Tue, 28 March 2023
The Mandalorian is back on Disney+ to kick off Season Three. On this episode of Hyperspace Theories, Tricia Barr and B.J. Priester discuss the characterization and storytelling developments unfolding across Chapter 17 (“The Apostate”), Chapter 18 (“The Mines of Mandalore”), and Chapter 19 (“The Convert”). By the end of these three episodes, we’ve learned a lot more about our central characters, yet each of them still faces profound questions about how they will choose to define, and possibly reshape, their individual identities going forward. For this season, Katee Sackoff is credited as a co-lead with Pedro Pascal, and the prominent role of Bo-Katan in these episodes definitely warrants that billing.
For Din Djarin, these episodes showcase his commitment to his understanding of the Mandalorian Creed. Despite other opportunities and obligations, he insists on fulfilling his quest to bathe in the Living Waters on Mandalore to redeem himself for having removed his helmet during the events of Season Two. He succeeds, and upon returning to the covert receives confirmation from the Armorer. What remains very much an open question, however, is what Din will do next.
Bo-Katan Kryze, on the other hand, experiences a very different journey. She begins the season without a purpose: she has lost her fleet, the Darksaber, and any people or place to rule – and, it seems, she has long since lost her faith in the value of the Creed. Once she departs her castle to rescue Grogu’s dad, she still talks to the foundling mostly about what she has lost, rather than what she still has to live (or fight) for. Even in the chamber with the Living Waters, she can barely hold back her derision when reading the ancient plaque. Then in s short span of time she sees the Mythosaur, loses her home to Imperial bombers, and is bestowed with her own redemption under the Armorer’s interpretation of the Creed. Suddenly everything has changed. Yet, like Din, Bo-Katan faces many questions about what she will choose for her path forward.
In addition to the lead characters, we also examine what these episodes show the audience about Grogu and his journey, as well as the Coruscant-based storyline with Doctor Pershing, Elia Kane, the New Republic’s amnesty program, and the lingering shadow of the Empire.
Sat, 4 March 2023
In the previous two recordings of Hyperspace Theories, we discussed the two story arc comprising the first six episodes of Season Two of The Bad Batch. In this recording, Tricia Barr and B.J. Priester analyze the next four episodes, which bring the story through episode 10 (of 16) in this season. Building on our previous consideration of the Hero’s Journey story structure in The Bad Batch, we examine how episodes 7 to 10 bring Clone Force 99 into an emotional abyss that typifies the conclusion of the second stage of the journey and the transition into the third stage.
In “The Clone Conspiracy” and “Truth and Consequences,” we witness the broader political ramifications of the end of the Clone Wars and the rise of a new Imperial military as Clone Force 99 is brought into a web of secrets and intrigue through Captain Rex, along with allies Senator Riyo Chuchi and Bail Organa. Yet the stakes are also personal, including a mysterious clone assassin with no identifying number, the fate of all of their clone brothers as the clone army will be decommissioned, and the final revelation that Emperor Palpatine has schemed all along to discredit the clones and replace them with Imperial stormtroopers. These events are sure to influence how Clone Force 99 views their place in the changing galaxy.
Despite the significance of that experience, in “The Crossing” and “Retrieval” the squad has reverted to their postwar baseline: another mundane assignment from Cid. Once again, the mission goes awry and endangers the squad far more than intended – and this time the Marauder is stolen in the process. Yet Cid is nonplussed by their distress call, showing no urgency to assist them. When Clone Force 99 tracks down the ship, they discover an ipsium mine run by a greedy and exploitative owner who manipulates and lies to his desperate employees. The squad reacquires the Marauder, but also makes a difference in improving the lives of the miners. The squad has made it past the worst of their ordeals, gaining more information and experience to prompt a recognition of the true nature of their relationship with Cid and how they can make a contribution in the galaxy. The Bad Batch are at their best when they’re helping people – they just need to see that for themselves at last.
This episodes concludes with a short discussion of storytelling analysis and speculation for Season Three of The Mandalorian, which premieres on March 1st.