*Warning: the following article contains spoilers for episode three of The Mandalorian – Season 3*
We finally have our first incredible episode of The Mandalorian – Season 3. After two fine but not spectacular reintroductions to the world of The Mandalorian, episode three moves away from the main storyline of Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) and Bo-Katan Kryze (Katee Sackhoff) to focus on the aftermath of the fall of the Empire through two minor characters respectively introduced in seasons one and two of the show.
Like episode three of The Last of Us (also starring Pedro Pascal), the show starts with Djarin and Bo-Katan in the aftermath of episode two’s encounter with the Mythosaur. As they fly back to Bo-Katan’s planet, they are attacked by a mysterious enemy who destroys Katan’s home. The action is thrilling and superbly captured by ace cinematographer Dean Cundey (who, if you pay close attention, makes a cameo appearance later down the line). I’m willing to bet the enemy who orchestrated the attack is Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito) since the rest of the episode focuses on two characters that used to work for him: Dr. Pershing (Omid Abtahi) and Elia Kane (Katy M. O’Brian).
Kane was briefly introduced in Season Two (I cannot remember what she did), while Pershing had a pretty significant arc through both seasons of The Mandalorian. Here, he has difficulty adapting to his new life as an officer of the New Republic on Coruscant, doing office-level tasks that have demoted his intellect. The whole affair feels like an episode of Andor. Instead of moving the story forward significantly through endless cameos and multiple action sequences, the episode takes time to develop its world and characters.
Coruscant has always been thoroughly developed throughout Star Wars (I have no idea why we’re still exploring worlds that have already been explored quite well!), but The Mandalorian does give an interesting perspective of what happened in the aftermath of the fall of the Empire. Director Lee Isaac Chung of the Academy Award-nominated Minari helms this episode with terrific intimacy, giving proper time for its characters to develop and craft an interesting relationship with Pershing and Kane.
Pershing seemed like a complex character but was barely developed throughout the series. Here, it’s his time to shine, with Abtahi delivering a richly-layered performance and developing an interesting chemistry with O’Brian, who is equally as good as Kane. Of course, Kane cannot be trusted as soon as she appears. But Pershing’s instincts to help the greater good of the New Republic takes the better of him, and he goes on a mission to steal a mobile lap from a fallen Imperial ship to conduct experiments.
Unfortunately, Kane sets Pershing into a trap. He gets arrested by officers of the New Republic and has his memory wiped. However, the device belonged to the Empire, and Kane reverts it to a more dangerous setting. Is she working for Gideon? It’s likely, but the villain may not appear until the series’ tail end. Still, the episode acts as filler but gives great character development to two side antagonists who never had a chance to shine. They do now, and the results are terrific.
The episode begins with Din and Bo-Katan being “redeemed” by The Armorer (Emily Swallow), who receives proof that they have bathed in the living waters. Bo-Katan will eventually remove her helmet, but for now, she will be accompanied by other Mandalorians and Din Djarin inside the new Creed. What will their next adventure be? It’s unclear at this point, though one suspects that Gideon will be making his grand comeback and that Kane could be Gideon’s new second-in-command. Either way, this episode was very good, and I’m shocked that we’re back on track.
The third episode of The Mandalorian – Season 3 is now streaming on Disney+.