The Mandalorian Season 3 Episode 2 review: The Bo-Katan show
After a sluggish opener, The Mandalorian Season 3 Episode 2 is a return to form; action-packed and impressively staged, opening up the world of its titular gunslinger in intriguing ways.
Andor set an unfair standard for Star Wars; not in that its quality is too difficult to match, but its priorities are worlds apart (literally) from The Mandalorian. If the former invested in the subtlety of tyranny, the latter is a fluffy space opera – and they can’t be compared, really.
Still, the flagship show in the galaxy far, far away’s Disney+ empire isn’t excluded from scrutiny, and while the first episode was a cute reunion with the world’s favorite space daddy and son, there was almost no substance to it.
Not only does Episode 2 pick up the pace, it’s its own exciting, satisfying chapter; it feels like it ends all too quickly – on this occasion, that’s a good thing.
The Mandalorian Season 3 Episode 2: May the Force Be With You
High above the sandy shacks of Tatooine, we see two speeders drifting through the streets. A Rodian pays a visit to Peli Motto (Amy Sedaris) and asks her to do a rush-job on a repair. She agrees, but her con is soon revealed: a group of Jawas are the ones who stole the parts from his speeder in the first place.
“Purring like a nuzzle shrew”, Mando (Pedro Pascal) and Grogu arrive in their starfighter, with Grogu force-leaping his way into her arms. The physical puppetry is the show’s greatest asset, making the “kid” as tangible as he is irresistible.
Din tells Peli he’s after a replacement memory circuit for IG-11, but she scoffs him into accepting that it’s an impossibility. However, she gives him another droid: the R-5 Astromech, trembling with anxiety at the mere idea of traveling to Mandalore. Nevertheless, they set off to Din’s home planet. “Alright kid, are you ready for an adventure?”
Homeward Bound Mandalorian
Accompanied by their new nervous droid, the duo soars through the planet’s cloudy, blustering atmosphere before landing on the eerie, shard-laden ground of Mandalore. The camerawork is reminiscent of the wing shots seen in Blade Runner 2049 and First Man; it’s a small touch, but it makes an inconsequential flight feel all the more exhilarating and stylish.
When they land, Mando asks R-5 to make sure Mandalore’s air is breathable. However, after sheepishly rolling beyond their view, his signal drops off, and Grogu guilts him into going to find him. “I’ll pressurize my helmet,” he says, leaning into the show’s worst tendency: over-explaining. Unless you’re a CinemaSins disciple, assumptions can safely be made about how Din breathes in his mask.
Din finds R-5, but is forced to fight off a herd of troll-like Alamites with his Darksaber – a weapon that’ll never not be insanely cool, by the way. The choreography could be tightened up a bit, but the editing doesn’t butcher the physicality of it.
After taking the droid back to the ship, Din and Grogu head into the mines, where Din is captured by a huge robot and placed in a cage. Grogu, with a hilariously hasty swagger, tries to save him, but Din tells him to find Bo-Katan (Katee Sackhoff). He finds his way all by himself and takes a ride with his Auntie Bo back to Mandalore.
Bo-Katan becomes Season 3’s MVP
Sackhoff’s charisma as Bo-Katan is distinctly different to Pascal’s Din: she’s self-assured, heroic with a badass flair, and – this is the important bit – her character isn’t a religious fanatic. In Episode 2, she basically becomes a Star Wars Lara Croft (when she enters the cave, she even describes it as a “once beautiful civilization” that’s turned into a “tomb”).
As she talks to Grogu about how she’s known “quite a few Jedi” in her time, and how the Mandalorians and Jedi once fought side by side, she sniffs out a few more Alamites. She kills them with ease and rescues Din without breaking a sweat, using the Darksaber to disassemble and slice ‘n’ dice the cave-dwelling creature spinning him like a rotisserie chicken.
They tuck into a cup of Pog soup – the horror! – before heading into the caves together, so Din can be forgiven for his transgressions (aka, he took off his helmet, if you somehow forgot). Together, Din and Bo-Katan get the season’s strongest dialogue yet. “Without the creed, what do we stand for?” Din asks, believing steadfastly in the order of the Way, while Bo-Katan doesn’t abide by the “theater” of such rituals, branding them “heartwarming spectacle.”
In the episode’s closing moments, Din removes some of his armor and walks into the water, but he’s dragged under the surface. Bo-Katan goes in after him, using her jetpack to swim down and find him. As she heads upward, she looks into the eye of a Mythosaur, the creature supposedly tamed by Mandalore the Great.
The Mandalorian Season 3 Episode 2 review score: 4/5
While only occasionally indulging in its worst tendencies, and slightly falling victim to its lighting, The Mandalorian Season 3 Episode 2 is a highly entertaining chapter.
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