REVIEW: ‘The Mandalorian,’ Season 3 Episode 1 – “Chapter 17: The Apostate”

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Mandalorian Season 3 Premiere - But Why Tho

The Mandalorian makes its triumphant return to Disney+ with the season 3 premiere, and a lot has changed, both on and off the screen. On-screen, Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) is at a crossroads. He’s reunited with the Force-sensitive child known as Grogu, but has been exiled from his people due to breaking the sacred Creed of Mandalore and removing his helmet. Redemption is possible if Djarin is able to return to Mandalore and bathe in the “living waters” of its mines. But Mandalore was razed by the Empire and its people are scattered. Djarin travels from planet to planet, looking for a way to return to Mandalore and reconnect with his faith.

Off-screen, it’s been three years since Djarin’s adventures (two if you count his appearances in The Book of Boba Fett.) In that time, the Star Wars universe expanded to include a gritty spy thriller and all forms of animation. So the question is: does The Mandalorian still hold the same thrall as when he first debuted? From where I’m standing, yes he does. The appeal of The Mandalorian is how it’s stuck to the serial style that influenced George Lucas’ vision for the original trilogy, and that continues with Season 3. Each week is a new adventure that manages to stand on its own, but also push the story forward—a rare feat in the era of prestige television.

The Mandalorian Season 3 premiere also delves into matters of faith throughout “The Apostate.” Djarin has spent his entire life living by the Way of the Manda’lor, so it makes sense that he would try and find a way back to that lifestyle. But there are moments when he considers moving past that. One such moment comes when Djarin’s old friend Greef Karga (Carl Weathers) offers him a position as the marshal of Navarro. Djarin turns it down, but there is a brief moment where he hesitates. And when he speaks to Bo-Katan Kryze (Katee Sackhoff) about locating Mandalore, you can hear notes of desperation in Pascal’s voice. Faith isn’t just about finding something to believe in, it’s about trying to find your place in the world and what it means. Whether Mandalorian or Jedi, Rebel or Inquisitor, that’s a theme that’s common in all Star Wars projects and it continues with The Mandalorian Season 3.

The Season 3 premiere is also a visual feast thanks to director Rick Famuwiya. Famuwiya’s helmed some of the best episodes of The Mandalorian, and right out of the gate, he hooks the viewers with a killer action sequence. A Mandalorian ceremony is interrupted by a massive crocodile-esque beast, who towers over the armored warriors. Its massive hide is nearly impenetrable, and its large snapping jaws threaten to swallow its prey whole. Yet the Mandalorians move as one, surrounding the beast and peppering it with fire, then taking to the skies and launching grenades at it.

And prior to this, the Mandalorian Armorer (Emily Swallow) is shown forging a helmet for a young Mandalorian. Famuwiya frames this process with the same sort of reverence one might have upon entering hallowed ground. He takes the time to showcase Mandalorian culture, and how despite being scattered across the galaxy they still protect each other. I also have to give Famuwiya, as well as production designers Andrew L. Jones and Doug Chiang, credit for making each planet feel distinct.

Nevarro is a far cry from the near-desolate wasteland it was in The Mandalorian Season 1. Now, it’s a paradise, with vibrant green trees and snow-white buildings. In contrast, the castle where Bo-Katan resides is nothing but sharp metal edges and empty hallways, all but shouting that she walks a lonelier path than even Djarin. And the practical effects used to bring the alien characters to life are impressive. Each one of these species feels distinct, from a group of pirates with fishlike features to the diminutive droidsmiths that Djarin visits. The one element that will take some getting used to is the shift in composers. Joseph Shirley steps in for longtime Mandalorian composer Ludwig Goransson, and while his score is fairly solid it lacks the oomph that Goransson brought to the show. At least for now.

The Mandalorian Season 3 premiere brings with it a new mission, but plenty of the same style and soul that made Din Djarin a fan-favorite character. Having fallen in love with the show since its debut, I’m happy to see the series still has the spark that made it a standout. And it’s nice to see double the Pedro Pascal on my TV screen.

New episodes of The Mandalorian premiere Wednesdays on Disney+.

The Mandalorian Season 3 Episode 1 - "Chapter 17: The Apostate"
  • 8.5/10
    Rating - 8.5/10


The Mandalorian Season 3 returns with a new mission, but plenty of the same style and soul that made Din Djarin a fan-favorite character.

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