The Mandalorian Chapter 17: The Apostate Thoughts

There was a mix of emotions throughout The Mandalorian season three premiere, “The Apostle.” The episode was a mix of action, silliness, and the classic D&D campaign. Rick Famuyiwa has been deservingly elevated to Executive Producer this season after directing and writing some of the series’ best episodes (“The Child,” “The Prisoner,” and “The Believer”). 

The latter episode, which saw Bill Burr’s Miggs Mayfeld return with a heartbreaking confrontation scene with an old Imperial Supervisor, was also a turning point in Mando’s arc. 

It Can Take a Village. But a Naboo Starfighter Will Do.

One of the coolest shots in the series | credit Lucasfilm ltd.

We start season three with a character absent for all of season two of The Mandalorian, and unless you watched The Book of Boba Fett, you might have wondered if you would ever see her again: the Armorer. We also forgo the now traditional Star Wars Television opening music to sounds of forging. It is an instantly recognizable sound from season one. The Armorer is making a helmet for a child, with a blue reminiscent of the Death Watch members seen in Din Djarin’s flashback in season one. It sets up a weird moment where you think the child getting initiated into the clan is Din. But we also see Paz Visla, so this is just another child getting ready to hide his face for the rest of his life. There are many new members of the Watch—a colorful array of Mandalore armor that may or may not have been encouraged by Disney Consumer Products. 

But they are thriving and ripe for the picking of a giant CGI crocodile with impenetrable skin that sneaks up on them and gets a few Mandalorian snacks in before its demise. Mando comes in with his starfighter and fires straight into the poor creature’s underbelly, sending guts and entrails everywhere. He saves the Mandalorian clan, whom he still considers family, but the Armorer is clear that he is no longer Mandalorian. That, of course, is based on her definition of what a Mandalorian is, but it is one that Din still believes. 

It is sad to see someone whose only crime was taking his helmet off to save his surrogate son be shunned by his family. Perhaps the sense of belonging that still ties Mando to this cult-think is what appealed to the child, Wagnar, getting his first helmet. Or the other recruits that have joined since we last saw the Armorer. 

Previously On…

The Armorer’s following is thriving | credit Lucasfilm ltd.

If you did not watch The Book of Boba Fett, the last time you saw the Armorer was in Chapter Seven: “The Reckoning,” when she murdered a bunch of Stormtroopers after most of her clan was killed. This episode might flow better with that scene than The Book of Boba Fett, which finds her and Paz Vizla on a ring planet. But in that episode, Mando told her he had removed his helmet, making him an apostate and driving the catalyst for this season. 

However, The Mandalorian-only viewers probably wonder what Grogu is doing back with Mando. Season two left an emotional goodbye between surrogate father and son. That was reversed in The Book of Boba Fett when Grogu chose to return to Mando.

As a viewer of all Star Wars content, this episode had a lot going on in 32 minutes. I cannot imagine the confusion someone who has not seen The Book of Boba Fett might have watching “The Apostate.” And does that ultimately isolate viewers? In previous statements, Lucasfilm clarified that The MandalorianThe Book of Boba FettAhsoka, and the upcoming The Skeleton Crew occur within the same time frame and will be more connected than other series Obi-Wan Kenobi and Andor. But saying something and watching it in practice is different. And placing faith that viewers are going to go along for the ride is always risky. There seemed to be less hype surrounding this particular episode, but there is plenty of time for that to change. It is a fair question to ask if impact relies on an entirely different series, then will interest naturally deteriorate with time? 

I hate speculating on franchise fatigue, and Star Wars is not even close to Marvel when it comes to output in series and films, but there are lessons to take away. Lucasfilm should be careful of being too reliant on viewers’ knowledge to enjoy a series. 

This will be more crucial as we move into a series like Ahsoka with a cast mostly from he animated series. Filoni wants to bring his animated Star Wars universe to live-action, but it needs to feel like a natural development.

Navarro’s Progression and the Excess of Greef

Greef Karga has a better office, robes, and title since we last saw him | credit Lucasfilm ltd.

Thanks to self-governance, Navarro has completely transformed since season one. The once-filthy Navarro City looks like a Disney theme park (I am sure that is intentional). But the driver behind this transformation is Greef Karga, who now has the title of High Magistrate and walks around with cape-holding droids. It is pretty extra and silly, but in moderation works for comedic relief. I don’t want Greef to become another Lando Calrissian positioned on screen as self-conscious vanity, financially motivated with zero character development. 

An angle that The Mandalorian has only scratched the surface with is the insistence by Greef not to involve the New Republic in anything on Nevarro. When pirates show up outside of the school, a former bar where Greef conducted business, he makes it clear Greef believes the New Republic to be incompetent and ineffective, posing a danger to the stability and prosperity of Nevarro. I would appreciate hearing more about his point of view because, knowing the current timeline, he is right. We do not know the state of Nevarro during the Sequel Trilogy, but more development that could hint at whether Greef was successful in keeping Nevarro off the radar of the New Republic and the First Order would be nice.

The arrival of pirates outside the former bar where Greef conducted business brings a sense of urgency for a new marshall (Cara Dune has been recruited to Special Forces). Karga and Mando’s war with the pirates, Vane, and leader Gorian Shard could be another conflict this season. Frankly, Lucasfilm’s A+ visual effects and craft would be an absolute waste if they did not reappear.

With Star Wars, the Dead Don’t Stay Dead

Mando really wants IG-11 back, but is he worth the effort? | credit Lucasfilm ltd.

I also do not know how to feel about Mando trying to bring IG-11 back after the droid meaningfully sacrificed himself at the end of season one. Mando’s change in attitude towards IG-11 also felt half-baked. One scene where IG saves his life and sees his face, and now he is Mando’s friend and the only droid he trusts? No.

IG-11 is a popular character that can bring out great action scenes and fight choreography, which is likely needed this season as the show will undoubtedly have more Mandalorians. However, grabbing parts from the remains of IG, who blew himself up, and Frankensteining him back, removes his sacrifice to help remove Imperial remnants from Nevarro. 

Unfortunately, it is another example of the dilution of self-sacrifice and stakes in franchises.

Creature Feature Fun

A hint of a whale-like creature made many Rebels fans happy while probably confusing everyone else | credit Lucasfilm ltd.

One of the many charms of The Mandalorian is it embraces the entirety of the Star Wars universe. It has politics, thoughts on war, the fight between good and evil, and the in-between. But it also has aliens and creatures. From the mudhorn in “The Child” to ice-spiders in “The Passenger,” this show goes there with its creatures. While the CGI Crocodile does not hold up to either of its predecessors, the animal still poses a severe threat in the scene. We also get a tree full of Kowakian monkey-lizards, one of the most recognizable animals in Star Wars.

I probably should mention the Purrgils that Grogu sees while they are in hyperspace. Like the World Between Worlds and Loth Wolves, Purrgils are not my favorite thing from Rebels. However, the whale-like creatures, who can jump to and travel through hyperspace, are tied to the whereabouts of Ezra Bridger and Grand Admiral Thrawn. Thus they are likely to show up again in Ahsoka. But my taste and feelings towards them do not stop the scene of the silhouette of a pod of Purrgils from being one of the best of the episode.

And on the alien side, we have a Nikto, Anzellans, and a new and unnamed species in the Pirate King Gorian Shard. The visual craft and puppetry make Lucasfilm unique, and seeing new creatures and aliens come to life and move within the universe is just as important as the story.

The look of someone who has lost something | credit Lucasfilm ltd.

We see Bo Katan-Kryze in the final scene in her castle alone. It is a vast difference from the Watch, who are thriving in numbers. Her factions abandoned her when she did not return with the Darksaber. Mando is technically the leader of Mandalore but does not seem to want to lead. He arrives at Bo’s castle to join her cause, but she is defeated and resigned to solitude. And the Darksaber is meaningless to the Watch, who have their own creed and are more concerned with always wearing your helmet. Mando once again finds himself in the middle of two competing ideologies of what makes a Mandalorian and a Mandalorian.

And that brings us to the Mandalorian himself. Pedro Pascal has two shows airing and is far more visible in The Last of Us, which has done more for his career in half a season than The Mandalorian in two. Seeing his face this season is probably out of the question, but it just underscores his incredible talent of Pascal that he can convey so much with just his voice. He deserves all the success and accolades, and I hope The Mandalorian can continue utilizing his talents.