The log line for this episode is simply: “The Mandalorian begins an important journey.” That is all. So let’s see what this show has to offer with its very high expectations.

The “previously seen” tease for the episode shares some key points for whats coming up, but it also takes a step into the past. We the audience are reminded that Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal), who I may also refer to as “Mando”, took off his helmet and therefore he is not longer a Mandalorian in the eyes of “The Watch.” It is even worse that he took it off of his own volition. The Armorer (Emily Swallow) mentions that the only way to be redeemed is to bathe in the living waters beneath the mines of Mandalore.

Part of the “previously seen” segment is a refresher on IG-11 (Taika Waititi) and how he sacrificed himself to save Grogu and Mando. We are getting him back? I thought he was dead. Why do we need a refresher of him?

There is no mention of the Dark Saber in the intro either. A little surprising there.

Emily Swallow as The Armorer in Chapter 17: The Apostate

We start off the episode with The Armorer building a new helmet. Cool to see this very blue chrome helmet getting made from absolutely nothing. I thought that this was a flashback. I thought that maybe the kid was a young version of Bo-Katan, With this many Mandalorians all in one place, and this emphasis on the traditions, I was thinking that it was a scene-setter for Bo-Katan so we see where she began compared to her stubbornness now.

Before I could wrap he hand around any strange hypothesis, director Jon Favreau took the bull by the horns and told the fans of the show to buckle in. We have a fucking dinosaur attack! We have a ginormous beast emerge from the water just as The Armorer is finishing the oath to this new Mandalorian. And guess what? I thought this was another key bullet point in my chamber to say this was a flashback; I thought it gave an excuse for Bo-Katan to now follow the rules of The Watch because the oath was not finished.

The POV shot from the camera angle of the helmet of the Mandalorian as it was flying away from the beast is great. Loved that.

So this sea monster is no joke. It is eating up some warriors. It is surviving bombs planted on its skin and machine gun blasts being poured into its mouth. We see the kid who was getting initiated almost get gobbled up. The Armorer saves the child’s butt, but things are getting dicy…

Again. I really thought this was a flashback. I thought this was going to be some sort of important backstory.

But NOPE! This is NOT a flashback. This is the real timeline. The Mandalorian music kicking in with Grogu turning peaking up in his little peep hole had my spinning with excitement on the train. Goosebumps. Legit goosebumps. I did not expect that to happen, but season three of The Mandalorian starts out HOT.

Grogu being cute. He uses the force a lot in the background.

It is also a bit funny because Pedro Pascal’s character Joel in The Last Of Us is primed to save the day as the hero in the latest episode, but he his saving grace is more emotional than physical. He was late to the party but was still able to drive Ellie home, if that makes sense. This time Pedro Pascal literally comes in flying and saves the day.

So we get the title sequence, and the music. It is all grand. We get back to the story and Din Djarin is immediately reminded that he is no longer accepted amongst the kind that he just saved. Din notes that The Way teaches about retribution, but The Armorer claps back saying that there is no hope because Mandalore, and the soul saving mines beneath it, is destroyed.

Or she thought. Mando reveals a piece of rock that supposedly came from the mine. The Armorer is perplexed as to how he got it, and Mando mentions Jawas. The Jawas have everything. Great. Love that. So Mando has a shot at redemption, but he needs some help traversing the dangerous lands of broken Mandalore. He must make another journey to potentially grow his clan.

On the way to Nevarro, Grogu sees this animals flying within the hyper space that the ship is traversing. They are both scary and beautiful. Grogu gets scared and crawls down from its window and snuggles up to Din. Grogu leans his head in like how Joel did with when Ellie laid with him during episode eight of The Last Of Us.

God, that show is so good.

So we land on Nevarro and things are flourishing for Greef Karga (Carl Weathers). The new high magistrate of the realm appears the ultimate charismatic leader. He has robots carrying his cape over the cobblestone but still is talks to the common man. Greef is now the quintessential politician. Mando meets up with him in the center of the town and there is a giant statue of IG-11. This robot is a bigger deal than I remember in terms of the town. He is literally enshrined.

Greef is trying to sell Mando on the town. He wants to gift his friend some land. He wants him to feel comfortable and stay. Mando is not having it because he is a man on a quest. That is the way he operates. He does not sit still.

Turns out there is a reason why Greef wants Mando to stay. It is time to write out Cara Dune! Sorry Gina Carano, you character is no longer involved. Adios amigo. Greef is trying to make Mando the new Marshall, but Din isn’t interested in strapping on the stripes.

Also, during that bit of exposition we learn that Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito) has been moved to a new republic war tribunal. Beaucracy takes the big-bad.

So Mando isn’t interested in a job, but he is interested in IG-11. Sorry, say what? Mando wants the rebuild the one droid he trusted to bring it to Mandalore with him. This kinda seems like a cheap cop out? I don’t like this. Why not bring in a new character to help him explore? Why not have a new sheriff to replace Dune and have them accompany Mando? I don’t like revisiting a character that had a good send off.

Mando rebuilding IG-11, before he went killer.

So Mando tries to get power back to the droid…and IG-11 wakes up with red evil eyes and tries to kill Grogu right away. Din tosses a puppet Grogu (it is vey obvious) to Greef and help incapacitate the evil IG-11. Even after this attempted murder of a child…Din still wants him. IG-11 needs to be repaired.

I really don’t like this IG-11 thing. I think the makers of the show overestimated the love for the character. I don’t love it as a story plot point, and it is also just a major continuity error. See IMDB for much more professional explanation than me.

Now we get to a character I don’t give a flying fuck about. Babu Frik. I am really sorry. I did not care for him at all in Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker (2019), and I still do not care for him at all now. The one thing we get from Babu is that IG-11 needs a new memory circuit, so he needs to go and find one. Add this to the quests needed to be completed.

Fans may love the Grogu hugging Babu, but there were to many random Grogu cut aways from me so this just added onto it. Yes, call me a fuddy duddy.

Before we get to the final minutes of the episode, I should mention that there are PIRATES! Pirates are sprinkled across the episode. There are pirates of the courtyard of Nevarro and they are being jerks. They want to drink…in a school. It used to be a bar, but now it is a school, and they are unhappy about it. Greef steps up and talks to the lead pirate Vane (Marti Matulis). They know each other so he tries to parle. Turns out talking doesn’t work well when the story needs to prove that Greef is still a badass. Their is a western style duel and the good guy shoots the gun out of the hand of the gang’s leading pirate. Greef is a badass politician with mercy. Nobdy died.

Nobody died until other pirates raised their guns and Mando and Greef take them all down…except for Vane. Greef lets him go citing how he will spread the word that pirates are no longer welcome on Nevarro. What he didn’t take into account is that Vane would go on to hunt Din Djarin once he leaves the planet. Vane comes back with a vengeance and fifth other ships to try and shoot the Mandalorian out of the sky. As we learned at the start of the show, Mando can handle his own in fantastic fashion. He plays the shadowy assassin hiding behind the astroids and then escapes from the big bad pirate ship piloted by the swamp-thing looking pirate Nonso Anoize (Gorian Shard). It is fun action, but will it mean anything later? I am leaning toward no.

Mando does tell Grogu that you can not trust mercenaries. But didn’t Mando trust Mayfield (Bill Burr)? Wasn’t he a mercenary send to hill Mando, but then he ended up instrumental in saving Grogu at the end of season two? Seems a little bit hypocritical.

The ending of the episode sees Mando and Grogu fly to a planet with with a Mandalorian Castle. I know these Mandalorians are “knightish”, but this is very on the nose. And who is sitting atop the iron throne, vey much alone? Bo-Katan (Katee Sackhoff) is moody, alone, and still pissed off and Din Djarin. She still holds biases against The Watch, which you know what…may be kinda fair. We get our first mention of the Dark Saber, and Bo-Katan says that she lost all of her followers when she lost line of sight to the weapon. She says that she has nothing left, and she refuses to go back to Mandalore calling it a poisoned wasteland (paraphrasing). Bo-Katan tells Mando where the mines are, and Mando says that he will return with news of whether or not the planet is actually poisoned.

Bo-Katan being depressing sitting on the throne being sassy.

As for the episode as a whole. I enjoyed it, but I was not blown away. I do not love the idea of bringing IG-11 back. The exposition dialogue and plot-driving conversations are a little bit strained. It feels a bit like they are trying to set the table up too fine. I wanted to sit down for a nice juicy burger with fries and a solid whiskey cocktail. That is maybe a course that would need extra napkins and that’s it. It is elevated visual excitement.

I felt as if Favereau and company made “The Apostate” setting the table for a five dinner course. They laid three different plates, did the napkin in a fancy swan, and had a champagne flute alongside a wine glass and a water cup. You don’t need to spell everything out that we are going to eat…sometimes its better just to stick to the basics

The best part of the entire episode was the opening five minutes. It was seeing the initiation process for a new Mandalorian which we had never seen before, followed by a giant monster attack from out of nowhere, followed by inventive action, followed by the reintroduction of our hero and his adapted child. All of that was unreal. I had goosebumps with Mando flew in on his revamped spaceship and delivered a rock out of nowhere into the belly of the beast. No other part of the episode got close to this.

The Mandalorian streams on Wednesdays on Disney+.

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