My plea for Grogu to get new clothes in my review of “The Mines of Mandalore” was answered! Well, sort of.
This season of The Mandalorian keeps getting better and better. I am genuinely hyped for the next episode. I didn’t think I’d be able to say that at the start of this season. Readers who have tuned in every week will note that I was rather bitter in my review of “The Mines of Mandalore.” I still stand by a lot of what I said in that review, but I’d like to rescind some of those statements now that this season has progressed. Mainly my closing statements. I’ll take a Moff Gideon revitalization any day over just a pure Mandalorian redemption arc.
Giancarlo Esposito has such a stage presence that just demands your attention. He steals the spotlight every second he’s on screen this episode.
The episode opens on Couruscant. Elia Kane, or Amnesty Officer G68 (Katy O’Brian), betrays the New Republic and communicates with Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito) via Viper probe droid in an alleyway. They discuss the pirate attack on Nevarro.
The viewer is shown Moff Gideon’s hideout. He walks into a room containing a holo circle and joins a meeting with the Shadow Council. Several imperial leaders of various rank — including Commandant Brendol Hux (Brian Gleeson), a likely relative of Armitage Hux from the sequel trilogy — meet to discuss the mysterious Project Necromancer. Moff Gideon steps up to the plate and says Doctor Pershing’s research is lost “for now.”
High Magistrate Greef Karga (Carl Weathers) is notified by his droid of an incoming imperial ship. There’s no need to raise the alarm however, because there are Mandalorian markings on the underside of the cruiser.
The Mandalorian mercenaries land on Nevarro. Bo-Katan (Katee Sackhoff) and the head of the Mandalorian mercenaries, Axe Woves (Simon Kassianides) meet with Paz Vizsla (Tait Fletcher). The Armorer (Emily Swallow) breaks the ice between them and invites the mercenaries to make camp.
Karga gifts an expensive bottle of alcohol to Din Djarin (Pedro Pescal) as a welcome gift for the mercenaries. He says this is not the only gift he has in store for Djarin and invites him in to his office.
Karga introduces IG-12 (Taika Waititi) to Djarin and Grogu. IG-12 is retrofitted with controls that a small pilot can use to operate IG-12 like a mech. Perfect for Grogu. Djarin is not a fan of this idea.
Hijinx ensues in both Karga’s office and the streets of Nevarro. Grogu keeps stealing snacks from a shopkeep and Djarin has to keep coughing up money to cover for it. Djarin is not satisfied with Grogu’s new ride but saves dealing with it for another time.
Bo-Katan’s delivers a rallying speech in which she asks for volunteers from both tribes in order to reclaim Mandalore. She gets her volunteers which include The Armorer, Vizsla, Woves, Djarin, and Grogu.
They board their ships and set out to reclaim Mandalore. There, they encounter some survivors who let them board their craft and they set off for the Great Forge. Along the way, Bo-Katan reveals that she did surrender to Moff Gideon after The Night of a Thousand Tears and that Mandalore shouldn’t have been bombed a second time at all.
A survivor asks The Armorer if she is part of Death Watch. She replies saying that it no longer exists and that it “shattered into many warring factions.” Bo-Katan reminds everyone that Mandalore is strongest when everyone is united.
Bo-Katan and Djarin have a side exchange where Bo-Katan reveals she is questioning her ability to unite the Mandalorians.
There’s too much animosity. And this blade is all I have to unify our people.– Bo-Katan Kryze
The next day, on the way to the Great Forge, Vizsla and Woves get into a disagreement over a board game and a fight breaks out. Vibrating blades slash, but IG-12 with Grogu at the controls steps in and defuse the fight.
The traveling party encounter a beast that wrecks their ship and leave the Mandalorians to continue on foot. They travel through a cave system that leads them to the Great Forge. When they arrive it looks like it has been covered with some imperial architecture. They fight off some imperials equipped with jetpacks.
Vizsla provides covering fire for Woves while he makes an escape out of a crack in the ceiling. Woves left to make a call for reinforcements.
The further our traveling party descends into the cave system, however, they end up trapped in a trap comprised of two blast doors. Djarin is captured by three troopers with grapple wire. Moff Gideon makes a grand entrance and reveals his new Dark Trooper suit he’s been working on. Djarin is led off somewhere else. Gideon asks for the Darksaber back and for Bo-Katan to tell the other Mandalorians that Mandalore belongs to him. Bo-Katan makes a run for the other blast door and cuts a hole out of it with the Darksaber. Everyone escapes thanks to her quick thinking.
Well, almost everyone.
Vizsla stays behind to ward off the rest of the jetpack troopers. But when Gideon’s Royal Guards show up after his gun overheats, it’s over for him.
So, IG-11 is back as IG-12 and Grogu has a full range of motion along with some dialogue options. By my own standards this should make make happy. Call me a bitter heart, but I felt like this solution cheapened both of the characters in a way. I guess this episode didn’t fully sell me on it. I’ll have to wait until the next episode to see how it plays out.
That was my main gripe with the episode. Now it’s time to talk about Moff Gideon.
The fact that he has the audacity to ask for the Darksaber to be returned to him while the Mandalorians are captured sent chills down my spine. It’s clear to see where his head has been at since his last encounter with Djarin. He’s been obsessed with the firepower and armored capabilities of the Mandalorians. So much so, he outfitted a special group of troopers with Beskar armor. He has an armored up royal guard complete with heavy duty helmets. He even went as far as developing a Dark Trooper suit for himself that he can’t help but showcase in their encounter.
Gideon makes it clear that he hold all the cards in this encounter. This is made poignant when the episode ends at the drop of a hat when a character, who stayed behind to ensure the Mandalorian’s escape, dies. Even the song for the credits is different.
Final Score (5 out of 5 stars)
I understand we are building to the season finale, but this episode really hit the mark for me. Especially when it comes to everything related to Moff Gideon. A lot of what I said about him in this article should have been in next weeks review! This episode could have easily served as the episode before the finale by taking it easy and no one would have batted an eye. But due to Moff Gideon’s bone-chilling preparedness, he establishes himself as a force to be reckoned with (again).
This episode will likely go down as one of the best episodes of season three and I’m satisfied with that.
I’m extremely bummed about Paz Vizsla’s death, as he was one of my favorite characters in the show. I’m willing to forgive, though, because not only is his last stand absolutely something that his character would do, it furthers the plot in a way that is meaningful, and provides a little extra insight into the lengths at which Moff Gideon has gone to defend the Great Forge. It’s character building and world building all at once, and for that, it gets a pass.
This is how you shake things up in a show. This is how you have your antagonist and protagonist meet before the final battle. This episode is a masterclass on so many things, but most importantly, this is how you raise the stakes.
What did you think of this episode? Are you as psyched for the finale as we are? Let us know over on the Boss Rush Discord.
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