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Spelunking goes sideways on ‘Mandalorian’

"The Mines of Mandalore" is a solid and focused course correction after last week’s scattered and tepid season premiere. The title says it all: We are getting on with things, arriving at Mandalore, and entering those mines. If this were a serialized Star Trek episode under the current leadership, the advancement to this stage of the plot probably wouldn’t happen until the season’s fifth or sixth episode.

Ironic, then, that "The Mines of Mandalore" almost at times plays like a classic Star Trek episode, with the planet-side exploration and the scanning of atmospheric properties on what is a Strange New World. There’s first a brief detour back to Tatooine so Mando can acquire a cowardly droid from his pal Peli Motto (Amy Sedaris) to help scout what’s rumored to be a poisoned world, but the bulk of the episode is on Mandalore, as we see what the destruction at the hands of the Empire has wrought. The depiction is appropriately cold, barren, and harsh. Later, as we get underground, we see what was once a thriving city is now entombed beneath ash and rock. (Why does everyone think this planet is toxic when that’s so easily disproved here by one person?)

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