The Mandalorian Season 3 Keeps Fumbling Bo-Katan’s Story
The Mandalorian could have done so much more with Bo-Katan.
“What’s going to happen with Bo-Katan?”
That question was on the minds of Star Wars fans everywhere heading into The Mandalorian Season 3. Katee Sackhoff’s beloved Clone Wars character ended The Mandalorian Season 2 in enough of an uncertain place that it wasn’t totally clear whether she and Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) would be enemies or friends when the Disney+ series made its long-awaited return. Over the course of its first six episodes, The Mandalorian Season 3 has given just as much focus to Bo-Katan as it has Din Djarin.
Unfortunately, The Mandalorian’s latest season hasn’t quite done as much as it could have with Sackhoff’s former Princess of Mandalore. Indeed, while the series has given Bo-Katan plenty of moments to shine up to this point, it hasn’t really pushed her or explored her inner emotional turmoil all that deeply. In the final moments of its sixth installment, The Mandalorian Season 3 even goes so far as to waste a major opportunity for dramatic conflict.
At the end of The Mandalorian’s latest episode, titled “Guns for Hire,” Din Djarin relinquishes control of the Darksaber to Bo-Katan in order to help her win back the loyalty of her former Mandalorian followers. Din explains that Bo-Katan not only saved his life earlier in The Mandalorian Season 3 but also reclaimed the Darksaber from the creature that had taken it from him. While she chose to give the Darksaber back to Din, the latter believes that her actions make her the rightful wielder of the treasured Mandalorian blade.
Moments later, “Guns for Hire” cuts to black on an image of Bo-Katan standing proudly with the Darksaber while Din Djarin stands a few feet to her right. Her placement in the center of the frame seems to suggest that Bo-Katan has officially become the new lead of The Mandalorian. To the show’s credit, it never seemed like Din Djarin was ever that interested in wielding the Darksaber or being the main character of any story.
That doesn’t make the manner in which Bo-Katan reclaims the Darksaber any less disappointing, though.
At the start of The Mandalorian Season 3, Bo-Katan was in a desperate place, which presented the Disney+ series with the chance to take her on a truly interesting and transformative journey. When she joined up with Din and his Mandalorian covert, it even seemed like Bo-Katan was going to seriously reevaluate her beliefs and become a full-time follower of The Way.
That possibility was thrown out the window when The Armorer (Emily Swallow) inexplicably decided in Episode 5 of The Mandalorian Season 3 to permit Bo-Katan to take off her helmet. After expressing intense disappointment and judgment toward Bo-Katan in The Book of Boba Fett, The Armorer’s change of spirit isn’t earned in The Mandalorian Season 3. Even worse, it lets Bo-Katan go back to operating the exact same way she did before The Mandalorian Season 3 began.
Additionally, while Din Djarin’s control of the Darksaber presented The Mandalorian with a potential conflict between him and Bo-Katan, the series has consistently avoided exploring that idea. Instead, “Guns for Hire” gives the Darksaber back to Bo-Katan purely on the basis of a technicality. Rather than finding a way to make Bo-Katan choose between her friendship with Din and her desire to lead her people, The Mandalorian gives the Darksaber back to her with little to no fanfare simply because Din doesn’t want it.
The Inverse Analysis — In an unexpected twist of fate, Din Djarin has become a supporting character in the show that used to belong to him. The character, consequently, hasn’t had anything close to an arc in The Mandalorian Season 3. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, either.
However, if The Mandalorian wants to make Bo-Katan its new primary protagonist, then it needs to be willing to challenge her emotionally and morally in ways that it repeatedly hasn’t. To put that another way: If The Mandalorian wants us to care about Bo-Katan’s new journey, then it needs to stop taking the easy way out.