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The Mandalorian: Chapter 19: The Convert

What is it ? : We pick up from the end of the last episode, with Din and Bo-Katan still at the edge of the waters of Mandalore, as Din awakens. Bo-Katan questions him as to there was anything he saw beneath the waters, but he didn't. Din takes a sample of the water to prove they have been there, and then they return to her ship, and as they fly back towards the moon where her castle is located, they come under attack by Tie Interceptors.
As they reach the moon, they speed over Bo-Katan's castle, and Din jetpacks down to his fighter so they can both engage, and they skirmish with fast and agile Tie's. When they defeat the last Interceptor, they return to the Castle only to find Tie Bombers flattening it, and Bo-Katan in a rage speeds after them only for Din to detect a large number of enemy vessels approaching, so they escape into Hyperspace.
Meanwhile on Coruscant, Doctor Pershing is speaking in a large hall, he talks about the programme he is in, Amnesty, where he is contributing to the New Republic in a useful fashion, and talks about his research into cloning. Telling the audience, which also includes the communications officer from Moff Gideon's vessel, that while his research was abused by the Empire, that he got into organ cloning when his mother died of heart failure, something that could be avoided if they allowed him to continue with his work.
People outside compliment him and praise him, before commenting that they don't like to get involved which how they survived the Empire. He returns to his housing in the Amnesty project in a air taxi, the droid driver of which tells him of the sights of Coruscant.
In the courtyard of the building, a group of other ex-Imperial members of the Amnesty programme are sitting talking, and invite him to join them, which he does. The group includes the communications officer, Elia Kane, and they speak about how their lives are better outside the Empire, but they miss certain things, and Pershing admits he kind of misses the old ration bars they used to eat. The others notice that Pershing recognises the communications officer, and they reveal that they served on Moff Gideon's vessel together, and the others talk about how he was taken to a war crimes tribunal, but that might only have been cover for the Republic using a Mind Flayer on him, something which ends the conversation uncomfortably.
Afterwards he returns to his quite extensive quarters, and is disturbed by a knock a the door, but no one is there, but a box has been left, one that contains the ration bars he spoke of.
The next day he attends his work, which appears to be routine dull filing of items to be scrapped. Afterwards he is analysed by a psychiatric droid to see how he is adapting, passing the test easily, and then goes back to his residence.
Outside, Elia Kane is waiting for him, and they decide to visit some of the sights of Coruscant together. They visit a park built around a rock, and Pershing asks about it. Elia tells him it is the top of Umate, the highest mountain on Coruscant and the only visible part of the planet. He speaks about missing his work, and Elia tells him that perhaps he could continue his research on his own time.
The next day while working, he spots laboratory equipment being sent for scrap, things he could use in his research. He asks his supervisor about it, but is told that the work in organising the scraping is more important, as the New Republic is still trying to scrap the Alliance fleet.
During his session with the droid later, he asks if he would be allowed to pursue his research in his own time, only to be told that Cloning is against Coruscant regulations, so he wouldn't. He returns home and speaks with Elia, and she suggests they could sneak into the scrapyards and steal the equipment he needs. He questions her about the difficulty of doing this, and she tells him that's where she got the ration bars she left for him.
They set off in non-Amnesty outfits, and sneak through the barriers onto a train, as they do not have permission to access certain areas. While on the train, they spot Droid Ticket inspectors and move down through the train to avoid them, but reach the back, so leap off the vehicle as it slows into a station.
They sneak into the scrap yards, and onto an Imperial Star Destroyer which is being disassembled. Locating a science bay, Pershing collects what he needs, but as they exit, they are surrounded by New Republic Police, and Elia reveals she was working with them all along to discover if Pershing was truly loyal to the New Republic.
He is taken to a conditioning station, which he recognises as a Mind Flayer, the device mentioned earlier as having been used on Moff Gideon, he argues that it's dangerous, but they assure him that they only use it on a low setting and it can be quite pleasant. He tries to tells them that Elia had entrapped him, but they ignore him and activate the machine.
As everyone else leaves, Elia asks to be allowed to remain, as even if Pershing has slipped, he was a friend, and they complement her on remaining loyal to the Republic and allow her to stay. After she is alone, she turns the power of the device up to maximum.
In space Din and Bo-Katan emerge from Hyperspace and land at the Armorers settlement where they are met by Paz Vizsla who tells them they are not welcome as they are apostates. Din explains that he has cleansed himself in the waters of Mandalore, and has evidence, so they take them to the Armorer.
The Armorer tests the water Din has brought and confirms that it is real, and tells everyone that he is redeemed and follows the way once more. But then declares the same of Bo-Katan, something she rejects. But she also immersed herself in the waters of Mandalore and has not removed her helmet since, so for the moment she follows the way. And the two are greeted by the clan as family, something which seemingly affects Bo-Katan strongly after being abandoned by her people. . . .

High Points : I have joked in the past about the episodes of The Book of Boba Fett which were actually episodes of the Mandalorian, and how others have acted as a backdoor pilot for the Ahsoka series. But are they going to do a Doctor Pershing series? (I'd kind of love it if he had to become a Star Wars private eye, "Doctor Pershing Investigates")
Anyway, while the Din Djarin storyline progresses a little, with Bo-Katan rejoining the Death Watch once more, the largest segment of the show does focus on Doctor Pershing, and it's absolutely great to watch.
Seeing the Amnesty programme, which I see similar to the de-Nazification programmes in Germany of post WW2, and seeing the ways that the New Republic is slipping from the moral standards of it's Alliance foundation. It's difficult to believe that Leia or Mon Mothma would be in favour of the Mind Flayer technology being used. And the steps being taken towards the disarmament which leads to the formation of the First Order, it's all fascinating stuff.

Low Points : For the most part Coruscant looks fabulous, as gorgeous as it was in the Prequels, but it is obviously done on a television budget, so some elements don't look great. The Mon Calamari that Pershing speaks to early on looks like a guy wearing a rubber mask, the hinge points for the jaw looking fairly obvious.
I'm also a little confused as to Pershing's status. When the episode introduces him, he seems to be speaking to a large gathering of diplomats and aristocrats, seemingly quite important. But then he's working a boring desk job as part of the Amnesty programme. He talks about his research to a crowd seemingly interested in it, and then isn't allowed to pursue his research? I don't really get why he's being treated on these two levels, I would think that either he is important or isn't, but pick one please.

So what do you really think ? : This was a really good episode, expanding the Mandalorian universe in a fascinating way, and into a world where Din and his allies will be more out of place than Gideon, Pershing and Kane, as the heroes really operate on the edge of civilisation, where the villains are well suited to high society. So it will be interesting to see how this storyline meets the main one.

I was also impressed by the many meaning of the episodes title. Is it referring to Pershing being a convert to the New Republic, or being converted back to the service of Gideon? Is it Bo-Katan being a convert to the Death Watch once more? Or is it Elie Kane pretending to be a convert to the New Republic to gain access to Pershing. Or more likely it is all of the above.

Final Words : While Elia Kane's betrayal was fairly obvious, as she was following Pershing from the beginning, the reason for it remains unclear. It is simple revenge, after all it was Pershing being captured that brought Din, Bo-Katan, and the others aboard Gideon's ship and led to the Moff being captured and supposedly Mind Flayed, the same fate she puts Pershing through. Or is it simply she wants him to hate the Republic, and drive him back to serving Gideon, as part of a plan to break him out?
We shall see.

Score : 9.25/10

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