The Mandalorian Season 3 Episode 3 reintroduces viewers to Dr Pershing – but who is he, and why is he important in the show?
In our review of the third episode, we called it a “boring and predictable chapter” that “revealed the show’s glaring inadequacies when it takes the story away from Mando and co.”
While we briefly catch up with Din, Grogu, and Bo-Katan after their dip in the living waters of Mandalore, where they caught sight of a Mythosaur, we spend most of the runtime with someone else entirely: Dr Pershing.
It’s been a while since Season 2, so if you’re needing a refresher, here’s a quick breakdown on Dr Pershing. Spoilers for The Mandalorian to follow…
The Mandalorian: Dr Pershing explained
Dr Pershing is a scientist and clone engineer who served under Moff Gideon in his Imperial remnant, hoping to study Grogu’s blood and his “M-count.” He’s played by Omid Abtahi.
Don’t worry if you have no idea what that is: M-count means mid-chlorian count, meaning the number of microscopic beings found inside every living creature. Those with high M-counts are more likely to be Force-sensitive, hence why Dr Pershing wanted Grogu’s blood – although it’s still unclear what the benefits would be.
In Season 1, Pershing was first seen working with The Client in order to acquire “The Child.” The Client didn’t care whether Grogu lived or died, but Pershing refused to endanger his life with his experiments, instead choosing to harvest a small amount of blood. When Din decided to rescue Grogu, Pershing told him: “I protected him. I protected him. If it wasn’t for me, he would already be dead!”
We then discovered he was working for Moff Gideon and injecting the blood into volunteers, all of whom who died within weeks despite initially promising results. “If these experiments are to continue as requested, we would again require access to the donor. I will not disappoint you again, Moff Gideon,” he said in a recording.
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In Season 2, Grogu was captured by Moff Gideon and taken aboard his light cruiser. With the help of Boba Fett, Din and Cara Dune found Dr Pershing on a shuttle. He gave them valuable intel on where to find Grogu and helped them get onto the cruiser.
In Season 3 Episode 3, we meet him as he’s joining the New Republic’s Amnesty Programme, reintegrating Imperial officers and workers into society with jobs and housing. In a speech, he says the Empire “twisted” his research into “something cruel”, and how he’d hoped to “combine multiple strands to create replicas that incorporated the best genetic attributes of both donors.”
With “simple organ cloning”, he believes he could have saved his mother’s life. However, cloning and genetic engineering are prohibited by Coruscant, so he’s convinced by Elia Kane to source Imperial equipment from a junkyard and continue the research himself.
Alas, it all goes wrong: he gets the supplies he needs, but Elia betrays him. He’s arrested by the New Republic and uploaded to a mind flayer, repurposed by the New Republic as a “602 Mitigator.” When everyone else leaves, Elia turns the power up to its maximum level, essentially scrambling his brain.
The Mandalorian Season 3 Episodes 1-3 are streaming now on Disney+. You can also check out our other coverage of the show here.