“The Convert” — the newest episode of “The Mandalorian” — picks up exactly where the previous episode left off. Din Djarin is recovering from his fall into the “Living Waters” of Mandalore and Bo Katan is contemplating her close encounter with the fabled Mythosaur. Bo Katan asks some subtle questions about the “Living Waters” but ultimately decides not to tell Din Djarin about what she saw. This was interesting to me. I predicted that she would talk openly about the Mythosaur with Din. However, I can see why she would not want to talk about it. As we could see from the previous episode, Bo Katan appears to have lost faith in her people and culture as a whole. She scoffs at the stories of old that speak of the Mythosaur and Mand’alor the First. Admitting that she saw a living Mythosaur would confirm those stories to be true, which would contradict with what she believes in. Once Din fills a canister of the “Living Water,” the trio leave the mines and board Bo Katan’s Gauntlet-class fighter.
In this next scene, we get to finally see the Gauntlet Fighter participate in a live action dog fight. This type of ship was used frequently in the animated “The Clone Wars” series but we have never seen it in combat in a live action setting. On their return journey to Kalevala, the trio are attacked by a squadron of TIE Interceptors. Din Djarin takes control of the rear cannons as Bo Katan accelerates the ship towards their destination. I personally loved that they utilized the rear cannons. These cannons are included on both LEGO versions of this ship, and I always loved that small detail. The ship finally breaks orbit and Din Djarin drops out of the ship to pilot his N-1 Starfighter. We then get to see some fancy flying from both Bo Katan and Din Djarin. They work together in eliminating the remaining TIE Interceptors before noticing smoke in the distance. They fly over to investigate only to find TIE Bombers destroying Bo Katan’s castle. This moment reminded me of the Night of a Thousand Tears where the Empire bombed Mandalore. The Empire enjoys bombing Mandalorian structures it seems. This also brought up a question: why are there no anti-air cannons to defend the castle? Bo Katan then proceeds to chase after the bombers in typical rage filled Mandalorian fashion. Before she finishes them off, another squadron of TIE Interceptors appear and force her and Din to leave the planet.
After the opening title card and famous theme song plays, we are finally brought into the story that this episode is actually about. To my surprise, we take a detour to Coruscant where we pick up on Doctor Pershing’s story. Pershing is giving a speech in what appears to be the same amphitheater where Chancellor Palpatine told Anakin Skywalker about the Tragedy of Darth Plagueis the Wise. Pershing talks about the cloning project he had been working on while in the Empire. Instead of directly cloning a subject, much like how Boba Fett was an unaltered clone of Jango Fett, Pershing talks about how he was developing a process that took the best parts of multiple subjects to create a perfect clone. He talked about this in the setting of cloning body parts for surgery. However, I think Moff Gideon was using Doctor Pershing’s research to create Snoke and eventually clone Palpatine. Pershing’s speech was well received by the crowd watching him which resulted in some awkward conversations between Pershing and a few high class citizens. Eventually Pershing broke away from the crowd and returned to the barracks that he was stationed to live in.
While returning to his room, he was invited into a conversation between 3 other former Imperials. They exchange designations instead of names and get to know each other. I think it is interesting that after all this time, the Republic is still using designations for many of its workers instead of names. This reminds me of the “CT” designations used by the Clone Troopers. One of the 3 individuals is Elia Kane who was one of the communications officers onboard Moff Gideon’s ship that we saw in Season 2. This surprises Pershing but he is quickly reassured that the Empire is behind all of them. They take some time talking about things they miss from the Empire. Such as food and other small everyday things. Pershing admits that he enjoyed the yellow travel biscuits that were in ration packs. The group gets a laugh out of it, and they all turn in for the night. This is a pretty wholesome scene that also shows that many Imperials were actually good people that thought they were doing the right thing. Before Pershing is able to get to bed, he hears his door bell ring. He opens his door to find only a black box sitting at his feet. He opens the box and finds that it is full of the yellow travel biscuits he was talking about.
In the next couple of scenes, we see the job that Pershing was assigned to by the New Republic. Instead of medical research or anything dealing with science, he is instead put at a desk where he catalogues and deletes Imperial records. He is not fond of this position but admits that he is happy to help the New Republic anyway he can. His office and the work assigned to him remind me of how Syril Karn was given a lackluster desk job after he failed to apprehend Cassian Andor. Frustrated by how he is unable to continue his cloning research, Pershing eventually takes up an offer from Elia Kane to steal the equipment he requires and continue his research on his own. Pershing and Kane leave their barracks and illegally board a train to go to the scrap yards. Elia Kane used the phrase “Taungsdays, am I right?” as an icebreaker between her and an alien passenger. Taungsday is the third day of the week on Coruscant and it is named after the Taung. In Legends, the Taung were a warrior race that lived on Coruscant before being driven off by the Zhell race. The Taung eventually found a planet which they named after their leader: Mandalore. If you haven’t guessed it by now, the Taung were the first Mandalorians! I love it when small pieces of Mandalorian lore from Legends get added to the current Canon.
Soon after, security droids arrive and begin checking for tickets. Kane and Pershing then try to avoid these droids by jumping from one passenger car to another. Eventually they run out of cars and are forced to jump off of the train. The pair manages to land on a relatively soft container and continue towards a decommissioned Star Destroyer. They eventually find the items they were looking for but are disturbed by a New Republic search party. They rush out of the Star Destroyer but are inevitably caught by New Republic forces. They arrest Doctor Pershing but a plot twist happens when Elia Kane turns out to be working with the New Republic forces. They cuff Pershing and bring him to a medical facility where they use a Six-O-Two Mitigator to ease his mind. This causes Pershing to freak out because this device is actually used for memory wipes and to make subjects more compliant. Despite his pleas, they start the machine and it begins to ease his mind. Elia Kane displays concern for her friend and requests to stay behind. However, once she was alone, she turned the machine to its max setting which appeared to cause discomfort to Pershing. I assume this either killed him or cause irreparable brain damage. Overall, I felt like these scenes with Doctor Pershing were too drawn out and took away from the main character that the show is appropriately named after. This definitely gave me flashbacks to when “The Mandalorian” took over “The Book of Boba Fett.” However, I still thought these sequences were well done and almost felt like an episode from “Andor.” The two plot twists near the end were especially a favorite of mine.
In the last few minutes of the episode, we finally regroup with Din Djarin, Bo Katan, and Grogu as they approach the planet where The Covert are living. Once they land, they are immediately confronted by Paz Vizsla and a handful of Mandalorians. Paz is hostile towards Din, per usual, due to both Din Djarin and Bo Katan being considered “Apostate.” Din informs him about his trip to the Mines of Mandalore which results in an audience with The Armorer. Din hands over his container of “Living Water” to The Armorer and she pours it into her basin used for forging Beskar. It is then revealed that this same water is what she uses when forging Mandalorian armor and that Din Djarin was indeed telling the truth. She declares Din Djarin to once again be a Mandalorian. However, she also declares that Bo Katan is now no longer an apostate because she “bathed” in the water and had not removed her helmet since then. This surprises Bo Katan but she doesn’t deny it and allows the other Mandalorians to welcome her to The Covert.
This is the longest episode of “The Mandalorian” we have ever gotten, and it was full of great content. This should be the standard length for future episodes. The past 30–35-minute episodes feel too short to display the amazing cinematography while also telling the story that was written. As far as a “Star Wars” story goes, I feel like this was very good. It tied prequel era and original trilogy era themes together while also setting up connections to the sequel era. The characters were likable, and the subtle use of aliens was great. However, as an episode of “The Mandalorian,” this felt like a large, unnecessary detour. It will probably connect to future stories with Moff Gideon which will be important to Din Djarin and Grogu’s story, but this all could have been explained in a few lines of dialogue from a character. There was no real need to dedicate 20+ minutes to a character that has played a small roll in the past seasons. I hope this is an odd episode out of the rest of the season. They have been doing very well with the Mandalorian centered episodes. I cannot wait until we get more screen time with the Mythosaur and Mandalorian Covert.
“They exchange designations instead of names and get to know each other. I think it is interesting that after all this time, the Republic is still using designations for many of its workers instead of names. This reminds me of the “CT” designations used by the Clone Troopers.”
One of my predictions is that either
1) Pershing cloned himself and sent his clone into the Amnesty program for the sole purpose of getting access to the materials. Remember, we see Elia take the mobile lab before he’s arrested. I bet she hands it over to the real Pershing. She would have killed and/or mindwiped the clone-Pershing because he was disposable…and now a liability. So Elia looks like she is working for the New Republic but she’s a Remnant double-agent.
2) Maybe all of the Imperial war criminals have been cloned as part of the Amnesty program. Maybe the Republic executed the hosts after war trials but allowed them to be cloned and then had the clones reprogrammed.
I think the first is more plausible than the second…but the second would explain why they can’t even have names among each other.
For me, the giveaway that at least Pershing is a clone is when they ask him if he is “new”…and there’s this awkward moment when they have to clarify whether he is new to the program. And then he seems to have trouble remembering what he liked about his previous life.
Or maybe those were all false leads and I was desperately hoping the show was being more clever than it was.
Good review. I at first thought 4 stars generous, but if you average 5 stars for the cinematic first and third acts and one star for the second, I can see how you can get there.