The Mandalorian Season 3 Episode 1 Brings A Promising Subplot Back To Square One

This article contains spoilers for the season premiere of "The Mandalorian" season 3.

Finally, after a slight detour, Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) and Grogu are back to their humble, video game-esque weekly adventures. In season 3 of "The Mandalorian," our lonesome space cowboy turned father figure is seeking atonement for his past transgressions against the religious tribe he grew up in, so he's making a pilgrimage to be bathed in the waters of the home planet, Mandalore.

Of course, this is not going to be a simple task. In chapter 17, "The Apostate," The armorer of Din's tribe warns him that the surface of Mandalore has been torn apart by years of war, and that it has been rendered basically inhabitable. As it is, Din would be extremely lucky to find the fresh waters of Mandalore and survive to tell the tale. Luckily, Din has a few connections. He meets up with Greef Karga (Carl Weathers), attempts to reassemble what's left of IG-11 (despite the lesson that should have been learned by "The Rise of Skywalker"), and by the end of the episode, flies to Kalbala to find and gain help from Bo-Katan Kryze (Katee Sackhoff).

If you recall what happened in the season 2 finale of "The Mandalorian," you'd know that Din and Bo-Katan are not on the best terms right now. After his defeat of Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito), Din accidentally became the rightful owner of the Darksaber — something Bo-Katan needed in her pursuit of ruling and restoring the ancient warrior culture of Mandalore. Without it, she's become powerless, and her forces have withered away. Bo-Katan, the once fearless and determined warrior we met last season, is now reveling in her own defeatism.

So, what's up with the hard left turn? Why didn't Bo-Katan challenge Din for the Darksaber? Why has she given up?

The stakes were high for Bo-Katan last season, what happened?

Now that "The Book of Boba Fett" has closed the chapter on Grogu's training at the Jedi Academy (for now), the Darksaber subplot was one of the only open threads going into season 3 of "The Mandalorian." Since this season is so specifically focused on the culture and different tribes of Mandalore, one would expect Bo-Katan and her pursuit of Din's Darksaber to play a larger role in the story. After all, Bo-Katan has always been more of an anti-hero than anything else, often aligned with our heroes' motivations to stop the Imperial occupation of Mandalore, but ultimately fighting for her own agenda.

For those who haven't invested time into the animated series, Bo-Katan is a character who originated on "Star Wars: The Clone Wars" (Katee Sackhoff has had the rare pleasure of voicing the character and then playing her in live-action). The series has always placed an emphasis on Bo-Katan's political beliefs on Mandalorian culture. She's considered so radical that she was even estranged from her royal family — including Duchess Satine Kryze, a former love interest of Obi-Wan Kenobi. Before meeting Din Djarin, she spent her time fighting alongside the militia group, the Death Watch, under her own unit, the Nite Owls.

The Darksaber itself was once forged by Tarre Vizsla, a Mandalorian Jedi who once ruled the planet, so it has a huge cultural value as wielding it is an instant sign of respect amongst the Mandalorian people. Unfortunately, as a weapon that can only be passed down through battle, Bo-Katan cannot accept the Darksaber as a simple offer. If she wants to gain possession of the Darksaber, it can only come through defeating Din in battle.

Will Bo-Katan be an ally or adversary?

Considering how determined Bo-Katan was to defeat Moff Gideon last season, the bait-and-switch of defeatism she displays in this episode is shocking. What happened to Bo-Katan's drive to fight for her beliefs and her vision of Mandalore? One would expect Bo-Katan to be an antagonistic force this season, battling Din any chance she gets to seize control of the Darksaber — but instead, she sits in disillusionment and defeat.

However, let's remember that this is only the first episode of the season, so there's plenty of time for a change of heart on either side. When Din travels to Mandalore, we will see if he is fit to step up and become a leader to the remaining war-torn Mandalorian cultures and clans. We know that Bo-Katan will be playing an even larger role this season than ever before, so I don't expect her to sit on her throne wallowing in defeat for much longer (and if there is a battle against Din and Bo-Katan in our future, we can assume they're saving it for the climax). 

The question is ultimately whether or not she will become a strict adversary to Din, and if she might change her heart and fight alongside him against external forces. It's hard to say either way. Bo-Katan has always been vocal about the "cult" Din finds his faith in, emphasizing the superiority of her own Mandalorian beliefs. But she's also come a long way since her time in the Death Watch.

Whatever happens, we definitely appreciate seeing such a dynamic supporting character get her time to shine in season 3.