who feels the weight of her life’s poor choices bearing down on her. Dave Filoni has kept aspects of her past hidden for years so it was nice to hear her reminisce about her childhood and how her father was similarly ritualistic with Mandalore’s teachings, though there was still no mention of her sister Satine and how Bo-Katan herself played quite a large role in the downfall of both her royal family and Mandalore. Sackhoff delivered a nuanced performance that showed Bo-Katan’s regret and sorrow at Mandalore’s state while still keeping up that icy exterior.
The few beats of action were also well done. The design of the robotic alien creature was creepy, looking like a mix of General Grevious and a bot out of Michael Bay’s Transformers and the choreography for Bo-Katan showed just how deadly she can be on her own, whether she’s wielding her pistols, ray shield or the Darksaber. It was quite a contrast to Din who is unfamiliar with Mandalore’s creatures and geography as well as his inexperience with the Darksaber, an aspect that still needs to be explored as he finds it so heavy while others have used it with incredible ease.
‘The Mines of Mandalore’ got much more focused in the latter half of the episode as Din and Bo relayed some of Mandalore’s culture and history with Sackhoff delivering a nice performance. The reveal of Mandalore’s mythical beast actually being real was a nice hook to end on and its design conveyed its awe and power. However, the multiple planet hopping, inconsistent character choices and lack of focus really weakened the story. Hopefully next week can bounce back and dive further into Mandalore’s history and Din and Bo’s growing partnership.
Ricky Church – Follow me on Twitter for more movie news and nerd talk.