Welcome to my latest episode review for The Mandalorian. The reviews will follow my usual format: an overview of the plot (so be aware, there will be spoilers!), my review of the show, then a few “Moments in canon” – references that link to other media and the galaxy as a whole. Today, we’ll be looking at the season 3 premiere, Chapter 17: The Apostate.
The Armorer is creating a new beskar helmet. Once completed, she leads a ceremony on the edge of a lake, giving a youngling his first helmet and swearing him to the Creed. The ceremony is ended prematurely by the attack of a giant reptilian creature from the lake. While the younglings get to safety, the rest of the covert attack the creature, but are unable to do any real damage of note, until Din Djarin’s timely arrival sees him destroy it in his N-1.
Din goes to speak to the Armorer, showing her a section of crystallized material containing Mandalorian scripting, which a group of Jawas had received off a traveller, suggesting that it was possible to set foot on Mandalore. Din got the Armorer’s confirmation that proof he had bathed in the Living Waters beneath the mines of Mandalore would redeem him and end his exile.
“This is the Way.”
Din and Grogu fly to Nevarro, where they meet Greef, who is now Grand Magistrate of a thriving and growing city. As the pair catch up, Greef offers Din an area of prime real estate, but they are interrupted by word of pirates in the city. They find the group, led by Vane but ultimately working for Pirate King Gorian Shard, trying to access the school, which had been a bar last time they were here. Vane continues to demand that they be allowed to drink at the premises, reminding Karga how the pirates had all assisted him in the past, but Greef makes clear that pirates are no longer welcome, beating Vane on the draw and shooting him in the hand. The rest of the pirates go to draw their weapons, but Din and Greef gun them all down, leaving just Vane to return to Gorian Shard with the message that pirates are no longer welcome on Nevarro.
Getting down to discussing business, Din explains that he has come for IG-11, whose remains have been used as part of the statue commemorating him. He tells Greef that he is going to the mines of Mandalore, so neds a droid who he can trust. Taking the parts, Din successfully gets IG-11 to begin functioning, but he has reverted to his previous programming and attempts to attack Grogu, leading the group to have to further damage him to stop him.
Greef leads Din to a group of Anzellans, who inspect IG-11 and find that his memory circuit is broken and requires a replacement. Din and Grogu leave the planet, but as they pass through a nearby asteroid field, they are attacked by Vane and a number of other pirates in fighters. Though outnumbered, Din uses his experience and his superior starfighter to destroy all the fighters except for Vane, who is chased back to Gorian Shard’s flagship. Din is able to escape the ambush by utilising his fighter’s speed boost.
Din and Grogu arrive at Kalevala, a planet in the Mandalorian system, and land at Bo-Katan’s castle. Din explains that he is here to join her in her efforts to retake Mandalore, however she tells him that her forces left due to her not winning the Darksaber, instead spreading across the galaxy as mercenaries. Bo-Katan blames the original fracturing of the Mandalorians on the Children of the Watch and other such cults, before telling him that there is nothing special about the waters beneath the mines, only superstitions, however when he remains set on his path, she directs him to the civic centre in the capital, Sundari. Thanking her, he and Grog leave.
Oh how I’ve missed The Mandalorian, and while this was far from one of the best episodes of the series, it was still a return to the level of enjoyment that only Andor has given me recently, but with the familiarly pulpy feeling and warm hug that this series gives.
So this episode was far from perfect, and was by far the smallest of the season premieres, if very much felt like this was an episode to get people up to speed if they had missed The Book of Boba Fett, start putting the chess pieces on the board with the return of IG-11 and Din’s quest to go to Mandalore, while it also felt like it was setting up a larger but more focused next episode. Only time will tell, but I wonder if perhaps the show would have benefitted from a 2-episode season premiere, though this is a minor quibble for me.
However in setting up the pieces and the plan, it felt like we were rehashing some points that we already knew. While the opening creature sequence was great, and I loved getting to see more of Mandalorian culture with this ceremony, the following conversations was very much a slightly different version of the one that we had in
season 2.5 The Book of Boba Fett, namely establishing that Din is exiled from the Children of the Watch for removing his helmet, and that the only way he can rectify this is to bathe in the Living Waters under the mines of Mandalore.
I’m interested to see why Din feels that he needs a droid companion, but I do like that maybe he isn’t yet trusting of all droids, just those like IG-11 and Peli Motto’s that have proven themselves worthy of his trust. But to say that IG-11’s return was “a surprise, to be sure, but a welcome one” is an understatement, as I really enjoyed the character. Will a new memory unit lead to a new voice? I hope not, as Taika Waititi has made that role his own, but I’m sure that I could get used to a new voice eventually.
Moving on in the episode and I love how the show is reminding us that there are more dangers than just the Empire in the Outer Rim, with a Pirate King looking to take control in the relative absence of the New Republic, while it would also make sense that they used to have a history on Nevarro but were likely forced away by the arrival of Moff Gideon’s Imperial Remnant, only to now come back and start causing issues over an area they once considered theirs now that there is a power vacuum, likely exacerbated even more by Cara leaving her role as Marshall. Maybe this is just me hoping too much, but it feels like Nevarro needs a new champion and one just happened to have been in a bacta tank on Tatooine in the post-credits scene of The Book of Boba Fett. I feel that Cobb Vanth would fit right in here, ore even Boba and his whole new group if they all chose to come!
But with no Marshall currently in place, we got a great stand-off in the town that was so cut and paste from a Western I could almost hear Ennio Morricone’s famous themes, with the leader of the town facing off to the gang of ruffians while the gunslinger casually watched on while leaning against a nearby tree, and then Greef winning on the quick draw and Mando backing him up the moment he rest of the prates got involved. It was a fun scene, while I also thing that many of the humanoid aliens look better the more we see them.
And this set up probably my favourite scene in the episode: the dogfight between Dina and the pirates. Space battles have been few and far between so far in live action Star Wars series, so while this was still a small dogfight, I really enjoyed that feeling of speed an chaos return, with the asteroids and mining equipment adding to it as it not only created obstacles but also hiding spots and the ability to set up ambushes, while the score really stood out to me during this scene as it highlighted each time Din took out another pirate, while the reveal of the pirate flagship was a great “oh shit!” moment, but Din utilising the crazy sublight speeds he can reach to escape was a nice resolution.
And so finally we reach the return of Bo-Katan, and I absolutely loved this section. First we get another little lore drop with the introduction of another planet in the Mandalorian system and the idea of Mandalorian castles, then we get an interior very reminiscent of a medieval great hall, with tapestries on each pillar showing the sigil of the Night Owls, before finally reaching Bo-Katan on her throne. And I loved how the events of Chapter 16 have impacted her. In failing to get the Darksaber, she has lost the respect and loyalty of her troops and with it her motivation. I’m sure that we will soon see her break out of this malaise, hopefully to assist Din, but I’ll be very interested to see what forces the change.
“Do you still have the saber?”
“Then you lead them.”
A few final thoughts on the episode:
- I hope not too many people were caught out by going into season 3 having not seen The Book of Boba Fett. I must admit that I was surprised that the opening reminder of prior events did not show more of Grogu’s training and return to Din
- I loved the decision to show the silhouettes of the Purrgil while Din travelled through hyperspace; it was a beautiful moment to excite Rebels fans
- I was far too amused by the 2 little droids holding Greef’s cape off the ground. I love little touches like that
- Did anyone else get the feeling that the Mandalorian youngling getting his helmet was Paz Vizsla’s son? Paz really seemed to be giving off proud dad vibes.
Moments in Canon
- While Gina Carano’s firing may mean that Cara Dune’s role in the series is over, the decision to say that she joined the New Republic Special Forces gives the potential for the character to make a return in other media
- The IG-11 statue was visible during Din’s visit to Nevarro in season 2
- Greef Karga mentions that part of the growth of the city is down to Nevarro’s place on the Hydian Way. The Hydian Way is one of the super-hyperroutes (main hyperroutes) through the galaxy, travelling from the Corporate Sector, through the Core Worlds and out to the Outer Rim.
What did you think of the episode?
Thanks for reading. This is the Way….
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