The first episode of The Mandalorian season 3, titled The Apostate, picks up right where we left off in The Book of Boba Fett.
In a little over half an hour, the episode covered a significant stretch of incidents that is likely to lead straight into the main story from the next installment.
Here are the top 5 takeaways from The Mandalorian season 3 episode 1:
1) The Children of the Watch are still recruiting
The episode starts with the Armorer forging a new Mandalorian helmet. It is handed over to a youngling standing in the sea, who is then sworn to ‘The Way’ of the Creed. But before the boy could finish taking his oath, a leviathan emerges from the water and attacks the Mandalorians.
For a moment, it seems like we are watching a flashback of Din Djarin getting anointed as a member of the Creed. What makes it even more poetic is that the boy’s oath was interrupted right before he could repeat the vow to never take off his helmet.
However, squashing our speculation, Din Djarin soon appears in his newly commissioned N-1 Starfighter with Grogu in tow and saves the day by blasting a hole in the creature. As a side note, it is fun to notice that the show makes Mando kill an unsavory beast every time as a favor to someone who matters – the mudhorn in season 1 and the Krayt Dragon in season 2.
However, the heroic act does not earn him any favors with his cult. The Armorer declares he still remains banished for taking off his helmet, that too willingly.
The scene is a confirmation that the Children of the Watch are still actively recruiting new members and have a full ritual in place for the induction. In previous seasons, we were led to believe that the cult was down to the last few of its members. Other than the Armorer and Paz Vizsla, we haven’t seen others in action all that much, other than that time they helped Mando escape.
This scene proves the presumption otherwise.
2) Did Bo-Katan foreshadow The Mandalorian’s future?
When Din Djarin goes to House Kryze’s castle in Kalevala to meet Bo-Katan, he finds her desolate and abandoned by her troops. Mando asks if she has given up on the goal of taking Mandalore back. Bo-Katan says there’s no point to it if she doesn’t have the Darksaber anyway.
She asks Mando if he still holds the weapon. Upon affirmation, she tells him that he should lead the people instead.
Since there is almost no mention of Mandalore in the Star Wars sequel movies, the show has no distant storyline to connect with regarding the doomed planet’s future. We know Bo-Katan Kryze once wielded the Darksaber, but she lost it during the Purge of Mandalore. Moreover, she had not won it in combat but received it as a gift from Sabine Wren.
One wonders if Bo-Katan’s passing comment could truly become Din Djarin’s fate; he goes from being an ‘apostate’ of his Creed to the true leader that Mandalore needs.
But is there anything left of Mandalore to lead at all? We discuss this in the next point (and find out more in the next episode).
3) Mandalore may not be completely destroyed
Mandalore has long been a planet ravaged by war. Despite Duchess Satine Kryze’s pacifism, the planet continued to be ground zero for skirmishes between different factions. According to the official Star Wars website, after Darth Maul took over the Concordian sect of Death Watch and executed Satine, Mandalore saw even more violence.
It all ended in one massive tragedy on the Night of a Thousand Tears when Galactic forces purged the planet and left nothing behind. They used a form of orbital bombardment that crystallizes the surface of any planet and left Mandalore uninhabitable.
However, all may not be over yet. Din Djarin also presented a crystallized Mandalorian scripture to the Armorer and floated the idea that perhaps the planet’s ecosystem somehow fused with the chemicals in the crystal and survived the Purge.
If that is true, we may see a reviving Mandalore by the end of this season or next. Din Djarin has already charted his path to return to the iconic dome of Sundari and redeem himself by bathing in the underground water of the Mandalorian mines.
Tying in with our previous point, we might see Mando or whoever wields the Darksaber at the moment lead the planet to its former glory.
4) IG-11 could return – but as a friend or a foe?
IG-11, the killer droid who changed its ways after Kuiil’s reprogramming and nurturing, became an essential character in Season 1. It made a reappearance in the episode, but it was not the same IG-11 who gave his life to save everyone.
Keeping its sacrifice in mind, Nevarro’s High Magistrate Greef Karga had set up a statue made of its old salvaged parts. The Mandalorian decides he would need IG-11 to explore Mandalore thoroughly and tries to revive it. However, it goes pretty badly.
IG-11 immediately attempts to murder Grogu and persists with its goal till Karga’s protocol droid drops a bust statue of the magistrate on it smashing its head. The local Anzellans (Babu Frik’s species) try to bring him back alive with a less-murderous protocol. Eventually, they give up, but Mando says he is not willing to just yet.
All things considered, we might see more of Taika Waititi’s IG-11 in season 3. But whether he would be a friend or foe is yet to be seen.
5) Grogu could have more powers than anticipated
Grogu gave up on his training to become an elite Jedi when he left Luke Skywalker to stay with the Mandalorian. Here we see that he has gotten better at using the Force, even if it is to snatch candies without moving from his chair.
But one scene in the episode was particularly significant for Grogu’s possible Jedi future. While traveling to Nevarro through Hyperspace with Mando, Grogu looks in awe as he notices silhouettes of giant space whales. These are supposedly purrgils, creatures that can wade through hyperspace. They previously played a big role in Star Wars: Rebels.
It is believed that the Hyperspace is a different and mysterious Force-plane realm in itself and even the best Jedis do not quite understand it. The High Republic has even theorized that some Jedi can have Hyperspace-specific Force sensitivity.
In Rebels, we saw that Jedi Ezra Bridger could form a bond with the purrgils and took their help to drag Grand Admiral Thrawn’s Star Destroyer to the Unknown Regions.
It is possible that Grogu might be one of those Jedis who can do it as well. With Ahsoka Tano still looking for Thrawn as she promised, it is certainly a potential arc for Grogu’s future.