Warning: This article contains spoilers from The Mandalorian “Chapter 19: The Convert.”
A convert is defined as a person who has been persuaded to change their religious faith or other beliefs. “The Convert” episode title refers to multiple characters in The Mandalorian whose faith and beliefs change through what transpires on Coruscant, Mandalore, Kalevala, and on the planet where the Children of the Watch covert is currently located.
Dr. Penn Pershing
The clearest convert in the episode is Dr. Pershing. Through the New Republic’s Amnesty Program, he is initially converted into being unquestioningly loyal to the galactic government. He is grateful to them for offering him a second chance and a clean slate despite his past affiliation with Moff Gideon and Imperial remnants.
Dr. Pershing becomes a true believer in the New Republic and takes every opportunity to praise the new regime and the many ways it is superior to the Empire. Even working a menial job feels like an honor that he wholeheartedly embraces in the name of the New Republic.
Katy O’Brian’s character Elia Kane convinces Dr. Pershing to continue his research, even if that means breaking some of the New Republic’s rules, but he does it in the belief that his findings will ultimately benefit the New Republic. He does develop some frustration and resentment toward the New Republic, including their choices to destroy perfectly good Imperial technology just because it’s Imperial, and outright banning all research related to cloning and genetic engineering.
Yet, that frustration and resentment just makes him believe he can make the New Republic better. This is why he asks if the main objective is to help the New Republic and if that objective supersedes everything else, so he can give himself permission to break some of the New Republic’s rules in order to help them in the long run.
It will be intriguing to see how Dr. Pershing feels about the New Republic after Elia’s betrayal and his ensuing arrest and “treatment.” Part of whether he remains a New Republic convert will depend on what condition his mind is in after Elia used the full force of the mind flayer on him.
Bo-Katan’s road to conversion began in the prior episode “The Mines of Mandalore.” Seeing that the Mythosaur exists with her own eyes reignited her faith in Mandalorian culture and that there may still be a way for her to unite all Mandalorians under her rule, a way that trumps even the Darksaber.
Bo-Katan realizes that Din didn’t see the Mythosaur when he sank to the depths of the Living Waters and chooses not to share what she saw. No matter what her plans with the Mythosaur may be, she is no longer the same jaded woman sulking on her throne or who read the plaque about the Mythosaur’s lair in a condescending tone.
Bo-Katan’s conversion doesn’t end on Mandalore in this episode. She once again loses her home when the Imperial TIE bombers destroy her family’s castle on Kalevala. Without a home and without a group of Mandalorians behind her, Din takes her to the planet where the Children of the Watch’s covert is currently located.
For bathing in the Living Waters and keeping their helmets on since, both Din and Bo-Katan are considered “redeemed” and accepted into the Children of the Watch by the Armorer. This officially converts Bo-Katan into a member of the Children of the Watch. The episode ends on ambiguous note that leaves it unclear how Bo-Katan feels about this development.
When she first met Din in the season 2 episode “The Heiress,” she told him that “the Children of the Watch are a cult of religious zealots that broke away from Mandalorian society.” When Din asked her if she was giving up on retaking Mandalore during the season 3 premiere, Bo-Katan’s response was “Your cult gave up on Mandalore long before the Purge” and “The Children of the Watch and all of the factions that came before fractured and shattered our people.”
These comments indicate that even when taking recent events into account, Bo-Katan is not going to buy into the Children of the Watch, especially given her past with Death Watch, who are definitely one of the factions she blames for fracturing and shattering Mandalorians.
That being said, the Children of the Watch are the only Mandalorians who are currently embracing Bo-Katan and are providing her with a home when she lost hers. Meanwhile, the Nite Owls and all other Mandalorian groups have abandoned her.
Bo-Katan may not be a complete convert for the Children of the Watch, but she has converted into believing in the Mythosaur and using it to unite Mandalorians again, and abiding by the Children of the Watch’s rules and tagging along with them for now is likely the first step in her larger plan.