The Mandalorian Season Three Episode 1 & 2: 'The Apostate' & 'The Mines of Mandalore' - Spoiler Review

Season three of The Mandalorian has finally arrived, and while the first episode delivered an entertaining episode the runtime of the episode was shockingly short. I had gotten use to the 1-hour (sometimes longer) episodes of The Last of Us, or the 45-minute episodes of Andor. The episode flew by at a good pace, and there was action, comedy and tension at different points throughout the runtime. The first episode was more about catching viewers up with the current state of things rather moving right into the story. Mando encountered, pirates, the need for a memory circuit and an angry Bo-Katan in this episode. All of those things will have an important role in the season, and I am excited to see how they manage to make everything work. The season premiere felt a little underwhelming for me because my expectations were very high. The best episode of The Book of Boba Fett was the one that featured Mando, and now with Mando reunited with Grogu we no longer need to worry about a show without Grogu. The Mandalorian has done a great job at giving life to Grogu, and he looks to be more vocal than ever. We know that eventually Grogu will utter a word (Yoda spoke), and it appears that Mando understands Grogu now. 

Episode two delivers an exciting episode that shows off how far Grogu has come since season one, and how capable Bo-Katan is. I did not think we would see Bo-Katan or Mandalore in episode two since episode seemed to setup yet another side mission (getting the memory circuit). It was a wonderful surprise that not only did we see Mandalore, but we also got to see Bo-Katan wield the Darksaber. The Mine of Mandalore did have one issue in that it was a very dark episode that would be hard to see if you watched it during the day. Watching the episode in a dark room helps let you see the detail better, but I admit that on my first watch it was harder to see. The searching of the ruins had me thinking of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring where they are exploring the mines of Moria. The decision to end the episode so abruptly was weird because it was not a cliff-hanger, but rather a hard cutaway from the episode. The ship that Bo-Katan uses (The Gauntlet) is such an awesome design in both the look of it flying and the look of it at rest. Seeing how easily Bo-Katan did everything it helped seal the idea that she should be the leader of the Mandalorians. 


The third season kicks off with the Armorer (played by Emily Swallow) making a new helmet for a young new member of Death Watch. The ceremony to present the new member with their helmet (which they can't remove) is held on a beach in front of a cave. The ceremony is interrupted by a water creature that attacks the Mandalorians forcing them to fight it off. The Mandalorians have little success, but they are saved by the return of Mando who uses his new ship to slay the beast. Mando along with Grogu have returned to see the Armorer; Mando tells the Armorer that he has found something taken from the surface of Mandalore. Mando says that he will bring proof that he bathed in the living waters beneath the mines of Mandalore as redemption for him removing his helmet. Mando and Grogu then are travelling in hyperspace when Grogu sees a purrgil travelling beside them. They arrive at Nevarro to see Greef Karga (played by Carl Weathers) who has turned Nevarro into a respectable trading post and community. They see a statue of IG-11 displayed in the town square on their way to meet Greef. Mando and Greef encounter a group of pirates who are former friends of Greef, but when he asks for them to leave, they resist so Mando kills all of them but one who is allowed to leave. Greef and Mando talk with Greef offering Mando the job or Marshall, but Mando declines until he completes his mission to return to Mandalore. Mando asks for the statue IG-11 which Mando believes that IG-11 can help him survey Mandalore, but IG-11 reverts to his previous programming, and he attacks Grogu until he is stopped by a droid. 

Mando then brings IG-11 to droid smiths (the Anzellans) who attempt to fix him, but they say IG-11 needs a new memory circuit. Mando asks them to fix IG-11 for now, and that he will get them a new memory circuit to finish the job. Mando leaves Nevarro with Grogu in search of the memory circuit. Mando Tells Grogu that being a Mandalorian is not just about being a warrior, it is also about navigating the galaxy. Mando starts teaching Grogu about how to read the ships navigation instruments when they are attacked by pirates. Mando destroys the pirates, but the last one leads Mando to the leader of the pirates Gorian Shard. Gorian offers Mando a chance to escape with his life if he gives up his ship, but Mando escapes to hyperspace. Mando goes to Kalevala to see Bo-Katan (played by Katee Sackhoff); Mando wants to join Bo-Katan's plan to retake Mandalore. Bo-Katan said that because she does not possess the Darksaber her forces have left her to become mercenaries. Bo-Katan says that Mando should lead them since they follow only the possessor of the Darksaber. Bo-Katan won't help Mando because she does not believe in what Death Watch does, but she tells him the mine is located beneath the civic centre in the city of Sundari as the episode ends.

Episode two sees Pelli Motto getting visited by Mando looking for a memory circuit for IG-11, but Motto convinces Mando to take R5-D4 to Mandalore. As they approach Mandalore, Mando teaches Grogu about navigation, and he shows where Bo-Katan is in relation to Mandalore. They enter Mandalore's upper atmosphere, and it is a very rough entry, but it quickly settles down. Mando and Grogu stay in the cockpit while R5-D4 surveys the air to see if it is breathable. As R5 disappears from their view they watch his progress on a scope until he disappears from the scope. Grogu is upset so Mando leaves the cockpit to search for R5. Mando enters a cave, and he finds a buried city, but some creatures (Alamites) fall through the ceiling and attack him. Mando fights them off using the Darksaber, and he returns to the ship with R5. Mando takes Grogu with him to explore the underground city in search of the mine. Grogu is in his floating pram, and as they explore the counter a mechanized which attacks and traps Mando. Grogu hides from Mando's attacker, and he follows the attacker and Mando. When the attacker leaves Mando unsupervised Grogu attempts to free Mando, but he is unable to do it. Mando tells Grogu to run to Bo-Katan and get help from her. 

Grogu makes it back to the ship, and he tells R5 where to go, which is Bo-Katan's castle. Bo-Katan sees Mando's ship arrive, and she is prepared to tell Mando to leave her alone, but when she sees only Grogu she has R5's navigation downloaded so she can find Mando. Bo-Katan and Grogu go searching for Mando in the ruins where they find him having his blood drained. Bo-Katan engages the creature (that reminds me of General Grievous), and she uses the Darksaber to hurt the creature. The creature climbs back inside its mechanized suit, but Bo-Katan chops the suit to pieces using the Darksaber. Bo-Katan intends to bring Mando back to her ship so they can leave, but Mando says he will continue on to bathe in the living waters of the mines. Bo-Katan agrees to guide Mando the mines saying that he would not find them without her. Bo-Katan and Mando bond over her stories about her childhood growing up as a princess of Mandalore. They reach the living waters, and Mando climbs into the waters, but as he recites the creed he is sucked under the water. Bo-Katan dives into the waters after Mando, whom she brings back to the surface. On the way up she sees the great creature of Mandalore, and as they reach the surface the episode ends.


This was a very solid first episode, but because it was only 38 minutes it felt very short and left me wanting more. The second episode did a great job of delivering what I was expecting the premiere of season three to deliver. I know that the first episode needed to catch people up on things, but I wonder if it might have been better to either do a longer first episode or release the two episodes together. I question whether I have been become a tougher critic of things, I've aged out of the target audience or whether the quality has diminished after the first episode. I was struggling to find excuses of why I liked the episode, but after watching it again (to do the recap) I think it is just a weak episode. I used to enjoy seeing Greef Karga, but the good guy version of the character is a lot less interesting. The encounter with the pirates was a new addition to the live-action universe, but I was expecting to see Hondo Ohnaka rather than a new character. I think we will see Hondo show up in the season, but I hope the pirates don't factor into the season too much as I don't care about them at all. 

The second episode gave fans (like me) what we wanted, which was to see the main story move forward. After the first episode I was sure Mando would not make it to Mandalore for at least three more episodes, but I am glad that I was wrong. The main story going forward appears to be twofold; Mando finding a way to rejoin the Death Watch, and the second is Bo-Katan's mission to take back Mandalore. I think we managed to get both stories moved forward in one episode which is a huge win for fans (especially me), I don't think I could take another episode like the first one. I am enjoying the teaching dynamic we are seeing between Mando and Grogu; it is sweet to watch him teach Grogu the way. I am wondering if Grogu will wield the Darksaber at some point, I know it might be too big for him now, but it would be cool to see him wield a lightsaber. Grogu escaping the mechanized creature and making back to Bo-Katan is proof that he is learning and maturing. This episode did a great job of adding to the story in both an interesting and fun way. 

I am going to give episode one (chapter 17) a 6/10 because I felt that it was too short, too boring, and it did not move the story forward at all. I think I would have given it a higher score if I had seen it and episode two together but making me wait a week gave me too much time to be annoyed at it. I liked that pirates were finally introduced, but I wish they were made more sinister and less comic relief. Greef Karga used to be an interesting character because you could never tell which side he was truly on, but now that he is firmly on the side of good, he is boring. I was interested in seeing IG-11 return, but the need for a memory circuit felt like a side quest in a video game. The Mandalorian formula has been that each season has plenty of side quests, but I wouldn't mind a season that is all story and character. I think watching Andor and The Last of Us has made me wish that The Mandalorian would follow the storytelling of those shows. I know The Mandalorian is more closer to Obi-Wan Kenobi (which was okay) and The Book of Boba Fett (which was also just okay). I had high expectations ahead of season three and episode one forced me to lower them. 

I will give episode two of season three (chapter 18) a 9/10 because it delivered on everything I had hoped to see in episode one. The action in the episode was really good (when you could see it), and the story of the episode really has me invested in this part of the story. Bo-Katan explaining about her family, wielding the Darksaber, easily fighting off the threats, and Grogu showing he can be a useful companion to Mando. This episode gave us Mando attempting to wield the Darksaber, but as usual it seems to fight him, but when Bo-Katan wielded it, she had no issues controlling it. Bo-Katan is the true owner of the Darksaber, and at some point, she will need to take it back from Mando. I am not too sure what will happen next, but Bo-Katan mention a great creature and seeing one in the living waters cannot be a coincidence. We never got closure on if what Mando did was enough to get him back into the Watch, and how will he prove he bathed in the living waters. Chapter 19 (episode three) will answer those questions, but I am encouraged that the show did not drag anything out in this episode. While I get the criticism some will have about the episode being hard to watch (because of how dark it is), everything can be seen if you watch the episode in a dark room. Season is off to a good start thanks in large part to episode two, and I am excited for what happens next.

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