The Mandalorian S3, Ep 2 Review

For two seasons now (three if you count The Book of Boba Fett), we’ve heard people say Mandalore’s a dead world. We heard how the Empire razed Mandalore so thoroughly that the planet became toxic and its people scattered to the stars. Thus, when the Armorer gave Din the task of visiting the mines beneath Mandalore, she thought it impossible, and she was wrong, and this episode proves it. As Din, Grogu, R5, and Bo-Katan discover, Mandalore not only endures but so does an ancient beast its people revere!

Welcome Aboard, R5!

Following the end of the season premiere, Mando and Baby Yoda set out to find a droid to help them explore the surface of Mandalore. Din’s first choice had been IG-11, but without a new memory circuit, there was no way to restore him to the heroic droid he was. Not even Pelli Motto, Mando’s go-to mechanic, can get something for him. However, she does offer an alternative solution in the form of R5-D4.

Arfive is one of the oldest characters in Star Wars, and despite only appearing in a few scenes before the show, he had a big impact. Had his motivator not blown in front of Owen Lars, he and Luke never would’ve gotten Artoo, and Luke would likely have never left Tatooine. The moment became even more significant when a story for A New Hope’s 40th birthday revealed Arfive did that on purpose at the behest of Artoo and went on to serve in the Rebellion. It’s not much, but I loved this little nod to the larger story that’s made; it’s one of the things Disney’s done right with Star Wars, and it’s nice to see Arfive getting more attention after all these years.

Mandalore is Not a Dead World

The Mandalorian S3, Ep 2-Ruins of Sundari
Source-Disney+, Twitter

Now we get into the real meat of the episode. Now with Arfive in tow, Mando and Grogu travel to Mandalore, the homeworld of the Mandalorians. This return carries great significance for those who watched Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Rebels. Those shows canonically introduced fans to Mandalore, and many may remember the rocky wastelands and domed cities. It was a scarred but beautifully resilient world, and returning to it would surely stir some emotions. 

As expected, in the aftermath of the Empire razing the planet, Mandalore’s almost nothing like how fans remember it. Thunderstorms are in the clouds, and we see the ruins of cities above and below ground. However, as Arfive confirms for Mando, the stories of the planet being poisonous and cursed aren’t true. Not only is the air breathable, but life continues to survive in the form of these bipedal predators in the ruins. 

I personally never believed in the Watch’s belief that Mandalore was uninhabitable. I knew the Empire was more than capable of doing so, but I didn’t buy it. Din’s discovery about the planet’s fate not only serves to validate this, but it’s another example of how the Watch’s beliefs aren’t infallible. They were wrong about Mandalore, and while the planet’s still dangerous, it might be in the Mandalorians’ power to reclaim it for themselves. 

Grogu and Bo-Katan Get a Chance to Shine this Episode

Around halfway through the episode, Din’s captured by this strange, droid-cyborg creature that attempts to drain his blood. This part could have been clearer, as there’s no real explanation of where this thing came from or what it wanted. As a result, though, it falls to Grogu to get help for his dad.

This sequence shows the audience how much Baby Yoda’s grown since we first met him. We see him regularly use the Force with little issue and able to fend for himself. In a moment that would make Mando proud, Grogu even successfully pilots their starfighter to Bo-Katan’s palace to get help. This was such a major milestone for Baby Yoda. He’s no longer the sidekick that always needs protecting. Thanks to training with Luke Skywalker and his dad’s lessons, Grogu’s growing into his own and becoming someone who can care for himself. Give him a few more decades, and he could become one of the best fighters in the Galaxy.

In addition, Bo-Katan also gets her moment to shine. Despite how bitter she previously was, once she learns that Mando proved her right and is in trouble, she doesn’t hesitate to rescue him. We even get to see her use the Darksaber again, and while I was worried for a moment she might try to keep it for herself, she ultimately does not. It’s unclear if this is because she’s learned her lesson on earning it, but it gives hope for her character. 

The Mythosaur Rises

The final moment of the episode gives viewers the biggest surprise, though. As Din arrives at the living waters in the mine, he’s pulled underwater and Bo-Katan has to step in and save him. As she does so, though, she witnesses something that made my jaw drop. In the water of the minds, they witness a living Mythosaur, shocking Bo-Katan to her core.

The Mandalorian S3, Ep 2-The Mythosaur Lives
Source-Disney+, Twitter

For those who don’t know, the Mythosaur resembles a dragon in Mandalorian culture. The Mandalorian people rode them into battle, and even after they supposedly went extinct, they continued to revere them to the point where they used their skulls as a symbol of their people. The fact that this is the first time one’s appeared alive in the new canon is of major significance. It’s the ultimate symbol of the Mandalorians, and the fact that one survived symbolizes how resilient they are as a people. The show’s opening even hinted at its appearance with a flashback to the Armorer saying how the rise of a Mythosaur would herald the dawn of a new age for Mandalore.

What does this mean, though, and where does the show go from here? Bo-Katan and Mando will likely return to the Watch with proof that Mandalore’s still habitable and the survival of a Mythosaur. This may be enough to galvanize the Mandalorians to reunite to reclaim their homeworld. I would love to see this; I would love to see Mando and Bo-Katan leading their people home to rebuild. It would set the stage for the remainder of the series, and solidify the notion that Din might be the one to save the Mandalorian people.

Overall, this was a fantastic episode, and it had my jaw dropping until the end. I cannot wait for next week to see what comes next. This is a turning point for The Mandalorian, and the show’s better than ever. The one issue I have is with the cyborg thing. We never really get an explanation about what it was and why it was there, and I wonder if we ever will. Still, this is the Way.

I Give “The Mines of Mandalore” a 5/5