Not a great start to a new season…This is the way.
By Vinny Masocol
Photo Credit: Disney Plus
Mando and Grogu are ready for an adventure in Season 3, but do the first two episodes meet the expectations for the whole series?
Season three of the Mandalorian has started on Disney Plus, which means cute little Grogu (Baby Yoda) and Mando AKA Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) are back and going on an adventure.
The problem is the adventure in these two episodes had me scratching my head a bit.
Mando’s adventure begins because he removed his helmet at the end of season two in front of people, so he has been given the moniker of the “apostate” by his order of Mandalorians.
The only way to get back in the good graces of his clan is to bathe in the living waters deep below in the mines of Mandalore—oh, yeah, did we mention Mandalore was bombed to all hell by the empire in what was called the purge? But Mando is pretty determined to go.
Without getting into spoilers, the first two episodes reflect a head-scratching start to the series return, because the storytelling here is a bit weak. A positive though is that both episodes feature the same fun, space shenanigans that we have come to love in “Star Wars” films and shows.
Unfortunately, they did not feed off of the last two seasons’ storylines as Mando’s adventure here is this show is not as fun to watch or having the stakes as let’s say keeping a certain cute green Yoda look-a like from the Empire so they can clone him and make more to come back from the events of Return of the Jedi that would restore the Empire as the main order in the galaxy to rule with an iron fist.
The Mandalorian has never been very heavy with plot; the show loves to take little side quests like getting a frog lady and her eggs to a new place (by the way, Grogu was amazing in that episode with his frequent attempts to eat the eggs). That example was only one of a few of these side quests.
There are some key moments that have some plot points in them to move the story along; unfortunately, the problem is that they are too fixated on the helmet and the adventure to get Mando in the good graces of the clan.
It is understandable that a character has inspiration to do something; it’s often a part of any good movie or show, as it gives the character depth.
But when you have a great character like Mando and you pigeonhole him into this one adventure to get back into his clan, all because he took off his helmet, it feels like a bit of a stretch. Other characters, other than the Mandalorians, are even telling him that it really is not a huge deal. It is to him and his clan, so it is to everyone else watching, I guess.
Spiritual commitment can be a very good motivational tool for any character, but we are talking about something the casual viewer may not know a lot about: this space creed that the Mandalorians live by. They haven’t really explained this in the show as much as is needed for the casual viewer to understand why this is so important.
“Star Wars” fans understand that the Jedi order is just like a clan with spiritual beliefs in the force, but the belief system in “The Mandalorian” was not drawn out over three movies and a few decades.
There has been a simple understanding of why Mando is so devoted to what the Mandalorians call “the way.” However, the particulars of “the way” and the related beliefs, which could actually make Din’s choices meaningful, are totally absent from these first two episodes—and the series.
This whole show is about a main character who constantly wears a helmet to shield his face in accordance with a sacred creed, which other characters in the show perceive as somewhat of a cult. If the helmet were simply something that Mando wants or likes to wear, we could ignore it, but the series has made it a major plot point in season three and a few episodes of season two.
These episodes are not without action, however. There is an old-fashioned space shootout (and droids, of course), as well as the family of Babu Frik—how could you not like those little creatures?
The addition of Carl Weathers and Amy Sedaris really enhanced the viewing of these first two episodes as well.
Dave Filoni and Jon Favreau still have a bunch of episodes to right the ship. We are all looking forward to what was teased in the trailers of Jedi showing up in what could be a Grogu flashback. Maybe we will find out who saved Grogu from Order 66 when all the Jedi were assassinated by Palpatine to get rid of the order of the Jedi.
Now, unfortunately, things feel lost and the show seems to be missing something.
Another problem is that we are coming off a fantastic show, “Andor”, which really showed what you can do with a “Star Wars” show without Jedi and cults and hokey force powers. Artistically, these two shows are miles apart; Andor’s plot feels more real and tangible, while “The Mandalorian” season three is like a lost ship in the ocean without lifeboats.
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