The third episode of The Mandalorian season three is enjoyable on the whole, with a fascinating glimpse into the New Republic (NR), but this turn into Andor comes somewhat out of leftfield, with Din and Bo bookending the episode, with the bulk of it spent with Doctor Pershing on a rather predictable mission.
The opening of the show begins with Bo-Katan not telling Din about the Mythosaur, a decision that is yet to be fully explained. At the moment, it’s a rather confusing one, and seems like it will only generate more conflict between the two when Din inevitably finds out.
On their way back to Bo’s home, they’re ambushed by TIE Interceptors and Bombers. It’s unclear who owns them, a carrier isn’t shown, but Bo notes it’s too many for a petty Imperial warlord. It’s like this is the audience’s first tease of Thrawn, as the Interceptors and Bombers work together to destroy Bo’s castle, and a massive wave of Interceptors reinforce the Bombers in a rare display of Imperial strategy.
The sequence is fast paced and visually engaging, and it’s appreciated that the word Interceptor is dropped, and not Fighter. It’s a small detail but goes a long way to show the care that Jon Favreau has for the world. Destroying Bo’s castle is a surprising development, and creates a brilliant reason as to why she can’t go back to moping.
The show cuts to Doctor Pershing, a clone engineer, during a talk about cloning, in the same building from Revenge of the Sith where Palpatine spoke about Darth Plagueis, a fun callback. Once he exits the speech, he’s met by the elite, who don’t care about the ruling power or Outer Rim. It’s a small but great insight into why the NR fell, and a great call back to Mayfield’s speech in season two.
It’s here the audience gets a proper look at Amnesty housing, where former Imperials get to spend their days. This humane treatment demonstrates the virtues of the Rebellion, though calling them numbers is still degrading. These similarities to the Empire build up during the episode.
There is an extended sequence of Pershing bonding with another former Imperial, Elia Kane, but it drags. This is the bit that feels the most out of place in The Mandalorian, and more at home in Andor, though with slightly less complexity. It’s obvious this would have been in Rangers of the New Republic had the show not been cancelled, and so has to be jammed here to set up things for later.
Eventually, the pair end up on a decommissioned Star Destroyer (the Coruscant Shipyards is an impressive sight, with tons of wrecked Star Destroyers), to steal cloning technology. They bond a bit more, but it’s revealed that Kane set Pershing up, a predictable betrayal and again something audiences will have to understand the reasons why.
Pershing is hooked up to a mind flayer (unfortunately not Imperial propaganda, as Greef Karga claimed in season one), and while the NR aren’t looking to fry him – they even have a rather upbeat Mon Calamari explain it’ll be painless, fun even – Kane quickly dials it up to dangerous levels. The fact the NR have mind flayers at all is slightly concerning, again reminiscent of the Empire.
Audiences are treated to a final scene with Din and Bo, as they return to the Children of the Watch. As Bo has kept her helmet on ever since being in the Living Waters, both her and Din are welcomed into the cult. It’s a fantastic development, putting Bo in an awkward situation and setting up possibilities to explore her own checkered past.
Overall, this episode felt like it wanted to be two different shows, The Mandalorian and Andor. In a somewhat ironic twist of fate, the New Republic is stealing Din’s show, much like he stole The Book of Boba Fett last year. The look into how the government functions is great worldbuilding, though it still dragged somewhat.