Chapter 6 was fantastic for a variety of reasons, including how the creators gave us a brief look at the Mando’s past relationships. More nuggets about his past are details I’ve been craving because they allow us to see how much he’s grown as a character and they add more depth to what we’ve already seen. Finding out there used to be a thing between him and Natalia Tena’s character, for example, got me thinking about his interactions with Omera.
I want to preface this article by stating how much I loved Xi’an. Natalia Tena did such an amazing job with that character. We’ve seen different Twi’leks throughout Star Wars, but it’s interesting to see one that’s clearly been shaped by her rough upbringing and morally questionable surroundings. She’s angry, ruthless, and relies on her more primal traits to enforce her badass image. Honestly, I can’t wait to see people cosplay as her at Star Wars Celebration!
Now, onto my thoughts and highlighting the different ways Xi’an and Omera approach the Mandalorian and how he reacts to both of them.
When Xi’an initially enters the scene, the first thing we hear is her voice accompanied by an increasing rush of harsh violin sounds. I’m not musically savvy in any way, but it sounded menacing. I looked up tutorial videos on violins and other string instruments, and one video mentioned how screechy sounds could be a result of having too much pressure on the strings. The way the Mando turns and the camera turns with him to reveal Xi’an feels like there is a lot of pressure and tension in the air. It almost comes across as if he’s dreading every moment as he turns.
Going back to Chapter 4, when we first see Omera, there’s a soft and calm nature about the music playing in the background. Once she starts to talk, the music fades away, but it’s replaced by birds chirping and singing in a melodious way. There’s a sense of peace and warmth. It’s a scene in which the Mandalorian feels welcomed.
He’s also struck by Omera’s kindness and awkwardly comments on that after she tells him there are more blankets in the corner. Meanwhile, Xi’an invades his personal space and threatens him. In response, he gives her a dry and sarcastic, “Nice to see you, too.”
Xi’an clearly had a thing for the Mando, but in my opinion, I don’t think it was reciprocated. At least, not with the same intensity. When she says, “I’m all business now. Learned from the best,” I get the impression her words are a response to his detached nature. Even Ran mentioned how Mando hasn’t changed one bit, implying how he’s always been distant, to the point, and has no time for nonsense.
Something else to note: Xi’an calls him “Mando.” For someone who claims to know the “real” him, she doesn’t seem to know his real name. She also resorts to making fun of his convictions and way of life. On the other hand, Omera appears to have some knowledge about his practices and proceeds to ask questions to satisfy her own curiosity and to get to know him.
It’s also interesting how the Mando’s gaze on Xi’an doesn’t hold the same interest or warmth as when he stares at Omera. Xi’an represents a past he’s not interested in revisiting. He’s there because he’s desperate and needs the money, so he easily breaks away when Ran starts talking and doesn’t pay her much attention after that. Even when Xi’an winks back at him, he tilts his head away before turning his sight over to Burg.
With Omera, his gaze almost acts like a magnet. His head snaps over to her when she shoots her target. Later on, when Omera meets with him on the porch before engaging the raiders, his stare is practically glued to hers and vice versa. (I’m still curious what would have happened had Cara not interrupted the moment.) Toward the end of the episode, his gaze also follows her as she steps away from the barn. Cara herself notices the fleeting glances and comments on how he should settle down with the “beautiful young widow,” but his personal mission with the Child comes first.
Speaking of which, Xi’an finds it surprising how the Mando has a baby. She tells him how she never took him to be the type to have either a child or a pet. It’s a strange and foreign notion to her because of his line of work. When Mayfeld asks if the baby is a product of their relationship, you can hear her hissing in response. Omera never questions his relationship with the Child and recognizes the baby as the Mando’s boy. She may not have a past with him, like Xi’an, but his warrior facade doesn’t negate the possibility in her eyes.
The one thing Omera and Xi’an have in common is their mistake in knowing what the Mando wants. When he agrees living on Sorgan would be a good life for him and his boy, Omera assumes it’s okay to remove his helmet. This is the life he wants, so it’s okay to take it off, but he eventually stops her. Xi’an assumes the Mando took pleasure in what he did on Alzoc III. He probably did “like” whatever happened at the time, but that’s not who he is anymore. Those acts don’t define him and that’s where Xi’an’s “I know who you really are” falls apart. Neither Omera nor Xi’an fully know him. They have distinct ideas of who he is in their heads, but he doesn’t fit those molds.
The Mando ultimately lives by his code, a stance Xi’an believes makes him soft, while Omera’s interactions with the Mando imply the code makes it difficult for him to connect and live a normal life. However, it’s because of the honorable code he follows, his own past as an orphan, and his firm belief in foundlings being the foundation for the future that he’s able to connect with the Child.
In my mind, Xi’an represents his lifestyle in the past, while Omera represents his potential future. (The latter is conjecture, of course, since we don’t know where the Mandalorian will eventually end up. That said, I have no doubt the thought of living a peaceful life on Sorgan crossed his mind, even though he ultimately believed he didn’t belong there.) Xi’an also represents the ruthless underground world he comes from, while Omera represents the civil world that was robbed from him during the Clone Wars. Both women sit on opposite ends of the spectrum, but he doesn’t accept either as his reality.
Wherever he finds himself next, I hope we get to learn more about his past and how it informs his present and future.
(Also, I hope Mandomera is endgame because my hopeless romantic heart desperately needs it!)