Spoilers for episode three of The Mandalorian season 3
Basically not nice that I’m hijacking one of the better world-building episodes of The Mandalorian first for a possible lesson for another series. But I do have to start a quick campaign that Katy O’Brian, who plays amnesty officer G68 in this episode, would be the perfect Abby for the confirmed second and third seasons of HBO’s The Last of Us. At least visually and physically. Based on her solid performance in this episode, I can’t yet tell if she has the acting range needed for a decidedly more inscrutable plot like The Last of Us Part 2 is. But visually…let’s put it this way, I had a hard time thinking about anything else while watching this episode.
The other thing was how reminiscent this was of a less precisely observed and less detailed played version of Andor. Don’t get me wrong: I like the episode for the things it tries to do. The idea of the ex-imperial amnesty program is unusually interested in the practice of this world, which I give her credit for and which is also what I loved so much about Andor. I also like some little things, like how reintegrated ex-officers talk about what they miss about the Empire and that the New Republic isn’t entirely without fascist tendencies either. And I loved the detail that you could theoretically touch the top of the tallest mountain in all of Coruscant in the pedestrian precinct. These are all moments and motives that do this universe good, have something to add to it, rather than just borrowing from what came before.
In the overall implementation, however, there are still worlds between what has been seen and the highly political, uncomfortable Andor. Well, against the background of this series, it is probably hardly possible to do it any differently tonally alone. Nevertheless, I would have liked to have done without the logic holes – the train ride, the “treatment” at the end without supervision or technical security measures – which strained credibility without need. And you can also tell from the many rather clumsy social interaction scenes (the chat after the doctor’s speech was hard to endure in words and pictures) that we are still moving in a series here that the screenplay likes to leave five straight. The fact that the representation of the world looks extremely artificial again and some effects, especially on Coruscant, exude heavy prequel vibes… for free, we don’t know it any differently on this branch of Star Wars.
Otherwise, I enjoyed the trip to the center of this universe, both as a way to take stock of the world and as a can opener for a continuation of the larger storyline that started in season one. And as a superficial but not unexciting guesswork as to the sincerity of G68. I liked the twist of smuggling her in as a double agent in the amnesty program to erase Doctor Pershing’s dangerous knowledge, although I’m not quite sure why she couldn’t have simply let him disappear from the junkyard. The ruthlessness – and the muscles! – she would have had to.
On the A-level there was a nice space battle at the beginning and at the end a hidden praise of religious fundamentalism, which makes a little dim for atheists, as Bo-Katan feels the warmth of Din Djarin’s congregation. I’m not quite sure where this narrative thread is going to lead, but I hope the helmet will continue to sit loosely on Sackhoff’s shoulders from now on. I had genuine hopes after the season 2 finale that Din Djarin would have an awakening moment and break away from the silly custom. If only because I like to see Pedro Pascal act. Instead, we now have to worry about whether the next character will convert directly, which is also the title of the episode – in a nice reflection of Dr. Pershing’s way – suggested. Let’s see what’s to come.
So bottom line, an episode that superficially did little for Mando’s story, but could later turn out to be a key moment. It’s nice that they dared to do something, even if Andor is in a class of its own.