Every Tuesday, Nate from @natenightmoviereviews will be revisiting The Mandalorian starting at the very beginning.
Hello there. If this is your first time clicking on The Mando Rewatch, my name is Nate, and over the past few weeks I have been revisiting The Mandalorian, starting from the very beginning. This week, we will be discussing “Chapter 3: The Sin.” For the record, I am writing these pieces under the assumption that you have not only already seen the episode I am reviewing, but the rest of the series as well. These recaps are very spoiler-heavy, and they will also make a lot more sense if you have read my previous reviews. So, go back and check those out if you haven’t already done so. With that out the way, let’s talk about Star Wars…
I’m sure most fans would agree that this is one of the better episodes of Season One. Written by Jon Favreau, and directed by Deborah Chow, “The Sin” features great action, suspense, strong character/world building, and some very resonant themes. The feeling of Mando’s guilt hangs over this episode – hence the ominous title. From the opening shots of Grogu playing with the shifter knob, it is clear that Mando is dreading having to hand the child over to the Empire. Despite the fact that the audience is unable to see any facial expressions through his mask, Din’s inner struggle is obvious. As we have discussed in the previous reviews, the struggle between personal greed and becoming more selfless is something that we have seen many times before in Star Wars. At the same time, Din is also honour-bound to follow the rules of the bounty hunter guild, which seem to be in contrast with his honour as a Mandalorian, or at least how he feels a Mandalorian should be acting. This is highlighted when he says to the Armourer, “my armour has lost its integrity.” Obviously, Mandalorians self-identify with their armour. So, in this moment, Din’s armour becomes a metaphor for himself. He has no integrity because of the guilt he feels for handing over Grogu. Therefore, not only is he literally having new armour forged, but he is symbolically reforging himself as well.
The forging scene becomes even more significant because it leads to another flashback of Mando’s traumatic past. On the surface, considering these flashbacks occur when the Armourer is hammering/shaping his armour, they are meant to show us that Din’s past has literally shaped him into the man he has become. However, on a deeper level, we must recognize that he is specifically remembering the terrible fear he felt when he looked up to see that super battle droid staring down at him. As a result, he is cognizant of the fact that Grogu once looked up from his pod to see Mando staring down at him. Din realizes that he may become a symbol of fear in the memories of Grogu. Afterall, Mando is faceless in his armour, and looks very mechanical. So, by blindly following the bounty hunter code (just as the droid IG-11 does in “Chapter 1”), there is little to separate himself from that super battle droid who was about to shoot Din when he was a child. This ties into some of the more prominent themes of the series; the mechanical vs. the living, choice, and what it means to be a Mandalorian.
I have rhetorically asked the question before, “what does it mean to be a Mandalorian?” Din is still not sure about that himself, and he seems to be questioning his identity throughout this episode. For example, when Din is giving Grogu over to the Empire, Dr. Pershing (the clone engineer) scans Grogu to verify the bounty, and the scanner is seen reflecting in Mando’s helmet. This reflection symbolizes Din’s personal struggle to identify what type of man he has become. Furthermore, the Client then challenges Din by saying, “finding a Mandalorian in these trying times is more difficult than finding the steel.” This is an obvious threat, because the Client is an Imperial agent rewarding a Mandalorian with an ice cream maker full of beskar (Mandalorian steel) that has had Imperial cogs stamped into it. As is revealed later in the episode, this steel was taken during the “Great Purge” of Mandalore by the Empire. Therefore, the Client is basically telling Mando to take your reward, shut up, and stay out of this, or else. On the other hand, if Din simply lets them take Grogu, is he really acting like a Mandalorian? Is this the way?
Actually, this is the episode in which we first hear one of the most overused phrases of the past couple of years – “This is the Way.” We gain more insight as to why the Mandalorians are scattered and in hiding, and the Armourer says that they have become “both hunter and prey.” She says that secrecy is their survival, and survival is their strength, and she warns Mando that his new armour will draw many eyes. Sure enough, it immediately draws the attention of his fellow Mandalorians in the covert, led by Paz Vizsla. Paz is voiced by none other than Jon Favreau himself, who also voiced Pre Vizsla in The Clone Wars. House Vizsla is one of the largest and most powerful houses in the history of Mandalore, so it is not surprising that Paz looks to the past, and holds firm that Mandalorians’ strength used to be in their numbers. Unity remains important to the Mandalorians, which is why they seem to have adopted the mantra of, “This is the Way.” This mantra helps solidify their common chosen way of life. Unfortunately, whatever this is, wasn’t always the way. From the first three episodes of the series, it is very apparent that Mandalorians are not what they used to be. To quote Kuiil again, “You’re a Mandalorian! Your ancestors rode the great Mythosaur!” Thus, the Mandalorian (Din), will not sit idly by and remain in the shadows. In this regard, his new armour comes to represent a massive change in his character (and on a more practical note, the beskar will also help to protect him in the fights ahead – because he is a target now).
Mando’s decision to become more selfless is his Han Solo moment. In A New Hope, Han could have easily just taken the money and left to go pay off Jabba. Yet, he chooses to come back and fight for his friends. Likewise, when Mando chooses to save Grogu, he accepts the fact that he will become a wanted man – no longer just metaphorically “hunter and prey,” now it is literal. Moreover, if you were unable to make the connection to Han Solo immediately, it becomes clearer towards the conclusion of the episode when the rest of the Mandalorians arrive on jetpacks to save Din and Grogu. Without question, this is the highlight of the episode. Seeing so many Mandalorians fighting on screen in live-action is a dream realized for fans of The Clone Wars and Rebels. Simultaneously, it is impossible not to be reminded of Han telling Luke, “you’re all clear kid, now let’s blow this thing and go home!” With the Mandalorians clearing a path, Paz and Din once again tell each other, “This is the Way,” showing their mutual respect. Previously, repeating this mantra insincerely united both men, but now, their actions speak louder than words. Accordingly, we come to understand that the episode’s title, “The Sin” is a sin of inaction. Therefore, when Mando makes the right choice to save an innocent child, he is able to unite the Mandalorians of his covert better than any mantra ever could. The Mandalorians are helping Din, not because they are honour-bound as fellow Mandalorians, but because it is the right thing to do. Classic Star Wars.
That’s all well and good, but we also love Star Wars for the pew-pews, not just for the themes. And this episode delivered so many great pew-pew moments. Besides the Mandalorians on jetpacks, my second favourite moment is probably the scene with the whistling birds, for a number of reasons. In “Chapter 1” when Mando first meets the Client, a group of stormtroopers tell Mando to lower his weapons – “we have you four to one,” and Mando simply replies by saying, “I like those odds.” That quote is so good, not only because it is another obvious reference to Han Solo (“never tell me the odds”), but because it ties into this later moment in “Chapter 3.” Mando is once again surrounded by four stormtroopers, except this time he is holding Grogu in one hand. Earlier in the episode, during the forging scene, the Armourer tells Mando that whistling birds are very rare, and to use them sparingly. However, when Din is surrounded by the stormtroopers he has no problem using all of his whistling birds, if it means saving Grogu. And so, this is a strong character-building moment for the Mando, but it’s also just plain awesome. Coincidently, that is how I would describe this entire episode.
I have spoken,