The latest episode of Disney+’s Star Wars original series features a stark departure from its usual one adventure per episode formula, drawing inspiration from last year’s Star Wars political thriller, Andor.
After last week’s monstrous underwater cliffhanger and prolonged dog fight against a few Imperial TIE Interceptors, our beloved titular character is finally redeemed and is a part of the Creed once more - this time, joined by Bo-Katan herself in redemption.
That concludes the short span of Mando-Grogu screen time in this episode (sigh). Instead, Favreau now shifts focus on another part of the galaxy altogether - a place that surely had Prequel fans go…
The galactic capital of Coruscant has long been the site of political upheavals, Imperial notoriety and of course, ground zero for the infamous Order 66 massacre that nearly extinguished the Jedi from the galaxy.
In the aftermath of the Emperor's defeat and the fall of the Empire (in Return of the Jedi), the authoritarian regime was succeeded by the New Republic and peace, order and democracy was restored to the galaxy. Or so we were led to believe.
As the galaxy grappled with the legacy of the Empire, the New Republic faced significant challenges in building a new system of government that can address the needs of its citizens and prevent the rise of authoritarian regimes.
At the heart of the New Republic's challenges was the question of building a government that could prevent the abuses of power that led to the Empire's rise. The Empire was able to seize control of the galaxy by exploiting divisions among its citizens and using fear and propaganda to consolidate power. To prevent a similar outcome, the New Republic sought to build a system of government that is more transparent, inclusive, and responsive to the needs of its citizens.
#themandalorian spoilers— savi → swce (@andorisms) March 15, 2023
it’s interesting how no matter who is in charge of the galaxy, the rich and privileged are not affected by the happenings outside of the comfort of their wealth— and definitely turned a blind eye to what was happening with the empire in reign pic.twitter.com/kPebZfMYhT
However, the New Republic also confronted the legacy of the Empire's crimes. With the countless Imperial atrocities committed across the galaxy, from the destruction of entire planets to the enslavement of entire species, the New Republic ensured that those responsible for these crimes were brought to justice, while also finding ways to promote reconciliation and healing among the galaxy's diverse communities. The very same idea brought about the Amnesty Programme.
In the present era, it appears that the bustling metropolis of the New Republic holds sway over the galactic stage. Dr. Pershing - who fans would remember from Season 1 - an esteemed cloning specialist formerly in the employ of Moff Gideon, is now a part of the new rehabilitation program.
Upon arrival at a designated apartment complex for former Imperials, Pershing is stripped of his name and assigned a number. He now spends his time alongside his fellow ex-Imperials, at a space-picnic table, sipping on cool Star Wars liqueur, documenting antiquated Imperial paraphernalia in preparation for its destruction and going to mandated probationary therapy sessions.
Pershing’s identity, his life’s work that could prove vital and his sense of self have been taken away from him indefinitely because it is deemed unfit by the New Republic. For years, the Empire employed a propaganda machine that demonized dissent and justified its own acts of oppression, a model that now seems to be spun around and recycled by the New Republic, under the guise of transparency, accountability, and freedom.
It doesn’t come as a surprise when he eventually resolves to collaborate with another familiar ex-Imperial officer, Elia Kane, also under Gideon’s wing and steal some lab equipment, to pursue his research endeavors despite the odds - a reminder of how dissent and resistance brews regardless of who’s in power.
The New Republic must also confront the forces that may oppose its efforts. Members of the Empire's remnants, with their own agendas, may resist the New Republic's push for democracy and freedom. In addition, other external forces, whether neighboring powers or external organizations, may attempt to assert their influence in the galaxy's affairs. The New Republic must be vigilant and resilient in the face of these challenges.
Pershing inevitably finds himself hooked up to a machine under the watchful eye of a surprisingly composed Mon Calamari (it was indeed a trap), who insists that it’s a rehabilitation device meant to cure Pershing of his traumatic memories. Pershing however, cognizant of the truth, recognises the device as a repurposed Imperial Mind Flayer, in yet another instance of swapping an evil for another evil.
As a final act of cruelty, one of the New Republic officers strips Pershing of his glasses before activating the device and leaving him to be brainwashed. Alone with Pershing, Elia secretly increased the machine's power, causing him to writhe in agony as she looked on, seemingly unaffected by his suffering.
It seems the process of dismantling and rehabilitating the remnants of a previous authoritarian regime has proved rather futile. With forces brewing on the horizon, threatening to unsettle the status quo, it’s only a matter of time until the New Republic fails - a reality that we’re already well aware of.
With this little interlude, the third season of The Mandalorian has breathed new life into a series that previously relied heavily on old fashioned heroics and a cute green baby for its success. Should it continue to draw inspiration from the Andor playbook, while staying true to the classic Mandalorian Way, things are about to get a whole lot more interesting for the series.
New episodes of the The Mandalorian Season 3 drop every Wednesday on Disney+ Hotstar.