While most of what we have seen in the first three episodes of The Mandalorian have been focused on the Mandalorian bounty hunter who is the protagonist in the show going after his bounties, we have also been given some insight into what has happened to the Mandalorians during the Imperial era, as well as in the aftermath of the fall of the Galactic Empire.
While we saw/heard nothing regarding Mandalorians in the second episode, we did gather a little bit during the first episode, when the protagonist Mandalorian bounty hunter hands a bar of Beskar to the armoreress Mandalorian, “This was gathered in The Great Purge. It is good it is back with the Tribe.” Later on in their interaction, the armoreress says “This is extremely generous. The excess will sponsor many foundlings.” “That’s good,” says The Mandalorian. “I was once a foundling.” “I know,” says the armoreress, and then we see some flashbacks of The Great Purge, which are then expanded upon in the the third episode.
In the third episode, when we see the protagonist Mandalorian bounty hunter return to the armoreress with a lot of Beskar, she says, “This amount can be shaped many ways,” which provides the following interaction:
Mandalorian bounty hunter: “My armor has lost its Integrity. I may need to begin again.”
Mandalorian armoreress: “Indeed. I can form a full cuirass. This would be in order for your station.”
Mandalorian bounty hunter: “That would be a great honor.”
Mandalorian armoreress: “I must warn you. It will draw many eyes.”
However, with a group of nearby Mandalorians, a heavy infantryman approaches and picks up a bar of Beskar and says “These were cast in an Imperial smelter. These are the spoils of The Great Purge. The reason that we live hidden like sand rats.” (When I heard him speak, I was instantly struck by how similarly he sounded to Pre Vizsla, which made me think that either he’s a descendant of Pre Vizsla, or maybe that’s just how some Mandalorians sound…until I realized it was voiced by the exact same actor as Pre Vizsla (which doesn’t negate the possibility that this character is somehow related to Pre Vizsla…).)
“Our secrecy is our survival,” responds the armoreress. “Our survival is our strength.”
Heavy infantryman: “Our strength was once in our numbers. Now we live in the shadows and only come above ground one at a time. Our world was shattered by the Empire with whom this coward shares tables.”
He then grabs the Mandalorian bounty hunter and they wrestle, eventually drawing vibroblades upon each other, and hold them to each others’ helmets.
“The Empire is no longer,” says the armoreress. “And the Beskar has returned. When one chooses to walk The Way of the Mandalore, you are both hunter and prey. How can one be a coward if one chooses this way of life? Have you ever removed your helmet?”
Mandalorian bounty hunter: “No.”
“Has it ever been removed by others?”
Armoreress: “This is the way.”
Mandalorian group: “This is the way.”
Heavy infantryman: “This is the way.”
Clearly, from this interaction, we learn that the Mandalorian society was shattered by the Empire, but what is further surprising is that these Mandalorians are still living underground and in the shadows.
While the armoreress then works on fashioning new armor for the Mandalorian bounty hunter, we see some flashbacks of what seems like what the Mandalorian bounty hunter experienced as a child on Mandalore, witnessing a B2 super battle droid shooting Mandalorians in the streets, with his parents taking him to safety, and them potentially getting blasted, with the Mandalorian bounty hunter becoming a foundling.
I suspect that we will learn more about what the Empire did to Mandalore in future episodes, as well as the journey of our protagonist, as well as whatever this Way of the Mandalore is.