"Chapter 18: The Mines of Mandalore"
Air date: 3/8/2023
Written by Jon Favreau
Directed by Rachel Morrison
Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan
"The Mines of Mandalore" is a solid and focused course correction after last week's scattered and tepid season premiere. The title says it all: We are getting on with things, arriving at Mandalore, and entering those mines. If this were a serialized Star Trek episode under the current leadership, the advancement to this stage of the plot probably wouldn't happen until the season's fifth or sixth episode.
Ironic, then, that "The Mines of Mandalore" almost at times plays like a classic Star Trek episode, with the planet-side exploration and the scanning of atmospheric properties on what is a Strange New World. There's first a brief detour back to Tatooine so Mando can acquire a cowardly droid from his pal Peli Motto (Amy Sedaris) to help scout what's rumored to be a poisoned world, but the bulk of the episode is on Mandalore, as we see what the destruction at the hands of the Empire has wrought. The depiction is appropriately cold, barren, and harsh. Later, as we get underground, we see what was once a thriving city is now entombed beneath ash and rock. (Why does everyone think this planet is toxic when that's so easily disproven here by one person?)
This episode follows the simple Mandalorian formula — some exploration, some creatures, and some action/fights. One creature in particular has an interesting design — a cross between a giant insect, a droid, and a tank. Mando is attacked and captured, requiring Grogu to return to Bo-Katan's palace on Kalevala for help (where she apparently just sits all day long doing nothing and brooding in an empty room, awaiting the plot to need her).
Katee Sackhoff's addition to this show is welcome, and as someone who once ruled Mandalore before it was destroyed (which must have been relatively recently, given her age, but feels like ancient history amid this ruined city), Bo-Katan is a useful guide for Din Djarin and for us. She questions his unwavering faith to the Creed and its fairy tales, but does not go so far as to ridicule him for his beliefs (although I'd still like to see more conflict within Djarin beyond following the path because it is "the Way.") When she flew her ship down through the violent atmosphere of Mandalore, I couldn't help but think of her catastrophic flight in BSG's "Maelstrom." (It is truly insane to me that episode aired 16 years ago.)
What I'm a little less certain about is the use of Grogu, who is becoming more important to the plot as a participant (as when he uses the Force to escape the dangers of the caves and pilots the ship, somewhat incredibly, back to Kalevala), but functions in practicality like a cross between a puppet prop and Lassie. The fact that he can't speak — although he apparently says his first (unintelligible) word here — is a liability when he's used like this, and makes the actors seem more ridiculous when they try to talk at or around him while advancing the plot.
After being rescued by the very competent Bo-Katan, Djarin ultimately does enter the waters in the mines, but he takes a bad step and falls into an underwater abyss where he requires another urgent rescue (apparently Mandalorian jetpacks work underwater; who knew?). She retrieves him, but while underwater encounters a massive mysterious creature that will surely be the subject of next week's installment.
"The Mines of Mandalore" is not groundbreaking in the slightest, but this feels more like what this show was built to do, and it mostly does it, while advancing the story adequately along to its next stage.
Previous episode: Chapter 17: The Apostate
Next episode: Chapter 19: The Convert
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46 comments on this post
Wed, Mar 8, 2023, 3:01am (UTC -5)
Wed, Mar 8, 2023, 3:24am (UTC -5)
Yeah, because one maybe-not-so-amazing episode must be hated right?
Wed, Mar 8, 2023, 3:52am (UTC -5)
Wed, Mar 8, 2023, 4:00am (UTC -5)
Being more of the mind of Bo-Katan (i.e., agnostic), I'm a little uneasy with Din Djarin's zealousness for said mythology, but, hey, it's a story set a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away.
Wed, Mar 8, 2023, 4:01am (UTC -5)
Wed, Mar 8, 2023, 4:11am (UTC -5)
Wed, Mar 8, 2023, 5:45am (UTC -5)
A few examples:
- So there is the metal that makes you indestructable and the empire did not try to get it's hand on it but bombed it in a way that made mining their impossible
- But it was not actually impossible but nobody bothered to check if the planet with the most useful metal in the galaxy was actually poisoned. Even then, get yourself some Hazmat suits and start mining.
- The Mandalorian people and even the planet are named after a guy called Mandalor... *giggling*
- Every time I see a gigantic monster just sitting somewhere I say to myself:"That thing has to eat a ton every day." For example, a lion needs on average 8kg (16pounds) per day. That means that a male lion eats it's own body weight in around 25 days.
I don't know, the religious part sucks the air right out of it for me. They were down to four members and then at the start of this season they are already up to around 30 members. Who thinks:"Uh, this cult was almost wiped out and is down to 4 people, hunted, putting themselves in danger constantly and cannot take their helmets off which probably means no intimate relationships. Well, sign me up!" Then are kids joining for some reason... Not that there are not many crazy cults out there but this is a particularly dumb one. I cannot not take any of this seriously. Every time they say "this is the way" I'm giggling.
And at the same time there is the far more rational faction of Bo Katan which stopped existing because she didn't have that black sword?! ok... and then she is just sitting around in her empty palace, posing. Again giggling. :D
Wed, Mar 8, 2023, 6:03am (UTC -5)
That was an 8/10 compared to last week’s 5/10!
It seems to me that last week’s ep & this week’s ep should have really been combined into one episode.
But, whatever: “This is the Way”!
(AKA “Some Myths Are True!!”)
Wed, Mar 8, 2023, 6:20am (UTC -5)
I fear Mando has lost his mojo. It's like we've suddenly stepped down to grade school level, and lost those great spaghetti Western overtones. He's lost his mysterious samurai edge, and unlike S1 and S2, there seems to be no clear direction for his character beyond this blind desire for redemption.
But always love Katee Sackhoff, a real badass. Has Kryze really lost all of her followers?
And it is interesting to see Grogu's evolution.
Still 2 stars at best from me.
Wed, Mar 8, 2023, 6:37am (UTC -5)
I also can't help but giggle/scoff a lot.
The Mines of Moria. Check.
I guess the spidery thing was more Mordor. Ah well.
BTW Who needs a jet pack when you've got Grogu's little pod thing? And is there a reason Din Djarin is still wearing a cape with one?
I could go on but whatever. Better than last week.
Wed, Mar 8, 2023, 6:38am (UTC -5)
Yep. Agree totally.
Wed, Mar 8, 2023, 7:10am (UTC -5)
I also would like to see Mando fly around a one of those pods, Baby Yoda next to him with flapping ears.
Wed, Mar 8, 2023, 7:42am (UTC -5)
Mando was never about complex scripting, Andor is a totally different thing. Mando is about getting hype for a big monster in a lake, with a side of galaxy lore building.
Wed, Mar 8, 2023, 11:37am (UTC -5)
Doesn't Bo Katan do anything else but sit on her throne and brood when nobody else is around?
Wed, Mar 8, 2023, 1:59pm (UTC -5)
Wed, Mar 8, 2023, 3:56pm (UTC -5)
The way I understood it it is not Grogu piloting the ship to Kalevala, he just points to Kalevala on the starmap on the monitor and the droid understands that he is to fly the ship to that destination.
Otherwise I completely agree with your review :-)
Wed, Mar 8, 2023, 6:39pm (UTC -5)
Bo-Katan is MUCH more comfortable handling the darksaber than Din is...
Katee Sackoff is frakin AWESOME!
No bad episodes in this series...
Din does get his ass handed to him quite a bit in this one... lol
One of the sexiest scenes in recent memory is watching Bo Katan walk down into the caves with Grogu in tow... damn she's sexy!
I think we are going to have a convert... Bo saw that creature that was "tamed by the springs of Mandalore"... I think she's going to revert...
Easy three stars.
Wed, Mar 8, 2023, 7:24pm (UTC -5)
I was half hoping he was going to strip buck naked except for his helmet which would have been hilarious. Kind of awkward mind you with Bo standing right there and watching.
By the way, does saving Mando's life a few dozen times (including with the dark saber) count for Bo claiming it? Seems like it really should.
Wed, Mar 8, 2023, 8:22pm (UTC -5)
Then I went and read your review of "Maelstrom" because I just to had click the link. Great review of a great episode. Then I scrolled down and hey, it's me, posting a couple of comments 14 years ago. Didn't remember that. Boy are we old...it truly do what it do.
Anyways, this week's episode just didn't work for me. We see Mando and Grogu go down into the cave and walk around. Then later we see Bo-Katan and Grogu go down into the cave and walk around. Then she saves him and Mando says "how did you find me?" and I wanted to yell "YOU SPECIFICALLY TOLD GROGU TO GO GET HER SO SHE COULD SAVE YOU!"
As always: great effects, great monster design, great acting, great music...but this new story is just not grabbing me. I still really wish they hadn't undone the incredible S2 finale with all the resets over on Boba Fett. They could be doing this new story without Grogu for a bit, while Mando finds himself again. Two stars.
Wed, Mar 8, 2023, 8:40pm (UTC -5)
And this is why I keep coming back to this site a decade plus on. :D
Wed, Mar 8, 2023, 8:45pm (UTC -5)
Wed, Mar 8, 2023, 10:22pm (UTC -5)
Star Wars droids have always been slaves. Disney Wars is a little more overt about it, but it's been three since ANH with its restraining bolts and anti-droid prejudice.
Thu, Mar 9, 2023, 3:52am (UTC -5)
The Mandalorian is a fun adventure serial to watch with little kids, but it has always been so lacking in drama, dialogues and world building. On top of everything that has been mentioned, I just find it laughable that an entire culture was defined around the armor that a minor character wore in The Empire Strikes Back. Sure, Boba Fett's suit was referenced as a "Mandalorian armor" in the technical manuals, and the earlier Expanded Universe works already took the path of characterizing mandalorians with vaguely similar pieces of armor, but the way this show has done, which defines mandalorian identity around the specific jetpack, wire shooter and flamethrower that Boba Fett had in his arsenal at that specific moment in time is just... beyond laughable. It's what you get when you shift from science-fiction writers to boys who play with action figures.
Still, I did love the direction and cinematography in this one. Truly gorgeous designs and shots. Every scene was a feast to the eyes. I now want to see more from Rachel Morrison, who I must admit wasn't on my map. Frankly, given how thin I always expect this show to be, good direction and art design tend to be enough to leave me satisfied.
Thu, Mar 9, 2023, 4:20am (UTC -5)
I'm saving the rewatch of Andor until some point in the future.
Jammer said that he thought of a BSG episode when Bo Katan entered the atmosphere. I was thinking of Star Trek V when Mando entered the atmosphere. It's build up as this very dangerous thing but then amounts to a little shaking.
It was also a little sad that we didn't find out a little more about that eye robot thing. Scenes with that creature were pretty interesting but ultimately disappointing. In a way, it is fine to just have a weird alien that does weird alien things but I would have appreciated a little more then what we got and what has kind of become a staple in US TV: Beheadings. I'm a little squeamish and therefore not super happy about all those heads rolling around in so many shows. I was ok with it in Lord of the Rings but in Game of Thrones I already started to dislike it.
Thu, Mar 9, 2023, 5:07am (UTC -5)
On Mandalore itself it was laughable that it turned out to be perfectly habitable and nobody bothered to check. I also thought it was ludicrous that we spent about 1/4 of the episode on this side quest to get a droid just to do some atmospheric tests to make sure the atmosphere was breathable and then when the droid disappears immediately, it's no biggie because Mando will just "pressurize" his helmet. Well duh. Maybe he should have just done that to begin with.
Thu, Mar 9, 2023, 5:18am (UTC -5)
The amateur-level CGI/VFX on the Jawas was unspeakable. I booed at the screen.
@Jammer ditto on the sobering time check on "Maelstrom". Reminds me I'd better stop fooling around and get my will done.
Thu, Mar 9, 2023, 5:38am (UTC -5)
" why Mandalorians can't remove their helmet burkas in front of others."
Ok, so they explained 100x already. It is the way.
Why can orthodox Jews not eat hares but they are allowed to eat goats. Because it's the way. :)
That would really be my favorite explanation. If somebody just said, that Mandalor the Great decreed:"Thou shall not remove thy helmet." and so they did.
A shop that served smoothies in a glass with straws could have made a fortune on old Mandalore.
Thu, Mar 9, 2023, 7:04am (UTC -5)
Maybe someone can clarify for me: Jammer made it sound like Mando simply slipped, fell, and sunk to the bottom. I thought he got grabbed and pulled down by that Mythosaur they saw on the way back up (maybe it 'chose' him for some divine purpose). Was I mistaken?
Thu, Mar 9, 2023, 7:17am (UTC -5)
Thu, Mar 9, 2023, 7:40am (UTC -5)
Thu, Mar 9, 2023, 8:10am (UTC -5)
"It is funny that we have heard so much about the "creed" yet still have no idea why Mandalorians can't remove their helmet burkas in front of others. And while I get that Mando grew up with it his whole life and isn't going to just jump into helmet less sex parties overnight given that he sees Bo Katan freely ignoring the rules - a princess of Mandalore no less - you'd think he'd have at least some self doubt about the creed. We got one vague line about the creed keeping Mandalorians together or something and that's it."
I'm hoping we will find out more here.
"On Mandalore itself it was laughable that it turned out to be perfectly habitable and nobody bothered to check. I also thought it was ludicrous that we spent about 1/4 of the episode on this side quest to get a droid just to do some atmospheric tests to make sure the atmosphere was breathable and then when the droid disappears immediately, it's no biggie because Mando will just "pressurize" his helmet. Well duh. Maybe he should have just done that to begin with."
If you think about it, there has to be a limit to how long the helmet being pressurized can last.... and Grogu doesn't have a helmet.
Thu, Mar 9, 2023, 8:13am (UTC -5)
I have rewatched the scene.
- He falls in
- She jumps after him 2 seconds later, then descends with her jet pack. Shouldn't she immediately reach him?
- She doesn't go down straight but down a maybe 45% slope. How did he sink along that slope?
- She reaches him 40 seconds later
- He is just lying there without moving. Wouldn't he at least struggle because of drowning or did he just decide:" I guess I'm dead now. Good bye, cruel world." :D
When I saw it the first time it felt like there was a scene missing. it was so odd.
Thu, Mar 9, 2023, 9:19am (UTC -5)
Thu, Mar 9, 2023, 10:24am (UTC -5)
Believe me even orthodox Jews have explanations for their BS. They are all batshit crazy non sequitur explanations but they'll tell you if you ask. What's funny is the armorer doesn't even seem particularly offended by Mando's oh so terrible transgression. It's like she's some petty bureaucrat explaining how he flubbed his TS report and only by filing a corrected Form 56 within 7 days can he receive redemption.
"My assumption was that he fell because the rest of the steps were missing, and then the reason he was so deep when Bo went to go get him was just dramatic license."
It is a weird sequence though. He really seems to have been dragged down but not by the Mythosaur, apparently.
Thu, Mar 9, 2023, 3:15pm (UTC -5)
Actually, I think that is in character. The Mandalorian sect as a whole appeared to be very stoic. If a member needs help in battle, they simply help. If you violate a principle, you're simply out. They don't appear to care one way or the other whether anyone else believes their creed (they aren't at all evangelical). If you want to join, you take the oath or whatever and live the life. Nobody is holding a knife to your throat, presumably. Maybe there's an invitation involved, I don't know.
"This is the way" simply seems to mean "*shrug* it's a fact of life" and they don't get too excited about people too stupid to recognize it. In a way it's a refreshing take on religion.
Fri, Mar 10, 2023, 12:29am (UTC -5)
And once again: we’ve got some cool looking set pieces but god forbid the cinematographer actually lights the damn things so we can see them. Will this “dark cinema” trend ever stop?
Fri, Mar 10, 2023, 7:40am (UTC -5)
I think walking around your whole life with a honking metal helmet constitutes a pretty big imposition such that some explanation would be forthcoming. I mean can a Mandalorian reveal his face to anyone? Do married couples have sex in those things?
I echo what an earlier commentator said about how laughable it is that someone invented an entire culture and religion based on some tertiary character in the original trilogy with a cool helmet and neat toys.
Sure there are religious / cultural impositions like not eating shellfish, FGM, and the burka (which I guess comes closest to what we're seeing) but like I said there *are* explanations and theological reasons behind these things and the adherents generally know at least the basics of why they do what they do, even if they sound ridiculous to outsiders. "This is the way" fails even by those standards.
Fri, Mar 10, 2023, 8:13am (UTC -5)
I feel like someone, at the very beginning of the series, said, "What if he never removed his helmet, what if he's FORBIDDEN to remove it?" thinking it would be cool and mysterious, and someone else came up with a half-assed reason why, and they reverse-engineered everything from there without really thinking it through, and now they have to go back and make sense of it (or not).
@Jason R.: "I echo what an earlier commentator said about how laughable it is that someone invented an entire culture and religion based on some tertiary character in the original trilogy with a cool helmet and neat toys."
You can't deny that it's brilliant from a marketing standpoint. Whoever came up with it should be getting mountains of Disney cash and stock options (and they surely are), because they've now built an entire streaming empire on those building blocks. They are laughing, all right -- all the way to the bank.
Fri, Mar 10, 2023, 8:45am (UTC -5)
Oh, I think they've been doing that ever since the Star Wars Christmas special.
Fri, Mar 10, 2023, 10:35am (UTC -5)
The whole helmet thing is an ok plot device for newcomers to the Star Wars franchise, but for people that followed Clone Wars & Star Wars Rebels it’s a puzzlement because none of that was ever alluded to over the years Lucas & Filoni were fleshing out the Mandalore mythology.
Fri, Mar 10, 2023, 3:22pm (UTC -5)
Has Mando properly bathed in the waters of Minnetonka? Will we see the corridor, again? Find out, next episode...
@Jason R. "This is the way..." I'm gonna say that the next time I wrestle with assembly instructions from Ikea. :)
Fri, Mar 10, 2023, 9:36pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Mar 11, 2023, 10:09pm (UTC -5)
You know ,if he gets back his acceptance, and he has Grogu with him, then we pretty much have had 3 seasons to end up back where we all started!
Sat, Mar 11, 2023, 10:10pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Mar 12, 2023, 5:52pm (UTC -5)
Do your own thing with your new friend from Battlestar Mandalorian.
I got at least one laugh from this the mediocre outing. My girlfriend also commented that after Andor this is not worth watching. @Booming
Thu, Mar 16, 2023, 6:14am (UTC -5)
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