By Chris Leonard, Third Year, English
Who we are and where we come from are questions which everyone faces, especially those who are displaced, in a spiritual crisis, and having to care for a baby. Season 3 of The Mandalorian (2019- ) continues Din Djarin’s (Pedro Pascal) journey of redemption and self-discovery as the universe continues to shed light on the truth of his upbringing.
The rugged expert warrior, who was raised to fight from the teachings of his cult, has been softened by his unexpected guardianship of the toddler, Grogu, colloquially referred to as 'Baby Yoda'. The pair continue their journey to discover the truth about Djarin’s religion, Grogu’s powers, and the future of the post-war and post-empire galaxy. The first episode of the season provided a fresh new quest, exciting and vibrant worlds, and a fantastic new score by Ludwig Göransson.
The first episode opens with an initiation ceremony in which a young Mandalorian boy is about to receive his helmet: the most sacred possession of a Mandalorian warrior. This ceremony is interrupted by a giant space crocodile turtle bursting out of the water, and the fight which ensues between the Mandalorians and the beast brilliantly reminds us of how and why recent Star Wars shows work: a fight for survival in an unforgiving environment.
Djarin and Grogu’s entrance finally wins the fight for the Mandalorian group, a group which is happy to expel Djarin for breaking their creed.
The Children of the Watch, which forbids its members to remove their helmets, is the cult Djarin was indoctrinated into, which had splinted off from the mainstream and more liberal Mandalorian religion. The revelation that they are a cult is still a recent and unprocessed concept for Djarin.
At the forefront of this season seems to be Djarin’s journey to Mandalore. As an apostate who seeks not only communion and redemption with his cult but also seeks information about the truth about his cult as he grows disillusioned after meeting Grogu, Djarin is in an identity crisis. His new quest to find the truth pushes him closer to Mandalore, the original world of the Mandalorians, which was destroyed years before.
This immensely personal and religious return to a homeland which he never knew should reveal truths about Din Djarin that he isn’t even aware of. The arrival to Mandalore is teased by the character Bo Katan (Katee Sackhoff), a regular Mandalorian who abhors the Children of the Watch’s teachings.
Bo Katan reminding Djarin that there is nothing special to be found on Mandalore highlights the core mystery of the show: what it means to be Mandalorian. Perhaps Djarin won’t find the answers he is looking for on the planet. Or perhaps he will find something which will change his life forever.
This show has tackled relevant and hard-hitting themes such as religious extremism, reluctant fatherhood, and belonging. Season 3 addresses all these in its first episode whilst drawing us in for the future episodes to come.
Featured Image: Courtesy of IMDB
Are you also intrigued by Djarin's ongoing character arch?