Serial Consumer celebrates and interrogates Evan’s relationship to franchised media and his addiction to purchasing its licensed products.

Something I’ve always appreciated about The Mandalorian is that Jon Favreau has never approached his big season-story arcs without the same overly patient reverence as other genre shows (looking at you, almost everything Marvel has made). In fact, one of the biggest problems with The Book of Boba Fett was the surprising slackness of its storytelling. I was afraid that would translate into Season 3 of The Mandalorian. Certainly, the (pretty great) premiere episode felt like it was introducing a slightly less episodic approach to the season. I have nothing against serialized stories, but I think episodic storytelling with an ongoing subplot allows characters more room to develop and gives audiences more bang for their buck. Maybe it’s just the comic-book reader in me, but both previous seasons of The Mandalorian delighted me in how quickly they hit the next important beat as quickly as possible. They cover a lot of ground.

Hell, Favreau couldn’t even wait until the next season of his show to reunite Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) and Grogu. He just straight-up gave them Boba’s spotlight.

So I’m pretty happy with The Mines of Mandalore, which, as the title implies, gets our heroes to their destination on the second episode of the season. Din Djarin’s Mandalorian Armorer told him the only way he can redeem himself for removing his helmet is by bathing in the springs beneath the capital city of their razed home world. Feels like most shows would make his quest to gather companions and prepare for the journey take up the bulk of the episodes, with a finale on the planet itself. Not so! We get right to it!

There’s a lot to like about the episode, with good action beats for both Mando and Bo-Katan (Katee Sackhoff), each taking some time to swing the Darksaber around. There’s also new lore about the fate of Mandalore after the Empire’s purge, including monsters and mad machines that now inhabit the crumbled civilization. The show relies heavily on aliens, specifically alien creatures, but the main foe of the episode is a visually intriguing hybrid of creature and droid, which I don’t think we’ve seen before. The final moments tease a secondary quest that will hopefully come to fruition at just the right dramatic moment, but we’ll see.

I was overjoyed to see Peli Motto (Amy Sedaris) again, whose presence I find hilarious each time. Her talking Jawa was great. She leans into the ludicrousness of her place in the Star Wars Universe in a way that never seems cynical or above-it-all, and it gives her a really unique presence amongst the hundreds of characters we already know and love.

Part of the charm of The Mandalorian is how baby-like Grogu is, and I think his new Force powers make his tiny form even more hilarious. Not just his combat moves; seeing him do a ludicrous jump made me laugh out loud (just like seeing him use the Force to spin his chair in The Apostate). Really great stuff. He’s the most important part of the show, and I’m glad the braintrust understands that. It also warms my heart that characters now just refer to him as Mando’s son. No more of this shit with him trying to give Grogu away.

I liked this episode. I like this show. It makes me happy.

What I Bought

I got a heavily discounted copy of Star Wars: The New Republic Omnibus, Vol. 1 and paid for it by selling my paperback copies of the exact material. Something is wrong with me.

What I Would Buy

I’d love to buy a Black Series figure of the bizarre droid monster we meet, especially if it comes with both his smaller form and the larger crab-droid he drives around. A very cool design.

I wish I’d bought — or had room for — a Mandalorian Starfighter.