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 Chapter 18: The Mines of Mandalore.
Peli Motto is discussing repairs to a speeder with a Rodian. Pelli notes that a lot of the missing parts will need to come in from the Mid Rim, so estimates 2 months for repairs, however she agrees that she canut a rush on the job if the Rodian pays half up front, which he does. After the Rodian leaves, a group of Jawas emerge from hiding and Pelli pays them their cut of the money to repaint the parts they stole from the Rodian’s speeder and refit them. As Din and Grogu arrive in their N-1, Peli send the Jawas off to steal parts from another speeder so that they can con someone else, however she quickly calls them back in when Din tells her that he needs an IG-series memory unit. Unfortunately the Jawas are unable to help. Peli offers to sell R5, but Din explains that he needs a droid capable of spelunking, as he is going to Mandalore so needs a droid to go ahead of him and test that the air is not toxic. Though R5 appears scared, Peli convinces Din that he will be able to do the job, and offers to sell him to Din at half price with a free oil bath, and also refit the N1-s astromech port so that R5 can co-pilot. Din agrees and that evening, he and Grogu leave for Mandalore with R5.
As they approach Mandalore, Din continues to teach Grogu how to navigate, pointing out the moon Concordia, where he grew up with the Watch, and the planet Kalevala, where they recently visited Bo-Katan. Making their way through the stormy atmosphere of Mandalore, Din sees a number of the N1’s systems flicker, and guesses that the fusion bombs from the Purge disrupted the magnetic field around the planet, preventing any communication out of atmosphere. Eventually coming down to land outside Sundari, Din sends R5 off to test the atmosphere in the mines, while he and Grogu follow him on the N1’s sensors… until he suddenly disappears. Din has Grogu stay in the ship and pressurises his helmet before going after R5.
Din soon finds the entrance to a cave and enters, soon coming to a precipice that looks over the remains of an underground city—the Civic Centre that Bo-Katan had directed him to find. He is suddenly attacked by a group of Alamites, but successfully kills them and manages to find R5, whose scans confirm that the air is breathable. Din takes R5 back to the N1 and returns to the cave with Grogu, and the pair descend into the city and then down a well.
“The charts were wrong. The atmosphere is breathable. Bo-Katan was right. Mandalore is not cursed.”
As they begin making their way through the tunnels, Din finds a Mandalorian helmet partially buried in the ground, but digging it up activates a crab-like droid, which ensnares Din and carries him deeper into the tunnels in a cage. Grogu follows silently behind in his pod. The droid eventually takes Din to a lair, where it is revealed that it is in fact being controlled from the inside by a sentient spider-like creature that itself appeared to have a largely mechanised body. As the creature busies itself elsewhere in the lair, Grogu tries to rescue Din but is unable to do so and is forced to flee in his pod. Rushing back to the N1 (and having to evade a small dragon-like creature and an Alamite) Grogu signals to R5 that they need to go to Kalevala.
On Kalevala, Bo-Katan is warned of an unscheduled arrival and sees the N1 landing. She goes out to the landing platform to make clear to Din that he is not welcome and that she wants to be left alone, only to find just a scared Grogu in the cockpit. Downloading the information on where Din had been from R5, Bo-Katan heads to Madalore with Grogu and R5 and Grogu leads her to the lair, where she picks up the Darksaber—previously discarded by the creature as it disarmed Din— and uses it to destroy the crab-droid and kill the creature, though Din passes out from blood loss as the creature had been pumping his blood out of him.
Din comes round to find himself on the precipice and thanks Bo-Katan for rescuing him. He tells her that she was right about Mandalorian not being cursed, but she now believes otherwise seeing how little remains after the destruction. Din prepares himself to return to the Mines so that he can be redeemed, and while Bo-Katan tries to convince him that the stories are nothing more, she eventually agrees to take him to the Living Waters.
Bo-Katan leads Din and Grogu to the Living Waters. Din relieves himself of his weapons, cloak and jetpack and steps into the water, reciting the Mandalorian tenets, but gets pulled under by something unseen. Bo-Katan dives in after him and eventually finds him resting on the bottom deep underwater. As she pulls him back to the surface, her helmet’s flashlight reveals a Mythosaur under the water, which stirs as she passes. Bo-Katan and Din emerge from the water.
Wow! What an episode! All the action and pushing forward of plot that was missing from Chapter 17 was here in spades this week, and I can’t help think that the 2 episodes should have either been 1 longer episode or both aired together.
I feel like I just take it as standard now with the show, but everything looked amazing. We had so many different locales, each alike and different in their own ways—Tatooine, Kalevala, the surface of Mandalore, the Civic Centre, the caves, the lair and the Living Waters—and that easy distinction but also recognisable similarities where appropriate helps make everything feel so much more believable. And that Mandalorian architecture! I feel that I could compare screenshots of Sundari from The Clone Wars with what we see here of the remains of the capital, and they would feel like a natural progression, which is great for people like me who have seen the other series, as we now feel that same loss as Bo-Katan seeing the ruins.
This episode moved things forward so much, in terms of the plot, but also gave us some great character growth and dropped plenty of lore on us. I love how now that Grogu has chosen Din over the Jedi, Din is treating him not as a ward he is protecting, but instead a foundling, teaching him about Mandalorian culture and teaching him to navigate, which was also a clever way of setting up for Grogu to be able to direct R5 to Bo-Katan when Din was captured. And while Din continues to believe in the stories of the Living Waters, he certainly seems more open to Bo-Katan as she talks about the past. And as for Bo-Katan, this is a massive episode for her. Her desire to be alone in her depression is immediately undone by her determination to find and help Din, a man who she has only met a couple of times and yet unwittingly cost her her army, which just shows that she is a good person at heart, as did her lack of hesitation to dive into the water after Din. And while she still does not believe in the power of the Living Waters, noting how when she went through the steps Din must, she saw it as just theatrics for the crowd, she chooses to come with Din and help him when she realises that she cannon dissuade him. It is clear that she has matured over the years asshe notes how all the Mandalorian infighting (in which she has been involved on a number of occasions) just weakened her people and made them easier . While her sister Satine went too far with her pacifism, it feels like Bo-Katan’s experience is now helping her find that balance between the warrior spirit of Mandalore, but not at the expense of civil wars. I also couldn’t help but notice how she even seemed to be spurred by Din reciting the vows as he entered the water, while by diving in after him, it could be argued that she, like Din, has sought redemption for her past mistakes, such as serving Death Watch and losing Mandalore to the Empire.
So sticking with Din and Bo-Katan’s growth, let’s look ahead to the future. Din needs to prove to the Watch that he has bathed in the Living Waters, but how is he meant to do that? Well what if he provides proof of the Mythosaur they have found, perhaps even riding it to them. The idea of Mandalorians riding a Mythosaur was brought up as far back as Chapter 1, while the story of Mandalore the Great taming one was mentioned just minutes before the (absolutely amazing) reveal. And there was an interesting line from the Armorer in The Book of Boba Fett that we were reminded of in the recap at the start: “The songs of eons past foretold of the Mythosaur rising up to herald a new age of Mandalore.” Were Din to turn up on the back of the Mythosaur, that would explain why he could not just return to the Watch, but get them to follow him. Meanwhile, with a new living breathing symbol of his might, he could allow Bo-Katan to wield the Darksaber and I’m sure that none would really argue it. This episode clearly reminded us that Din is not comfortable using the saber, whereas Bo-Katan looked a natural with it. Could the show be setting up not just a ruler of Mandalore, but also a new protector? While I have always assumed that Din would keep the Darksaber and lead Mandalore, now I wonder if the Mythosaur will instead make him the ruler, and he gives the Darksaber to Bo-Katan as captain of his army and Protector of Mandalore. Or perhaps he recognises that his understanding of Mandalorian is lacking and allows Bo-Katan to lead, while he and his Mythosaur become her captain and Protector of Mandalore. While I think either would work great narratively, I would hope the latter is the case, as it allows the show to really highlight how far Bo-Katan has some as a leader, but also Din’s acceptance that The Way is not necessarily just what he has been taught by the Watch, while it also avoids the obvious comparison to the Targaryen rulers and their dragons that would surely arise from the former.
What an awesome episode and I can’t wait to see how this continues next week!
“I knew quite a few Jedi, you know. I don’t know what they taught you about us, but there was a time we actually got along quite well.”
A few final thoughts on the episode:
- I honestly thought for a while that this would be the episode that saw Bo-Katan being given the Darksaber back. It seemed so perfectly set up with Din losing it after his capture and her then picking it up and killing his captor while saving him. I was shocked that when he came around and re-armed himself, there was no argument as he simply clipped it back to his belt
- So does R5’s assistance in this episode mean that IG-11 is no longer needed? It will be interesting to see how that storyline continues moving forward. Having noted last week that Nevarro now lacks a marshal, I think that they will still found a way to complete the repairs (hopefully not at R5’s expense) and that he will become the new marshal.
- I loved Bo-Katan taking the time to educate Grogu in Mandalorian history as they made their way to Din and also talked about her past friendship with Jedi
Moments in Canon
- Pelli complains that she will have to work Boonta Eve. Boonta Eve is a holiday celebrated on Tatooine, As part of the annual celebrations, the Hutts would host the Boonta Eve Classic podrace, which was won by Anakin Skywalker during the events of The Phantom Menace. Though we do not see the same level of celebration during the movie as we do now, it could be that the sandstorm which hit during the movie stopped many celebrations. Alternatively, the removal of Hutt control over Tatooine may have led to a freer and more prosperous city that finds new ways to celebrate.
- The origin of the Mythosaur skull becoming the ancient symbol of Mandalorians is explained by Bo-Katan as from the stories that Mandalore the Great discovered and tamed a Mythosaur in the Living Waters.
- Din tells Grogu that he grew up on Concordia, a moon of Mandalore. We knew from Chapter 8’s flashback that Din was rescued and taken in by the group Death Watch during the Clone Wars. At that time, following the most recent civil war, Death Watch and any other warriors has been exiled to Concordia by the new pacifist regime led by Satine Kryze, Bo-Katan’s sister.
What did you think of the episode?
Thanks for reading. This is the Way….
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2 thoughts on “The Mandalorian: Chapter 18”
Great episode. Din eventually riding that mythosaur is almost guaranteed, like Boba Fett riding the rancor. We just know it’s going to happen, lol.
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He’s kinda one-upped Boba there haha! Thanks for reading
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