“The Sin” tests Mando’s morals as he is forced to make a decision about how far he’ll go for profit – and how much further he might go for what’s right.
This recap of The Mandalorian Season 1, Episode 3, “The Sin”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
Pedro Pascal’s Mandalorian doesn’t have a name – not one he’s willing to share, anyway. He doesn’t really have a face, for that matter, just a polished, iconic helmet. Behind it could be anyone, and among this show’s few detractors, almost all of them have complained about not being able to connect to the character. I think they’re missing the point. I also think they’re missing the nuances of what Pascal does with his voice and body language, and how the writing and direction are working to build a character who doesn’t have to emote to be understood. The Mandalorian Episode 3, “The Sin”, is about establishing who Mando is behind the Beskar.
We already know he’s the kind of guy to rescue a 50-year-old baby Yoda – I will refer to the critter as such until I can’t any longer, and no, I don’t care if it’s wrong – and carry him around the universe by the scruff of his adorable wrinkly neck, but “The Sin” wants us to believe he’s also the kind of guy who’ll turn that cute green nipper over to a nakedly evil Imperial who wants him dead – at the very least. But we know he isn’t willing to do that, in part because he couldn’t continue to be the hero if he was, but also because all his characterization so far tells us so.
When Mando hands Baby Yoda over to the Client (Werner Herzog) in The Mandalorian Episode 3, we know it’s a trick, even if seeing the little guy whimper as he floats away still feels like a betrayal. When Greef Karga (Carl Weathers) tells him to relax and move on, we know he won’t. When mention is made of countless other bounty hunters who all possess the same puck, we know what the show is doing. It’s the perfect setup, really; a case-of-the-week format with all the overarching narrative and worldbuilding details left to percolate in the background.
But first, we must get there. Mando returns to the Armorer (Emily Swallow) with a mountain of Beskar steel, but bristles at the idea of taking pride in his kill of the Mudhorn, since he was helped in the endeavor by “an enemy”. Ha! I still love the gamey conceit of Mando returning to his hideout for upgrades between missions – the one in The Mandalorian Episode 3 is a cool defensive toy that he deploys a little later, Mandalorians seemingly possessed of an inexhaustible supply of awesome killing tools.
But what’s especially great about all this is how it, organically, reveals more information about Mandalorian culture, even if what’s left of it is confined to this secretive little commune. Melting Beskar down for the Foundlings shows that these people are intent on persevering, but their strong anti-Empire sentiment suggests they’re only willing to do it their own way, however long, arduous, and clandestine it might be. Mando working for a faction of the Empire proves a point of contention among the Mandalorians and creates a scuffle, which nobody really bats an eyelid at – not that you’d know if they did. But this is all part of “the way”. The way is simplistic but immovable. It is who these people are and how they live.
Despite any internal conflict, adherence to the way is what unites the Mandalorians, and we see how they come together after Mando stages a stealthy rescue of Baby Yoda from the Client and his Stormtroopers and then gets embroiled in a standoff with the local bounty hunter population, who turn against him for violating the Guild’s rules. This John Wick inspired turn sees the Mandalorians swooping into the fray with their trademark jetpacks and facilitating Mando’s escape from the planet, with Greef taking a non-fatal blaster bolt for good measure.
There’s still a fair bit that’s unclear about what exactly Baby Yoda’s significance is, though Dr. Pershing (Omid Abtahi), who claims unconvincingly to have his best interests at heart, suggests that there’s something to extract from him. No matter, though, since Mando is able to spirit him away for further adventures. The Mandalorian clan will have to relocate, but they won’t mind – they helped their own to do the right thing, proving that even for an unscrupulous intergalactic bounty hunter, there is indeed a bridge too far.