This week’s episode of The Mandalorian brought interesting changes for some of its key-characters, especially Bo-Katan Kryze (Katee Sackhoff). Although the bulk of “The Convert” was focused on Dr. Pershing (Omid Abtahi) and his life post-Imperial life on Coruscant, it was the Mandalorian lady that had to face the most daunting changes, as her Kalevala castle was destroyed by a flotilla of Imperial TIE Bombers and Interceptors sent by who-knows. Luckily for her, Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) is now redeemed from his sins and was allowed back to the Armorer’s (Emily Swallow) covert, bringing a now homeless Bo-Katan with him and Grogu.
One doesn’t have to be that keen-eyed to notice the tension and discomfort in Bo-Katan and the members of the covert, there’s clearly some dirty laundry between the Mandos that yearns to be cleaned. Why, though? One would think that finding and being among other Mandalorians should be good for her, especially since her forces melted away after she didn’t obtain the Darksaber in the end of Season 2. But Mandalorians are a complex and multifaceted culture, and being among a group of them doesn’t necessarily mean being among your own people. That’s what this new episode shows, and it may bring some terrible consequences for both sides.
The Death Watch and the Nite Owls
As soon as he lays eyes on Din Djarin and Bo-Katan, Paz Vizsla (Jon Favreau) stands between them and the entrance of the covert. To him, Din is an apostate, Bo-Katan is a traitor, and none of them has a place there. He even calls Bo-Katan a “Nite Owl” in a disdainful tone to let her know she is not welcome. There are also clear differences between Bo-Katan’s armor and the ones the other Mandos wear, making her sense of not belonging even clearer. What’s all that about, though?
A few decades earlier, Paz and Bo-Katan were part of the same Mandalorian faction, the Death Watch. This was still in the days of the Clone Wars, when they were both young. The Death Watch played a significant role in Mandalorian history back then, being the terrorist group that opposed the rule of Duchess Satine Kryze (Anna Graves), Bo-Katan’s older sister. When she mentions to Din in the previous episode, “The Mines of Mandalore”, that her family once ruled Mandalore, that’s the period she refers to. Satine’s regime, the New Mandalorians, was based on more modern principles, not on the traditional way of Mandalore, hence the conflict between them and the Death Watch.
One of the Death Watch’s worst moments happened when Maul (Sam Witwer), the former Sith Lord from “The Phantom Menace“, its leader and obtains the Darksaber, therefore holding the rank of Mand’alor – the leader of all Mandalorians – according to tradition. Later, he also kills Satine, and that’s when Bo-Katan broke from the group and started her own Mandalorian faction, the Nite Owls, to oppose Maul – who was an outsider and was only using Mandalore to get back at his nemesis, Obi-Wan Kenobi (James Arnold Taylor).
Over time, though, Bo-Katan eventually adopted more moderate views on the Way of the Mand’alor. She still believes on some key aspects of the Creed, but doesn’t follow it blindly. For example, she constantly removes her helmet and has no issues in fighting side-by-side with the Jedi, who were ancient enemies to the Mandalorians. And the Death Watch is no more, but the Armorer’s covert is a splinter group, the Children of the Watch, who follow the Creed to the letter and excommunicate those who don’t. So that should be interesting.
Where Does Bo-Katan Stand Amidst All This?
“The Convert” begins with Bo-Katan staring intently at the Living Waters of Mandalore and questioning Din Djarin if he remembers anything that happened when he was dragged to their depths. He doesn’t, so he’s oblivious to the fact that he was dragged by a Mythosaur, the legendary beast of Mandalore who, according to legend, would reappear to herald a new age for Mandalorians, and Bo-Katan apparently wants to keep him in the dark about that.
What she must surely understand is that the Mythosaur was there for Din, not for her. Bo-Katan was the one who encountered and saw the beast, sure, but it was Din that it wanted. For her, this must be painful to accept, especially since she fought for decades to restore Mandalore to its former glory. She has a past and a family legacy to honor, and there’s no better way of doing that than by leading her people in their most desperate hour. But fate has its favorites, and it doesn’t seem that she’s one of them. She once held the Darksaber, but not by winning it in combat. When she had the chance to do so, Din Djarin was the one to obtain it, but they are allies. Now, the legendary Mandalorian deity chooses him over her, but only makes itself known to her, which must sound all the more confusing to her. She does stand by him when he’s questioned by the Armorer, but her intentions aren’t clear yet – maybe even for her.
Still, living among other Mandalorians may be good for her, as she reconnects with the core principles of Mandalorian culture and, who knows, even influences some of their customs, too (like removing their helmets, maybe?). She will have to deal with taunting from Paz Vizsla and that may even come to a breaking point, especially because their clans – the Kryzes and the Vizslas – are ancient rivals. Paz always likes to make it clear that he is a contender to the Darksaber, as the weapon was first wielded by his ancestor, Tarre Vizsla.
But an interesting theory making the rounds on the internet speaks of a possible rivalry between Bo-Katan and the Armorer herself. Her induction into the covert sheds doubt over one this possibility, as the Armorer received her into the group with open arms and redeemed her sins, too, because Bo-Katan also had to enter the Living Waters. Only their core views on the Way of the Mand’alor are fundamentally divergent, and that’s bound to create some tension between the two.