Review: The Mandalorian Chapter 18 brings Mandalorian myth to life

(L-R): Bo-Katan Kryze (Katee Sackhoff) in Lucasfilm's THE MANDALORIAN, season three, exclusively on Disney+. ©2023 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.
(L-R): Bo-Katan Kryze (Katee Sackhoff) in Lucasfilm's THE MANDALORIAN, season three, exclusively on Disney+. ©2023 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved. /

WARNING: The following contains SPOILERS for The Mandalorian Season 3, Episode 2 – Chapter 18: “The Mines of Mandalore.”

Star Wars has always been an action-heavy franchise. We come for the “pew pew” as they say — but what they don’t always tell you is we stay for the soft moments. The emotional deep dives. The lessons learned through trials, danger, and sacrifice.

This week’s episode of The Mandalorian touched every point on the spectrum — from the weird creatures of the week to one of the most grief-heavy transformations in the history of the franchise.

Both Din Djarin and Bo-Katan shine in their internal battles with grief in “The Mines of Mandalore.” While Bo is faced with the task of returning to her destroyed homeworld to save a fellow Mandalorian — after all, she does not believe his “banishment” so to speak is justified — Din, as he prepares to bathe in the living waters, realizes he has come all this way on hope alone. He has been told this is what will bring him back to the light. And all he has to go on is his belief that what he’s been told is true.

Grogu gets his moment as well. No longer able to depend on Din for survival, he must use all he has learned — and the help of a droid — to find Bo-Katan for help. More than once throughout the episode, he must confront and bypass his fear in order to save Din’s life. It may not be the worst he’s ever been through, but having accepted the sense of security he feels with Din, he’s thrust out of his comfort zone abruptly and must act like a Jedi and Mandalorian — brave, even in the face of death.

I didn’t think it was possible, but here we are. Rachel Morrison, you made me care about Baby Yoda. That’s an accomplishment I once deemed unachievable. You’re welcome back behind the Star Wars camera anytime.

What makes this episode truly work in the grand scheme of Star Wars TV is that you do not have to know every detail of Bo-Katan’s past to understand that everything she does here is monumental. If you’ve seen The Clone Wars and Rebels, it’s powerful knowing where she’s been. But “The Mines of Mandalore” shows the audience the weight of her choices without having to spoon-feed everything to the viewer. Even the moments Bo explains her childhood to Din are purposeful, not immersion-breaking exposition. (There’s bound to be some of that in this show — it’s the nature of the way it’s structured and for the most part, it works itself out.)

From the way Katee Sackhoff breathes decades of longing and despair into Bo’s stance and facial expressions to the care taken to show Mandalore and its descendants at their most broken, this may be the best work the show has ever done to speak volumes without saying it all out loud.

We’re two episodes into the season, and we’ve seen the majority of trailer footage. We were told in these trailers Din’s quest would be to return to Mandalore and seek redemption. We’re here, and there’s much season still to go.

We do not know where we’re going from here. We’ve now set foot on Mandalore, gone down to the darkest depths, and realized everything we thought we knew about the Mandalorian way was wrong.

Season 3 is not going to go the way anyone expected, and that’s a sign the powers that be are doing something right.

New episodes of The Mandalorian stream Wednesdays exclusively on Disney+.

Next. Review: The Mandalorian Chapter 17 flaunts the passage of time. dark

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