Warning! This post contains MAJOR SPOILERS for The Mandalorian season 3, episode 2.
The Mandalorian season 3, episode 2 “Chapter 18 – The Mines of Mandalore” has a much more focused story to tell than its predecessor. The Mandalorian season 3’s premiere episode saw the return of many beloved characters and set up numerous storylines for the rest of the season. Din Djarin and Grogu were suddenly back together, and it was business as usual, with Mando and his foundling jetting off on numerous side quests throughout the galaxy. That, however, was the biggest issue with The Mandalorian’s return to TV – it didn’t feel like it knew which particular story it wanted to introduce.
The Mandalorian season 2 left off on an emotional high point, albeit a sad one. Din and Grogu went their separate ways, fulfilling the show and Mando’s promise and making room for a different kind of storyline in season 3. But, because The Book of Boba Fett stepped in to resolve The Mandalorian’s most important story beat, the first episode of The Mandalorian season 3 was left to not only explain everything that happened in an entirely different show, but also set up future storylines, and include enough action to keep audiences entertained. A lot was going on, and yet none of it felt particularly important. The Mandalorian season 3, episode 2, however, has rectified this issue.
The Mandalorian Season 3, Episode 2 Has A Much Stronger Narrative Arc
The Mandalorian season 3, episode 2 has a much more focused narrative arc than the premiere. Din and Grogu set off for the Mines of Mandalore, as Din hopes to find redemption there. It’s a clean, concise, and important story to tell. Each event in the episode is in service of its storyline. Din finds a droid because he needs to make sure Mandalore’s air is breathable, the various creatures Mando has to fight might indicate that there’s more to Mandalore’s destruction than meets the eye, and finally, Din makes it to the Living Waters, bathing in them just as he wished.
The episode even ends with a glimpse of Mandalore’s legendary Mythosaur, a reveal that will surely inform the rest of the season. There’s nothing within The Mandalorian season 3, episode 2 that feels superfluous or redundant. Everything happens for a reason. There’s no space battle that leads to nothing, no droid resurrections that lead to nothing. Even the info-dumps that plagued the first episode of The Mandalorian season 3 are nowhere to be found. While the first episode was fun to watch, and the explanations were undoubtedly necessary for those less well-versed in Star Wars lore, too many plot lines will quickly lead to becoming overwhelming. Chapter 18, thankfully, reigns itself in.
The “Found Family” Dynamic Expands In The Mandalorian Season 3, Episode 2
Bo-Katan Kryze’s presence in The Mandalorian season 3’s first episode felt shoehorned in. It seemed she was merely there to tell Din he could go to Mandalore, despite the Armorer’s claims to the contrary. As there was no way Mando wouldn’t go to Mandalore given his desperation to redeem himself in the eyes of his covert, Bo-Katan’s scene wasn’t necessary and made the pacing of The Mandalorian season 3’s first episode feel off. The Mandalorian season 3, episode 2, however, is only enhanced by Bo-Katan presence, as opposed to hindered by it. Here, she’s a vital presence, saving Din’s life twice and giving him the tools with which to fulfill his quest.
Additionally, Chapter 18 goes some way to develop the relationship between the Mandalorian and Bo-Katan. What started as a begrudging truce is now beginning to become a trusting partnership. Mando trusts her with Grogu, he trusts her to get him out of danger, despite the warning she gave him in the previous episode and her reservations about his upbringing. She’s willing to help Grogu and tells him that she knew and fought alongside the Jedi. A bond is forming, perhaps even a familial one – and this relationship will undoubtedly become more important in the rest of The Mandalorian season 3.
More: What Mandalore Looked Like Before The Great Purge
New episodes of The Mandalorian premiere Wednesdays on Disney+.