This is the shit I love. Chapter 18 of The Mandalorian is fantastic television and excellent Star Wars. Plenty of surprises, a bit of exposition, cool visuals and unexplained expansion of lore and stakes; all of these things make The Mines Of Mandalore a great episode of television.

From the start of the episode we know that we are going to get a lot more of Bo-Katan. The preview bit before the episode focuses heavy on Mandlore and its importance both then and now. There are doubts that the Mines of Mandalore are still a thing and Bo-Katan is fairly clear in her venting before this episode that Mandalore the planet is no longer a hospitable or safe place worth saving.

There is a note from The Armorer that Bo-Katan’s short reign as rules ended in travesty. This is a direct callback to Clone Wars or Rebels, and I need to look back into that and remind myself exactly how and why the planet became so decimated.

Anyways, let’s get to the present.

Pedro Pascal & Amy Sedaris reunite as The Mandalorian & Peli Motto

We start seeing some street racing from above before delving into the garage of Peli Motto. She and her droids are shaking down an unsuspecting customer. She is essentially taking advantage of a certain time where the patrons seem to be drinking and spilling coin out everywhere.

We see Mando land in her space with a rev of his engine (that Peli built). It is a happy reunion and Grogu hops into the arms of his adopted mom (or grandma). Grogu begins to mutter something. Are these the hints that he is beginning to learn how to talk?

Then we get a sequence that is very similar to one that accorded all the way back in 1977 in A New Hope. You remember when the Jawas were peddling broken droids to Uncle Ben and the farm? Peli is here trying to sell off an Astromech droid to Mando for him to bring to Mandalore as a backup while he is waiting for IG11 to get fixed up with the right parts. The Atromech is lurchy, nervous, and most definitely not all there.

We end this prologue sequence with a May The Force Be With You, followed by a spaceship flying into fireworks, followed by Mando asking Grogu if he is ready for an adventure. That is just classic story telling hitting all the notes and pushing all the buttons. Buckle up because a classic adventure is unfurled in front of us.

After the title sequence we head to Mandalore, and boy oh boy has it seen better days. Din mentions how this will be his first time on the main planet, so he and Grogu are sharing this experience together. There is a bit of an electrical storm upon entering the atmosphere and Din mentions how there is no communication with the outside world now. They are cut off. They are alone.

Surely that can’t mean bad things…

Grogu just being cute

The shards of glass on the planet are a very cool look, and to those who watched Star Wars Rebels or Star Wars Rebels with a closer eye than I did probably picked up on something there that I would not have noticed. There is just an overall eeriness to the planet. It is desolate. It is like an abandoned mineshaft in a horror movie that definitely has something lurking within it.

Mando sends the Astromech out onto the surface to examine it and see if the land is breathable. This is more for Grogu’s sake because Mando has the mask. The Astromech nervously begins rolling, goes around a corner, and immediately drops off the radar. Yup, took him all of about 10 seconds.

And we have creatures! Alamites they are called! These monsters native to Mandalore attempt to ambush Mando as he is trying to save R5. This took my be surprise and had be excited. Mando shoots some but then takes out his Dark Saber and uses this sledge hammer of a weapon to survive. What we learn here is that the Dark Saber is a formidable weapon, but Din Djarin still is having trouble wielding it.

Bo-Katan gets her turn to hold the Dark Saber…

So it appears that the atmosphere is breathable, which means that Din is going to take Grogu on a right with him through a super dangerous broken down city that is inhabited by at least one known sort of monster. Seems like a perfectly safe thing for a father figure to do. Din continues to dominate on the perfect dad front.

The landscape scene setting shots of Grogu and Mando delving deeper and deeper into the mines of Mandalore are very successful in what they set out to do. The deeper and deeper they go, the more you begin to dread what is going to happen more and more. Are we going to get a big-bad monster hiding in the deep. Are we going to get the Star Wars version of the Balrog of Morgoth?

There is a POV shot of Grogu at the side of Din then they are walking through the caves that is a very well executed shot.

Gotta say, this entire episode is well crafted. It is good. I am enjoying it.

We pause in the middle of this dingy dungeon as Mando sees a rusted Mandalorian helmet among some rubble. We thing we are going to get some sad moment of Mando realizing how alone he is in the world, but BAM!

A fucking spider-tech machine with an eye as the pilot snaps Mando up and whisks him away to somewhere else in the mines. It is like the spider from Wild, Wild, West (1999) had a baby and it was being operated by a Doctor Who villain. Regardless, once you get past the monster mechanic, you realize that Grogu is all alone in a dark cave.

I did have a couple questions at this point. Why did this mech machine capture Din and not just kill him? How did this tech monster not see Grogu who was only feed away?

This evil little mother fucker

We follow Grogu following the mech spider and we meet the thin legged thing operating the longer machine. Very strong General Grievous vibes because of the purposeful walking and wheezing while breathing. He also has the glowing spear weapon that is wielded by many of the same breed. We are getting the rusted old version of these tech warriors. This thing, whatever it is, is not too stupid because he took all of Mando’s weapon off of him and kept him caged up.

So is Grogu going to save Mando? Not exactly. Grogu heeds orders that his father-figure gives him and leaves the danger zone and ventures to get back to Bo-Katan, who is on a different planet in the system. Why the hurry? Besides the obvious, it would appear that this mech antagonist is sucking the life out of Mando. Taking his blood or something like that and making him incredibly weak.

This is the part of the episode where many people probably did a fist pump. An Alamite jumps out in front of the cave exit right in front of Grogu. The little green alien has no possibility of surviving…until WHAMO. Force push and Grogu is home free heading back to the ship. Turns out that training with Luke did something good.

It also turns out that Grogu is able to navigate to Bo-Katan, which connects back to Mando’s talk about bow direction and reading maps is incredibly important.

So Mando is in trouble, and Bo-Katan gets to play the hero. It would appear that she has to return home and face the evil, both literal and metaphorical, that Mandalore appears to her. We see that Bo-Katan takes off her helmet when she gets to the rugged city to look at it. Earlier in the episode, Mando did not do that. Shows a little bit of the difference when it comes to appreciating the homeland.

As the pair are reentering the mine, Bo-Katan is disseminating exposition about herself and about Mandalore. She is noting how she used to fight side-by-side with the Jedi. Her story time is interrupted when the Alamites attack the odd-ball partners. Bo-Katan takes care of business and pushes all the foes aside, but she begins to wonder what else survived down in the depths. This has to be a bit of foreshadowing.

Bo-Katan makes sure to show Grogu that Mando was not the last Mandalorian. She takes on this machine-whirring baddie with her blasters, shield…and the Dark Saber! She grabs it up off the ground and uses it to take down the blood-feeding monster in wonderfully creative and fluid fashion. I couldn’t help but think of Grevious and the bad robots from the start of Return Of The Jedi (1983) while Bo-Katan was slicing and dicing her way to saving her friend.

This is just some good Star Wars shit right here. You area learning things. There are definitely nuggets that die-hard fans will notice (like Bo-Katan talking about her dad), but it is just vague enough where it doesn’t distract from viewing experience. You have story telling through visuals and unspoken character moments (like Bo-Katan returning the Dark Saber) after using it. There is action, a combination of practical effects and CGI, It all blends really well together.

Mandalore was filled with viewing pleasures.

We end the episode with Bo-Katan saving Mando (again) from most likely drowning at the bottom of these mines. He reached the lowest depths, and his anchoring thoughts of self-redemption drag him nearly to his death. Bo-Katan, with the awesome visuals of a jetpack underwater, dives own and picks up her Mandalorian friend and lugs him back to the surface. As she is rising to the surface, she sees the eyes of a giant sea monster. Did this monster drag Din Djarin down? Is it going to attack at the start of episode three? We do not know.

Just a couple of thoughts…why did Din go into the mines with all of his clothes on? That is gross. Just incredibly uncomfortable to look at. A last one; the sad looking mines of Mandalore reminded me of the bath houses a bit from The Bachelor when Kaity went on her second one-on-one with Zach. Dark, dreary, clear water. I can’t imagine it is warm at all.

But seriously. Chapter 18 is fantastic. This is fucking excellent Star Wars. Loved everything about this. A HUGE step-up from the premiere of season three.

The Mandalorian streams on Wednesdays on Disney+.

Stanko Excel Lists | Movies, Books, Podcasts. TV Shows
Stanko Letterdbox Account

“Scanners” Defines Cult Movies Qualities

“A scientist trains a man with an advanced telepathic ability called “scanning” to stop a dangerous Scanner with extraordinary psychic powers from waging war against non scanners.” Director: David CronenbergWriter: David CronenbergStaring: Jennifer O’Neill, Stephen Lack, Michael Ironside, Lawrence DaneRelease Date: January 14, 1981IMDB The cultiest of cult movies. It is worth creating a new…

Meeting The Cast For “The Bachelorette”

Charity Lawson Aaron B. 29 Years OldSoftware SalesmanSan Diego, California Aaron S. 33 Years OldFirefighterSan Diego, California Adrian 33 Years OldRealtorNorthridge, California Brayden 24 Years OldTravel NurseSan Diego, California Caleb A. 29 Years oldResident PhysicianAnn Arbor, Michigan Caleb B. 24 YEARS OLDPro WrestlerOrlando, Florida Chris 27 Years OldWorld Record JumperWhite Plains, New York Dotun 30…

Get Your Testosterone Levels Up! “Expend4bles” Trailer Is Out!

“The Expendables will square up against: an arms dealer who commands the might of a massive private army.” Director: Scott WaughWriters: Kurt Wimmer, Tad Daggerhart, Max Adams, Dave Callaham, Spenser CohenStaring: Jason Statham, 50 Cent, Megan Fox, Dolph Lundgren, Tony Jae, Iko Uwais, Randy Couture, Jacob Scipio, Levy Tran, Andy Garcia, Sylvester Stallone, Caroline WildeRelease…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s