Welcome to my latest episode review for The Mandalorian. The reviews will follow my usual format: an overview of the plot (so be aware, there will be spoilers!), my review of the show, then a few “Moments in canon” – references that link to other media and the galaxy as a whole. Today, we’ll be looking at Chapter 21: The Pirate.
On Nevarro, Greef Karga is discussing the planning of the town with a pair of engineer when he hears a disturbance outside. Making his way outside, he finds a pirate corsair holding position above the city. The Pirate King Gorian Shard contacts him via hologram, and though Greef tries to that that they are under the protection of the New Republic, Shard recognises it as a bluff. As Greef and his staff begin arranging an evacuation of the population to the lava flats, while Shard has his pirates open fire on the city.
At the Adelphi new republic outpost, Carson Teva is relaxing at the bar when the bartender hands him a data disc with a request for help from Karga. Pne of his colleagues, Garazeb Orrelios, laments the fall of Nevarro and notes that Coruscant hasn’t contacted the base with orders for weeks as they have a backlog of requests for help. Teva chooses to go to Coruscant to make his case in person.
On Coruscant, Teva briefs Colonel Tuttle on the situation, but Elia Kane, who had entered Tuttle’s office for “work purposes” notes Nevarro’s neutrality and her words go some way to convince Tuttle not to arrange assistance. Teva instead looks for a new solution and visits the Mandalorians, revealing that an old ally (R5) directed him. While Paz and Din originally tell him to leave, Din’s mind is changed upon hearing of Nevarro’s issues and Teva’s belief that the Empire maybe involved in some way.
In a meeting of the whole Covert, Din requests the assistance of the rest of the Covert to help free Nevarro from the pirates. He notes that many may remember fighting against Karga previously, but that Karga changed his ways and had actually helped protect Grogu on numerous occasions. Din reveals that Karga had previously offered him land on Nevarro and is confident that the offer will be extended to the entire covert should they rescue the town. Paz Vizsla speaks up in support of Din’s proposition and the Mandalorians agree to help.
“These two are asking us to take up arms in the name of a brighter future, and I for one will take up arms to fight by their side.”
On Nevarro, the pirates occupy the remains of the city and bully any residents who remain, while the corsair remains overhead. Din arrives in his N-1 and attacks the corsair, which draws away the pirate snub-fighters and also pulls the corsair away from above the city. Bo-Katan flies in and air-drops the warriors into the city, before joining Din in the aerial battle. The Mandalorian forces suffer a few casualties but, led by Paz and the Armorer, win back control of the city, while the handful of pirates who attempt to flee find themselves caught between the Mandalorians and the returning people of Nevarro (who have returned armed with whatever they had) and surrender. Din and Bo-Katan successfully destroy all of the snub-fighters except for Vane (who flees) and destroys 2 of the 3 engines on the corsair. Realising that he will be defeated, Shard has the corsair targets the townspeople on the ground, but Din and Bo-Katan successfully destroy the final engine, causing the corsair to crash and ending the battle.
During the celebrations that follow, Greef gives all of the land between the western lava flats and Bulloch Canyon to the people of Mandalore. Paz informs Bo-Katan that The Armorer wishes to speak to her and leads her to the remains of the old Forge in the sewers. As they speak, The Armorer orders Bo-Katan to remove her helmet, and explains that she had considered the Mythosaur a legend, so the fact that Bo-Katan saw one isa sign that the next age is upon them and that all of Mandalore must come together, and that as one who has walked both worlds, it is Bo-Katan who must unite them.
The pair return to the rest of the Mandalorians, who are all shocked to see that Bo-Katan is not wearing her helmet. The Armorer tells the Mandalorians that Bo-Katan is going to bring other exiled Mandalorians back to the group, as she walks both worlds so can bring all tribes together, as it is time to retake Mandalore.
Teva is patrolling a remote area of space and comes across the remains of a Lambda-class shuttle. He contacts Lieutenant Reed to report it. Reed notes that there were reports of a missing shuttle in the region, but details are classified. Teva has his droid launch a probe to investigate closer, while Reed’s investigations of the transponder signal match the logs of a New Republic Prison Transport that was carrying Moff Gideon. From the probe, Teva notes no New Republic survivors, but also the absence of Moff Gideon’s body. While looking for evidence as to who attacked the shuttle and took Moff Gideon, the probe finds a shard of beskar mbaedded in the interior of the shuttle.
Another incredible episode and without a doubt my favourite of the season so far!
Let me start with a realisation that I had during the episode: The spectacle that this show can give us has increased so far even in just a couple of years since Chapter 1. Until this series, dogfighting had been limited to one 1v1 fight that was kept as quick as possible and focused as much on in-cockpit shots as action shots. Now we have had dogfights this season, while this one was also interspersed with a battle on the ground. And that battle in itself is the biggest we have seen in live action series, with an actual unit of fighters on each side rather than a unit against just one or two heroes. With the ability to create such a spectacle, it allows grander stories with movie quality, which makes it a little easier to cope with the lack of movies we are getting.
As for the story, this was a huge episode, as it starts to bring everything together. I can understand to some degree why some have felt that the series was drifting without any real direction, but that was due to a focus on the character’s development, which has allowed us to build to this moment now where we can suddenly see The Armorer accepting Bo-Katan as one who walks in 2 worlds and is able to unite her people to retake Mandalore, while the way that we have seen Bo-Katan grow through this season means that we are fully behind the decision rather than feeling she is stealing Din’s limelight. Meanwhile, any questions about Elia Kane’s loyalty seem answered with all the shady looks in this episode and the way she manoeuvred against Teva, while the story also now brings back the threat of Moff Gideon as we head towards a climax. The season has built so well and yes maybe Din and Grogu are not the stars they used to be, but the story has grown beyond them temporarily as we introduce all the other characters and situations that sees the story go from Lone Wolf and Cub to a Mandalorian and his foundling at a pivotal moment in Mandalorian history.
And speaking of the look at wider characters, I am so glad to see Carson Teva back. While our original rebel Cara Dune may have been defiled by Gina Carano, Paul Sun-Hyung Lee has been a beacon of positivity in the fandom, and while I don’t know if his original appearances in season 2 were meant to be the start of something greater or if his role has grown over time, he has given us a wonderful character who I have never heard anything negative about, while I am not the only one who feels that Carano’s actions should not have ended Rangers of the New Republic and that the show should have pivoted to having Teva as the lead.
And speaking of other characters, we got Zeb! When he came on screen, I was immediately in awe of just how good he looked and with rumours that he will be in Ahsoka, I assumed this was just another Lasat character who had been introduced to allow extra time to prepare for the CGI of the character in Ahsoka, with Steve Blum’s voice talents just being a tip of the hat to us Rebels fans. So imagine how I felt when checking the credits to find this actually was Zeb! Its a cameo thats done so well, as it does not feel at all out of place for those who have never seen Rebels, but for those of us who have, it’s a moment that immediately sticks with us, while it also gives us an update as to what one of our old Spectres has been up to. Do I expect to see him again this season? No. But I’m nw much more excited for Ahsoka knowing how good a job they have done at translating the character to live action.
So what next? Well we know that Bo-Katan will be looking to bring all Mandalorians back to Nevarro, so will Din go with her? And will the story of going to Mandalore and seeing the Mythosaur be enough, or will the ownership of the Darksaber come into play? Meanwhile, we know that Moff Gideon is free and gathering power and forces while the New Republic sits by idly, while Kane appears to be one of likely a number of “redeemed” Imperials in place to cause problems. And now with this beskar being found at the site of Moff Gideon’s rescue/capture? To me, this has been done deliberately by the Imps to turn the New Republic against the Mandalorians so that the 2 forces who should be working together find themselves fighting each other. And if that’s the case, I expect to see Teva as the voice of reason looking for the real truth, while I also wouldn’t be shocked to see the arrival of another character with links to both sides: Sabine Wren!
“You may no longer have a home planet, but you do now have a home.”
A few final thoughts on the episode:
- Though I only realised when writing up my summary, Grogu was barely in this episode, which I actually really appreciated. While I always love seeing him, sometimes I do worry that he is over-used in order to keep the Grogu lovers watching—note how the scene released ahead of the season focused on Grogu using the Force to spin around in Greef’s chair while he and Din discussed business
- How great was it to see all those Mandos in action???!!!!
- The show is doing a great job of showing just how unprepared the New Republic are for another war, is it really any surprise the Empire survived and the First Order grew from what we have seen? Too few Tevas and too many bureaucrats
Moments in Canon
- We’ve had a few references to R5’s history in the Rebellion during this season. This ties back to the story “The Red One” in Fro A Certain Point of View, where R5’s memories of fighting for the Rebellion saw him sacrifice his chance of being purchased by the Lars family in order for Artoo to get away from the Jawas
- While Zeb was the notable cameo in the scene on Adelphi, also present at the bar are Trapper Wolf, Jib Dodger and Sash Ketter (directors Dave Filoni, Rick Famuyiwa and Deborah Chow, who first appeared in Chapter 6), while Lieutenant Reed (played by original Luke Skywalker stand-in Max Lloyd Jones during The Book of Boba Fett) is Teva’s contact at the end of this episode. This likely means that all 4 of these pilots are part of Adelphi Squadron alongside Teva
What did you think of the episode?
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2 thoughts on “The Mandalorian: Chapter 21”
Loved seeing Zeb, and can’t wait to see more of him. I’m getting excited about the Ahsoka show, maybe even more than Mando right now.
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I’d agree I’m getting more excited for Ahsoka, but I can’t get more excited than I am for Mando til Lucasfilm actually show us something! Thanks for reading
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