Trench Run: The Moment Bo-Katan Turned the Corner From Terminal Pouting (And It’s Not When You Think)

Bo-Katan Kryze (Katee Sackhoff) holding the Darksaber in a scene from Lucasfilm's THE MANDALORIAN, season three, exclusively on Disney+. ©2023 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.
Bo-Katan Kryze (Katee Sackhoff) holding the Darksaber in a scene from Lucasfilm's THE MANDALORIAN, season three, exclusively on Disney+. ©2023 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved. /

Welcome to Trench Run, a column in which we’ll explore a single moment in this sprawling saga to see what it has to say about Star Wars, the story, and us.  Today we’re discussing when Bo-Katan truly began the process of reclaiming her title– and it isn’t when you might think. 

Bo-Katan’s astonishing return to the MandoFiloniPostCloneWarVerse is slowly unspooling in the early phases of The Mandalorian‘s third season. And I do mean astonishing, from Minute One; if you think Bo didn’t do much in the season premiere, you do not appreciate what a feat it is to be depressed and sitting around the castle when a male member of the species and his Darksaber text without warning that he’s just pulled up outside.

This lady had maybe 45 seconds go from the state she was probably in, one heavily involving yoga  pants and a deep pore cleanse mask and the fourth day of dry shampoo, to MandEmo, overthrown leader horizontally arranged on a giant stone slab of a throne, deigning to receive her frenemy and his old wizard baby. It was an impressive performance and one that I as a Star Wars fan never expect to see surpassed.

There’s a lot of talk that Bo-Katan’s turning point happened when she saw the Mythosaur or re-joined the Children of the Watch or was was shaken from her Space ParamountPlus binge and finally got out of the house if only to tell Din Djarin and his helmet to sod off back to another bad baptism party. But those are all repercussions of varying importance. So is the moment Bo realized that Din’s situation was dire enough to use Grogu as Space Lassie, and had her own little hero’s journey triumph when she threw the baby’s car seat in her Nite Owl Camry and answered her own call to adventure.

Meet the Hyperspace Duttons

You might think this was when that Bo-Katan began to come around, but she’s more drama-addicted than that. She might have had a twinge of human concern for Din, but what was kicking in was childhood-entrenched good Mandalorian manners. Just as she and her compatriots saved Grogu from the baby-eating waters of Season 2, in this scene she was acting on a cultural reflex.

Unless they’re actively murdering each other– which, admittedly, isn’t often–Mandalorians help other Mandalorians no matter the clan. Just as the characters of Yellowstone bond through indiscriminate murder, so do the Mandalorians when the ferrick goes down.  Bo-Katan is Jamie, the Armorer is John, Grogu is Kaycee forever on a spiritual acid trip, and Din is Rip taking everyone possible to the intergalactic train station the instant his Mando creed needs protection. They are the Dutton family of Star Wars and you can see why there’s no longer a whole non-bombed planet full of them.

So Bo-Katan, even though she head-cheerleader mean-girled her way through her princess years, was responding by instinct, exactly as the fam did when Mando needed them to protect his foundling, even estranged as they were. The clans might have been reduced to sending passive-aggressive Life Day cards once a year instead of disintegrating Jawas together during brunch, but they well knew that one another was all they had left– even if Children of the Watch was the weird brother who joined a cult and started hanging around the airport with a sandwich board and plenty of pamphlets.

Actions and Reactions

No, Bo-Katan began to rise from the ashes of her monumental pout when she began to properly lead again. And when did this happen? Not when exercising basic Mandalorian politeness or even the act of taking over protection of Baby Yoda in Mando’s stead. It was when she realized she needed to ally with and inspire other Mandalorians.

And when did that happen? Right here, when she had to leave off sprawling on the couch, liking her own TikTok posts, and find way to encourage Baby Yoda to complete his mission of saving Din. He could not peace out of this moment, as he had in past conflicts. Bo said exactly the right thing: “I know that you’re frightened. But I need you to guide me to him.”

This is what effective leaders do. Up until this point, Bo had been reacting to outside circumstances, leaning on exterior trappings like the Darksaber and her family’s lineage to solidify her role as the Manda’lor.

Despite these two qualifications, Bo-Katan wasn’t ready. She was not ready to reunite the clans because she was leaning on her resume and shortcut symbolism. She didn’t possess the foundational religious beliefs that grounded full-throated Mandalorian believers like her father and Din Djarin.

In fact it was Grogu taking the lead on the mission to this point, doing his best to follow Dad’s instructions and leaving him behind when his Force-healing, beast-controlling instincts were probably compelling him  to do the opposite. But in this instant, with all the fleet and all the weapons and all the other Mandalorians gone, Bo-Katan took command with the one remaining tribe member at her disposal. She acknowledged what was holding Grogu back, deployed a motivation for him to move forward– saving Din– and stated the objective.

And it worked.

Baby Was Brave

And Baby was brave. He was brave for Dad’s sake– but when the horrors around him began to press in on his toddler awareness, he defaulted to his earlier defense mechanism of hiding and becoming passive. This was the moment Bo-Katan dipped a toe in the Living Waters– in truly leading another Mandalorian– even though that Mandalorian was part Jedi.

Now Bo-Katan’s motivations past this point likely have all the purity of New Jersey tap water, but this was a tremendous moment of growth for her post-Clone Wars character. No matter where the series takes her in terms of her teaming with the Children of the Watch, in the act of helping the tiniest Mandalorian in the Creed, Bo-Katan just might have found the key to once again attempting to unite the clans.