This post includes spoilers for episode 3.Click here for last weeks recap.
There comes a time in the life of almost every major Star Wars protagonist when theyre faced with a difficult choice: save their own skin (which sometimes comes with a reward), or risk everything to save others? For a character like DJ in The Last Jedi, its an easy call to take the credits and run. Most of our heroes dont hesitate to risk their own lives to aid in a battle victory.
But more often than not, the characters that really draw us in (and the ones we often find the most relatable) are the ones who struggle with making that choice. They might run off at first, whether its Han Solo only looking for a payday in A New Hope, or Finn trying to get as far away from the First Order as he can in The Force Awakens, but they always come back around in time. And the Mandalorian himself is no exception to this as he finds himself facing his own moral quandary in an episode that upends every part of his life.
In hindsightand for some viewers, likely foresight as wellthere was no way that the Mandalorian wouldve just delivered Baby Yoda to the Client and went off for good. Logistically, it would make for a less interesting show, and given how fervently weve collectively latched onto Baby Yoda since his very first appearance, the Mandalorian might not have survived the fandom outcry.
From what we had already seen of the Mandalorians shiny Beskar armor in trailers, we figured that the Client would get his hands on Baby Yoda, at least for a short time. And on paper, the events of The Sin, from Mandos change of heart to the last-minute save from the Mandalorians, were basically a foregone conclusion. All of the tropes of classic storytelling are right there.
In the hands of director Deborah Chowthe first woman to direct live-action Star Wars in the franchises 42-year historyThe Sin never felt like an inevitability. Exquisitely shot and with the right amount of tension, you question what the Mandalorian might do just enough that youre sucked into a story weve seen play out time and again without it feeling old. Its stylized without losing track of the characters in the action, and from the get-go, you can see exactly why she was hired to direct Disney+s Obi-Wan Kenobi series, making us all the more excited for it.
But first, Mando (as hes called throughout the episode), has an asset to deliver. Its smooth sailing through space after he and Kuiil repaired his ship, but Baby Yoda, fresh from his lengthy post-Force nap, quickly shows how far Mando has to go to baby-proof his ship. Its not a toy, the Mandalorian tells Baby Yoda as he takes away a silver ball that Baby Yoda removed from one of the ships levers.
Mandos boss Greef Carga checks in on him and lets him know just how anxious the Client is to receive Baby Yoda, although Carga has no idea if the Client wants to eat it or hang it on his wall.
Although they both lay it out more explicitly a little later on, its our first glimpse of the code that Mando and the other bounty hunters under Cargas wing follow: once a job is completed, dont ask questions and act as if it never happened in the first placesomething that, perhaps for the first time in his career as a bounty hunter, Mando has trouble doing. Until he doesnt.
The Sin is a fascinating choice for an episode title because of its ambiguity. Theres the bounty hunting betrayal, of course. To the audience (and perhaps himself), Mandos sin is that he sold Baby Yoda to the Client for a camtono full of Beskar. Although we dont see anything happen to Baby Yoda at that moment, hes clearly not pleased with the development and starts crying as Dr. Pershing takes him into another room, breaking all of our collective hearts in the process. He justifies it at first by calling Baby Yoda his enemy, but one who didnt know that they were enemies. To some members of the Tribe, Mando broke a cardinal rule by working for the Empire to obtain his Beskar that disappeared in the Great Purge.
We dont know all of the details quite yet, but the Mandalorians have fallen far since their glory days. In flashbacks, we see a bit more of who a younger Mando, whos hidden away as super battle droidssoldiers used by the Confederacy of Independent Systems during the Clone Warsraid a village. The Mandalorians we do encounter are in hiding for some reason (only one of them is allowed outside at a time), but they keep their own code. Their signet can be determined by a creature they killed to obtain the Beskar, which Mando forgoes because Baby Yoda helped him kill the Mudhorn he faced in The Child; the Armorer makes him whistling birds, which can take out multiple enemies at once, instead. Theyre not allowed to take off their own helmets or let anyone else take it off. (It also has us wondering just when Mando will break this code even more now that hes not permitted to do so.)
Despite wherever Mando obtained the Beskar, he didnt compromise his Mandalorian principles. This is the way, the Armorer says, revealing the mantra for their tribe, one well hear several times more before the episode ends.
Mandos way? No matter how much he tries to dive back into his own life (including grabbing a puck for a bounty on a Mon Calamari royal), his way leads him right back to Baby Yoda once he finds the metal ball that Baby Yoda tried to eat. He contemplates in silence, but it doesnt take long for him to make up his mind: Hes going after that baby.
And its completely entertaining to watch Mando go full-on Dadalorian. He fights his way past rusty stormtroopers and dark hallways to find Dr. Pershing in a lab with Baby Yoda, the latter who is strapped into a machine thats scanning him. In this episode, we also catch a glimpse of the patch on Pershings right arm, whichas fans first pointed out after the first episodematches the one worn by all of the clones on Kamino during Attack of the Clones.
The jury is still out on whether Baby Yoda is a clone. Could Pershing be collecting enough material from Baby Yoda to create clones of his own? All we know is that Pershing says that hes the only reason why Baby Yoda is still alive and that theres someone even higher than the Client and Pershing who want what Baby Yoda had to offer.
But now that Mando has Baby Yoda again, theres now a giant target on his back. Every single bounty hunter who had a tracking fob for Baby Yodaand the Client hired basically every bounty hunter to ensure he got the bountynow had the exact location of Mando and Baby Yoda. With much less of an ethical dilemma than Mando, they were gonna go for that payday.
So far, weve seen Mando face near-impossible odds, and each time, hes made it out with a little help from some unlikely allies. In Chapter 1, he teamed up with IG-11 to take out an entire encampment. In The Child, Baby Yoda stepped in with the Force. And in The Sin, as Carga and his fellow bounty hunters pinned Mando down, the rest of the Mandalorians emerged out of hiding and took to the skies with their jetpacks (which Mando looks enviously at) to help Mando escape. Even though it means that theyll have to find another planet to hide out on. Some of them might not have approved of how Mando got the Beskar for his armor, but if hes in trouble, theyre going to help him, no questions asked.
This is the way. This part of Mandos life is at an end with a bang and a whimper as Mando lets his guard down enough to let Baby Yoda play with the levers metal ball once theyre back on the ship. Theyre heading somewhere, now both with a target on their back.
Although The Mandalorian has fully swept us into Mandos world and had us connect with both a masked loner and the mysterious creature it has fully taken under his wing, it doesnt come without a major Mudhorn in the room. Were three episodes in, and only a single female character has spoken: the Armorer, the masked leader of the Mandalorians in hiding, someone who provides wisdom and forges Mandos armor.
We know that Gina Caranos former Rebelshock trooper Cara Dune will show up next week in an episode directed by Bryce Dallas Howard and Fennec Shand, the assassin played by Ming-Na Wen, will appear in episode 5, so were more than aware that this isnt an issue for the entirety of season 1. But its still a massive misstep in an otherwise top-notch series for seemingly no reason. And in a time in Star Wars franchise historywhen Lucasfilm has made vast leaps to include more inclusivity and more female characters on the screen in a galaxy far, far awayincluding making the main hero of the sequel trilogy a womanit stands just as much as Mandos newly minted Beskar armor will in a backwater cantina.