Star Wars: The Mandalorian Season 3 Episode 1 Review – The Renegade
Meanwhile, Emily Swallow is back as the mysterious armorer to remind audiences that Din’s sin of taking off his helmet can only be forgiven if he returns to Mandalore’s mines and bathes in its “living waters.” This sends our heroic duo on their way, but this isn’t an arbitrary side quest on his quest to reclaim Mandalore. There are some deep-seated, philosophical dilemmas at the heart of Din’s desire for reconciliation and redemption with his clan of religious zealots versus his clear need for connection (at least with Grogu), which is why he’s shown his face in the first place. Hopefully his pilgrimage to Mandalore will address those larger questions.
Some of the best moments of the episode are the brief pauses we get when Din and Grogu just sit together. It was heartbreaking to see them apart last season, so it feels like a homecoming to see Grogu on Din’s lap gazing at the silhouette of a Purrgil as they hurtle through hyperspace. And Pedro Pascal’s ability to tell a soulful story without using his face, along with a partner in the animatronic scene, speaks to how great he is as an actor and why we’re all obsessed with him at the moment. (He’s spectacular on HBO’s The last of us if you haven’t tried this show yet!)
Returning to Nevarro and Meeting Greef Karga by Carl Weathers (to you that’s High Magistrate Karga) serves the secretly profound purpose of giving a sense of vastness to Din and Grogu’s journey to this point, and showing how much time since season 1 has passed. They’ve come a long way since their first adventure together, and to see Nevarro completely renewed and on its way to becoming a thriving, independent anchor of commerce is a reminder of their enduring impact on the galaxy.
Honestly, to learn that Mando insists on rebuilding IG-11 is fantastic news. The fan-favorite droid was one of the best things about season one, and while his death was a fitting tear, it will be great to see him (and Taika Waititi) back in the fold. As a side note, watching Grogu lift and hug one of the Anzellans is adorable as hell, and another showcase for the series’ top-notch effects work.
All of the different droids and species that we see on Nevarro – from the Anzellans and the fancy white protocol droid to the Kwokian monkey lizards in the tree and the various alien thugs that make up the pirate gang – add to the depth of the world and let it it feel alive It’s this attention to detail that helped the original trilogy capture the imagination of so many, and it’s nice to see that the franchise’s ancient tenets are still so respectfully upheld by Rick Famuyiwa’s camera.
Mando’s spaceship battle with the pirates in the asteroid field is a lot of fun and lets us see his Naboo starfighter in combat for the first time. What’s cool about this sequence is that it shows how nimble the ship is when Mando attacks the pirates from weird angles and from behind cover. The introduction of the pirate king, Gorian Shard (Nonso Anozie), is a standout moment purely for the expert character design. It’s hard to tell if it’s CGI, practical, or a mix of both, which again is a testament to the artists and craftsmen behind the design.
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