“The Mandalorian” started off as a chapter of the “Star Wars” franchise that could exist without tying into the Skywalker saga (which was supposed to end with “The Rise of Skywalker”). But with the arrival of Luke Skywalker (a deep-faked Mark Hamill with a synthesized voice), Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson), and Boba Fett (Temuera Morrison), it became clear that even Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) won’t be able to escape homogeneity. In the finale of Season 2, you will remember that Grogu was taken away from Din by Luke for Jedi training. Now, if you skipped “The Book of Boba Fett” for some reason, you will be confused about Grogu’s reunion with him. Well, the short answer is that Grogu left his Jedi training midway and went back to Din after getting the Beskar chainmail armor as a gift. So, that’s why you see the father-son duo (they aren’t related by blood) together again, going for new missions on the horizon in Season 3.
Major Spoilers Ahead
Din Djarin Wants to Redeem Himself for Taking Off His Helmet
Do you remember the fights with the Ravinak, the Ice Spiders, the Krayt Dragon, or the Mudhorn from the first two seasons of “The Mandalorian”? They had a sense of weight about them. They were tense. They had clear stakes. So, naturally, they mattered to the story. “The Mandalorian” Season 3 starts with a bunch of Mandalorians (who were attending an induction ceremony), including the Armorer (Emily Swallow) and Paz Vizsla (Tait Fletcher and Jon Favreau), fighting off a humongous, crocodile-like Sea Monster just so that they could introduce Din Djarin with a literal bang. And apart from featuring some amazing visual effects, CGI, and stunt work, it fails to be the least bit impactful. Anyway, since Din is here, we get to learn about the main goal of this season, i.e., getting Din’s “Mandalorian” status back. Why has he lost it? Well, because he took off his helmet at the ending of Season 1 after sustaining an injury, and he took it off yet again at the end of Season 2 while bidding Grogu goodbye.
We get a rehash of the scene from “The Book of Boba Fett,” where the Armorer spells out that Din has to bathe in the living waters inside the mines of Mandalore in order to redeem himself. I don’t know why she has to repeat all this. Has Din forgotten about their conversation? Do the showrunners think that the people who are tuning into “The Mandalorian” Season 3 have probably not watched “The Book of Boba Fett”? Either way, this is bad storytelling. Din reveals that he has a crystallized inscription from Mandalore that proves that their planet isn’t poisoned anymore as it once was after the Great Purge. I couldn’t remember for the life of me where he got that piece of scripture, but I’m assuming it’s from the Jawas, so we’ll go with that for now. Upon inspection, the Armorer accepts Din’s proposal and tells him that only if he manages to survive the trip to Mandalore, take his bath, and make it back to her, he’ll be seen as a Mandalorian again. Din, who is clearly raring to be accepted by his cult, agrees to complete the mission and jets off with Grogu.
Din Djarin Wants IG-11 Back
On their way to Nevarro, Grogu witnesses a group of Purrgils, a whale-like species that can travel through hyperspace, thereby connecting “The Mandalorian” Season 3 with “Star Wars Rebels.” After landing, Din Djarin and Grogu are welcomed by Greef Karga, who has completely refurbished the town which was overrun by remnants of the Empire and erected a monument in IG-11’s memory, who had sacrificed itself to beat Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito) and his army. Instead of hearing what Din Djarin has to say, Greef Karga overwhelms him with exposition about how wealthy he has become and how he can provide a retirement home for Din Djarin and Grogu. Din Djarin isn’t interested in hanging up his boots, so he refuses Karga’s orders. Before he can tell Karga what he wants from him, they are distracted by Pirate King Gorian Shard’s crewmembers. After dealing with them via an uninteresting shootout, Din finally reveals that he wants to revive IG-11 because that’s the only droid he trusts to help him travel through Mandalore. Karga isn’t confident about that, but he doesn’t stop Din from trying.
By the way, we get a brief mention of Cara Dune (Gina Carano), who has apparently been recruited by Special Forces after bringing in Moff Gideon, who is being tried at a New Republic War Tribunal. But the real reasons behind the character’s disappearance are Gina Carano’s racism and transphobia; equating conservatives in America with Jews in Nazi Germany; downplaying the importance of masks during the COVID-19 pandemic; and spreading misinformation about voter fraud during the 2020 presidential election. So, the actress has been fired, and the character has essentially retired. Unless Lucasfilms and Disney opt for a recast, we won’t be seeing any more of Cara Dune. Anyway, coming back to the show, Karga allows Din to revive IG-11, but that goes horribly wrong as the robot reverts to its original programming and tries to kill Grogu. So, Karga’s droid shuts it down by dropping Karga’s bronze bust on its head, and Karga takes Din to the Anzellans (the species Babu Frik belongs to). The Anzellans say that they need a memory circuit to fix the IG unit. Since they don’t make it anymore and it’s very hard to find, they suggest Din get a new droid. However, Din promises to get the part and make the IG-11 functional again.
Season 3, Episode 1: Ending Explained – Why Does Din Djarin Want Bo-Katan Kryze’s Help To Get To Mandalore?
Here’s a weird storytelling beat. You hear and see Din Djarin saying that he’s going to get the part that he needs for IG-11. You hear and see Greef Karga telling Din Djarin that he doesn’t know how Din is going to get this part they’re talking about. You get a minor distraction in the form of Pirate King Gorian Shard and his team members trying to kill Din Djarin for killing his people, which leads to a decent chase-and-shootout sequence scored brilliantly by Joseph Shirley (based on Ludwig Göransson’s themes, of course). But then Din arrives on Kalevala, a planet in the Mandalorian system. Why? Well, if I can be honest, this scene exists to recap the ending of “The Mandalorian” Season 2 and remind us that the reason Bo-Katan Kryze (Katee Sackhoff) cannot unite the Mandalorians is that she doesn’t have the Darksaber. She tells Din to wield it since he won it fair and square, and she states that the Mandalorians who are wandering around the galaxy as mercenaries will do his bidding. This scene serves another purpose, and that’s to reveal the location of the mines that Din is searching for. FYI, it’s underneath the civic center in Sundari (which sounds like the Sanskrit word that’s used to refer to a “beautiful woman” or the Sundari tree found in mangrove forests).
In case you can’t figure out what the problem is, here’s an explanation. The show sets up the issue, i.e., finding IG-11’s part. Greef Karga reminds us about it. But then there’s no payoff. Yes, I am aware that that’s probably being reserved for the next episode. However, wouldn’t it have been logical to at least show Din going to the place or arriving at the place where he’s going to get this oh-so-important part to revive IG-11? Instead, the showrunners of “The Mandalorian” decide to remind us about the overarching plot setup at the start of this episode about Din going to Mandalore. Why though? Wouldn’t getting to the place where IG-11’s part resides serve as a reminder that he is on this quest to redeem himself as a Mandalorian? Why do we need such an explicit reminder, which isn’t even a reminder but a recap of what had happened in the previous seasons of the show? We get an “it’s complicated” to explain Grogu’s reunion with Din while being bombarded with extensive recaps of Season 2 of “The Mandalorian” and “The Book of Boba Fett.” What a mess! Well, at this point, I can only hope that the storytelling gets better in the upcoming episodes.