Chapter 3: The Sin
Tonight’s episode of Star Wars: The Mandalorian was kind of The Empire Strikes Back of the series so far. I don’t mean that as a value judgment as much as in what it meant for the hero. It was the episode where the hero is tempted. Wrong choices are made and there’s a price to be paid for giving into greed and sacrificing one’s self for the prize. But there’s a cost for the game in which our hero plays and Chapter 3 directly addresses the toll on the hero’s humanity. The Mando disappointed and thrilled me in one episode. Usually when I watch TV I feel dead inside. Nothing. Star Wars: The Mandalorian’s first three chapters gives me a lot and I think it’s evident by its ability to make me hate, love and admire the hero in one episode.
While fans are in love with “baby Yoda,” it occurred to me how good this season’s bounty “topic” is. It is pretty much perfect. Everyone is obsessed with the little green critter to such an extent that we care about what happens in the season. With season 2 currently filming now, I hope however this one ends and whatever the drive of season 2 happens to be, it had better be as good as “baby Yoda!” And that’s ultimately why chapter 3 of season 1 works so well for me. We care about the child, so we are disappointed in The Mando for doing the wrong thing and turning him in. We are elated when he doesn’t blast off with the next bounty puck and turns around and then fights for what is ultimately right. It is kind of what worked out so well for Han Solo and Lando Calrissian as heroes and we see it here with this new guy.
The Series Moves Beyond Character Resets Now
This was the second time we had an episode end with The Mando connecting with the little green baby only to have his focus and resolve return with the current episode. At the end of Chapter 2 we see him shaking the baby’s bassinet to make sure it is still living and breathing. We start Chapter 3 with The Mando not letting the child play with shifter cap as he wants to cut off any emotional connection to the commodity. Thankfully this episode shows us that the turmoil is over and it was actually pretty well spaced out in the end, to the show’s credit.
The Mandalorian takes the Beskar from the imperials in the “ice cream maker” similar to what we saw Wilrow Hood running with on Bespin in The Empire Strikes Back which was pretty funny considering how different that moment is going to look to me when I see in the sixth episode of The Skywalker Saga now. It was cool how we see one small bit of that given to The Mando and what it allows him to do with it. When we see the device open up with stacks of it, we understand the temptation that’s at play.
The Forge Enclave
While the forging of armor is really well done in the series, I would have found it slightly boring by itself if not for how it was edited with flashbacks of his childhood upon ever clank against the armor. Without that I would have been bored, I’m just not that type of fan. But I can see how to some those moments are probably extremely awesome on their own. Thankfully the masterful editing choices and direction brought it together and it worked liked a charm. The editing and directing where so well done in this (I’m really jazzed Debra Chow is taking on the Obi-Wan series even more after this episode as Obi-Wan’s PTSD is probably going to play in similar yet unique ways if they take that road).
In Star Wars: The Clone Wars if you recall those episodes revolving around Mandalorians, you’ll remember the armor pieces in the architecture everywhere in that world’s culture. I liked how the forging of the chest piece played on this design idea directly with the two doors that lead to the shelter that saves The Mando being the same as the classic Mando chest piece. It is almost as if in that moment, in that bomb shelter, he’s entombed in the armor from then on metaphorically.
What I did really like was the enclave calling him out for using tainted money, especially the Heavy Infanty Mando. I liked how he rejected his signet because the creature wasn’t killed in honor and he had help from his enemy (and we learn the Reek-like creature was called a Mudhorn). We clearly see that these people and our hero have a code. Even when The Mando fights the Heavy Infantry Mando, they don’t murder each other because their numbers are low and it matters that they exist and they aren’t just brutes with no brains, in a way.
Code Versus Code
I thought it was rather smart how The Mando’s code is directly placed in opposition to the code of the guild. We saw friction in that the bounty hunter could not reconcile his culture’s code as a Mandalorian with that of the Bounty Hunter’s Guild. One is trying to save kids, redeem itself after being torn apart by the Empire and the other is willing to sell a kid for a sexy couple of months in a hot tub with a Twi’lek. The Mando tried to have it both ways and his people criticized him. Everyone hated him, even his own people in this episode. So he had to choose between his culture or his guild and when made the right choice, his people rewarded him by showing up for the end battle and buying him time to escape with the child.
I was really afraid for Carl Weather’s Greef Karga. For a time I thought he was going to die. But I really loved that the Beskar acted as armor to save his life. I also think it is kind of a testament to Carl Weathers being a badass that I should have hated him but I really didn’t want him to die. I also think with this episode being about the friction between codes, The Mando and Karga will have to reconcile at some point, especially since they inevitably need one another. I’m looking forward to more Greef Karga in future chapters of the series, where I hope his character atones for being so callous as to not care if they eat the baby or whatever. I think he’s slightly more interesting after this episode and their dynamic is something I want to see explored more in the future.
Dr. Pershing is pretty much a good guy it seems. That’s kind of cool. I suspect he will be the reason we uncover exactly what “The Client” wants with “baby Yoda.” It was interesting and telling that The Mando didn’t kill him because he wasn’t a child murderer. With the bassinet in the trash, there was a moment where you imagined exactly what those imperialist warlords might have done with the child.
Another Mando fact we learned on screen is that the enclave are not to show their faces to anyone. It really made Jango Fett feel outside of Mandalorian culture as he removes his mask in arenas full of living beings as a guest of honor at the end of Attack of the Clones. Boba Fett and his father not being Mandalorians has always been a little weird for me and for the first time they feel so very different to me in a way that makes that sit better. I think we can also rule out that the Boba Fett looking guy in the enclave as being Boba after this episode.
The Mandos do not remove their helmets and they do not go above ground too often at the same time. I hope we learn more about where they fall in the big picture. I like how they Greef Karga mentions going to The New Republic and filing a complaint. I’m guessing Mandalorians are not appreciated too much by anyone considering how The Clone Wars washed out. The Mando’s see their world having been shattered by The Empire and no doubt the Republic sees them as important players in the rise of the Empire itself.
The episode ends with The Mando an enemy of everyone but his people which is a good place for him to be in and still remain interesting. As he lifted off and the Heavy Infanty Mando with the rocket pack flew by, it was both extremely corny and extremely badass at the same time. I loved that corny moment. The Heavy Infantry Mando is played by Tait Fletcher who played the alpha trawler in first episode (“you spilled my drink” guy).
I Need More Mando!
This episode was the most “regular” in a sense. I liked it better than the first but it wasn’t as fun as the first. But in the logical progression of the story, it was very well done and very satisfying. I can’t wait to see what happens next and I think that’s because chapter 3 was a quality piece of television and a fantastic addition to the Star Wars universe that brought the Mando culture to the forefront without it being too heavy handed and boring. The stakes are higher than every before and I am loving the forward momentum.