Last week’s Mandalorian season 3 episode meanders a bit without much payoff (for now, maybe) but it should feel familiar to Star Wars fans on a whole. The middle of the episode detours to entirely new(ish) characters for a while. Let’s get to it.
The episode opens where last week left off: Bo-Katan Kryze and Din Djarin collapsed on the steps of the living waters in the mines of Mandalore. When Djarin comes to, Bo-Katan asks him what he remembers, he observes that the waters were deeper than he’d thought but all he saw were caverns as he plummeted below the surface. Bo-Katan suggests that bombings from the purge must have triggered seismic activity, which is why there is so much depth now. She keeps the mythosaur to herself, however.
As they leave Mandalore, they are attacked by TIE interceptors. They manage to make it back to Bo-Katan’s castle on Kalevala where Djarin jumps out of Bo-Katan’s ship to grab his own N1 and join in the attack. After some fancy dogfights with crazy spaceship aerodynamics and engineering, the two destroy the TIE interceptors, only to be ambushed by TIE bombers who level her home and send them retreating into hyperspace.
We won’t discover who ordered the clearly intentioned attack, but my guess is Moff Gideon, the season one and two baddie and architect behind the Night of a Thousand Tears, which destroyed Mandalore. The next sequence may give us a hint as we head off to the metropolitan planet of Coruscant — the location of many a prequel settings. Here we find Dr. Pershing, the man responsible for young Grogu’s midichlorian testings and captivity. Dr. Pershing is now a participant of the New Republic’s amnesty program, which rehabilitates people who worked for the Empire.
He addresses a crowd of well-to-do privileged folk —who simply can’t keep the changing governments straight — and explains that he’d begun his work for the Empire with good intentions. When he was young, his mother had died but she could have been saved by simple organ cloning. It was the Empire who twisted his work to more nefarious Force-sensitive clones and baby Grogu torture. He remains devoted to the amnesty program and his commitment to help the New Republic however he can.
He meets fellow members of the amnesty program, including Elia Kane — now known as G-68 (because the rehabilitation program issues letter and number designations instead of names for some reason? Maybe to protect their anonymity? Not very humane…but…whatevs). The Empire veterans smoke and joke over memories of eating the Empire’s equivalent of an MRE, reminiscing over the yellow crackers the way we salivate thinking of jalapeño cheddar cheese, and it’s clear from the beginning that there’s more to ol’ G-68 than meets the eye. With two of Moff Gideon’s crew members sitting at the table, the vets share rumors of his fate: A mind flayer? New Republic War Tribunal? Escape from justice?
That night, she leaves an Imperial box of yellow crackers outside Pershing’s door, and soon she encourages him to continue his work. “For the good of the New Republic” and all. When he asks the amnesty program for permission to continue his work, he is denied. Then when he discovers the New Republic is destroying perfectly salvageable Empire equipment, the waste of it all finally gets to him and he takes Elia Kane up on her offer to head out of bounds to an Imperial scrapyard to salvage equipment for a remote laboratory.
After successfully evading authorities, sneaking out into restricted areas, jumping off a train, and robbing an old Star Destroyer, they are caught — only to discover that Kane set Pershing up. She’s been working for the amnesty program the whole time and had set out to prove that Pershing was still brainwashed by the Empire.
When he is brought in for a gentle-we-promise mind flaying, Kane stays behind and turns up the dial, turning his dreamy mental calibration up to an apparently painful and possibly damaging maximum voltage.
What’s her motive or objective? Is she truly working for the New Republic or does she remain loyal to the Empire and/or Moff Gideon? We will most likely have to wait to find out.
The episode ends back with our Mandalorians as Djarin brings Bo-Katan to the Children of the Watch, who acknowledge that both Djarin and Bo-Katan redeemed themselves in the living waters of Mandalore and, as they have yet to remove their helmets since the ordeal, are accepted back into the Tribe. This was Din Djarin’s hope — and for a moment, the religion of her childhood may also have a pull as she is surrounded by her people once more. Perhaps after seeing the mythosaur, she is reconsidering The Way.
Or perhaps she is just continuing to calculate what she needs to do to retake her place as ruler of the Mandalorians once again.