We’re back with… well, it’s basically just an episode of The Mandalorian! Who coulda seen that coming.
Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) goes to a meat processing factory to collect a bounty on its Klatoonian manager. He winds up in a fight with the guy’s muscle team and brings the Darksaber to bear in the fight—accidentally slicing his own leg in the process. After cutting the guy in half, Din retrieves his head and tells the factory’s workers that in exchange for letting him pass, they should help themselves to all the credits in the next room. Din brings the head in to collect his bounty on a giant space station, insisting on the information that was promised along with his payment and refusing all attempts to get him to sit and eat. The information leads him to the Mythosaur crest and the Armorer (Emily Swallow). She tells him that there are only three of them left now, as Paz Vizsla (Jon Favreau) patches his wound.
The Armorer tells Din the history of the Darksaber; that it must be won through combat for Mandalore to flourish, and if it isn’t, it will bring ruin. This is what happened with Bo Katan Kryze—she was gifted the Darksaber, and the Armorer believes that this is the reason that Mandalore fell when the Empire destroyed their world. Her group were still living on the moon of Concordia, which is why they survived. Because Din earned the Darksaber in combat, he is allowed to keep it, but the Armorer tells him that the spear must be melted down because it is made of beskar… which means it can be used to kill Mandalorians. Din asks that she use the spear’s metal to forge something for his foundling, Grogu. The Armorer notes that because he was returned to his own kind, Grogu is no longer in Din’s care, but Din is adamant. The Armorer forges some mail for the foundling.
Din does some combat training with the Darksaber against the Armorer, but it begins to feel heavier. She insists that he is fighting the blade rather than his opponent. Viszla takes exception to the whole situation and decides to challenge Din for the Darksaber, since it was forged by his ancestor. Din agrees to the fight and almost loses, but he beats Vizsla in the end, holding a vibroblade to his throat. In the process, however, it is revealed that Din has removed his helmet in front of others: According to their rules, he is no longer Mandalorian, and the only way he can do penance is to descend into the mines of Mandalore… which no longer exist. Din leaves them and charters passage to Tatooine.
He arrives in Mos Eisley in response to a message he got from Peli Motto (Amy Sedaris), who has a replacement ship for him. It’s an old Naboo starfighter, which needs a lot of work. Din almost walks out, but Peli insists that he wait until they can spruce it up, and that the work would go much faster if he helped. Together, they begin outfitting the ship, souping it up so that it can go much faster. They work with the Jawas to source parts and piece it together bit by bit. Once it’s complete, Din still isn’t convinced, so Motto tells him to take it for a spin. He flies through Beggar’s Canyon and up into space where he’s stopped by a New Republic patrol for flying too fast around the commercial liner. He gets off with a warning, but has to bolt using his fancy new sublight engines before Captain Carson Teva (Paul Sun-Hyung Lee) begins questioning him about past activities.
Din lands and agrees that the ship will do, but Motto lets him know that while he was away, someone arrived to see him. It’s Fennec, and she offers Din money to serve as their muscle. Din agrees to do the job for free… but there’s someone he has to go see first.
It’s just, I said that I wanted their theme songs to do battle last time, and then that’s exactly what they gave me when they rolled the episode title, so I’m already winning this week.
This episode really makes me wish that they’d just gone the route I was expecting and made this season three of The Mandalorian full stop. Because within that context it works wonderfully—anyone who is Mandalorian can be “the” Mandalorian in any given week on the show. But outside of that context, it reads like you didn’t have enough story with your main character to continue with him… which is weird. Weird vibes all around.
As episodes of The Mandalorian go, though, this one is fabulous. Look at Din Djarin, this man is a mess. Slicing himself on his own Darksaber, tucking his chin when a cute little Rodian kid waves at him, forcing the Armorer to keep Grogu’s status as a foundling. He is not okay. He misses his son so much that he has the Armorer forge him a
mithril beskar shirt for the kid, just to keep him safe. It’s tied in a sack that looks like the kid’s ears, and you can feel the emotion rolling off this guy when he stares at it. He’s fine. It’s all fine. He’ll go cut someone in half and feel better.
For real, Vizsla almost won that fight. He had Din on the ropes, but then he had to get cocky and make the mistake of saying that he was gonna wipe out Din’s clan, and it was all over from that point. (The Vizslas are notorious for this type of mistake exactly—they are terrible at reading people.) Because Vizsla thinks that he’s just insulting Din, but Djarin is a Clan of Two, so all he did was activate his Dad Powers—you can literally see the man get stronger at the thought of wiping out Grogu’s clan. How dare you talk about his son that way.
What the Armorer breaks down here is pretty much what I predicted in the last season of The Mandalorian with regard to Bo Katan’s tenure with the Darksaber. It’s important to remember that the Armorer is not really correct about all the legends surrounding the saber because, as I am very keen to mention always, this is a ding-dang cult. Mandalore didn’t fall because Sabine Wren gave Bo Katan the Darksaber—it fell because the Empire was entirely aware of how dangerous the Mandalorian people were to its cause and knew they had to wipe them out. Death Watch got lucky because they lived on the moon, not because they were special and truer than other Mandalorians. It’s wild to watch this terrorist group with historically woolly affiliations become a purveyor of evangelism within their own culture.
I’m worried that Din is gonna spend next season trying to find those mines and atone, though. When what he should really be focusing on is picking up his kid from daycare.
Which, is that where he’s going by the end of the episode? Is this reunion happening now? Because if so, that is a true comic book style move there—hey kids, if you’re confused about why Grogu’s back in season three, don’t forget to watch The Book of Boba Fett! And on the one hand, I don’t love it, but also… if they don’t give this man his child, he will give up on life. The depression is very real.
Speaking of which, Peli removed the astromech chamber on Din’s new starfighter SO THAT GROGU COULD HAVE A SEAT AND THIS WILL FINALLY BE WHAT KILLS ME.
The whole section rebuilding the starfighter is absolutely the sort of thing that I want Star Wars to waste more time on. I would have watched an entire season of that, really, just letting the droids be cute and helpful, and Sedaris ad-lib about her unconventional dating history. (When she spoke Jawa, I died? I had no idea that my favorite party trick could be such a useful skill.) Frankly, if they wanted to give me an entire show of Peli Motto treating her various customers as straight men while she fixes up their stuff, I’d be all in. The first Star Wars sitcom, come on, Lucasfilm. Hook me up.
But I have a side question here, because the starfighter is great and fast and useful for a number of things, I get that. Very stylish, good for getting out of tight spots. But also, the Razor Crest was a home, in a manner of speaking. Din could hold bounties on it, but also sleep on it, and have a little nook where Grogu could sleep, and there was a whole cockpit for the kid to get up to mischief. You can’t do that in a tiny starfighter. It’s relevant in a universe where ships often serve as mobile homes: Din lost his house when he lost his ship. A starfighter is great, but it doesn’t actually replace that.
But I guess that’s a problem for a different moment.
Bits and Beskar:
- That’s right, the bounty at the beginning is a Klatoonian, which also comes from “Klaatu barada nikto” because consistency probably.
- Very into this space station. It’s very Star Trek, which is something that Star Wars could stand to take a few more notes from now and then.
- I’m just saying, the Armorer agrees Grogu is a foundling but isn’t requiring him to wear a helmet, so what’s the age requirement on that because we saw tiny kids wearing them. There’s a handbook on this somewhere and I want the whole thing. Come on, Armorer. Explain to me how little Mandalorians are made if people aren’t allowed to take their helmets off in front of their significant others.
- I do love the Armorer, but there’s something deeply hilarious in her opening up this very paint-by-numbers tool cabinet like it’s something holy, like I know it is to her, but maybe she could gild it or something, put on some fancy paneling, it just looks like the sort of thing you’d find in any reasonably handy garage. Ah yes, the beskar hammer. And now look up to find the Sacred Pliers of the Mand’alor…
- We see droids of K-2SO’s model doing siege-type work on Mandalore. That whole segment is a lot to observe, and a perfect example of how lethal the Empire could be without any Death Star at all, thanks.
- The blade Din holds to Viszla’s throat is a vibroblade, and you can actually see it vibrating, which is very cool.
- Sorry, but Peli shouts “Hey, look everyone, it’s Mando!” to her droids and I shrieked with laughter because isn’t that pretty much what all of us say any time the guy shows up anywhere? Peli Motto is all of us.
- Then she asked about his first flight on the starfighter and DIN DJARIN SAYS “WIZARD” IN JUST THE MOST SCATHING WAY, this was not the callback to tiny Anakin Skywalker and his pals that I was expecting, ffs, WARN ME NEXT TIME. If you’re gonna Easter egg like that, you go off, Jon Favreau.
- The Naboo starfighter is the same make and model that we see in Episode I, of course. Din sands off a lot of that bright yellow paint job to make it fit his aesthetic.
- Yes, Beggar’s Canyon is the very same one that Luke Skywalker and Biggs Darklighter used to bullseye womprats in from a T-16 skyhopper. Cute.
See you next week for… well, who knows, at this point?