How The Mandalorian Season 3's Pershing Episode Helps Set Up Star Wars' Snoke and Palpatine Clone Origins

The Mandalorian Season 3 Episode 3 was a major deviation from the seasonal storyline we thought we were getting. (SPOILERS) After "Chapter 17" and "Chapter 18" established a story arc about Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) and Bo-Katan Kyrze (Katee Sackhoff) returning to Mandalore, "Chapter 19" jumped to a separate storyline about two former Imperials, scientist Dr. Penn Pershing (Omid Abtahi), and communications officer Elia Kane (Katy O'Brian). The two meet on Coruscant as part of The New Republic's "Amnesty Program," which reforms and re-assigns former Imperials. However, Dr. Pershing can't leave his old ways as a mad scientist behind, and ends up paying a harsh price... 

Chapter 19 of The Mandalorian was indeed more like an episode of Andor than what we usually expect from The Mandalorian but despite the angry or disappointed reactions from some Star Wars fans, the claim that there was "no point" to the episode's main story arc isn't quite true.

How Dr. Pershing May Connect to Snoke & Palpatine's Return in the ST

(Photo: Lucasfilm)

The Star Wars Sequels took up one of the story threads of the Star Wars Prequels, by introducing the re-introducing the technique of cloning in some new and unexpected ways. After Star Wars: The Force Awakens introduced the new franchise big bad in The First Order's Supreme Leader Snoke, The Last Jedi pulled the rug out from under us, by killing Snoke off as a red herring, to signal Kylo Ren's rise to evil supremacy. However, things got even weirder in The Rise of Skywalker when it was revealed that "Snoke" was a puppet – an avatar body for Emperor Palpatine hide behind, while he tried to grow himself a new cloned body (with middling success). 

Since The Rise of Skywalker's release, Star Wars has been working backwards to fill-in how Palpatine survived, was cloned, and created Snoke as his avatar. In fact, that storyline is something that The Mandalorian began hinting at in Season 2, with the story of Mando and co. discovering that Moff Gideon was in heading up one of the cloning facilities where the Emperor's experiments were being done. As The Mandalorian Season 3 airs this episode, Star Wars: The Bad Batch Season 2 has also recently added a piece to the puzzle, with its reveal that Imperial cloning had reached an advanced stage by the time of The Empire's early years.

Now, The Mandalorian is helping us undertand another pivotal step in the Empire (and Sith's) cloning experiments... 

The Mandalorian Chapter 19 Ending Explained

(Photo: Disney+)

At the end of The Mandalorian Chapter 19, Kane betrays Pershing, revealing herself to be a New Republic agent responsible for ferreting out Imperial loyalists or those unable to re-acclimate to the New Republic. However, when Pershing is sent in for "re-education" through a mind-flay machine, Kane manipulates her way to the controls and sabotages the process, possibly killing Pershing or leaving him mind-wiped. 

The fact that Pershing is targeted by Kane (representing the shadowy faction of The First Order taking shape) seems to indicate that the Empire wants to Pershing's reserach into cloning to continue – without the good doctor bringing New Repubic scrutiny to that particular area of Imperial science. The ending also  hints that Kane is a double-agent still very much loyal to the Empire – who may be even more deepy embedd within the inner circle of Sith Eternal loyalists wihtin the Empire – and their mission to give Darth Sidious new life and a new bodily vessel to live in.

The Mandalorian streams new episodes on Disney+ every Wednesday.