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 22: Guns for Hire.
A Quarren spaceship travelling to Trask finds itself approached by an Imperial light cruiser. Believing the ship to belong to a warlord, the captain hails the cruiser and offers payment as tribute, only to find that the ship is instead crewed by Mandalorian mercenaries led by Axe Woves, who have been hired to retrieve a Mon Calamari viceroy’s son, who had attempted to run away with the Quarren captain, who he loved. Realising the danger that she and her crew are in, she allows Koska Reeves and a boarding party to retrieve the Mon Calamari.
Bo-Katan, Din, Grogu and R5 arrive at the planet Plazir-15, where Bo-Katan understands that Woves’ Mandalorians have taken a job. They attempt to go straight to the Mandalorians, but get diverted to the nearby city, where they are brought before the Duchess and her husband, Bombardier, a former Imperial planning official who had returned to the planet after completing the Amnesty Program. The pair explain that due to Bombardier’s status as a former Imperial, the plane can have no standing army, so the Mandalorians are there as protection. They agree to put Bo-Katan and Din in contact with the Mandalorians once the pair complete a task for them: dealing with a number of droids that appear to have gone rogue within the city. When asked for the reason they must do it, it is explained that as they are visitors and weapons are intrinsic to their culture, they are able to retain their weapons when the police constables are unarmed and a standing army is not legally able to enter the city. As an extra incentive, and aware of Bo-Katan’s plans to reclaim Mandalore, they offer to formally recognize Mandalore as a sovereign system and petition the New Republic to recognise it as such.
“Thank you. We are in your debt. I have spoken.”
While Grogu remains with the Duchess, Din and Bo-Katan visit the head of security, Commissioner Helgait. Helgait briefs the pair further on the droid problem and explains that the droids cannot all be just just down as they do all the work while the residents spend their time at recreation. Helgait directs the pair to visit the Ugnaughts on the lower levels for a list of the remaining rogue droids. The negotiations with the Ugnaughts do not initially go well, but Din’s experience of speaking with their kind from his time with Kuill gets them the list.
Din and Bo-Katan travel to the docks, where the Ugnaughts predict the next event will take place. They find a battle droid overseeing a unit of B2-series super battle droids. While Bo-Katan questions the overseer droid, Din begins provoking the B2s, which results in the rogue droid attacking him and then trying to escape. The pair chase down the droid and Bo-Katan successfully shoots it. Bo-Katan finds a spark pad on the droid with the address of a bar, “The Resistor”. Going there, they find it to be an all-droid bar. Din threatens the bartender droid for information, and the droid volunteers to help, as the droids fear that if the incidents continue, they will be replaced by humans and destroyed, as has happened to former Imperial droids under the New Republic. In the back room, the bartender droid explains that all the droids “consume” the same “beverage” in the bar, a substance called Nepenthé, which protects against mechanical wear while also delivering subparticles that help refresh the droid’s programs. The droid finds that all of the affected droids imbibed from the same batch of Nepenthé.
Din and Bo-Katan have the Nepenthé from the B2 examined and find that they contain nano-droids. Realising that they have their chain code on them, they track the batch’s origin back to the Techno Union, and then find that Helgait illegally ordered them. When they return to confront Helgait, he is revealed to be a Separatist, still believing in Count Dooku’s vision. He threatens that the button intended to shut down the droids has been modified to make all of the droids go rogue, but Bo-Katan knocks him out with a stun dart.
Returning to the Duchess with their prisoner, they explain the results of their investigation, and the Duchess exiles Helgait to the moon of Paraqaat. Din and Bo-Katan are given the key to Plazir (the highest honour possible) and Grogu is named a Knight of the Ancient Order of Independent Regencies.
Din, Bo-Katan and Grogu make their way to the Mandalorian forces, where Bo-Katan challenges Axe Woves and defeats him, though she refuses to kill him. Bo-Katan tries to tell the warriors that Mandalorians are stronger together, but Axe notes that Din wields the Darksaber despite not having a shred of Mandalorian blood. Bo-Katan retorts that he is as Mandalorian as any of them, as he has lived his life by the Creed, while Din steps forward and hands the Darksaber to Bo-Katan. Everyone argues that he cannot just give it to her, but he recalls how he was defeated in the Mines of Mandalore, and that Bo-Katan defeated his captor. All agree that by Creed, she is the true wielder of the Darksaber, and she accepts the weapon.
Hmm. So I’m not going to beat around the bush… this may be my least favourite episode of the entire series. Bar the final scene of Bo-Katan and Din meeting the Mandalorians, I must admit that I was very disappointed in this episode. And I think is comes down to 2 main things for me.
First off, it’s the timing. The first half of this series has been criticised by some as not going anywhere, but I think it did a good job of setting up Bo-Katan’s redemption by helping her get her determination back but also creating that alliance between her and Din and the Children of the Watch, while Pershing and Carson Teva’s stories were helping to set up the wider story that will be revealed down the line. However with last week’s episode seeing the Covert turn their eyes towards Mandalore, it felt like with 3 episodes left this would be the main focus, with more fo the wider galactic story being interspersed in. So to see this episode hijacked by a sidequest just as we appeared to be focusing into the main quest just felt wrong. Were this a larger series, I could understand, but with episodes per series there is very little room for extras. I’m sure there will be some longer-term reason for this story (I imagine either to help see Mandalore recognised by the New Republic once it is liberated, or perhaps even as a source of a potential army in all the battle droids if the Mandos need help), but after such excitement and anticipation over the last week, this felt like a damp squib until the final 5-6 minutes.
Secondly, it is the tone of the episode. While I didn’t mind the investigation overly much, the scenes with the Duchess and Bombardier felt too silly and OTT. Usually Bryce Dallas Howard has done a better job with the tonality of her episodes, so I wonder if this was a limitation of the casting of Lizzo and Jack Black respectively. Yes Star Wars has always been pulpy and fun, but their scenes felt like they were slipping too far in the direction of the more iffy animated episodes.
So far I’ve focused on the main sidequest for the episode, but I do want to mention the opening and close ofthe episode. First off, the opening, and to start with the mysterious Imperial cruiser after the way the last episode ended was a clever idea, as I immediately thought of Moff Gideon, but the moment I saw the light cruiser, I guessed it would be the Mandalorians, though this may have been helped a little bit by the reminder of Axe and company from the recap (seriously, they need to stop giving everything away in these recaps!) I try skipping them but those first few seconds were enough to give away this idea. I ms admit that the romance between the captain and the viceroy’s son felt a little unnecessary, though I understand they are trying to show that the Mandalorians’ focus is just on credits rather than causing trouble.
And then to the highlight of the episode: the final 5-6 minutes that sees us finally reach the Mandos. I loved Bo-Katan challenging Axe as we have seen the importance of such challenges to Mandalorians in the animated series while it also led to a 1v1 fight that is very different to anything we’ve seen before, while I loved how Bo-Katan spoke both in defence of Din and in a wider sense as a leader, with Din picking his moment to speak up for maximum effect to secure support for Bo-Katan. And that final shot of Bo-Katan with the Darksaber and Din beside her feels like the setup moving forward, with him as her most trusted officer.
“I return this blade to its rightful owner.”
A few final thoughts on the episode:
- I could have done with more explanation of how the Ugnaughts seeme able to predict where the next rogue droid would be. For much of the episode I was honestly expecting them to be the cause as they were the only organics in the city working
- I loved Grogu using the Force to help the Duchess win her game, even more so as I don’t think she or anyone even realised
- I’m glad that Din recognised Bo-Katan’s way of earning the Darksaber, as it was something that I picked up on at the time. I wonder how long he has been thinking about it since, and whether he chose to wait for such a public moment to give it back
- I loved the idea of the Quarren captain having a tank of water on the bridge that could quickly be removed for any formal occasions with other species
Moments in Canon
- The Quarren captain refers to peace on Mon Cala. The Clone Wars‘ opening arc of season 4 shows the tension between the Quarren and Mon Calamari
What did you think of the episode?
Thanks for reading. This is the Way….
This year, I’m doing Movember a little different with my Movember Marathon.
You can find all the details on my announcement.
Visit my JustGiving page for updates or if you would like to donate.
Help me to change the face of men’s health!
3 thoughts on “The Mandalorian: Chapter 22”
Not gonna lie, I thought this one was a little weird, lol. I didn’t hate it, though. It was kind of like a Star Wars CSI or something. I like both Lizzo and Jack Black, but I don’t think I like them in Star Wars. As you said, it’s a bit over the top. Hopefully we get back down to business with the last two episodes.
LikeLiked by 1 person
I was talking about it with a friend last night and I think they (especially JB) are too big for Star Wars so they still feel like themselves in the show, compared to Bill Burr who felt 100% part of the universe. Thanks for reading!
LikeLiked by 1 person
LikeLiked by 1 person