Identity and Din Djarin
This week, I'd like to talk about the concept of personal identity and how it relates to Din Djarin in The Mandalorian. One of what I thought was the strongest episodes of season 2 was "Chapter 15: The Believer." A lot of what I think makes this episode so great is how it relates to Din's growth and Mandalorian identity. This was something that the show had already touched on quite a bit, in episodes like "Chapter 8: Redemption" and "Chapter 11: The Heiress," but I think that "The Believer" is really important in giving Din a new perspective on what it means to be a Mandalorian. I'm sure that season 3 will provide more looks into this, and I'd like to give my angle on it.
I should start why explaining why I believe that Din is the titular "believer" of this episode. I know this was debated a lot when the episode first came out- some people believing Mayfeld or even Hess were the believers that the title references. But I'm firm in my belief (haha) that it's Din. My reason for this is specifically in how I personally interpret the scene in the Imperial compound where Din removes his helmet.
A lot of people interpret that scene as Din forsaking a part of his Mandalorian identity for the sake of Grogu, that he's giving up his Creed, and weakening himself as a Mandalorian according to the way he was raised. And that is a valid reading of it if that's what you thought, but not quite what I got from it. I think that this scene, where Din is revealing his face in order to get the information he needs to save Grogu, is an example of him following the beliefs of his group of Mandalorians. He's actually strengthening his beliefs here, not losing himself.
Let me explain. The Mandalorian Creed that Din follows, while we don't know all of the details, is certainly a lot more complicated than the helmet rule. Another thing we know about their beliefs is the emphasis on family. We know this because of Din's background, where he was taken in and raised by Mandalorians, and we hear this very explicitly from the Armorer, when she claims Din to be as Grogu's father, and says that they are a clan of two. The importance of family is, in my view, a more important part of the Creed. When Din takes his helmet off, he isn't forsaking the belief's of the Creed- he's actually following them.
But Din still broke a rule. He took his helmet off. But, the key here to me is that he did it because he was following that other belief about family, and picking which was more important to him. He made a huge personal sacrifice (because we certainly can't say it was an easy decision for him) in order to save a member of his clan- and that's something I am 100% sure the other Mandalorians of his old clan would support.
Why am I so sure? Because those Mandalorians did the same thing in "Chapter 3: The Sin."
In "The Sin," the other Mandalorians break the other rule they had that people seem to forget about- the rule about staying in hiding- in order to rescue a member of their clan. Their family. And it cost them dearly, but it was a sacrifice that they chose to make. By taking his helmet off in that instance, though against the rules, Din was living up to the rescue that the members of his old clan did for him, and I'm sure that would make them proud.
The Mandalorian identity is, above all, about family. By choosing that core element of faith over a simple rule, Din was living up to what he was taught, showing that he has a true understanding of the Creed's purpose, not just what's on the surface level of it. That's why he's "The Believer."
So what does this mean in terms of Din and his identity as a Mandalorian in the future? It's hard to say- I don't know what direction season 3 will go on. No one does except for the people making it. But I know based off of "The Believer" that Din- even if he doesn't fully realize it- understands what it means to be a Mandalorian better than most. He understands that identity is not just about the superficial rules and appearances of things, but about what your values are. Din may wear the armor and follow the rules of his clan, but that's not what makes him a Mandalorian. What makes him a Mandalorian is his history and his tried and true understanding of the core beliefs about family and connection with the other Mandalorians. And that's something I think many could learn from.
Finally, I just have to say... I-Din-tity. I'm sorry.