Who Were the Spies? Mandalorian Finale Quietly Solves Season 3's Biggest Mystery
All the episode titles can be interpreted in more than one way.
The Mandalorian Season 3 is over, and in hindsight, it was a strange one. There were hour-long episodes, half-hour episodes, flashbacks and spinoff teases, and episodes that rarely featured Din at all. And then there was Episode 7, “The Spies.”
While the actual events of the episode were straightforward enough, there was nary a spy in sight. This led fans to wonder if the season finale would include the revelation that one of our heroes had secretly been spying for the bad guys this whole time, but Episode 8 came and went without any such twists. So just who were the Spies? Was the episode title a vestige of an abandoned storyline, or was it all just a big misdirect?
Actually, the spies may have been right in front of us all along. Every episode in Season 3 had a straightforward title referring to a major character or theme, but if you look closer, all the titles had double meanings that change how you examine the episode. If each episode title secretly refers to two different plot points, then “Spies” suddenly has a double meaning that makes its intent clear.
Let’s walk through that logic starting with the first episode, “The Apostate.” An Apostate is someone who renounces or rejects a faith, and from The Armorer’s perspective, that describes Din Djarin, who took off his helmet in Season 2. But the label could also be applied to Bo-Katan, who rejected the Children of the Watch by never being a member. This changes by the end of Episode 2, when both characters are immersed in the Living Waters of Mandalore.
That episode, “The Mines of Mandalore,” refers to the literal mines of Mandalore, but also a mine as a hidden explosive, like the trap Mando falls into that Grogu must rescue him from. Episode 3, “The Convert,” was contentious because it deviated from the Din and Bo-Katan storyline to follow Dr. Pershing and Elia Kane on Coruscant, but the title actually unites both storylines. We see Pershing and Elia “convert” to the New Republic, but we also see Bo-Katan come into her own as a (temporary) member of the Watch.
Episode 4, “The Foundling,” finally gave us a glimpse at Grogu’s past and his savior, Kelleran Beq, so of course Grogu is the Foundling of the title. But Bo-Katan is also a foundling, absorbed into Watch culture despite not being born into it. Then “The Pirate” refers to the villainous Gorian Shard, but the Mandalorians recruited by Greef Karga act as privateers too.
“Guns for Hire” is another term for mercenaries, like the ones led by Axe Woves. But Din Djarin and Bo-Katan are hired, essentially, for their guns, so they’re just as mercenary as the Mandalorians they’re trying to recruit.
That brings us to “The Spies.” It’s the most confounding title in the season, as there’s no clear reference to any group of characters, let alone two. But the Shadow Council is certainly sneaky, implying that the Empire is dead even while Grand Admiral Thrawn lurks in the wings. And if you want to get Biblical, the Twelve Spies were Israelite chieftains from the Twelve Tribes sent to scout the Promised Land by Moses, much as Bo-Katan is uniting the Mandalorian sects and scouting Mandalore with Din Djarin and friends. We’re talking “spy” in the sense of careful observation, not the sneaky espionage that first comes to mind. And if you think that’s a stretch, remember that The Mandalorian is no stranger to Biblical references, with its villain sharing the name of a great (albeit heroic) military leader.
Finally, there’s “The Return,” which is obvious. There’s the much-anticipated return to Mandalore, but also Din’s return to Nevarro, where he is happy to rest on his porch with his now-adopted son.
Season 3 may have had its up and downs, but it was sneakily uniting matching pairs of stories all along. Hopefully, Season 4 will continue that level of ingenuity.
The Mandalorian Season 3 is now streaming on Disney+.