“The Mandalorian” Just Got Full “Dark Souls” Season 3 Episode 2

I think Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni must have been playing some Dark souls or maybe some Elden Ring when they came to Chapter 18 of it The Mandalorian, “The Mines of Mandalore.” Not only does it sound like a location in a FromSoftware game, but the entire episode takes place as an adventure through the decaying lands of Lordran. The underground ruins of this dead planet might as well be Blighttown or Boleteria.

Games from Japanese game developer FromSoftware deal with the husks of ancient civilizations and the dying embers left behind after the overthrow of gods and men. We arrive, intact wanderers, hollow or ashes, cursed but destined for greatness, in a world laid low by some calamity or other. Strange creatures lurk in the long, dark corridors of Latria and the crumbling towers of Limgrave. Terrifying monsters and ancient dragons lurk in the depths of deep caves and poisonous lakes. At any moment, snarling beasts may leap from the shadows, and you—the armored knight—must fight for your life, sword and board, tooth and nail.

When Mando (Pedro Pascal) and Baby Yoda arrive on Mandalore, its surface has been blasted beyond recognition. “It used to be green,” Dean tells his son. (Hey, if Bo-Katan (Katee Sackhoff) can refer to Mando as Grogu’s father, then we can also refer to him as Mando’s son. This is basically every condition Souls game. A once great kingdom has fallen and we must explore what is left behind. The crumbling palaces of Anor Londo, the seedy sewers of Yharnam, the sweeping vistas of The Lands Between…apocalyptic and demorn.

So Mando and Grogu journey into the depths of this ruined city. Mando follows the droid they bought from irascible engineer Peli Motto (Amy Sedaris) to Tatooine when its signal goes out. The droid is R5-D4, the same droid Luke’s uncle tried to buy A new HOPE before short-circuiting and getting R2-D2 instead.

When he reaches the edge of the cavernous city, Mando is ambushed by beastly creatures straight out of Bloodborne. He manages to fend them off thanks to his Darksaber (which he hasn’t learned to use very well, I might add) and Beskar steel armor, but these are only mocks, easily dispatched by a relatively experienced warrior like Din Djarin. The real boss fight comes later, beyond the fog gate, when Mando examines a discarded Mandalorian helmet he finds — not realizing that this treasure chest is actually a Mimic crossed with a Fingercreeper.

A huge spider-like droid bursts out of the ground, swallowing Mando and running with him into the dark tunnels. Grogu follows in his cart, clearly terrified. The massive droid stops in a chamber of sorts and then transforms. A smaller droid emerges from the giant droid and we realize that both are powered by a small alien in the helmet of this second droid. Later, the helmet will detach from the middle droid for the creature’s third form.

The creature has Mando locked in what appears to be almost a spit/net-cage. It’s very alien. When Grogu tries to free him, the alien is alerted and Manto tells Baby Yoda to go get Bo-Katan to her castle on a nearby planet. Grogu leaves, barely escaping some winged enemies in the Mandalorian Burg, and shows R5-D4 the planet he needs to get to on the navigation screen Mando showed him earlier. The droid leads them to Bo-Katan who immediately realizes something is wrong.

Bo-Katan, Grogu and R5-D4 return to Mandalore and Grogu guides her to the cyborg-alien boss’ lair and the Mandalorian princess shows off her fighting prowess with a laser shield and a Darksaber – classic Dark souls fighting style, full of barrels and tense combat. Just when he thinks the boss fight is over, he transforms back into his giant form, because why not add some Sekiro in the mix!

Of course, we’re not done with our video game parallels yet. Bo-Katan agrees to take Manto deeper into the catacombs in the Living Waters beneath the Mines of Mandalore. Here, Din Djarin can bathe in the Living Waters and receive the Permission he so longs for. Bo-Katan thinks this is all a bunch of nonsense and finds Living Waters dirty and unimpressive. He reads the poster they find there—about Mandalore and the taming of the giant Mythosaurus—with sardonic glee.

And then Mando is pulled under the water and Bo-Katan flies after him. She goes down, deep into the dark water until she finally finds him at the bottom of the pool. He grabs it and starts to ascend when he sees it: Something huge and terrifying in the water.

As the creature moves, we can see its tusks and instantly recognize it as the symbol of the Mandalorians worn by Grogu:

Perhaps Bo-Katan’s skepticism of all these myths and legends will be unfounded, and her belief that Manto’s brothers in the Watch are zealous lunatics will be shaken. Maybe, while Mando needs to lighten up and realize it the way it is not the only So Bo-Katan must also realize that some of the old, strange traditions of her people exist for a reason.

Either way, this was an awesome episode The Mandalorian. Much better than last week. More action, some horror vibes with the cyborg-alien capturing Mando, the awesome Mythosaurus—and Baby Yoda doing some things on his own, it all makes for one of the best Mandalorian episodes we have seen so far. Bo-Katan shows off her badass moves and ensemble Dark souls vibe makes me love it even more.

PS Sorry for everything Dark souls references, but these are my favorite video games and I couldn’t help but feel like we were in for a crazy Star Wars x Dark Souls crossover in this episode. So cool!

PPS The wonderful Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order takes many cues from Souls games too, from combat to level design. I would love it if the sequel, Jedi Survivor, it had Mandalore as one of the planets you can explore!

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