Meaning in Mando Chapter 11: The Heiress

SPOILER ALERT FOR CHAPTER 11: THE HEIRESS. SERIOUSLY TURN BACK NOW IF YOU HAVEN’T WATCHED.

No matter how we dreamed up, fantasized, or theorized Din Djarin meeting other Mandalorians, especially the Mandalorian Bo Katan, “Chapter 11: The Heiress” exceeded those expectations. This episode truly redefine’s the standards that shall be set for the remainder of this season and possibly beyond. In true Favreau, Filoni, and Bryce Dallas Howard fashion, this episode is also chalked full of metaphor, meaning, and symbolism.

Water

Water is the foundational metaphor upon which “The Heiress” stands. One could say this episode walks on water, an apropos analogy considering the Christ symbolism used in the previous episode.

Throughout history, water has been one of the foremost symbols. Numerous ancient cultures used it to represent that from which everything is born and everything will return to. Essentially, water is life itself. Thus, when the episode starts with the Razorcrest, which is shaped like a womb,  going through fire to fall into the water and be “reborn”, we get a better idea of exactly what the storytellers want us to pay attention to.

Before delving into what the water means for Din and The Child, it’s critical that we reflect on what has come before. Chapter 9 brought the krayt dragon from mystery to reality, providing a hint that Din will have to battle his own preconceived notions in order to be reborn as his truest self. Then Chapter 10 was full of eggs, a sign of fertility and the possibility of life. When looking at those through the larger overall theme of this season, the question of what it means to be a Mandalorian seems to be at the center of it all. 

Which makes a planet of water the perfect choice as the true catalyst for Din’s future as a Mandalorian. When Bo Katan pulls Din from the water it is identical to how he was pulled from the pit by Death Watch. 

The major difference is, of course, the water. Originally, Din was pulled from a pit of darkness into the light. Death Watch provided him hope, as all cults do. But now, Bo Katan and her compadres are going to show him a new Way. 

Birth

So Din is going to be “reborn” into some new form of Mandalorian, whether that be just in terms of his joining Bo Katan or something larger for the culture overall. But he is not alone. As he says, “Where I go, the kid goes.” After Bo Katan pulls him from the water, Din immediately calls for them to save The Child. Thankfully the little one was wrapped up safely in his egg, thus allowing one of the Mandalorians to dive in and give birth to him as well. 

When Bo gives Din the information on where to find Ahoska, who she calls a Jedi despite Ahsoka’s well known proclamation that she is not, she sends him to the planet Corvus. In most situations, that would be just a really cool sounding planet. But this is Star Wars, so everything always means something else, and Corvus is no different. 

With regards to The Child’s new identity, this could mean many things. For one, Apollo was in part the god of light, so if Ahsoka is Apollo in this case it could be as simple as her showing The Child, whose penchant for darkness we’ve seen, the light. However, one could surmise that Ahsoka is in fact the centaur. While she is not a Jedi (nor is she something as asinine and ridiculous as a Grey Jedi), she acts in accordance with what the Jedi should be. She’s half man, half beast, in a sense. This could be foreshadowing Ahsoka’s position as the future caretaker for The Child. 

Family

Rebirth leads to something that Star Wars has always been focused on: family. When Din and The Child are reborn, they will also find a new family in the process. As this is basically what the quest of this season is about, with Mandalorians and Jedi standing in as the family that Din has been seeking since the death of his parents. 

When Din goes into the bar, the Quarren says, “You seek others of your kind.” He finds them in Bo Katan, but he hasn’t come to the conclusion that those are his people, his true people. Yet the text clearly tells us that he will by reuniting Frog Lady and Frog Fella so that they can continue their family line. Once Din decides who his family is, he will finally have the same peace that Mr. and Mrs. Frog represent. That’s available to him when the Mandalorians land and one says, “Don’t worry, brother, we’ve got this.” But before he can accept that offering, he must find the balance between…

Past and Present

Life is, at its core, about finding that ever moving point where past and present are at peace with one another. Sometimes nostalgia wants the past to replace present, or trauma begs the present to erase the past. 

For Din it is much more the latter, coming from a childhood centered on the murder of his parents. The Mandalorians, or The Watch as we come to learn they are called, gift him not only with a present but a future. That’s understandably hard to let go to. Nonetheless, this episode continually tells us that he will have to. Water and birth metaphors aside, Bo Katan’s assertation that The Watch are “ a cult of zealots that broke away from Mandalorian society” to “reestablish the ancient way.” is not the most glowing of reviews. As viewers, especially those who know Bo Katan from Clone Wars and Rebels, we are expected to trust in her assessment of them, even when Din doesn’t. 

Ahsoka had to deal with a similar issue when it comes to the Jedi. She had the past history with them, but the present was telling her that there was more. So she walked away from the Order. Will Din Djarin walk away from The Watch? Well, we’ll have to watch and see. (That’s a terrible pun and I will see myself out. ) 

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