THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS SPOILERS
Chapter 19 – “The Convert”
So much happened in the last episode! We discovered Mandalore is not cursed but still has many dangers lurking below the surface. Din Djarin reaffirmed his Mandalorian oath and has now been redeemed. We got a glimpse of the mythical Mythosaur! It was epic!
Bo-Katan Kryze was not a believer in the strict adherence to The Creed, even though she took the oath as a child. The Creed prophesied destruction to those who stray from ‘The Way.’ The obliteration of the planet Mandalore by the Empire may have been a fulfillment of the ancient prophecy. When she dove into The Living Waters to rescue Din when he disappeared under the surface, she got a glimpse of the beast of legend, the Mythosaur. She was visibly shaken by the sight.
Will Bo-Katan have a change of heart? Will she start to realize that maybe there is something sacred about “The Way” and start to take The Creed seriously? When she waits for Din to wake up, she’s in a contemplative state, staring out at the Living Waters. When he wakes, she asks if he saw anything while he was submerged. He didn’t catch a glimpse of the creature, so she is the only living witness to a massive part of her people’s history. She chooses not to share their close encounter with him. Where will Din and Grogu go from here? What’s the next quest on the agenda?
My top three picks for noteworthy highlights of Chapter 19:
#3 Dogfight Over Kalevala
Bo-Katan, Din Djarin, Grogu, and R5 make their way back toward Kalevala in her fighter.
“Bring me to my ship, and I’ll be on my way. You will forever have my gratitude.”
“I would invite you in for a feast, but I’m guessing that helmet isn’t coming off again.”
“This is the Way”
“This is the Way,” Bo-Katan agrees.
Grogu attempts to speak what seems to be “This is the Way” but can’t seem to formulate the pronunciation yet. He is trying, and he’s getting close. Din and Bo-Katan look at each other, but before either can make a comment on it, they get hit by incoming fire. It’s a squadron of TIE Interceptors.
Once in Kalevala’s atmosphere, Bo-Katan drops Din paratrooper-style past the Imperial squadron. He uses his jetpack at the last minute to break his fall and scrambles into the N1-starfighter to offer much-needed backup. The N1 is fast!
Din pulls a stall turn on one of the Interceptors. It’s an exhilarating maneuver, and thankfully, Mando is the better shot. Bo-Katan has her hands full with multiple TIEs on her tail. She grew up flying these cliffs, so she uses the terrain to her advantage. As Bo-Katan made her way through the jagged terrain, the scene really felt like the original Rogue Squadron video game. You could feel the heft of her fighter and its limitations in the turns but advantage in wide-open spaces.
Din catches up and offers backup. It’s clear in Bo-Katan’s voice that she is happy with the assistance. Bo-Katan pulls her own version of a stall turn and blasts the last TIE out of the sky.
They make a great team. The ease of cooperation to dispense of a common foe shows the true Mandalorian way. Bo-Katan seems impressed with the antique N1 fighter, “Nice shooting.” The dog fight was true Star Wars action bringing back the nostalgia of the original space battles.
All the Imperial warlords that Bo-Katan caught up with and greatly disrupted their operations seem to have united to pay her retribution. They bomb her castle. Once again, she watches the Empire destroy her home. Din calls her off from pursuing the attackers. The Imperials have reinforcements, and the two Mandalorians are greatly outnumbered. They need to leave. Fast. They barely escape jumping into hyperspace.
Is it just me, or does there seem to be chemistry beginning to brew between Din and Bo?
#2 Come to the Dark Side. We Have Cookies
The Amnesty Program designed by the New Republic has given many Imperials a second chance. It’s a rehabilitation program that offers former Imps a way to contribute to the success of the current government. What a contrast to how the Imperials dealt with their former foes or potential adversaries! While the Imperials would be content with exterminating their enemies completely. The New Republic offers a peaceful way to integrate former Imperials as productive members of society.
Dr. Penn Pershing delivers a personal talk about how the Amnesty Program saved his life and touched on the topic of his work within the Empire. Remember Dr. Pershing? He was the scientist responsible for running tests on Grogu. He is now known as Amnesty Scientist L52.
“I believe the pursuit of knowledge is the noblest thing someone can do. Sadly, my research was twisted into something cruel and inhumane at the behest of a desperate individual intent on using cloning technology to secure more power for himself. Despite the shameful work from my past, I now hope to help the New Republic in whatever way that I can.”
He goes on to assure that his original intentions were good. He explains how he lost his mother at a young age and had cloning technology been available, he could have saved her life. Side note: Disney and George Lucas sure have a thing for dead mothers.
What I found intriguing about his speech was that it was delivered from The Galaxies Opera House, which was where Palpatine seduced Anakin to the Dark Side with the Tragedy of Darth Plagueis the Wise. Here Dr. Pershing is speaking about experimental cloning technologies to save lives, while just a few decades earlier, Palpatine was talking to Anakin about unnatural uses of the Force to prolong life. Dr. Pershing’s research most likely helped fuel the resurrection of the Emperor and explains why he returned once again in The Rise of Skywalker.
The sudden major detour from Din Djarin’s story makes me think we are going to uncover more secret Imperial scientific experiments in the name of keeping the Emperor immortal. What do the remnants of the Empire have to do with the Mandalorians? I guess we’ll have to wait and see.
Enter Elia Kane. She served under Moff Gideon but also has found herself enrolled in the Amnesty Program. The former Imperials seem to be content with whatever role they can aid in helping the New Republic. With a little peer pressure, Elia convinces Dr. Pershing to continue his forbidden cloning research in secret.
She encourages him by offering what seems to be a genuine friendship, providing him with his favorite yellow Imperial travel biscuits that are impossible to find in the core worlds, showing him some of Coruscant’s sights, such as the Peak of Umate, and claiming his research will benefit the Republic even if they aren’t ready for it. She leads him to a decommissioned Star Destroyer to get lab supplies.
“It was a trap,” Dr. Pershing says to the Mon Calamari as they strap him in for the mind flayer, also known as the Six-O-Two Mitigator, a non-invasive experimental treatment recently approved for rehabilitation used to soothe select traumatic memories. Elia Kane set the doctor up. Once the doctor is hooked up to the machine, she asks to remain as support for her ‘friend.’ When she is alone, she cranks up the dial and fries his brain. She’s acting as a double, no, triple agent. She does not want Dr. Pershing to share his research and knowledge with the New Republic. Moff Gideon would be proud. The question remains: What are they hiding?
#1 One of Us
Din Djarin and Bo-Katan make it to the covert. “This is how we survived in exile. It’s a secret location, and you are my guest.” “They still live by the old ways.” “It will go smoother if you keep your helmet on, trust me.”
Paz Vizsla does not give them a warm welcome, calling them both apostates. Din explains he’s been to the Mines of Mandalore. He has proof. The lies told about the Mines being collapsed were to keep the Mandalorians in exile. Bo-Katan states that what he says is true. While introducing herself, Katee Sackhoff does a great job conveying a royal presence despite keeping her helmet on.
They are led inside to speak with the Armorer. Din offers proof they have been to the Living Waters, a small vial of water. He had taken a sample before they left the Mines. “I was witness. He fell into the depths, and I pulled him out,” Bo-Katan reaffirms. The Armorer drops some of the water into a cistern which turns a fleeting fluorescent blue. It has been confirmed. “He speaks the truth. These are indeed the Living Waters.”
The Armorer: “Din Djarin, you are redeemed. This is the Way. And Bo-Katan Kryze, by Creed, you too are redeemed.”
Bo Katan: “But I do not walk the way.”
The Armorer: “Did you bathe in the waters?”
Bo-Katan: “I did.”
The Armorer: “And have you removed your helmet since?”
Bo-Katan: “No, I have not.”
The Armorer: “Then you may join our covert and live as your ancestors once did. You may leave anytime you wish. Until then, you are one of us. Welcome, Bo-Katan of Clan Kryze. This is the Way.”
And just like that Bo-Katan has joined a ‘cult.’ The Armorer was wise in helping the others see how having Bo-Katan within their fold would be an asset. Simple logic puts aside any hostility that may remain. Bo-Katan accidentally followed the rules of the old ways, and now she can see what it’s like from the other side. Gaining perspective will hopefully help them in the future unite the scattered Mandalorians. Maybe the Force is guiding her and Din to help restore their people. The Mythosaur skull symbol hangs on the far wall as a reminder of legends and myths becoming a reality. Maybe now Bo-Katan will believe in the true Mandalorian way, and her own personal ‘curse’ will be lifted.
This episode started fast, hit the brakes for some time with reformed Imperials, and then jumped right back into Mando drama and secured that Din Djarin’s quest for redemption was completed. I didn’t mind the lull in the story because I liked both Imps featured, and it went to show that the Empire is far from dead.
There have already been a few moments within this season where I can see Disney incorporating certain features, landmarks, and items at Galaxy’s Edge to make even more profit off us nerds. May the 4th isn’t going to be the only Star Wars holiday. Now we have Boonta Eve with its magical fireworks glory. Maybe they will even have an N1 and Firespray do a flyover of the park to drive up admission prices for this magical time. The peak of Umate? Everyone has to touch it for good luck. Yellow Imperial travel biscuits? $15 a pop. Let’s buy a whole box because the only place on the planet you can buy them is in the Disney Parks. They’re going to put the Girl Scout Cookie craze to shame. Granted, those Imperial travel biscuits do look tasty. I imagine they taste like lemon lavender shortbread cookies.
I’m looking forward to seeing where they go from here in the next episode. What were your favorite moments from Chapter 19?