Well, we have finally hit rock bottom again with “The Mandalorian.” The last time the “Star Wars” show felt this bad was when Luke Skywalker showed up out of nowhere to mentor Grogu. But then he didn’t mentor him, and Grogu returned to Din Djarin. So, what exactly was the point? Oh yes, it was for some nonsensical fan service. That said, despite that awkward cameo, the rest of “Chapter 16: The Rescue” was pretty good. The first episode of Season 3 seemed to continue the bittersweet taste of Season 2. It picked up the pace and returned to its original format of devoting a self-contained mission (which added to the larger narrative) to a singular episode. However, with “Chapter 22: Guns for Hire,” Bryce Dallas Howard and Jon Favreau have made something that can only be described as “cameo central for non-Star Wars fans” by bringing in Lizzo, Jack Black, and Christopher Lloyd while pushing the entire point of the story towards the back end of the episode.
Major Spoilers Ahead
Din Djarin and Bo-Katan Kryze Come Across A Malfunctioning Droid
The sixth episode of “The Mandalorian” Season 3 opens with Axe Woves, the leader of Bo-Katan’s former Mandalorian fleet, negotiating with Captain Shuggoth to give up a Mon Calamari Viceroy who is apparently eloping with her. The Viceroy expresses resistance when it comes to returning to Plazir-15 with the Mandalorians and even calls it a “wretched place.” But when Bo-Katan and Din Djarin land on the planet, it looks like a utopian place. Yes, there are some fascist undertones as the planet’s security system overrides the controls of the Gauntlet, and when Bo-Katan wishes to go and meet the Mandalorian fleet, the security system takes them to the leaders, Captain Bombardier and the Duchess. Bombardier apparently used to be a part of the Empire, but he has helped the Duchess and her family rebuild Plazir, both in literal terms and by establishing a sense of democracy. They are a peacekeeping nation that has signed the Coruscant Accords. However, they keep the Mandalorians at their doorstep in case they need protection.
The citizens of Plazir don’t face any threat from outside, though. It’s the Imperial droids that have been reprogrammed to populate every sector of the planet that pose a danger, as they are malfunctioning and causing significant harm to the citizens. So, Din Djarin and Bo-Katan are tasked with getting to the root of the issue, after which they’ll be allowed to meet the Mandalorian fleet. Din and Bo-Katan agree to the terms and begin investigating, which leads them to Commissioner Helgait, who goes on and on about how society can’t function without the droids, thereby stopping him from pushing the kill switch on the machines. When Din and Bo-Katan ask about the rogue droids they need to decommission, they are sent to the Ugnaughts (the same race Nick Nolte’s Kuiil belongs to), who give them the list after some careful persuasion. That takes the duo to a loading area, where they come across a malfunctioning droid. It tries to escape, but Din and Bo-Katan manage to kill it off before it causes any irreparable damage to the planet.
Commissioner Helgait Is The Conspirator In Plazir
The decommissioned droid takes Din and Bo-Katan to a droid bar named “The Resistor,” where they find out, after some not-so-careful persuasion, that someone is running an agenda to get the droids scrapped so that they can be replaced by humans. Apparently, Plazir is the only place where droids get a second chance at life instead of being turned into a heap of metal. But if these rogue events keep happening, the New Republic is going to take them out of their jobs, which is something that they don’t want. They actually want to serve humans (or organics, if we are being specific). One of the droids reveals that the drink that’s usually served to the droids, Nepenthé, is being tampered with so that it can pollute the drinker’s system and hence reprogram their reprogramming. When the Nepenthé residue in the decommissioned droid is analyzed by a lab tech, they find out it’s filled with nano-droids capable of doing the aforementioned rewriting in a droid’s code. Eventually, the nano-droids are traced back to Commissioner Helgait, who is arrested for supporting Count Dooku and for taking illegal measures to make droids go into battle mode and hurt innocent citizens, and subsequently exiled to the moon of Paraqaat.
Yes, yes, Bo-Katan and Grogu are rewarded for their services by The Duchess. But the issue is that, despite following the one mission per episode format, “Chapter 22” doesn’t progress the plot or the characters in any meaningful way. To be honest, I would’ve been fine with the episode if it was just a nonsensical entry to the “Star Wars” show. However, the presence of Jack Black, Lizzo, and Christopher Lloyd is too tongue-in-cheek for me to digest. To be clear, I am a fan of Jack Black, Lizzo, and Christopher Lloyd’s work. In this scenario, though, it’s jarring. They feel less like characters and more like the franchise’s way of flexing the kind of stars they can pull. Cameos by stars in “Star Wars” has always been sneaky. George Lucas, Joe Johnston, Daniel Craig, Simon Pegg, Michael Giacchino, Tom Hardy, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Gareth Edwards, John Williams, and Karl Urban have appeared somewhere in the galaxy far, far away, either hidden under heaps of make-up or in a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it appearance. Because it’s a big deal for such celebrities to appear in “Star Wars” and not the other way around. In Black, Lizzo, and Lloyd’s cases, it seems like “Star Wars” is desperately trying to get any kind of attention via the fan following of these stars. And it’s particularly frustrating in this situation because “The Mandalorian” was faring just fine without this wink-at-the-camera kind of intrusion.
Season 3, Episode 6: Ending Explained: Bo-Katan Is Essentially The Ruler Of Mandalore After Getting The Darksaber
Anyway, after all the aforementioned nonsense, Bo-Katan, Din, and Grogu finally get to the Mandalorian fleet, where Koska Reeves and Axe Woves are present. Bo-Katan says that she wants to resume leading her fleet. Axe says that the fleet doesn’t answer to her anymore; it answers to him now. So, Bo-Katan challenges Axe to one-on-one combat. The prize is simple: the winner is going to lead the fleet. Bo-Katan obviously defeats Axe because she’s that good at combat. However, Axe is a sore loser and brings up the topic of the Darksaber, as that is the only object that can unite the people of Mandalore. He says that until Bo-Katan doesn’t have it, no one is going to follow her, and since Din isn’t a Mandalorian by birth, no one is going to follow him either, even if he has the Darksaber. Axe knows that Bo-Katan isn’t going to fight Din to claim the Darksaber, and he hopes that this predicament is going to allow him to retain his position as the leader of the fleet. That’s when Din explains that Bo-Katan has used the Darksaber to slay the monster that defeated him. In doing so, he asks whether defeating the enemy of the owner of the Darksaber makes Bo-Katan Darksaber’s new wielder.
At the end of “The Mandalorian,” Season 3, Episode 6, Bo-Katan wields the Darksaber, thereby becoming the leader of the fleet and probably Mandalore as well. I say “probably” because Din keeps saying they’ve to take Mandalore, and since there can be other Mandalorians in the mix who would want to sit on the throne by challenging. So, maybe, the Mandalorians have to rid their planet of the pests that live there and then decide if they want to sign the Coruscant Accords, which have been a major point of discussion throughout the show. And then they’ve to see to it that there is no internal dispute that can balloon into something problematic in the future. Now, don’t you think the entirety of the episode should’ve been about Bo-Katan and Din Djarin trying to win over the trust of the Mandalorians and then concluding things the way they concluded? It would’ve made sense because that’s what the previous episode had promised. Instead, Favreau and Howard spent a major chunk of the current episode’s runtime on a whole lot of nothing, which caused the central conflict to be pushed back to the last 5 minutes! It’s outrageous and a massive blunder in terms of writing. Well, let’s hope that they don’t repeat this mistake in the last two episodes of this season of “The Mandalorian” or in any other “Star Wars” show or movie in the future.