‘The Mandalorian’: What Is An Apostate?
Each episode of The Mandalorian is treated as a chapter of a larger story, and given a title with the same format: “The _______.” The pilot was simply “The Mandalorian,” and since then we’ve had installments like “The Child,” “The Sin,” “The Gunslinger,” “The Marshal,” “The Jedi,” “The Tragedy,” and “The Rescue.” (The only episode so far to violate that rubric was Season 1’s “Chapter 4: Sanctuary.”)
The Season 3 premiere is the 17th chapter of the story so far. It’s dubbed “The Apostate,” a word that’s a little more obscure than child or sin or gunslinger or even Jedi. But it cuts to the heart of what’s happened to Pedro Pascal’s Din Djarin and his central quest on this season of the Star Wars TV series.
An apostate is a person who commits apostasy, defined by Merriam-Webster as “an act of refusing to continue to follow, obey, or recognize a religious faith” or “abandonment of a previous loyalty.” That’s because at the end of Season 2 of The Mandalorian, Din Djarin willingly removed his helmet to his Yoda-esque charge, Grogu. In Din’s specific sect of Mandalorians, the Children of the Watch, that is the ultimate no-no. Their sect’s “creed” forbids removing one’s helmet under any circumstance. In the case of Din, he didn’t even do it to save his life, or to protect a loved one. He did it because he was saying goodbye to Grogu forever and the little guy wanted to see his face just one time.
(Obviously forever didn’t even last the break between Mandalorian seasons; the pair were reunited during the events of the spinoff series The Book of Boba Fett.)
If we’re being technical about it, Mando has actually removed his helmet several times over the course of The Mandalorian’s two seasons.
When word of the removal of Din’s helmet got back to the leaders of his Mandalorian sect — primarily the woman known as “The Armorer” (Emily Swallow) — they branded him an “apostate” because he has violated their sacred creed. That means he’s no longer a member of the Children of the Watch. The only way back in to the group at this point is by redeeming himself, which, according to the creed, can only be accomplished through a bath in the living waters of the planet’s mines. But Mandalore was destroyed a long time ago, meaning adhering to this tradition might be impossible. (Look, if it was easy, that wouldn’t make much of a TV show, now would it?)
That’s the central conflict of The Mandalorian Season 3. Din is now an apostate to his people until he performs a sacred ritual in a body of holy water that may not technically exist anymore. Good luck, dude.
New episodes of The Mandalorian premiere on Wednesdays on Disney+. Favreau co-wrote the entire season with producer Dave Filoni and writer Noah Kloor. There are seven weekly episodes left in Season 3.
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