This post contains spoilers for "The Mandalorian" season 3, episode 5.

Most fans of "The Mandalorian" can agree on one thing about season 3 so far: Katee Sackhoff's presence as Bo-Katan Kyrze is wonderful, and she has made a great addition to the core cast of the series. At times, she even overshadows our titular hero, Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) himself. Sackhoff has been given a rare opportunity to flesh out a character she originated in animation as a full, physical, live-action performance, and she's clearly been making the most of it as season 3 finally pays off her character's pursuit of ruling Mandalore — something she's been working towards since her introduction in the animated "Star Wars: The Clone Wars" series.

Her arc was off to a promising start. Without the Darksaber, Bo-Katan had found herself disillusioned and abandoned, with no army to fight alongside her. After she's summoned for help by baby Grogu, she briefly joined Din on his mission to find redemption in the living waters of Mandalore, and in the process, Bo-Katan gazed into the eyes of the mystical Mythosaur, with renewed faith. For the past few episodes, we've watched as Bo-Katan slowly integrated herself into Din's clan, the Children of the Watch, even taking on a piece of their Beskar armor on her shoulder.

This week, she serves as a leader to the Watch, leading them to victory over their battle against the pirate gangs on Nevarro alongside Din. The Watch accepts her as an honorary member of the clan despite her taking off her helmet — but one has to question, is this squeaky clean arc really doing justice to Bo-Katan Kryze, the extremist anti-hero dead set on inheriting the Darksaber and restoring Mandalore to its former glory?

The Disney+ Star Wars Shows Sand Off The Rougher Edges Of Their Characters

Outside of "Andor," a show that refreshingly embraces the gray morality of the universe, the live-action Disney+ "Star Wars" series have a poor habit of sanding off the rougher edges of their characters. In "The Book of Boba Fett," the titular bounty hunter (Temura Morrison) doesn't claim Jabba's old throne to become a crime lord, but becomes a glorified super cop — ridding Tatooine of crime rather than ruling it with vague motivations for his change of heart. Din's clan, the Children of the Watch, has been portrayed in previous seasons of "The Mandalorian" as a group of Mandalorian religious zealots, but now, they are sympathetic characters this season.

Unfortunately, while Bo-Katan has been engaging and entertaining to watch, I can't help but feel the more complex and morally ambiguous aspects of her character have been traded in out of plot convenience. Make no mistake, Bo-Katan is an anti-hero. Though often found herself fighting alongside the heroes in the animated shows "Clone Wars" and "Star Wars Rebels," she always did so to serve her own agenda. Casual "Star Wars" fans are told about her royal Mandalore family heritage in "The Mines of Mandalore," but the episode neglects to mention Bo-Katan was estranged from her family because she believed in restoring Mandalore's warrior culture — something that led her to join and establish the Nite Owls, a division of the Death Watch and a group of radical Mandalorian terrorists, during the Clone Wars.

An Underdeveloped Character Shift

The "Mandalorian" season 2 finale saw Din gain possession of the Darksaber after defeating Moff Gideon, putting him in direct opposition to Bo-Katan, who needs it to secure her claim to the throne of Mandalore. Going into season 3, the pair appeared to be on a collision course with one another, yet that no longer seems to be the case. What's more, the tensions between these two characters has been largely deflated and the ownership of the Darksaber barely even feels like an issue anymore.

Instead, Bo-Katan now comes across as an accessory to Din's journey in season 3. Ever since Grogu asked for her help, she's been accompanying Din wherever he goes, even joining the Children of the Watch with minimal resistance, conflict, or challenge to her worldview. This is severely at odds with the Bo-Katan we met before, a principled and fierce character who flat-out dismissed Din's tribe as nothing more than cultists. There's nothing wrong with a strong character shift ("Star Wars" is all about growth and redemption), but "The Mandalorian" has yet to genuinely earn Bo-Katan's character development. One can follow the plot easily enough, yet there's little emotional logic to the way the show's greater story has played out.

It's a matter of showing versus telling. For example, it's clear that seeing the Mythosaur in person is supposed to be a key character beat; a moment that has spiritually awakened Bo-Katan in some way, and sends her on an existentialist journey. However, beyond a brief scene where Bo-Katan discusses her experiences with the Armorer, we're never shown how this has affected her or shifted her motivations. Bo-Katan acts like a brand new character after the incident, and the show leaves too much for the audience to fill in the gaps themselves.

Katee Sackhoff Is Great, Despite Weak Writing

The passion Katee Sackhoff has for Bo-Katan Kryze and the energy she brings onscreen is simply undeniable, but her efforts ultimately feel at odds with the weak writing on "The Mandalorian."

Ironically, despite having deliberately stepped away from centering the Sith and the Jedi in its recent storytelling, the live-action side of the "Star Wars" franchise still seems deathly afraid of portraying any hint of moral ambiguity or nuance (again, save for "Andor" and an episode like "The Convert," which is very much the exception to the rule on "The Mandalorian"). In contrast, the animated "Star Wars" series have never been afraid to get political and esoteric, even while being geared primarily toward younger viewers. As such, there's little excuse for the live-action, older-skewing shows on Disney+ to feel so one-dimensional in comparison.

It's wonderful that Bo-Katan has been given a leading role to shine in on "The Mandalorian," but I wish it wasn't at the expense of stripping away the complexity that made the animated version of the character feel authentic and real.

New episodes of "The Mandalorian" premiere Wednesdays on Disney+.

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The post The Mandalorian Season 3 Should Let Bo-Katan Be Messy and Complex appeared first on /Film.