Fans have had to wait quite a while to see their favorite space father and son on screen again but Mandalorian Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) and Grogu (also known as Baby Yoda) are back! The Mandalorian 3×01 was worth the wait. It leaves the audience excited to follow along on Din and Grogu’s journey once again.
The Mandalorian premiered when Disney Plus itself began in 2019. It was the first live-action Star Wars television show, set after the defeat of the Empire in Return of the Jedi, and the combination of Mandalorian bounty hunter Din with the adorable Baby Yoda was irresistible. The first season emphasized Din’s focus on protecting the Force-sensitive child after locating him for a bounty. The Mandalorian continued to watch over Grogu after learning his name and searching for Jedi for him to learn from. Luke Skywalker himself (Mark Hamill) is the Jedi who sensed Grogu’s power and took him away to teach him. Din actually removed his helmet to say goodbye to Grogu in the second season finale. That touching moment was not the last time viewers saw Din and Grogu, though, because part of their story played out during the final episodes of season one of The Book of Boba Fett. Grogu did learn about his abilities but chose to return to Din.
The Mandalorian 3×01 is a delightful return to their adventures, familiar in the best ways, with humor, thrills, and interesting story set up for the rest of the season.
“Then I will see you again.”
Din had been a skilled and successful bounty hunter before he broke the rules of the guild to rescue Grogu from remnants of the Empire. Part of the Mandalorian creed states that they will not remove their helmets, so Din broke that rule too. Grogu meant more to him than any of that. Din put the two most important things in his life aside because Grogu needed him. This relationship is the center of the show and there are no words to describe how effective it’s been. It doesn’t matter if they are different species, Din and Grogu are as much parent and child as those who share the same blood.
Now that the two have been reunited, Din’s plan is to reclaim his status as a Mandalorian. To redeem himself, he must bathe in the Living Waters under the mines of Mandalore. The problem is, the Empire destroyed Mandalore and everyone assumes it is too toxic to visit. Din intends to try anyway because he has found a crystal that a traveler supposedly obtained on Mandalore.
Din decides he wants to get help first, though. He realizes he needs a droid, and he goes to retrieve the only droid he’s ever trusted: IG-11. Voiced by Taika Waititi, IG-11 was the droid whose programming was changed from bounty hunting to protection in season 1. There is one problem: IG-11 sacrificed himself to save Din, Grogu, and others in the first season finale. Din wants to try to bring him back.
“To the sky!”
To rebuild IG-11, Din goes to Nevarro where the droid’s remaining parts are located. Greef Karga (Carl Weathers), who used to be the head of the bounty-hunting guild, is now the High Magistrate. He offers Din the job of Marshal after Din helps him deal with local pirates who don’t like the improvements on the planet. Din explains he has something else he needs to do. It won’t be easy though, because IG-11 reverts to his dangerous original programming when he is turned back on. Greef leads Din to the Anzellans, the same tiny species as Babu Frik from The Rise of Skywalker, who can fix IG-11. He just needs to find a new memory circuit.
While on his way to join up with Bo-Katan Kryze (Katee Sackhoff), Din is ambushed by more of the pirates he fought on Nevarro and their leader, Gorian Shard. Din manages to escape but I’m sure that threat is not over. When he does meet Bo-Katan, the Mandalorian who wanted to take back their home world, he finds her idle and in a sullen mood. Her followers had deserted her when she didn’t win the Darksaber. She does tell Din where the entrance to the mines are on Mandalore, though.
“This is the way.”
Din has entered a new part of his adventures with Grogu, and he has a clear goal. He has also made a good start toward that goal. What unexpected surprises may be in store, only time will tell. However, the dynamic between Din and Grogu sustains the emotional heft of this show at all times. The audience knows they are a package deal now, and it’s a relationship that can only deepen over time.
Grogu is somehow even cuter than ever, if that’s possible. Two memorable moments center him in this episode, one beautiful and one funny. The first is when he glimpses what seem to be creatures living in the rushing blue of hyperspace. His little hand reaches for them and this immediately becomes a fascinating detail. They’ve never appeared in any other live-action Star Wars project. The second is when Grogu squeezes the Anzellans like he’s hugging a pet! Laughs are something special when they come from Baby Yoda!
This episode is only the beginning of this new season but it is efficient and exciting. The Mandalorian 3×01 feels a bit like coming home but it also generates plenty of interest in what’s to come. It’s been a long wait for this story to continue but it was worth it.
The Mandalorian is streaming new episodes every Wednesday on Disney Plus.