In the latest Disney+ episode of “The Mandalorian,” the main protagonist of the story, Mando, and his adoptive son Grogu were made to take the backseat and were given the shorter plot, while writer Jon Favreau explored the story of a scientist we had last seen in person in Season 1. We were re-introduced to Dr. Penn Pershing, the scientist who was made to work on Grogu by The Client, and we follow the doctor as he tries restarting his research on cloning with the help of another former officer for the Empire, named Elia Kane. They start a friendship, and she aims to help him get his research back on track but ends up betraying him at the last moment. This might leave many people scratching their heads to understand Elia’s motive, which is why here’s a breakdown of Elia’s actions.
Dr. Pershing had always been a kind-hearted scientist who wanted to help people, but not at the cost of hurting others. Even when his brilliance was being forcibly used by Moff Gideon to transfer Grogu’s abilities into him by using the little green guy as a donor, Pershing tried his best not to hurt the kid. After Gideon was arrested and taken to the authorities by Cara Dune, all the people who worked under Gideon—at least the ones who came willingly—were given amnesty on the planet of Coruscant. Under the Amnesty Program offered by the bustling ecumenopolis, Dr. Pershing is granted amnesty and finds a job and comfortable housing. He also finds other amnesty seekers, including a former officer on Moff Gideon’s ship, who’s introduced as G68.
Over the next few days, the irresolute scientist is egged on by G68—whom we later come to know as Elia Kane—to continue his valuable research on cloning. In fact, the first time we saw him giving a speech in Coruscant, he was speaking about how far he had come with his research on cloning and the benevolent possibilities that’d help entire species if he could keep up his research. Elia struck up a friendship with Pershing by anonymously gifting him the yellow ration biscuits he mentioned liking from his days in the Empire, and then they quickly became friends after sharing laughs and desserts. Meanwhile, Pershing finds it difficult to focus on his boring job of making inventory when he could be researching cloning, which has been his dream from a very young age. Upon asking the weekly re-evaluation droid, he learns that any research on cloning under the New Republic is forbidden, so he’s forced to keep doing the thankless and frustrating job. At the same time, Elia encourages Pershing to continue his research if he really thinks it’ll help the New Republic, but he’s initially doubtful.
Pershing finally works up the courage to accompany Elia to the area beyond their designated perimeter to retrieve the materials needed to continue his research, and they venture out. Throughout the journey to the abandoned shipyard, Elia has his back, helping him get on the train and aiding him in fleeing from the droids. However, when he has gathered the materials he needs for research, they’re quickly surrounded by armed forces, and Pershing is arrested while Elia takes away the equipment he gathered. Later, she increases the intensity of the 6-O-2 mitigator and actually flays Pershing’s mind without anyone noticing, whereas it was she who had put the whole idea in his head. So why did she go to such elaborate lengths to get the scientist to break the rules and gather the equipment for research, only to betray him later and destroy his mind?
Earlier, when Pershing was first introduced to the other officers in the amnesty housing, one of the officers casually mentioned that Moff Gideon fled while being taken to the War Tribunal, while another version of the story said that Gideon was subjected to a mind flayer. We were made to believe that Elia struck up a friendship with Pershing out of the kindness of her heart, but as it turns out, she had an ulterior motive all along. She trapped the poor guy in a web of lies and false promises and took him to an unauthorized area, and later had him arrested because Elia Kane is still working for Moff Gideon. If the rumors are to be believed, then Gideon had indeed fled, and she was the mole in Coruscant, tasked with making Pershing follow along. Now that he had the equipment with which he could continue his cloning research, the secrets he had worked on while under the thumb of the Empire were on the verge of being exposed if he decided to speak about them. With Gideon successfully escaping and trying to regain his powers, one of his chief scientists knew revealing his plans in the open wouldn’t be good news for the Sith aspirant, so his trusted communications officer destroyed the scientist’s mind.
However, that’s not all the reason for the cruel torture Pershing was made to suffer at the whims of Elia Kane. Back in Season 2, Episode 4, during a secret mission, Mando, Greef Karga, and Cara Dune came across the cloning facility operated by Pershing on the planet Nevarro. The most shocking discovery there was that the Empire had been successful in creating an early model of Supreme Leader Snoke, an artificial humanoid sensitive to the Force who had been created by Emperor Palpatine to capture power in the galaxy. With the Empire succeeding in making his clone, they could be a little further away from bringing back Palpatine to wreak havoc in the galaxy. With Pershing starting to feel safe in the New Republic, it’d be possible for him to blabber the secrets the Empire so desperately needs to be kept quiet.