The Mandalorian is back!
After his detour in “The Book of Baba Fett” (Sorry, you’re going to have to watch that show to get up to speed), Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) rescues a foundling and the group of Mandalorians he had been serving from a giant blaster-resistant alligator in spectacular fashion with his modified Naboo starfighter, the first of many awesome things in this episode.
After it was revealed last season that Mando took off his helmet — which is forbidden in his sect — he is regarded as an apostate by his group of Mandalorians and the only way to be forgiven for his transgressions is to bathe in the waters of a specific mine on Mandalore, their home planet. The only issue is that its surface was ravaged by war with the Empire and is presumed to be toxic and uninhabitable, though Mando has a tip that it is not so.
In order to navigate Mandalore, he needs a droid he can trust, and the only one that fits the bill is IG-11, who served as a nurse to Grogu (Baby Yoda) in Season 1 and sacrificed itself heroically. Its remaining parts are on Nevarro as part of a statue in its honor. In order to get them back and see if it is possible to revive IG-11, Mando travels there and pays his old friend “High” Magistrate Greef Karga (Carl Weathers) a visit.
Speaking of Grogu, he is back with no explanation as to how, but an explanation is really warranted. While it is true that his reunion with Mando is covered in “The Book of Boba Fett,” that is a whole separate show and Dave Filoni and Jon Favreau should have been mindful that some viewers would watch the seasons of “Mandalorian” in order by itself. A brief scene explaining why Grogu is back would have done the trick.
Back on Nevarro, everything is doing great, as Karga has heralded in a time of prosperity for the small Outer Rim planet. During his stay, Mando helps him fend off pirates — they also later attack him in a spectacular spaceship fight — after which Karga offers him the position of marshal, though Mando declines. The previous marshal — Cara Dune — has been recruited by New Republic special forces, which is a convenient way to write her off the show (her actress, Gina Carano, was fired from the production). However, Karga does help him find someone who will repair IG-11 (Babu Frik from “Star Wars: Episode IX — “The Rise of Skywalker”). The only issue is that IG-11 is missing a rare part.
Next on his laundry list of stops is to meet up with Bo-Katan Kryze (Katee Sackhoff), who tells him where his mine is on Mandalore. Without the Darksaber, her Mandalorian coalition splintered, leaving her down and out, but I have a feeling this season will give her plenty to do.
This was a very strong opening episode for Season 3. The practical special effects look great — far better than the “Star Wars” sequels — the action is great and there’s just so much cool things going on on-screen. Moreover, it gives Mando purpose he was lacking at the end of Season 2 and gives Season 3 a strong direction last season lacked. If you weren’t a fan of Season 2, this one should pull you right back in.
Star Wars: The Mandalorian” Season 3: Episode 1 “The Apostate” gets a 9/10
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