Review: Myths, monsters and mines star in The Mandalorian Episode 302

(L-R): Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) and Grogu in Lucasfilm's THE MANDALORIAN, season three, exclusively on Disney+. ©2023 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.
(L-R): Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) and Grogu in Lucasfilm's THE MANDALORIAN, season three, exclusively on Disney+. ©2023 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved. /

Holy Mythosaur. The second episode of The Mandalorian‘s third season, “The Mines of Mandalore,” is intense and drives the story forward at a dizzying pace. Still, even as Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal), Grogu and Bo-Katan Kryze (Katee Sackhoff) descend into the depths of this ravaged planet, the episode never loses sight of one of the core themes of this season: expanding the mythos of Mandalore.

Tatooine pitstop

The episode kicks off with a bit of a red herring. Din’s current quest is to head to Mandalore (which is basically uninhabitable after being wrecked by the Empire), find the mines, and bathe in the Living Waters to redeem himself after he removed his helmet last season, thus gaining reentry to his cult. But to his dismay, he needs a droid, specifically the worse-for-ware IG-11. This side-mission takes our helmeted hero back to Tatooine for a pitstop at Peli Moto’s (Amy Sedaris) repair shop in hopes of getting a new part.

Peli doesn’t have the part, and she’s too busy celebrating Boonta Eve (yes, that Boonta Eve holiday with the infamous podracing). So she sets Din up with an R5 unit (the same R5 astromech from A New Hope). And we thought The Book of Boba Fett was overloaded with Star Wars Easter eggs.

Life on Mandalore

But the main location of this episode is Mandalore, a planet where the very ground is thought to be poisoned. Mandalore has a long and sordid history, but this is the first time we’ve seen it in live-action. A shame it’s so sparsely populated these days.

The episode picks up the pace once Din lands on Mandalore. We see him fight off native Alamites inside the Sundari city center and getting ensnared in a mech trap that looks like a flea. Luckily, Grogu provides help beyond being adorable.

Bo-Katan to the rescue

Cut to Kalevala: Grogu flees to get the help of Bo-Katan, who’s still moping on her throne. Cut back to Sundari: Din has been captured by an even more horrifying General Grievous-type being that’s mostly droid but has one fleshy eye. Bo-Katan comes to his rescue, fighting off more Alamites and the monstrous droid by wielding the fallen Darksaber.

It’s a bittersweet moment for Bo-Katan considering how much the former princess of Mandalore has been through to fight for her people. She could end Din and claim the saber for herself at this moment. But she doesn’t, probably because she remembers what happened the last time she tried to take the Darksaber without winning it in battle.

The Mandalorian takes a bath

Cut to the upper levels of Sundari, where Bo-Katan is making Din some pog soup to help him recover. Even as she rolls her eyes at Din’s beliefs, she agrees to escort him to the mines deep below the city to find the Living Waters.

Throughout the episode, Bo-Katan reminisces to Din and Grogu about her brief rule on Mandalore. She talks about her childhood and her father and admits that the Mandalorians weakened their own world way before the Empire arrived.

When they arrive at the Living Waters, Bo-Katan sarcastically reads the engraved text on one of the pillars so Din can get “the full experience” of the field trip. But Din only has eyes for the water. He strips off his cape, jetpack, and other gear and walks into the murky depths.

Seconds later, Din drops down too quickly to be natural, so Bo-Katan jumps in to rescue him again. The Living Waters are much deeper than they look, but she quickly finds Din and surges to the surface…but not before she comes face to face with a massive Mythosaur, a legendary creature and symbol of the planet and the Mandalorian creed.

The return of the Mythosaur and the future of Mandalore

While the Mythosaur is huge and dangerous, this one isn’t here to fight. It’s appearance marks a turning point for the next phase of Din and Bo-Katan’s relationship and the future of Mandalore.

Fans may have assumed the main plot point of the season would be Din working to get to Mandalore. But that mission concluded quickly, leaving the rest of the season to explore the drama between the former ruler of Mandalore and the Mandalorian who currently wields the Darksaber, which means he’s the new ruler, even if he doesn’t want the job.

Or maybe Bo-Katan will get over her mopiness and Din will unlearn his stifling beliefs in order to work together to retake and restore Mandalore. That would be nice.

Despite some disjointed pacing in the first two episodes, The Mandalorian continues to deliver depth and nuance as well as fan service and Easter eggs. The second episode was directed by Rachel Morrison (Mudbound), who helps craft a visually stunning and thoughtful story that incorporates mythology and horror.

“The Mines of Mandalore” has the intensity and heart we’ve come to expect of The Mandalorian, and it sets up even more thrilling plots to come.

Episode Grade: A

The Mandalorian season 3, episode 2: “The Mines of Mandalore,” is now streaming on Disney+.

Next. Din Djarin sets out on a redemption tour in The Mandalorian season 3 premiere. dark

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