The latest episode of The Mandalorian cracks a window into the New Republic with a shift in POV, but it also leaves Bo-Katan in an interesting new predicament.
This recap of The Mandalorian Season 3 Episode 3, “Chapter 19: The Convert”, contains spoilers.
The big takeaway of The Mandalorian Season 3, Episode 2 was the confirmed existence of Mythosaurs, gigantic dragon-like creatures, thought to be extinct, that Mandalorians used to ride into battle. You’d think that’d be a pretty big deal, especially given what it might mean for the future of Mandalore and the Armorer’s prophecies, but it’s barely mentioned in “Chapter 19: The Convert”. Mando didn’t even see it, and Bo-Katan keeps her glimpse of it to herself.
On the plus side, though, Mando is redeemed. He has bathed in the Living Waters (and taken a sample of them for proof), and in the eyes of the Creed, he is Mandalorian once more. With that out of the way, we can move on.
The Mandalorian Season 3 Episode 3 Recap
Unusually for this show, we don’t see much more of Mando, Grogu, and Bo-Katan in the episode. When they return to Kalevala, a squadron of TIE interceptors winks into existence and pursues them. But it’s a bit of a distraction so that a fleet of bombers can drop enough ordnance on Bo-Katan’s castle to reduce it to smoking rubble. Now homeless, and not thrilled about the situation, she’s forced to leave with Din to join his secret cohort, the Tribe – again, not ideal for such a staunch traditionalist, but it’s better than being blown up.
Why is Doctor Pershing on Coruscant?
Most of the action this week, though, is set on Coruscant, giving us our most lingering look yet at the inner workings of the New Republic, an element of Star Wars worldbuilding that has been criminally underexplored. Our POV character through this little diversionary outing – a holdover, I’m reliably told, from Rangers of the New Republic, a planned show set within the same time period that never got written and is now having its core elements folded into The Mandalorian – is Dr. Penn Pershing, who you’ll recall as being an associate of The Client who tried to acquire Grogu in Season 1. He’s a geneticist and cloning expert who has been granted amnesty by the New Republic through a special program that is designed to rehabilitate former Imperials.
This, reminiscent of the Allies recruiting Nazi engineers after World War 2, provides an interesting excuse to crack a window into the New Republic while also digging into Pershing’s psychology. The downside is that it foregrounds a betrayal that is so obvious it actually undercuts some of the tension.
Pershing, see, is one of many, and one of his new contemporaries, G68, was an officer serving aboard Moff Gideon’s ship. It’s obvious she doesn’t mean well from the beginning, but it takes a while to reveal the deception in full, and doesn’t bother to fully justify it, which will be a frustrating experience for those of a certain persuasion. Still, I didn’t mind it, mostly for the details that are revealed about the New Republic’s efforts to reintegrate old Imperial officers and intellectuals, who undergo regular, very sterile interviews with droids who ask them if they ever feel any resentment towards their colleagues or superiors, and are given repetitive, mundane jobs to destroy old Imperial technology and equipment, as if burying that stuff might somehow prevent it from any being used for nefarious purposes again.
Pershing is frustrated by all this. He wants to continue his research because he believes – earnestly, I think – that he can use it to help the New Republic, and he could teach them how to salvage the old tech that he’s being forced to discard. This frustration is what allows him to be seduced by G68’s ideas to violate the limits of their amnesty and break into the scrap yards where a decommissioned Star Destroyer holds the mobile lab equipment Pershing needs to continue his work in secret.
Who is G68?
During the excursion, G68 identifies herself as Elia Kane, a former Imperial communications officer. As they’re leaving, they’re ambushed by New Republic authorities and it becomes clear that Elia has helped to frame Pershing, for nebulous reasons. He’s interrogated and, eventually, placed into a device that is quite clearly a Mind Flayer but that has been rebranded to something softer and more acceptable for use in the New Republic. It’s much the same thing, though. Pershing’s thinking is to be rewritten through electroshock therapy. A smug Elia turns up the device to dangerous levels and watches on, presumably to make sure that it fries Pershing beyond all recognition.
We do return to the Mandalorians at the end of “Chapter 19”. Din takes Bo-Katan to his secret covert, where they’re initially given the cold shoulder by Paz Vizsla but are eventually accepted by the Armorer, apostates no longer, having bathed in the Living Waters of Mandalore and returned with proof. Bo-Katan, as long as she keeps her helmet on, is now a member of the Tribe. This is the Way.
You can stream The Mandalorian Season 3 Episode 3, “Chapter 19: The Convert” exclusively on Disney+.