Serial Consumer celebrates and interrogates Evan’s relationship to franchised media and his addiction to purchasing its licensed products.

I’ve taken a break from Serial Consumer. I didn’t cover Andor (though I did review the preview episodes) or season two of The Bad Batch (again, preview episode coverage). Frankly, The Book of Boba Fett and Obi-Wan Kenobi really left me burned out on weekly recap writing. Particularly the latter. I don’t think any show has evaporated so fully from my memory as Kenobi, and I think that’s just a trauma response. Of all the budget Disney+ programming on Lucasfilm’s slate, that was the one they really should’ve nailed. Somehow it was total garbage.

So I wasn’t planning on doing these recaps for season three of The Mandalorian. After enjoying Andor week to week, on my own time, I decided I didn’t need to make that commitment. I have too much going on. Besides, I’ve been growing out of buying so much Star Wars shit. I kind of hit my limit on the action figures and finally got a discount Darksaber, which I keep telling myself is the final piece of my replica collection. Sure, there are a few comics I’d love to buy, but that’s book collecting in my mental budget, not Star Wars collecting. I was feeling content with the dumb bullshit that fills my office. I didn’t need more.

Then I watched today’s third-season premiere, The Apostate, and godfuckingdamnit, I want to buy some shit.

The Episode

First, my recap. I won’t go scene by scene. I never do that. I don’t want to do that. Nobody pays me to write these. Hell, I pay to write these. Sometimes I’ve purchased dumb shit simply because I made a list on an old Serial Consumer and, in doing so, obligated myself to do so. To whom was I obligated? My past self. I can’t let my past self down, right? I needed that Darksaber, right? I need those Return of the Jedi 40th Anniversary Endor Troopers, right? I envisioned them four years ago, and now they’re real. No matter that I imagined them on a shelf in a house where I no longer live, and in a life where I had fewer children and responsibilities and more expendable cash. I owe it to past Evan. I owe him big.

This episode was pretty fucking great, though.

Unlike the premiere episodes of Season 1 and Season 2, this is very much a “catch-up’”chapter devoted to providing updates on Mando, Grogu and their assortments of friends (besides Gina Carano’s Cara Dune, who always sucked anyway, so good riddance). Rather than introducing and resolving conflict across one episode, The Apostate gives us a glimpse of several ongoing threads we’ll be following over the next eight chapters. Frankly, it’s a little disjointed, but whatever.

First, we see the start of the Armorer’s new covert, who are quickly attacked by a turtlegator. They’re having trouble before Mando arrives to save them. But he isn’t there to stay, just to get a little exposition for any viewers who skipped his intrusion into The Book of Boba Fett. Then he heads to see his old pal Greef (Carl Weathers), whose comic ascension to civic power continues. He tells Greef he wants to revive fan-favorite droid IG-11 (Taika Waititi) to assist in his journey to the potentially poisonous Mandalore, but that decision presents a new retrieval mission for him to undertake this season. I like the idea of reviving IG-11, I’m glad it’s a quest, and it makes sense that our hero, who famously hates droids, would only want to work with the unit he trusts. While hanging with Greef on Navarro, Mando comes into conflict with some pirates, who appear to be a new faction to hound him throughout the next few episodes. Their visual designs are great. I welcome their presence as cannon fodder.

The episode ends with Mando visiting Bo-Katan (Katee Sackoff) on a moon of Mandalore. She lives alone in a giant castle. She’s pretty mad that he still has the Darksaber and is viewed as the potential ruler of a about which he doesn’t seem to care. To her, Mando’s whole cultish devotion to the Death Watch stuff about not removing his helmet is stupid. When you have Pedro Pascal, it sort of is. But then again, it’s much easier to film a series like this with stuntmen (properly credited as performers now), and I’d rather take more of the show than wait for them to work around his schedule. It is what it is.

Anyway, this episode doesn’t have an identity of its own so much as it sets up the rest of the season, for which I am quite excited. There were some good action sequences, and we even saw the purrgils (aka space whales) from Star Wars: Rebels, perhaps a hint at what is to come in Ahsoka. As a bonus, we got to see some Babu Friks. As a fan of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, I’m totally onboard with integrating stuff from that ridiculous mess into the rest of canon. Only then can it feel like truly Good Shit. Just like when the Prequels were redeemed by The Clone Wars.

What I’ve Bought

After buying the Darksaber over Thanksgiving weekend, I’ve really purchased very few Star Wars-related items. I do intend to keep it that way. The 6” Black Series figures now run for $27 MSRP, a full $7 increase from my collecting heyday. They just aren’t worth $27, particularly given that I own every important character (sometimes multiple times over). I’ll likely still buy some when they hit clearance prices, and my wish list reflects that intention.

Still, I did grab one a week ago: the Grand Inquisitor. I planned to use an old gift card I’d received but lost the PIN so it ran me $25. That stung. But it felt like a good figure to go out on, completing my Rebels shelf (even though it is his vastly inferior Obi-Wan Kenobi headshape).

I had the opportunity to buy Aayla Secura, the Twi’Lek Jedi from Attack of the Clones that featured prominently in the old Star Wars: Republic comics I enjoy so much, but for $25, she’s very sparse. I think my max would be $15. We’ll see.

Otherwise, not much to report here, and I hope that continues to be the case throughout this season.

What I’d Buy:

What got me writing this again was the asteroid dogfight between Mando’s N-1 and the pirate fighters. I’ve always loved the N-1 design (being a Phantom Menace boy), and seeing it used in such a badass fashion was really invigorating. I’ve long had my eye on the LEGO N-1, and this is almost enough for me to pull the trigger. Hopefully, we’ll get some coupons at Target sometime soon, which would help me ignore the fact that I have absolutely no space for its display.

Figure-wise: I own most of these characters already. I don’t need a Greef or a Bo-Katan. My Mando wields a Darksaber already, and I have three different Grogus. I guess the new pirate character is a pretty cool alien design. Frankly, the only thing that really got me jonesing for a new figure was the scene of all the different Mandalorians together. Those would have to be really simple for Hasbro’s team to produce, and I don’t think I would say no to some (reasonably discounted) technicolor hodge-podge Mandalorian warriors.