When you hear “Mind Flayer,” you probably think about Stranger Things — or maybe Dungeons and Dragons. But in The Mandalorian Season 3 Episode 3, the term got an entirely new definition. After getting entry to the Amnesty Program within the New Republic, Dr. Pershing seemed like he was destined to re-enter galactic society, but the temptation of continuing his research led to a terrible betrayal and a one-way ticket to the Mind Flayer.
Here’s everything you need to know about this strange creature, including its roots in the comics and Rogue One exposing the very alive creature behind this power.
Warning! Spoilers for The Mandalorian Season 3 Episode 3 ahead!
The episode follows Dr. Pershing as he steps outside the bounds of the Amnesty program, only for him to find himself betrayed by his former coworker Elia Kane, previously known only as “the Comms Officer.” Because of his indiscretion, he’s made to undergo the Mind Flayer.
The Mon Calamari officer operating the machine denies it’s a Mind Flayer at all, calling it a Six-O-Two Mitigator. “It's a non-invasive experimental treatment,” he says, “recently approved for rehabilitation.” Basically, it’s a Mind Flayer with a different name, and at low voltages is used as a form of electroshock therapy instead of a torture device.
The term “Mind Flayer” has been used only once in Star Wars before — In Season 1 of The Mandalorian, Cara Dune tells Greef Karga that if she surrenders to the Empire, she’ll be “uploaded to a Mind Flayer,” which Greef Karga dismisses as “wartime propaganda.”
But we may have seen a Mind Flayer before. In Rogue One, Saw Guerrera tortured Bodhi Rook in a similar fashion with a creature named Bor Gullet. According to Saw, Bor Gullet can probe into one’s mind and manipulate thoughts, often driving them mad in the process. Certainly sounds like this creature has the same ability to torture as the Mind Flayer.
In the comic Doctor Aphra #21, the creature was identified as a Mairan, and it was revealed the Empire kept three cryogenically frozen for use. Considering their scarcity, it makes sense for these creatures to have their purpose replicated in an easy-to-use machine like the Mind Flayer.
While there’s no canon confirmation that a Mairan inspired (or even powered) the Mind Flayer, the name is a big giveaway — Mind Flayers are tentacled creatures with psionic powers, just like the Mairan. Why would a machine be named after a tentacled creature unless it had some connection?
The New Republic may be using the Mind Flayer for “therapeutic” purposes, but it’s still possible of doing its old Mairan torture tricks, as evidenced by Elia Kane amping up the power to presumedly erase the memories (and Empire secrets) of his past with Moff Gideon.
It just goes to show that the New Republic isn’t the government idyll it’s often portrayed as — it forces people through traumatic experiences, stifles their growth, and encourages betrayal too. Now we know it also uses the same fun telepathic toys.
The Mandalorian Season 3 Episode 3 is now streaming on Disney+.
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