Chapter eighteen of ‘The Mandalorian’ continues to explore a new father-son dynamic

By Ellie Estrema

For Mandalorian fans, there’s a lot to love about their favorite show, but one of the best parts is watching a father-son relationship develop between Grogu and the Mandalorian, Din Djarin. In a not-so-subtle nod to Westerns’ typical mentors and sidekicks, this is one of the most popular father-son-type duos to play out on screen in the Star Wars universe. However, the new permanence of the relationship since Grogu chose the Mandalorian as his family during “the Book of Boba Fett” brings a whole new dynamic to this third season, especially in this second episode. 

The episode kicks off with more travel time as our galaxy-trotting main characters head to Tatooine for a part and end up leaving with a droid. “The Mandalorian” continues to use well-known Star Wars references as everyone’s favorite busted droid from movie four, R5, begins to play a more involved role in “The Mandalorian” and the Star Wars universe as a whole. As soon as the droid is collected, the heroes are then off to finally touch down on the planet of Mandalore. Getting the chance to see Mandalore live-action was, of course, stunning, but even more interesting to me was how the Mandalorian steps into his role as a father figure for Grogu.

The Mandalorian is no longer simply ferrying Grogu to his Jedi kind who will then be responsible for training him. Instead, Din Djarin himself has the responsibility, which he takes seriously, to instruct his kid on being a Mandalorian. This throws him into the role of a teacher as well as a protector, something that necessitates he be more talkative. 

With that in mind, we do see a great deal of conversation in chapter eighteen as the Mandalorian takes it upon himself to instruct Grogu on both the function of the N-1 starfighter and the navigation of the galaxy. 

This is a definite adjustment for Mandalorian fans as well as for the Mandalorian himself, but chapter eighteen did bring more intentionality to the conversation-heavy chapter seventeen. Grogu’s navigational ability comes in handy later, and the action in this episode balances out the conversation. 

As the Mandalorian and Grogu explore Mandalore after a successful atmospheric reading by R5, we get a close-up look into the depths of the planet. Mandalore has always had its fair share of secrets, and these secrets can be dangerous, leading to several action scenes. Some creatures have survived the Empire’s devastation of Mandalore, and the teaser in this episode gives fans hope for interesting angles in future episodes as the planet of Mandalore continues to be explored by our favorite heroes. 

The depths of Mandalore have a lot to discover.

The cast for this episode was small but well-utilized. Bo-Kataan continues to play a big role, and  we get to see even more of the sarcastic personality that fans have been appreciating since “The Clone Wars.” The dynamic between her and the Mandalorian continues to contrast Bo-Kataan’s disillusioned perspective on Mandalorian tradition with Din Djarin’s religious dedication to the Creed. And, of course, Bo-Kataan’s incredible fighting abilities are highlighted, along with Grogu’s developing abilities with the Force. However, this episode may have showcased Bo-Kataan and Grogu’s abilities almost to a fault. 

While it is impressive to see Bo-Kataan and Grogu handling themselves on their own, this episode steps away from showcasing the Mandalorian as a hero. He seems rather helpless, which is interesting as it brings a certain human angle to his previously impenetrable heroic actions, but most fans are not watching “The Mandalorian” to appreciate Bo-Kataan. While she may be taking a more active role, here’s hoping that she doesn’t put Din Djarin in the backseat while she does all the work for the rest of the season. 

All that being said, however, the show has continually portrayed our favorite hero in a positive light, and I don’t see that changing any time soon. As the show continues to explore the new dynamic of father and son and as Din Djarin continues to embrace this new role, it does come with changes for both characters that I think will turn out for the better. Many fans are excited to see what twists and turns will befall their favorite characters next as they dive deeper into the depths of Mandalore’s secrets. 

“The Mandalorian” is currently streaming on Disney+.

Ellie Estrema is a freshman double majoring in PWID and Spanish. As a TCK, former MK and current PK, she loves learning languages, traveling to see old friends and describing herself with weird acronyms. When she’s not buried in homework, you can usually find her curled up in a hammock: reading stories, writing poetry or laughing with her friends over steaming cups of tea.

Images courtesy of Lucasfilm

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