The Mandalorian was initially exciting not just for it offered an exploration of Mandalorian society, but because it would fill in a key gap in the Star Wars timeline: the era between the Original Trilogy and sequels.

It’s a transitory time for the galaxy. After the fall of the Empire, there’s a power vacuum that’s either filled with a hastily assembled New Republic government or an entrepreneurial bounty hunter looking to topple a crime syndicate as we saw in The Book of Boba Fett.

But in Season 3 of The Mandalorian, the cracks are starting to show.

Season 3 Episode 5 of The Mandalorian follows Carson Teva, the New Republic space cop we first saw pulling Din over for a traffic stop in Season 2. This time, he decides to respond from a distress call from Greef Karga, who finds Nevarro overrun with space pirates.

Teva wants to provide help, but he needs approval from the New Republic first. He visits Colonel Tuttle on Coruscant, but their meeting is crashed by Elia Kane. Tuttle says there’s too much of a backlog to throw resources at pirates, especially at a planet that hasn’t signed the charter to become an actual member of the New Republic.

Kane, still innocuous as a post-Empire convert to the Republic, suggests that this could be an opportunity to show Nevarro what they’re missing by not signing the charter. Teva says that’s a very Imperial way of thinking, but Tuttle admits there’s a structure now and not much can be done.

This is indicative of a new theme emerging in The Mandalorian: though the Empire was awful, the New Republic certainly isn’t perfect. They’re using the Mind Flayer for “therapeutic” reasons, falling for Elia Kane’s framing of Dr. Pershing, and stopping the good doctor from continuing his cloning research for the Republic.

It looks like the New Republic is learning a harsh lesson — running a rebellion is hard, but running the galaxy is harder. There will likely be a number of learning curves as the Republic figures out the ins and outs of governing countless planets. We know where this is going to end up in a decade — the emergence of the First Order — but The Mandalorian Season 3 may be our first glimpse at the cracks that will later lead to chasms.

The Mandalorian Season 3 Episode 5 is now streaming on Disney+.

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