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The Mandalorian season 3 episode 3 recap (2023) – unwitting redemption

The Mandalorian season 3 episode 3 is a little weaker than the previous two episodes, as focus largely shifts away from Din Djarin.

The Mandalorian season 3 episode 3 recap

Our Verdict

Is it The Mandalorian or The Pointless Side-Character Show?

Some might argue Din Djarin is being a bit ungrateful. He keeps going on about bathing in the Living Waters in the Mines of Mandalore, but once he’s submerged in it, suddenly it’s a problem, just because he’s drowning? Poor from him. Still, episode 3 picked up pretty much directly from where episode 2 left on, with Bo-Katan saving Din’s life. But he seems pretty okay with his near-death experience, as he took a sample from the water and confirmed it was indeed the Living Waters of Mandalore, and thus was redeemed.

Now might’ve been a good time for Bo (who has been inadvertently redeemed herself, by the way) to mention the huge-ass mythosaur she saw underwater while saving Din, but she said nothing. Can we really trust her? Before we have time to ruminate on this, Bo, Din, and Baby Yoda are shot up by TIE Interceptors, who also destroy Bo’s home in the process. Maybe she isn’t the most honest of Mandalorian characters, but it feels like Bo-Katan really can’t catch a break, right? Anyway, after a fun-but-fairly-generic battle scene, the TIE Interceptors are defeated, and the trio plunge into lightspeed.

We then spend the majority of the episode on Coruscant, where we meet Doctor Pershing. It’s established that his past is… shady, to put it lightly, but he’s giving a testimony to the New Republic, who are willing to set him free if he works for them as part of their Amnesty Program. Adding to the melting pot of redemption, Doctor Pershing says he’s happy to use “advanced cloning methods” to serve the New Republic, which sounds totally ethical and not a red flag at all.

He then meets other members of the Amnesty Program, but the most notable is G68, who, as Elia Kane, used to serve none other than Star Wars villain Moff Gideon. Despite being in cahoots with The Mandalorian’s Big Bad, G68 seems more keen to put her Imperial past behind her than Pershing does, who admits he misses being an Imperial scientist. Again, totally not a red flag or sign of things to come.

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After an awkward first day, which involves G68 pranking Doctor Pershing, the latter is interviewed. Pershing is still on the cloning thing, and asks if he can continue his research, but is reminded that the law under the New Republic prohibits this.

Still, the scientist seems reluctant to drop it, and he eventually convinces G68 to let him prove that his cloning work will benefit the New Republic, and she agrees to help him — even if it means breaking the terms of their new-found Amnesty. Pershing then whines that he can’t use old Imperial equipment anymore, and G68 accompanies him to the disposal yards to look for said equipment.

Katy M O'Brian as Elia Kane in The Mandalorian

They manage to get into an abandoned Star Destroyer, and Pershing seems to find the equipment they need, but then G68 reveals her true intentions. It turns out she’s been double-crossing Pershing this whole time and planned to set him up. Cue New Republic soldiers catching Pershing in the act and carting him away.

In a fun throwback to the animated series Star Wars Rebels, Pershing is placed in a behaviour modification/mind flayer device designed to make him act more deferential to the New Republic. Elia is congratulated for her work by a soldier, but once he leaves the room, she amps up the mind-control device to a dangerous level. At this point, I’ve lost count of red flags.

Omid Abtahi as Doctor Pershing in The Mandalorian

It feels like a lifetime has passed, but we finally catch up with Din and Bo-Katan before the episode ends. They land in a secret Mandalore hiding spot and run into Paz Visla and the rest of the Watch. Din insists he’s no longer an apostate after bathing in the Living Waters of Mandalore, and after providing a little tube of it to the Armorer, she verifies this and confirms that Din is not only redeemed, but Bo-Katan is too. This is the way, lads! And that’s where we leave episode 3.

Here’s the thing — I love politics. Finding out more about the, er, interesting approach of The New Republic is eye-opening and really helps to encompass the moral grey that even the ‘good guys’ are inhabiting. It aligns well with animated series The Clone Wars or Star Wars Rebels, which also explored the questionable ethos of the ‘old’ and New Republic in more detail. But all of this comes with a huge caveat. I didn’t tune in to see a TV series about the New Republic, Dr Pershing and cloning ethics. I tuned in to see the Mandalorian (and Baby Yoda, admittedly).

But like with The Book of Boba Fett, it feels like The Mandalorian season 3 is another Star Wars series that struggles when it comes to sustaining focus. That isn’t to say all of this context isn’t valuable, and that episode 3 wasn’t interesting, but after episode 2 set the bar so high, it felt like I was wading through forty minutes of exposition treacle just to get a glimpse of the titular character.

Still, Baby Yoda did a funny gurgle thing that sounded like he was saying “This is the way,” so I’m willing to give this episode the benefit of the doubt. But if episode 3 and The Last of Us episode 9 have taught me anything, it’s to not trust any goddamn doctors.

For more from The Mandalorian check out our feature on why we love Baby Yoda, or learn about Greef Karga instead. Or, look ahead to the Andor season 2 release date.