It’s a trap? The Armorer, Bo-Katan, and Mandalorian spirituality

The Armorer (Emily Swallow) in Lucasfilm's THE MANDALORIAN, season three, exclusively on Disney+. ©2023 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.
The Armorer (Emily Swallow) in Lucasfilm's THE MANDALORIAN, season three, exclusively on Disney+. ©2023 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved. /

The Armorer has apparently had quite the spiritual turnaround.

I was as shocked as Bo-Katan was when, in “The Pirate,” the fifth episode of the third season of The Mandalorian, the Armor asked her to remove her helmet—the very manifestation of Mandalorian culture, as far as the Children of the Watch are concerned. We’ve seen all too recently how quickly a member is ostracized for the grave sin of removing their helmet.

It’s a trap! I thought. Don’t do it!

This was a real power struggle moment: The Armorer presses Bo-Katan on whether or not she respects her position, her office. “Remove your helmet,” the Armorer insists. And what can Bo-Katan do?

If she says no, she insults the Armorer—and, by extension, all of the other Mandalorians in the covert—for the sole purpose of clinging to a spiritual symbol that isn’t even in her tradition. It’s those very Mandalorians she might insult that believe in the necessity of not removing one’s helmet. Why would Bo-Katan contradict the Armorer based on a tradition that isn’t hers?

If she says yes—as she did—she shows her respect to the Armorer and her people, but also puts her own place among them in jeopardy. Once more, she’s the outsider, the one who represents what Mandalorians should not be—and everyone is reminded of that just by looking at her. After all, Bo-Katan’s exposed face immediately set off questions.

I want to assume the best. I want to believe that the Armorer has grown spiritually. Despite her own misgivings, her own distrust of Mandalorians who remove their helmets, she’s now seen in both Din Djarin and Bo-Katan individuals who put others’ interests ahead of their own—even when they’ve been cast out. Clearly, there is good to be found in their ways of proceeding through life, even if those ways differ from the Armorer’s.

And of course, there’s the question of the Mythosaur… A legend returned; a symbol manifesting itself. Such things aren’t to be taken lightly.

So, perhaps the Armorer is using her influence and clout to help the other members of the covert grow spiritually as well. Would they all suddenly welcome Mandalorians who expose their faces as equals, those whom they consider to have strayed from the Way? Probably not. But will they trust the judgment of their would-be spiritual leader? It would seem so.

There’s good reason to believe the Armorer has grown. Religious and spiritual traditions the world over have their rituals, their ways of proceeding. Often, these manifest in ways that mark insiders and outsiders; they help the newly initiated better understand and grasp their new identity.

But in a galaxy as diverse and expansive as ours, traditions such as these necessarily come into contact with markedly different ways of living. It’s a real disorienting dilemma for the initiated. Remember how shocked Din Djarin was when he first learned that there were those who considered themselves Mandalorians even without the constant presence of their helmet?

And yet, the actions of these so-called Mandalorians were honorable. Din learned that maybe there was more to being a Mandalorian then simply covering your face. At the same time, Bo-Katan discovered that those who do cover their face are honorable as well, that perhaps this way of life—though different, though not uniquely honorable or perfect or to be blindly followed—had merit, had something to teach.

“They were both forges,” the Armorer said, drawing the parallel between the forge on Mandalore and the one on Nevarro. “They served the same purpose.” They were different, yes, operating in distinct circumstances but aimed at accomplishing the same purpose in their own unique way.

“We must walk the Way together—all Mandalorians,” the Armorer insists.

The end goal—that building up of a society that is just and peaceful and welcoming—is the goal, the Armorer realizes. Helmet or no, what matters is what best helps each person arrive at that destination. There are different and equally valid ways of getting there. The symbols and traditions are meant to serve the people, not the other way around.

At least, that’s what I hope the Armorer has realized. Because again, that spiritual turnaround was fast. And the Armorer now has the upper hand on a Bo-Katan who is out of sight, out of mind and out of uniform.