‘The Apostate’ Sets The Stage For What’s To Come

The Mandalorian is back! The Disney Plus Star Wars show that kicked off a new era of TV in a galaxy far, far away returns with a relatively calm season premiere that goes about accomplishing two things:

First, ‘The Apostate’ reminds us of the story that came before. Mando (Pedro Pascal) shows up to wherever his Covert is currently located and saves them from a giant space crocodile. The Armorer reiterates that he’s shown his face, of his own free will, and thus can no longer call himself Mandalorian. He tells her that he’s going to Mandalore to bathe in the waters under the mines and find atonement, though she tells him this is impossible since their home planet has been all but destroyed.

You can watch my video review of this episode below:

Next, we see how things have changed, especially for Greef Karga (Carl Weathers) and his hometown of Nevarro, which is almost unrecognizable now in its time of prosperity, unfettered by either Imperial holdouts or New Republic bureaucracy. Karga wants to set Mando up with a plot of land and a nicely paying gig as marshal now that Marshal Dune (Gina Carano) has returned to special forces—Disney and LucasFilm’s rather gentle way of writing Carano out of the story as it leaves the door open for her return.

Karga has need of a marshal because even in boom times, bad guys still have a way of popping up. These take the form of space pirates led by a handsome devil named Vane:

Vane is a talkative swashbuckler eager for a fight, and eager to show Karga who’s boss. Vane himself isn’t actually the boss, just a high-ranking thug for a much bigger fish, the pirate king Gorian Shard:

Since The Mandalorian is actually a space Western, we get a fun little gunfight here. Karga and Vane have a quickdraw and Karga wins, shooting Vane’s blaster out of his hand. When his cronies make a move, Mando shoots them dead. They let Vane get away which comes back to haunt Mando and Grogu when they leave Nevarro and are ambushed (unsuccessfully) by Vane and his men. Our heroes are very nearly captured or destroyed by Shard when Vane leads them through the asteroid belt to the giant pirate ship, but Mando pulls a fast one and leaps into hyperspace, escaping Shard—for now. I’m sure he’ll be back—this isn’t The Book Of Boba Fett, after all.

Once in hyperspace, while Papa Mando naps, Baby Yoda stares out the domed window of his little room and sees shadowy shapes in the beams of hyper-light. They look like space whales, and this is easily one of the best moments in the entire episode. It turns out these are called Purrgil and some fans may recognize them from Star Wars: Rebels, an animated show that I still haven’t finished watching (hence my ignorance!) Since these are tied directly to the story of Ezra, Ahsoka Tano, Admiral Thrawn and Rebels I’m sure this is an important moment simply due to its implications for the Ahsoka show. Regardless, it’s very cool and I want to know more!

Mando and Baby Yoda were visiting Nevarro and Karga with a purpose: To resurrect IG-11 (Taika Waititi) the bounty droid turned nurse droid who sacrificed himself to save the group. Mando rightly believes that having a droid companion on Mandalore could be super helpful, but he famously does not like or trust droids. Only one has broken through his Beskar-steel like emotional exterior. IG-11, however, turns out to be mostly dead and not so easy to put back together. When they revive him he defaults back to his bounty protocols and tries to kill Grogu.

So they take him to the experts, a group of the tiny little Anzellans who we first met in Rise Of Skywalker in the form of Babu Frik—or, rather, Frik’s cousins. We actually don’t know if one of these is Frik or if they’re just other Anzellans who sound just like him (thanks to Shirley Henderson doing the voices of all of the above). Baby Yoda wants to squeeze the little guys, earning a “Bad baby!” from their leader. (Karga translating for the easily-understood Anzellans was a hilarious highlight of the episode for me).

Alas, even the experts cannot put Humpty Dumpty together again. To fix IG-11 they need a memory board and they don’t have one and it’s very rare and hard to come by (or something) and thus begins one piece of Mando’s quest. The fetch quest portion. He and Grogu must find the right piece so that the Anzellans can fix IG-11 and the powerful droid can join them on the main quest, to go to Mandalore and find atonement there.

Bo-Katan (Katee Sackhoff) has given up on her quest to retake Mandalore. When Mando shows up at her castle, he finds her dejected and alone. Her forces have melted away thanks to her lack of the Darksaber, which Mando currently possesses and which she needs to take in battle for it to not curse her. For all of Bo-Katan’s talk of superstition when it comes to Mando’s faction, she and her people sure hold a lot of their own magical beliefs.

She tells him that Mandalore is lost, that it’s poisoned, that it can’t be saved. He tells her to make up her mind and that he’s going regardless and he’ll find out the truth and let her know. I hope we get more Bo-Katan this season!

So we have the stage nicely set for both quests and more. Mando needs to fix both IG-11 and somehow bring back Bo-Katan’s mojo. Then Mando needs to either shake off his attachment to the Armorer and her fanatical Covert or he needs to find atonement in the Living Water. And then the fight for Mandalore can begin in earnest, whatever that looks like.

We still don’t have a clear sense of who the Big Bad will be this season or what struggles Mando and Baby Yoda will face on Mandalore, let alone in their search for the droid’s parts. I suspect that the pirate king, Gorian Shard, will play a big part as a minor villain this season, but I’m curious if they’ll establish another Moff Gideon tier nemesis, or if he’ll somehow escape the New Republic and make his return. We may also get Thrawn himself, which would make sense with an Ahsoka series in the works. Hard to say!

I really enjoyed this episode even if it wasn’t the most action-packed or exciting. What did you think? Let me know on Twitter or Facebook.

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Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/erikkain/2023/03/01/the-mandalorian-season-3-episode-1-recap-and-review-the-apostate-sets-the-stage-for-whats-to-come/