*Warning: the following article contains spoilers for episode two of The Mandalorian – Season 3*
The Mandalorian – Season 3‘s second episode does not start strong. Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) stops by Mos Eisley Spaceport and asks Peli Motto (Amy Sedaris) for droid parts to resurrect IG-11 (Taika Waititi). Peli Motto continues to be the weakest aspect of any Mandalorian-related episodes. It’s not Sedaris’ fault, she does what she can, but the material she receives is especially unfunny, and any attempt at comedy falls quite flat. Sedaris is very talented, but as much as The Mandalorian wants to bring some comedy to the proceedings, it isn’t as funny as Grogu spinning around in the background while Djarin and Greef Karga (Carl Weathers) discuss.
After this dreadful moment, Djarin travels to Mandalore to bathe in the living waters. He believes he will be redeemed and finally be re-accepted into his clan if he successfully swims in them. However, the mission goes wrong as Djarin gets kidnapped by a horrific mecha-creature who starts drawing his blood. He asks Grogu to go to Bo-Katan Kryze (Katee Sackhoff), and the rest of the episode is a rescue mission where Bo-Katan fights off against scary yet disposable antagonists in a dark cave.
While this episode has impressive aspects, it’s also terribly unoriginal. Episode two of The Mandalorian – Season 2 was also set…in a dark cave and saw Din Djarin fight creature feature movie-like creatures. Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni rip off themselves and don’t shy away. Granted, this episode’s creatures are much scarier than in season two. However, it’s not hard to spot the similarities: a dark cave with a crystallized surface? Check (granted, season two’s cave was made of ice, but still). Horror-movie-like creatures? Absolutely! Tight action sequences that heavily involve incessantly shooting blasters? You got it! Hell, it even starts with The Mandalorian going to…Mos Eisley to speak to Peli Motto. And you thought we weren’t going to put two and two together.
That’s what frustrates me the most about the show: it’s bereft of any tangible tension or meaningful episodes but instead kowtows to the most basic forms of fan service and repeats itself because it put itself at an impasse as soon as they decided to retcon the finale of The Mandalorian – Season 2. Still, the episode is not entirely bad. The action sequences are well-shot and staged. When Bo-Katan takes the darksaber from Din to rescue him, director Rachel Morrison puts a lot of weight on this specific moment. If you’ve watched Star Wars: Rebels, it will be far more significant than if you hadn’t, you’ll still feel the emotion when she takes down the mecha-looking machine with the darksaber. It’s awesome.
Complaints that the action is “too dark” seem unwarranted. I’m the first to complain that most movies are poorly shot (with the horizon in the middle, a lesson we should all learn from The Fabelmans) and lit! But every setpiece was crystal clear in episode two of The Mandalorian – Season 3. Perhaps the camera needed a bit more movement as Din (or Bo-Katan) fought in close quarters, but there were no instances in which the sequences were poorly lit. There’s even an impressive use of lighting when Din goes into the living waters and immediately drops straight underwater.
Bo-Katan rescues him (again, how original), but as she returns to the surface, they barely see a glimpse of the Mythosaur. That small glimpse alone is terrifying enough for the both of them to leave Mandalore and never return. We only see its shadows and a small glimmer of its figure, which are quite scary. Leaning into horror films helped this episode of The Mandalorian – Season 3, but the screenplay is still terribly weak.
I don’t know in which direction the next episode will take, which I hope is good, but I also hope that the story won’t be as unoriginal as the episode I had just watched. The Mandalorian has so much potential, and it feels like Favreau and Filoni are wasting it under the pressure of making every Star Wars fan happy. Remember this: Star Wars fans will never be happy, no matter what.
The second episode of The Mandalorian – Season 3 is now streaming on Disney+.