Review: Chapter 22 of "The Mandalorian"

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This week’s episode, “Guns for Hire,” opens with a Quarren cruiser flying peacefully through hyperspace. However, it does not remain peaceful for long when an Imperial starship makes its presence known and hails the Quarren ship. As the Imperial ship moves closer, it is shown to be an Arquitens-class command cruiser. The crew on board the Imperial cruiser reveal themselves to be Mandalorians. The Mandalorian in charge is in fact Axe Woves who is leading the Mandalorians mercenaries (and who originally followed Bo-Katan) and they are using the same Imperial cruiser that they took from Moff Gideon in “The Mandalorian” Season 2. Woves also has a different chest piece than what he used in Season 2; it’s the “Fett” style instead of the one worn by Din Djarin before he got his shiny Beskar armor. Woves informs the Quarren that they were hired to track their vessel by a Mon Calamari viceroy who claims that the Quarren captain absconded with her son. Despite the captain’s denial, it is quickly proven to be true when the son in question rushes to the bridge to voice his objections. The Mandalorians dock with the ship and Koska Reeves steps onto the scene to retrieve the Mon Calamari prince. The prince tells Reeves, “I thought Mandalorians were honorable.” To which she replies, “We are, kid. All it takes is a few credits.” That last quote bothered me. As Boba Fett has shown in the past, being a mercenary is not dishonorable. In fact, the captain and prince both risked causing a war between their respected cultures and the Mandalorians were sent to stop that from happening. By following through with their objective, the Mandalorians are actually acting very honorable.

After the title card plays, we are reunited with our main trio of the season: Din Djarin, Grogu, and Bo-Katan. They fly in Bo-Katan’s Fang Fighter on the planet Plazir-15 in search of the Mandalorian mercenaries shown earlier. Plazir-15 has a similar aesthetic to Mandalore. They live inside domed cities just like the Mandalorians did. The only exception is that the outdoors are green and healthy just like how Mandalore was before the many wars took their toll on the planet. This might have been a reason why the Mandalorians decided to stay here. They quickly locate the Mandalorian camp and plan to land a fair distance away as to not cause alarm. Everything is going according to plan until they are interrupted by a pre-recorded voice that welcomes them to the planet and takes control of their ship. It lands them away from their original destination and instead places them near a tram car. Curious as to why they were redirected, the trio board the tram to ride. Before the tram starts moving, it requests to see their chain codes. Bo-Katan and Din Djarin both activate the chain code holograms on their gauntlets and allow the tram to scan them. The chain code hologram was first shown on screen in “The Mandalorian” Season 2 by Boba Fett. It was nice to see it shown again by other Mandalorians.

The trio arrive at a dining hall, filled with music and food which is being enjoyed by various types of aliens. They are greeted by two characters, played by Jack Black and Lizzo, that are the figureheads of the planet. They tell the trio that they will allow them to visit the Mandalorian mercenaries if they deal with a droid problem they are having. Plazir-15 uses reprogrammed Battle Droids and Imperial Droids to assist in day-to-day operations and to do the bulk of the manual labor on the planet. However, some of the droids are malfunctioning and acting against their programming. The trio accept the task and begin their investigation. They meet with Commissioner Helgait, played by Christopher Lloyd, who shows recordings of the droid malfunctions and gives them their first lead: Ugnaughts. Din Djarin and Bo-Katan leave Grogu behind at the palace and head to the Ugnaught shop. The duo arrive at the Ugnaught shop and Bo-Katan tries to get their attention. After watching her fail a few times, Din speaks up and says he is a friend of the Ugnaught named Kuiil (seen in Season 1) and ends his statement with “I have spoken.” This gets their attention and they quickly sit down to listen. The Ugnaughts refuse to believe that the droids are malfunctioning and send the guests to investigate the docks. They meet with a B1 Battle Droid who is working as a foreman on the docks. It is great seeing a B1 battle droid in live action again, especially one on the friendly side. While Bo-Katan questions the B1, Din Djarin is poking and kicking mindless B2 Super Battle Droids that to see if he can get a reaction from them. Eventually one of the B2 droids reacts from being kicked, pushes back, and then makes a run for it. Din Djarin and Bo-Katan have a drawn out but fun chase of the B2 before Din cuts off and tackles the droid. They discover a clue on the droid that belongs to a droid bar which then gives them their next lead. The duo questions the bartender droid regarding the recent malfunctions. The bartender reveals that the droids drink a substance called Nepenthe, used to alter the programs inside the droids to add patches. In the real world, Nepenthe comes from Greek Mythology where it is described as a medicine to cure sorrow. This is an interesting parallel for a substance that is used to fix problems inside of a droid.

The duo head to a droid morgue where the B2 Super Battle Droid is being stored. A lab technician examines the Nepenthe and learns that nano droids created by the Techno Union are inside the fluid, which is unusual. Before they can discover anything else, the reprogrammed Imperial Interrogator droid in the room starts attacking them with lasers. Din Djarin quickly puts a stop to this by slicing it in half with the Darksaber. Upon further investigation, they find that the Nepenthe was ordered by Commissioner Helgait. The duo confront the commissioner, but before they can arrest him, he threatens to activate a button which would revert all battle droids back to their original function of warfare. Suddenly, Bo-Katan fires a stun dart from her gauntlet which incapacitates him. This moment showed me that Boba Fett could have easily done the same thing in his duel with Cad Bane in “The Book of Boba Fett” instead of trying to beat him to the draw. It is unfortunate that the writers seem to pick and choose when characters can and cannot think outside the box. The duo bring the Commissioner to the Lord and Lady who then grant the trio access to the Mandalorian mercenaries.

Now we finally get to what this whole episode should have been about: Bo-Katan and Din Djarin confronting Axe Woves and the Mandalorian mercenaries. Bo-Katan tries to invite them to join her, but Axe Woves is set on leading them his way. As a result, Bo-Katan challenges him to a duel for leadership. Woves accepts and they take little time to begin their duel. Overall, I thought this duel was very clumsy. The majority of it consists of Bo-Katan and Axe Woves slamming their bodies against each other without showing much skill in combat. On a few occasions, Woves fired his gauntlet rocket at Bo-Katan and almost blew up his fellow mercenaries instead. It would have been better if they had removed some of their weapons and decided on using a specific type of weapon for the duel. Similar to how Din Djarin removed his jetpack and only used the Darksaber while fighting Paz Vizsla who was only using a vibro-knife and a shield. As we all could have predicted, Bo-Katan wins the duel against Axe Woves. However, she still has not earned their respect because she is allowing Din Djarin to wield the Darksaber instead of challenging him for the saber. Din has a solution for this. He explains that while searching for the “Living Waters” on Mandalore, he was disarmed of the Darksaber and Bo-Katan used the saber to defeat his captor. This then makes her the rightful wielder of the blade. The other Mandalorians approve and Bo-Katan is given the saber once again. This was very anticlimactic and a bit of a letdown for me. The owner of the Darksaber has been earned in the past by fighting for it. However, this is the second time that it is basically handed to Bo-Katan without a struggle. This also proves that having Din Djarin hold onto it for this long was pointless as he never did anything substantial with it and after 1-2 years, he never mastered the saber. If this “technicality” is true, then why didn’t he explain it and give her the saber back in Episode 3?

All things considered, this was not a horrible episode. However, it is an ill-timed episode. There are now only two episodes remaining in this season. Yet the writers decided to have a 30 minute side quest, that had little to no lasting effects, instead of driving the main plot to its climax. This will most likely result in the main plot to be crammed into these last two episodes which will make it feel rushed and chaotic. This episode would have been perfect earlier in the season where the plot is being built and the writers can have some fun on the side.


2 / 5
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