Fans of TV shows where Pedro Pascal plays a lone wolf who travels a dangerous landscape alongside a child with supernatural abilities will be rewarded over the next few weeks. As Pascal’s strong stint as Joel in HBO’s The Last of Us continues with new weekly episodes, he returns for season 3 of the Disney+ show set in the Star Wars galaxy. The latest installment of The Mandalorian arrives after its season 2 finale in December 2020. “Chapter 17: The Apostate” features Din Djarin (Pascal) back with Grogu in a season premiere that does a decent job of getting the ball rolling.
The episode opens with a Mandalorian initiation ceremony. It is a fascinating look at Mandalorian culture, reacquainting us with the group. Unfortunately, the initiation is cut short by a giant creature who attacks them, and they must all fight. Din Djarin and Grogu arrive to save the day, which may have many scratching their heads. Those who watched the season 2 finale remember its emotional ending where Djarin and Grogu are separated, with Grogu going to be with Luke Skywalker and learn the ways of the Force. The series led up to this, with Grogu learning to be a Jedi and parting ways with Djarin.
However, here we are in the next episode, with the two reunited. Those who watched The Book of Boba Fett will know how they got back together. Still, the choice to have the emotional weight of the season 2 finale entirely reversed in the season 3 premiere, with the gap being bridged by a different TV show, is an abysmal decision. Years from now, when fans are binging The Mandalorian, the jump from seasons 2 to 3 will be the strangest experience. He’s gone in season 2 and back in season 3 without explanation.
Djarin seeks redemption for taking off his helmet by traveling to Mandalore and proving the existence of the mines and Living Waters. He reunites with Greef Karga, the new High Magistrate of Navarro, and they face off against a few pirates. Djarin requests to resurrect IG-11 (Taika Waititi), the reformed droid who sacrificed himself in the season 1 finale. Unfortunately, the attempt goes wrong as IG-11 defaults to its original programming and tries to kill Grogu. They bring the remnants of IG-11 to Anzellans, the same species as Babu Frik from Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. This leads to some humorous antics with Djarin and Grogu, who are back in full force as an unlikely duo.
This leads to an asteroid field chase sequence between Djarin and a few pirates. While the scene is exciting, nothing can reach the heights of the asteroid field chase from The Empire Strikes Back. There was more fear and tension in that scene, whereas this scene was enjoyable to watch. Finally, Djarin arrives and meets Bo-Katan, who does not have the Darksaber and has abandoned her plans to retake Mandalore with her forces melted away. It’s not fun to see a beloved character in a low state, but hopefully, the show will take her to more places.
After Bo-Katan tells Djarin the location of the mines, the episode ends on an underwhelming note. It’s easily the weakest of the three season premieres, with the season 1 premiere ending with Grogu’s introduction and the season 2 premiere ending with Boba Fett’s reintroduction. This episode does not do much wrong, but it does not do anything we have yet to see from Star Wars. Instead, we have pirates being antagonistic, space battles, and stand-offs. While it’s nice to be back in a galaxy far, far away, season 3 needs a more compelling story and hook to keep audiences watching.
As ComingSoon’s review policy explains, a score of 6 equates to “Decent.” It fails to reach its full potential and is a run-of-the-mill experience.