The Mandalorian Season 3 Episode 1 Recap Review: Is Bo-Katan to Be Trusted?

Once Upon a Time in the Outer Rim.

by J.R. Waugh
The Mandalorian Season 3 Episode 1
Image: Lucasfilm

The Mandalorian is back, and after over two years of waiting, it’s good to see Din Djarin reunited with Grogu. But the story is changing, with Din’s redemption arc taking center stage. After he took off his helmet for Grogu, he was excommunicated and deemed an apostate to his people, but now he seeks a way to restore his identity with them. In season 3, episode 1 of The Mandalorian, Din takes his first steps on this journey, meeting old friends and attempting, possibly in vain, to bring back previous allies.

The Mandalorian Season 3 Episode 1: Looking for a Path to Redemption? This is the Way.

The episode begins with an initiation ritual for a young Mandalorian about to put on his helmet, permanently. Things go awry quickly when a giant lizard emerges from the water, sending the ceremony into a frenzied melee. But the fight is quickly broken up when Din Djarin shows up, taking the beast down with his ship’s superior firepower.

An initiation ceremony where a character must permanently wear a helmet is rescued by an outcast who was excommunicated for violating this principle. Go figure.

This is the Droid I’m Looking for.

Image: Lucasfilm

Din goes to Nevarro to meet with Greef Karga, who is enjoying his role as High Magistrate. What’s more, the community is thriving, a gorgeous place compared to what it once was, after becoming a trade hub and encountering a construction boom.

But even though Greef advocates for Din to take up a role as marshal while setting up a place to retire, Din chooses not to accept, focusing on his quest. He sees the IG-11 droid’s remains, what’s left of the iconic droid from the first season, and takes what’s left to try to restore him as an ally. But he must first find a new memory circuit, so for now, he sets out to seek the component and more allies.

Mandalore No More

After a dangerous run-in with some pirates, Din takes Grogu to Kalevala in the Mandalorian system, where a solitary Mandalorian castle stands. But the halls are empty, occupied by a dejected Bo-Katan Kryze. Her forces are gone, her spirits dampened, resentful of Din’s possession of the Darksaber.

After the Night of a Thousand Tears, where her brief leadership was ended by an attack by the Galactic Empire, part of the Great Purge, glassing and exterminating inhabitants who remained. Naturally, the Darksaber and leadership over the Mandalorian people is a loaded subject for her. So when Din won the blade in combat from Moff Gideon in season 2, rightfully laying claim to the title of Mand’alor without realizing, Bo-Katan was hesitant to accept when he instantly offered: would calamity come to her people again?

Bo-Katan sees Din’s beliefs as part of the problem, not the solution, and that seeking out Mandalore to bathe in the Living Waters is a fool’s errand. But she sees that his possession of the Darksaber will bring their people to his side no matter what. While she’s certainly not an enemy to Din, at least for now, she sees his journey as a lost cause.

The Mandalorian Season 3 Episode 1: What to Expect in Episode 2

The episode overall was gorgeous, compelling, and understated compared to most other Star Wars stories, very on-brand for The Mandalorian. Din’s bond with Grogu continues to grow, with him seeing the character no longer as this little green intruder or passenger, but rather as a true companion, teaching him even things like how his ship runs. When Greef Karga continues to call the creature “the little one,” Din steps in to remind him that he has a name, Baby Yoda Grogu.

The episode is fanservice but in a way that feels coherent. IG-11 was an amazing part of season 1, and the prospect of seeing him restored is extremely exciting. Bo-Katan is back, but lacks the spark she had even in season 2, and appropriately so.

There are still questions, like whether the tribunal for Moff Gideon means we’ll be seeing the last of him, and whether the pirates who attacked Din will be back. But the show remains the best reason to stay subscribed to Disney Plus, and a gorgeous combination of VFX, puppetry, and space cowboy action. Din may be an outcast, but he’s rounding his people up for the sake of redemption.

- This article was updated on March 1st, 2023