The Mandalorian, S3, Ep. 3 Review
Last week on The Mandalorian, fans learned two game-changing pieces of information. First, there’s the fact that despite being razed by the Empire, Mandalore’s not a toxic wasteland. Ignoring the feral beasts underground and whatever that cyborg was that attacked Din Djarin, it’s survivable. Secondly is that the Mythosaur, the mythical beast revered by the Mandalorians and thought to be extinct, isn’t so extinct after all. Unfortunately, any big shifts in the status quo must wait another day. Instead, this week’s episode shifts the focus away from the Outer Rim to Coruscant under the New Republic, and we see the return of a certain scientist who once worked for Moff Gideon.
The Empire’s Still Out to Get the Mandalorians
In the aftermath of their baptism in the Living Waters, Bo-Katan contemplates that there might be some truth to the old Mandalorian legends. However, when she realizes that Din passed out before she saved him and thus didn’t see the Mythosaur, she opts not to tell him about it. She might be doing this because she’s still coming to grips with seeing a live Mythosaur, or this is part of some plan to regain the power she once had. Regardless, the group’s done on Mandalore and leaves for now.
Whatever plans they had, though, go out the window when a squadron of TIE Interceptors attacks them. Mando makes it to his starfighter, and what follows is a suitably epic dogfight between Din and Bo-Katan vs. these Imperial TIE’s. The dogfights in Star Wars are always a welcome sight, and it shows how much Disney’s invested into making The Mandalorian the flagship show for the franchise. Despite shooting down the first wave, they’re shocked to find it was all a distraction. While they were busy, a group of TIE bombers destroys Bo-Katan’s ancestral castle, leaving her without even this link to her past. More TIE’s then show up, and the group’s forced to jump to hyperspace, abandoning the system altogether.
For the moment, we’re as in the dark about who sent those TIE’s as Mando and Bo-Katan are. However, we do know it has to be a powerful Imperial warlord if they could get that many TIE’s. For the moment, there’s only one suspect: Moff Gideon. The New Republic might not have him as secure as we hoped.
Dr. Pershing, Now New Republic Amnesty Program Subject L52
From here, most of the episode shifts focus to Coruscant, marking the first time we’ve seen the planet in the post-Return of the Jedi era. We learn that Gideon’s chief scientist, Dr. Pershing, is now part of this amnesty program under the New Republic. After the Empire fell, the New Republic offered pardons and Amnesty to many low-level people who worked under the Empire, many of whom worked for them unwillingly. It seems like a good deal, but the episode quickly shows viewers the flaws in this system.
Firstly, there’s the attitude of the Coruscanti upper crust. They praise Dr. Pershing and call him “brave” for turning his back on the Empire. This sentiment rings hollow because they only say it to make themselves look good. One couple can’t recall who’s Rebellion, Empire, and New Republic while admitting they avoided getting drafted. Even with everything the Empire did, their attitudes haven’t changed.
Then there’s what they have Dr. Pershing doing for the New Republic. Despite being an expert in cloning and being passionate about it, the New Republic has Pershing working a desk job. He spends his days filing away data to be disposed of, whether its Rebellion or Imperial. This soon grates on Pershing’s nerves, as he believes (perhaps rightfully) that they shouldn’t destroy all the breakthroughs the Empire made, especially if they end up saving lives.
Moff Gideon, In Custody or Still at Large?
The communications officer we saw working for Moff Gideon, Elia Kane, is also part of the Amnesty Program. And she manages to convince Dr. Pershing that he’d do far more good for the New Republic if he continued his cloning research. As a result, she gets him to leave the Amnesty living quarters against the rules, sneak aboard a Star Destroyer slated for scrapping, and steal some equipment he can use to continue his work.
It’s all a trap, though. Kane set him up to get arrested by the New Republic and put him through mind-altering procedures. Of course, she’s not working for the New Republic either; the sight of her upping the power on the machine used on Pershin while eating an Imperial ration tells us all we need to know. Kane’s still working for Moff Gideon.
Here’s the thing about Gideon: despite being told he got handed over to the New Republic, this episode never confirms this for the audience. One of the former Imps in the Amnesty Program even says he heard a rumor that he escaped en route to Coruscant. If that’s true, then that would explain the TIE’s that attacked Mando and Bo-Katan.
Moff Gideon remains at large, or some other Imperial’s playing a bigger game. Either way, things got more dangerous.
What Will Bo-Katan Do Now?
The episode ends with Din returning to the Mandalorian covert with proof that he’s been to Mandalore and bathed in the Living Waters, along with Bo-Katan. As such, the Armorer and other Mandalorians welcome Mando back, and even invite Bo-Katan to join them. Will she stay, though?
Now that Bo-Katan knows that Mandalore’s not a dead world and the survival of the Mythosaur, will she let this go? Could she remain with the Watch and play their game to regain her power and retake their home? Or will she leave in search of other Mandalorians to rally? This could go either way, but with Din still having the Darksaber, she might opt for the former. It will be interesting to see what her choice ends up being.
This episode doesn’t reach the epic heights of the previous one; sometimes, it even felt boring to me. However, I’d be a fool to take this as filler, as it’s setting us up for something bigger. Here’s hoping we get a glimpse of that in the next episode. Until then, though, I don’t think this is one of my favorite show episodes. This is the Way.