Heading into this episode I heard that there was going to be little to no Mando. It was a rather divisive episode based off conversations I overheard at work. I was rather surprised when Mando was there in the first scene. He wakes up from his slight doze and immediately thinks about how he has been redeemed. He gives not a second thought to almost dying down there.

Bo-Katan is there. Yoo-hoo, she deserves a thank you. The first think Bo asks Mando is if he saw anything alive down there. Mando can’t think of anything, but if we remember back to the end of Chapter 18, we definitely saw the eye of a pretty huge beast.

Mando makes sure to grab proof of the water in the mines. This will be coming into play later.

So Mando and Grogu get onto Bo-Katan’s ship and everyone is going to go on their separate adventures before we cut to whatever plot line doesn’t have Mando in it. This is where this episode is going.

WRONG! Holy shit. I am so glad that I was wrong! We get the fantastic sound of imperial TIE Fighters. Well, technically Interceptors. But still, YES! This is the second time we have had a space fight; let’s not forget Mando taking down the bandits in the season premiere.

The good guys are taken by surprise, but the tide turns when Mando pulls his best JACKASS impression being shuttled out of Bo-Katan’s ship. He is in the air dropping down to his own ship while the Interceptors are flying above him. It is the best still shot of season three thus far. Just stunning.

Mando gets in his N1 and damn this ship is nice. He pulls some cool Top Gun shit and decimates a few Inceptors before the rest pull away. Bo-Katan and Mando think that the cost is clear, but flames and smoke are on the horizon. Turns out that some imperial forces are blowing up Bo-Katan’s home. She gets red with rage and begins to chase after the remaining Interceptors, but before she gets too far, Mando lets her know that their radars are blowing up with enemy aircraft. There are too many of them. The heroes leave the atmosphere being chased, but the escape to a safe place that Mando knows. Where that is, we don’t know yet.

Really need to state again just how good this introduction was. All before the opening title slate. Just loved it.

So here we are now on Coruscant. We are seeing Coruscant after the fall of the empire. This is the New Republic. This is the government set up after Emperor Palpatine died. Yes, I am not acknowledging the Rise of Skywalker horrendous storyline.

We are reintroduced to Dr. Penn Pershing who we saw in season one. He was the reluctant empire-employed scientist who was working on Grogu when Mando first handed him over. Now he is part of the re-assimilation process and part of his path to retribution is speaking to the whole political republic senate about the powers of cloning and what you used to be working on. Pershing shows a lot of regret for what he did, but you can tell he still has the passion for the line of work he was in, not necessarily the job itself.

The back-patting and congratulations is a bit heavy-handed and shows Pershing being out of his comfort zone. It is also poking fun at politicians and their self-congratulations personalities.

Doctor Pershing lives in Amnesty housing. Picture a college dorm lifestyle with a sprinkle of prison vibes. Like the Eastchester Apartments for you Iona College University alumni. It is interesting that all of the former Empire employees in this amnesty program are referred to as numbers and not names. They are just cogs in the machine, which one could say they were like in the Empire as well.

Pershing is welcomed to have a drink with some fellow amnesty housing mates, and the clone obsessed medical professional sees a face he knows. He sees Elia Kane, a former worker with him on Moff Gideon’s ship. Both of these two individuals were under the employee of the most evil general from the remnants of the Empire. Their awkward eye contact leads to speculation from others as to what happened to Gideon after he was captured. There are heavy mentions of a mind flare. Keep that in mind.

Pershing and Elia (after a cute gesture of biscuits) go out into Coruscant and take in some sight-seeing. Pershing is an awkward man but Elia is gently guiding him in a world he is not very familiar with at all. This is strictly a plutonic relationship. No romance at all. Wee see them talk about the Mountain Peak Umate, the only place on the planet where you actually see the planet. Nature can exist on the ecumenopolis (the word to describe the center of the galaxy). Among the conversations Pershing and Elia talk about is cloning, and the rules around it are very great. Elia makes the good point that blindly following orders and rules is what got them in trouble the first time around. Elia is basically saying live a little.

Part of the process of being reintegrated into society means working a dead end job. Pershing is getting down in the dumps doing his archiving. He is archiving things that are programed to be destroyed. He pleads that this equipment could still be useful, but because of its past association, there is no chance of this happening. Pershing is referred to as a number the majority of this show, and his job is that of a robot to just log things and churn along without asking any questions. Pershing himself does ask his robot parole officer if he could continue his work on cloning on his free time, but that is not allowed due to the Coruscant accords. Who wrote those accords?

Fueled by frustration, Pershing reaches out to Elia and they are going to go and get his old mobile lab station. He is going to break the rules in order to do what he things is right.

Pershing is really bad at being bad. He can not keep things together. He is staring at people in the train station, talking awkwardly with everyone, and raising suspicions by simply existing. Elia is trying to calm him down saying that she has done this before and this is where she got the biscuits that were at Pershing’s front door. That calms him down a little, but mainly he is a nervous wreck with a wrinkly smile on his face because he is having fun doing something wrong, knowingly this time around.

There is this really awkward train sequence where Elia and Pershing are running away from a robot who is not rushing at all to see why these people are running away from him. I feel like this robot would have more of a sense of urgency. When the pair jump off the train and we get the long pull away shot of the Imperial scrap yard….yea that was pretty awesome. I liked that a lot.

As we are seeing the inside doom-and-gloom of this Imperial Starship, I had the random thought. How big is the remote working kit that Pershing needs? If he was working on cloning, I feel like you’d need a clean, full lab rather than just a briefcase. Not sure how that is going to look.

Well, he has a giant briefcase for it. There is the answer to that. While he is packing it, Pershing is telling Elia about his life journey. This is setting up for something bad because we are getting to know this secondary character too well. He is becoming red shirt in Star Trek guy.

Oh no, there is someone else on the ship. Let’s have the antenna ears go up. Was it suspicious that Elia was able to navigate all of this really well and then they walked out wide in the open onto the ship without seemingly a car in the world? Wonder what all this commotion could have been. I will tell you what, it is not the ship settling.

CALL THE POLICE! Oh wait, they are here already.

Turns out that Elia is a cop. She is an informant for the assimilation crew. So this is kind of fucked up. She is the one who talked him into going back on the Imperial Ship. She is the one who implanted the idea of working on cloning again. Elia, she seems like an asshole.

Oh wait, it would appear that she definitely is kind of a bitch. Pershing is tied down to what looks like a surgery table and he is going to be hooked up to a mind flare. Remember when they were talking about it in the start? About Gideon? Pershing is getting that same treatment now. It was supposed to be only light mind flaring, but turns out that Amnesty Officer G68 is a real bitch. She is leant the opportunity to leave and not watch her friend be tortured, but she offers to stay. She stays, and then cranks up the mind flare and sends Pershing’s memory into la-la land. Is this orders? Is this her own conviction? Is she working for herself or somebody else.

One thing about Elia, she eats a biscuit like an absolute savage.

Alright, we are back with the people we care about. Din Djarin, Bo-Katan and Grogu have survived the space flight skirmish and they have arrived at a Mandalorian hideout spot. Mando says that they are going to be safe, but the faces (that we can not see) don’t seem too friendly.

Bo-Katan announces herself and she is rebuffed. In fact Mando is rebuffed too. They are both told that they are not welcome because they have left the way. This is where Mando drops the microphone. I have proof, BITCH.

The armorer is doing her thing smelting armorer when Mando and Bo-Katan walk in. She is asking if they have been redeemed, and Mando holds out the proof he gathered. The Armorer puts the living water into some random water and there is a shiny blue shimmer. Mando was telling the truth. He has been redeemed.

Well…turns out that Bo-Katan is redeemed as well! Unwillingly. Also random question, is this the first time The Armorer and Bo-Katan have met? Is this somewhere in the lore? Also loved the decision to have it be from Bo-Katan’s POV entering the cave.

The end of this episode sees Bo-Katan and Din Djarin getting silents pats on the back and nods of congratulations. Compare this to when we first say Dr. Pershing among the political figures at the start of this episode. You have the opposite with Din coming back home to the culture he understands, but Bo-Katan is in somewhat of the same boat, being welcomed back into a world she doesn’t know and doesn’t necessarily agree with everything about.

How is Bo-Katan supposed to feel like that? How fast will she take off her helmet, or will she return to her own way? I just have a hard time thinking that she wants to be redeemed.

I can not decide if I really liked this episode or not. The tone felt off and the twist was predictable. The score was more whimsical on Coruscant when Pershing would talk to Elia where as if this twist was meant to pack a punch, there should not have been carnival-esq music I know I am thinking of when they were literally eating popsicles which also was just a weird decision. Maybe it was supposed to capture a bit of wonder from Pershing, testing his limits now that he is free of the Empire shackles; if that was a deliberate choice than I don’t agree with it too much.

Seeing a glimpse at the New Republic was interesting. The assimilation process has more legs but they didn’t delve too much in. It was a very surface level look at everything. It never got down to the nitty-gritty. I wish I could have seen Pershing be brought in, sat down for assimilation and maybe have him be part of new history classes that can further paint the idea of white washing away the past even if lessons and tech can be used from it.

The Mandalorian streams on Wednesdays on Disney+.

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