Review: Chapter 18 of "The Mandalorian"

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I feel like this season has started off slow, and this episode is perhaps slightly faster at best. Before we get into the thick of it, we have to get past the preliminaries, a term which here means “Din Djarin is going back to Tatooine.” If there’s any place that has been heavily used in recent Star Wars history, it’s Tatooine (as usual). I really hope this isn’t a trend going forward in this season because I need a break from the desert.

Mando pulls up to Peli Motto’s docking bay and says he is here on business. It is here that we get our only shred of reference to Boba Fett, sadly. Peli says something curious: “Oh, are the Hutts back? Are you taking out Boba Fett?” Perhaps this foreshadows the next conflict if they ever make a second season of “The Book of Boba Fett.” Alas, this is a bit disappointing, I won’t lie. When I heard Boba would be mentioned, I was hoping it would be in context with Mandalorian affairs. For example, maybe it would be Din seeking out Boba’s help in his quest to be “redeemed” for taking off his helmet. Or maybe it would be involving a conflict for ownership of the Darksaber. I thought Bo-Katan or other Mandalorians would challenge him for it…

Speaking of Mandalorians, Mando needs a droid to help him explore the surface of Mandalore; he must bathe in the waters of the mines to be redeemed. I find it funny that he even has to go on this quest. Mando owns the Darksaber, so who is The Armorer to tell him what is and isn’t Mandalorian? Also, after everything Din Djarin has been through in the last 2 seasons (or 2 and a half if you count “Book of Boba”) you would think he would consider letting go of the dogmatic absurdity that the Children of the Watch like to dabble in. Any Mandalorian cosplayer worth their salt will tell you that never taking off your helmet isn’t very practical. Granted, that should be common sense, but I digress. For whatever reason, Din Djarin is still humoring The Armorer as if he had to answer to her. Sad.

The droid recruited for this quest is none other than everyone’s other favorite astromech droid, R5-D4. For anyone who might not know or remember: R5 is the red droid that got busted in that fateful meeting where Luke Skywalker and Owen Lars bought R2-D2 and C3-P0 from Jawas, in “A New Hope.” Perhaps, in another life, R5 would have joined the Rebels and gone on to become a legendary hero and tier 1 operator like R2. But now, destiny calls and the time has come for R5 to prove himself and become Mandalore, to rise up like a Mythosaur and unite the scattered clans! Or at least, he’ll help Din rise to it. That might be a bit more likely than the former.

This next part is where things start to get interesting. Our trio of Mandalorians (Din, Grogu, and by my own blessing, R5) pull up to Mandalore. Din points out Concordia, a moon orbiting Mandalore, and tells Grogu that he grew up there. Concordia is the same moon that served as an outpost to the Death Watch during the Clone Wars. We know that Din Djarin, like Boba Fett, was orphaned during the Clone Wars. Unlike Boba, Din was rescued by the Death Watch from the Super Battle Droids that killed his parents. When Obi-Wan Kenobi first investigated the Death Watch during Season 2 of “The Clone Wars” show, he tracked them to Concordia, where he dueled against their then leader Pre Vizsla (who wielded the very same Darksaber Din Djarin has now).

Also present is Kalevala, where Bo-Katan currently resides. Sadly, Concord Dawn was not mentioned.

The planet Mandalore is pretty much a ruin on the surface. It was already pretty barren by the time of the Clone Wars, and has only worsened since. R5 is sent to scout ahead, and of course he runs into trouble quickly. Din follows the cave that R5 went into, where he comes across the attackers. They are these annoying things that look like bestial cavemen. (Later in the episode, Bo-Katan refers to them as Alamites.)

Din makes short work of these pests, although I will note that he struggled greatly while wielding the Darksaber. The real problem comes as the team progresses further into these caverns. They come across a lot of old, abandoned pieces of Mandalorian armor. As Din is examining these, a giant, mechanical set of jaws closes around Din like a giant Venus flytrap. It then flips over, revealing itself to be some sort of giant, mechanical crab. There is something organic inside; there is an eye visible in the viewport of this things “head.”

Din is taken to this thing’s lair, which is littered with Mandalorian armor and helmets. It’s implied that the thing has eaten or otherwise done something sinister to the Mandalorians. Shameful to allow a disgusting creature like this to prey on them. Then again, these are the “elite warriors” who used whipcords against a giant crocodile last episode. Disney’s Mandalorians don’t seem to live up to the legends surrounding Mandalorian culture.

By the way, I say disgusting because out of this mechanical shell appears a smaller, more humanoid body. It is similar to Grievous in appearance, and the eye seen earlier is now housed in this other bodies head. I will give the show credit for introducing a unique adversary, at least. The disgust is more obvious when you see it, my description is not doing it justice. The way it moves, and all the weird details on its body, are unique and gross.

Funny enough, Grogu is the MVP in the next couple of scenes. He tries to use the Force to free Din from the mechanical cage he’s in, but fails. Din urges Grogu to reach Bo-Katan. The — what do I even call this thing, Grievous Jr.? — attempts to shock Grogu, but Grogu is able to Force leap away, fend off an Alamite, reach Mando’s Naboo Starfighter, and navigate to Bo-Katan’s castle on Kalevala. Grogu’s abilities and competence have increased greatly during his time as a Mandalorian Foundling. This is the way, I suppose.

Grogu and Bo-Katan are able to make their way back to Din pretty quickly, considering that Bo-Katan was an entire moon away. This entire sequence is cool except for the fact that the timing seems to be kinda forced. Surely it would take at least like what, an hour or so for all this to happen? And that’s being extremely generous. How did the creature not eat Din Djarin during that time?

This time, it’s Bo-Katan’s turn to fight the annoying Alamites. She recovers the Darksaber that Din dropped earlier… and wields it very effectively! She either received training from Pre Vizsla, or she learned how to use the weapon herself after it was given to her by Sabine Wren in “Star Wars Rebels.” Either way, she is far and above better at using it than Din is. The Alamites do not last long against her skill and ferocity.

Bo-Katan and Grogu arrive just in time to see the creature poking needles and cables into Din and trying to drain his blood. What a disgrace for a Mandalorian to be rendered so helpless by a disgusting and weak parasite. Then again, the mechanical crab that it pilots is a formidable foe. Bo-Katan is able to destroy it nonetheless. I am not a Bo-Katan fan — I despise the Death Watch as a whole, for a few reasons — but I give credit where credit is due and she is certainly a skilled warrior. Femme fatale, indeed.

Din is still stubborn about completing his religious mission, so Bo-Katan guides him to “The Living Waters.” According to legend recited by Bo-Katan, these waters were once the lair of a Mythosaur, which is the creature whose skull is seen on Boba Fett’s left shoulder armor. This skull has gone on to become the symbol of Mandalorians as a whole. I also have a decal of it on my car. (You don’t care, I know, sorry.)

She further explains that “Mandalore the Great” is said to have tamed the mythical beast. This lore seems oddly specific, as if it’s being recited to us and Din for a reason…

Din recites the Foundling pledge as he walks into the water… until he suddenly falls or is yanked down into it. Bo-Katan rushes to save him — very cool to see a jetpack used underwater — and reaches him quickly.

This is where my favorite scene of the episode plays out. As the two of them ascend back to the surface, they run into something very large in the water. Bo-Katan’s helmet has it’s flashlight on, so we’re able to get a glimpse of this creatures face. By God… it’s a Mythosaur! The face is unmistakable. Although the glimpse we get is brief and obscured by darkness, we see enough to identify it clearly. The face and horns match the skull. The Mythosaur had been portrayed a few times in the Expanded Universe, but it never quite looked right to me. Its head back then looked more akin to a dragon. But this one looks just the way I think it should. I was very pleased and excited to finally see this legendary beast. I wonder if there is a particular reason Boba Fett has its skull on his armor. When he recovered his armor in Season 2, he went out of his way to repaint the skull onto his shoulder. So perhaps it means something important to him, other than being a Mandalorian symbol.

The episode ends just as Bo-Katan and Din escape the water. I found most of this episode slow and boring. As I stated, the best part for me was seeing the Mythosaur. I really hope we get a better glimpse of it later in the season. It is large, looking comparable to something like a whale. And with the elongated face and curved horns, it just looks absolutely cool. Imagine riding such a beast into battle! I have my fingers crossed that we will see our Mythosaur friend again.

What could this chance encounter mean? Does it symbolize that Din Djarin is the one destined to become Mandalore and unite the Mandalorians? In the Expanded Universe, this role was originally met by Boba Fett. But given the events of “The Book of Boba Fett” and this episode, it seems that Disney canon might take a different direction. If Boba Fett had at least retained his role as the best bounty hunter in the galaxy for a while, I would have been somewhat ok with Din becoming Mandalore. But with Boba Fett now lacking both of his most notable roles from Canon and Legends, I must admit that this is a bitter pill to swallow, at least for an “old school” Boba Fett fan like myself.

Although Bo-Katan has become jaded and disillusioned by this point, she still seems to be the forerunner to challenge Din Djarin for the Darksaber and the right to lead. There are currently no other notable contenders, and she still cares about Mandalorian history and society. I am looking forward to a confrontation between them, unless things change. I also have reason to believe that Boba Fett will show up this season as well; surely he was mentioned for a reason. I expect him to continue being an ally to Din. They have both helped each other quite a bit by this point, and do not have conflicting objectives. Also, I hope whatever role he does play is not on Tatooine. Surely Fennec Shand can run things in his place for a bit. Please, for the love of God, let’s limit our time on Tatooine this season and let’s get Boba back into intergalactic action. Sitting around in a palace all day must get old after a while.

Will all of this lead to another Mandalorian Civil War? Are there even enough Mandalorians left in the galaxy for such a conflict? Or will this merely be a smaller skirmish leading towards a larger story? Maybe three seasons is too soon for Din to become Mandalore. He still seems kind of amateurish when compared to someone like Bo-Katan. Also, considering how much she knows about Mandalorian history, I am praying that the True Mandalorians (Jaster Mereel’s faction in Legends) is at least mentioned at some point, to make the name and faction canon.

Although the Mythosaur was epic, this episode is comparable to the previous one: I give it 3 stars out of 5. The season is now 25% over; it needs to absolutely bring it by halftime, preferably sooner.


3 / 5
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About the Author, Gustavo Perez

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