So begins the first descent, and the first mini-monologue. On their way to Mandalore, Din talked about growing up on the moon Concordia and how he had never actually visited the home-world of his people. On the planet’s surface, he reminds Grogu of the path Bo-Katan told them to follow — way down through the Civic Center to the beskar mines — and he marvels at how despite what he has heard for years, Mandalore’s air is habitable, meaning the world is not “cursed.”
But it is not exactly safe either. Aside from the Alamaite attackers — felled by Din’s Darksaber — our heroes encounter an enemy traveling inside something that resembles a giant metal crab, living in a lair littered with Mandalorian helmets. This remarkable creature/contraption sports one big, organic eye within all of its machinery, and it can leave its larger robotic shell to walk around inside another, smaller cyber-skeleton. (These designs are very cool, worthy of the legendary “Star Wars” effects artist Phil Tippett.) This crab-thing catches Din by surprise and traps him inside a kind of rotisserie, spinning over a fire, with fluid-draining tubes attached.
The danger leads Grogu to leave his pod to take a closer look, scooting adorably along as he does. When he sees the extent of his buddy’s trouble, Grogu hops back into the pod and speeds away, ears flapping, until he gets to the N-1 (after Forcing another Alamite out of his way), where he has R5-D4 fly him to Kalevala to alert Bo-Katan. After a moment’s hesitation, she agrees to join his rescue party.
So begins the second descent, and the second mini-monologue. As Bo-Katan leads Grogu back down to where Din is trapped, she tells him a bit of her own story, explaining that she is the scion of the family that once ruled Mandalore, before the Empire and militant sects like Din’s wrecked everything. Bo-Katan represents an alternate version of Mandalorian life to the one Din holds dear. He is all about discipline and rituals, touting “the creed” that helps the Mandalorians who are “scattered like stars” to preserve their identity. She, on the other hand, is a realpolitik kind of Mandalorian, open to new ways of thinking and new alliances. She even tells Grogu that she has been friends with Jedi. (“How good are you with the Force?” she casually asks, having no idea just whom she is talking to.)
The irony is that Din, for all his devotion to the cause, in some ways knows less about what it means to be a Mandalorian than Bo-Katan does — if only because she was a princess raised within the heart of the planet’s high society and he was a foundling raised by a fundamentalist splinter group. After she frees him from the crab-thing, she guides him down to the Living Waters for his cleansing ritual. But she also mocks him for having never eaten “pog soup” (a Mandalorian staple); and she scoffs that the tenets he finds so important were, to her family, “just theater for our subjects.”