Pedro Pascal and Grogu in THE MANDALORIAN

(Photo by Lucasfilm Ltd.)

We’re halfway into The Mandalorian’s third season, and it seems the show will give viewers what they want. But first, a few more pieces must be slotted into place and the abandoned Rangers of the New Republic’s ghost haunts the proceedings. Will it all lead to a new era or has the First Order already been born? Episode 5 – “The Pirate” – of season 3 might be a rousing battle episode, but it also continues the show’s pivot from a lone wolf and his cub wandering the galaxy to a tale of liberation and, potentially, redemption.


Spoiler alert: The following reveals details from the fifth episode of The Mandalorian season 3, “Chapter 21: The Pirate.” Stop reading here if you have not watched the episode and wish to avoid spoilers.


A Settlement Near Bulloch Canyon

Pedro Pascal and Mandalorians in THE MANDALORIAN, season 3

(Photo by Lucasfilm Ltd.)

Tying a few story threads in a bow, the episode not only brought the Mandalorian covert back to Nevarro, but it made good on Greef Karga’s (Carl Weathers) offer of land to Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal). It also removed Pirate King Gorian Shard (Nonso Anozie) from the board despite Carson Teva’s (Paul Sun-Hyung Lee) supposition that the Pirate Nation and the Imperial Remnant might be working together.

After the premiere, we suggested the pirate king might resurface at the worst time for Djarin, but in a twist, he appeared again at the most opportune moment for the character. As we’ve said before, Djarin’s ambitions in leading the Mandalorians lay somewhere between ambivalence and disinterest, but his speech to the others in the covert suggests he can actually lead.

He made sure to remind them of the time Karga stood against them. He pointed out that Karga saw his mistake and aided Djarin and Grogu when the chips were definitely down. And then he introduced the idea that the covert no longer needs to be secret as the tract of land on a world outside Republic or Imperial control would allow them to live free. Also: he did this without pulling rank or brandishing the Darksaber to force the Children of the Watch into helping him.

It does make one wonder if the rest of the covert knows about the Darksaber, though.


Tait Fletcher in THE MANDALORIAN

(Photo by Lucasfilm Ltd.)

The most important detail of the scene, though, is that his argument actually inspires support from Paz Vizsla (Tait Fletcher, voiced by Jon Favreau), who claims aiding Nevarro is, in fact, The Way. It seems the change of heart we suspected last week is occurring, and it may also be evidence of Djarin’s capacity to lead. Paz cites Djarin’s rescue of his son as a factor in him setting aside their previous beefs. And although Bo-Katan Kryze (Katee Sackhoff) was the acknowledged leader of the hunting party, Djarin was key in assembling the team in the first place.

But that brings us back to central issue of Djarin as a latter day Mandalore the Great — will he accept the role? His natural aptitude to lead may be meaningless if he continues to fight the blade and defer to people like the Armorer (Emily Swallow) and Bo-Katan.


Bo-Katan Kryze Walks Both Worlds

Katee Sackhoff in THE MANDALORIAN

(Photo by Lucasfilm Ltd.)

Speaking of Bo-Katan, it appears the Armorer is betting her forge on the former ruler of Mandalore being capable of uniting the various clans and factions under The Way. Nevertheless, their discussion about what comes next is fraught with implications.

First, Bo-Katan is ordered to remove her helmet. It is unclear if the act made her an apostate once again — the Armorer is seemingly the only arbiter of the Creed — or if the request was made in a way that is acceptable. No matter the religious legality of the command, it speaks to the Armorer’s key point: Bo-Katan walks both the Way of the Mand’alor and the mainstream world of the Mandalorians out in space. If she can come to believe in the Creed, the others can as well.

Thus, the Armorer reveals to the covert that Bo-Katan will bring the others to Nevarro to plan for the new age and the reclamation of Mandalore itself — the thing we and many other fans have wanted to see for some time.


The Armorer poster THE MANDALORIAN, Season 3

(Photo by Lucasfilm Ltd.)

Sticking to what we know of the Creed, the Armorer seemingly made this choice after reflecting on Bo-Katan’s encounter with the Mythosaur. She finally makes it clear the creature is a figure of myth in Mandalorian legends, so seeing a real specimen is proof a new age is on the way. But if that’s the case, why is the issue of the Darksaber being ignored here?

As we keep mentioning, Bo-Katan’s reluctance to fight Djarin for the blade is a sticking point. It has been since the Mandalorian resurfaced on The Book of Boba Fett still possessing the weapon. Her seemingly refusal to fight him for it on the Remnant cruiser cost her all of her forces, so how can she convince the others to join what they view as a cult without it?

For the purposes of this episode, the issue gets in the way of the conclusion’s victorious tone, but perhaps next week will solve the riddle and, maybe, Bo-Katan will truly win her claim by Creed. To be honest, we think she has finally earned the right to rule, but will the others see things that way — especially if she institutes the Armorer’s interpretation of the Creed as a state religion?


Moff Gideon Never Made It to Trial

Paul Sun-Hyung Lee in THE MANDALORIAN,

(Photo by Lucasfilm Ltd.)

Carson Teva is proving to be the most compelling New Republic character introduced in live action. Despite fleeing from him in The Book of Boba Fett, Djarin clearly respects him. He also seems dedicated to the Republic’s stated mission no matter how many colonels tell him it is no longer the Rebel Alliance. But perhaps the most important thing about him is that he senses the danger.

As he explained to the ambivalent and overworked colonel (Tim Meadows), the Remnant is cooking something up on the Outer Rim and the Republic is too extended to spot it. He also introduced the possible link between the Remnant and the Pirate Nation. Nevarro, though the focus of his reinforcement request, is just one example of a problem he is seeing along his patrols. Considering the size of the Outer Rim, it is a perilous thing to ignore.


G68 poster THE MANDALORIAN, Season 3

(Photo by Lucasfilm Ltd.)

But Teva’s observation is almost immediately dismissed by Elia Kane (Katy M. O’Brian), who works as the colonel’s attaché and seems placed just to shout down these sorts of reports. She even suggests Nevarro should suffer at the hands of the pirates as a punishment for failing to sign the New Republic charter. Teva calls the suggestion Imperial thinking, and he’s absolutely correct. It once again calls into question the amnesty program, as it allows Republic officials to be influenced in a very subtle way; in fact, one wonders if this is why the Republic senate is ultimately ambivalent to the First Order. Was it being poisoned by amnesty officers long before Snoke (Andy Serkis) made himself known?

That is assuming, of course, that all the Remnant cells are coordinated. It is possible they are split into fiefdoms of fleets dueling for supremacy. Without someone like Grand Admiral Thrawn (voiced by Lars Mikkelsen on Star Wars Rebels), Snoke, or even Gideon to lead, it is possible every cluster of the Remnant is attempting to undermine the Republic independently of any master plan. And that’s also presuming Sheev Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) isn’t manipulating the situation somehow from his hidey-hole on Exegol.


Giancarlo Esposito as Moff Gideon in The Mandalorian season 2 poster

(Photo by Lucasfilm Ltd.)

No matter how the Remnant is organized or what its true objectives are, it appears Gideon is not part of the equation at the moment. Teva, recalling that the moff never faced trial, follows a hunch to a lambda class shuttle he soon determines was Gideon’s transport to the courts. But his suspicion of a Remnant recovery operation is smashed when he finds evidence of beskar in the shuttle. New supposition: a group of Mandos sprung him. But why?

As referenced in the pre-episode recap, Gideon was assigned to administer Mandalore after the Night of a Thousand Tears and was known among its people as a brutal butcher. It is easy to assume a group of Mandalorians, seeing him in a vulnerable position, took him to mete out their own brand of justice. Or, considering Bo-Katan mentioned her former troops now work as mercenaries, it is possible they nabbed him on behalf of a client.

We expect the answer to come quickly as Bo-Katan sets off to find other Mandos, but we can’t help but wonder if all of this New Republic world building was originally meant for Rangers of the New Republic, another Star Wars series set in the same era first announced in 2020. At the time, it, The Mandalorian, and Ahoska, were meant to crossover in some sort of climatic event, but for various reasons, Rangers was put on indefinite hold. The crossover between Mandalorian and Ahsoka (expected to debut later this year) may still happen, but Teva’s prominent use of the phrase “Adelphi Rangers” can’t help but be a ghost or echo of the original plan. See also any scene set on Coruscant. As the crossover plan was announced when Disney was very bullish about streaming, it makes more sense to contain much of its story to the proven success it already has with The Mandalorian.


Odds And Ends

THE MANDALORIAN

(Photo by Lucasfilm Ltd.)

• The Lasat pilot who tells Teva he won’t have much luck getting reinforcements on Coruscant is none other than Garazeb “Zeb” Orrelios (Steve Blum) from the animated series Star Wars Rebels. His appearance confirms he survived the Galactic Civil War, a good thing as the Empire nearly wiped out his people. Besides being a welcome cameo and a first look at a Lasat — a species based on early designs for Chewbacca — in live action, it also suggests to us that Zeb may have been part of Rangers‘ supporting cast had it gone to series. With Bo-Katan on The Mandalorian and several Rebels characters making their live action debuts on Ahsoka, it seems Dave Filoni will get to follow-up his previous animated story with the largest canvass possible.

• Kowakian Monkey-Lizards are an intelligent species. We know this thanks to Salacious B. Crumb, Jabba the Hutt’s chief bird in Return of the Jedi, but the Nevarro lizards warning the Mandalorian strike team about the ambush underscores just how intelligent they really are. That, in turn, offers a new dimension to the horror of seeing them caged and cooked for a light snack on the streets of the Nevarro capital in The Mandalorian’s debut episode. Presumably, Karga released any being held as livestock after Gideon attacked and gave them that tree as recompense.

• Bulloch Canyon, one of the landmarks serving as a boundary to the Mandalorian land grant, is no doubt named in honor of actor Jeremy Bulloch. While not the first person to wear Boba Fett’s costume in public — assistant film editor Duwayne Dunham wore the suit at a San Anselmo County parade shortly after the bounty hunter’s look was finalized in 1978 — he was the actor to first play the part in live action, serving as Fett in The Empire Strikes Back and the original footage shot for The Return of the Jedi (Don Bies and several others assumed the role for the additional Special Edition shots). Bulloch also appeared without his helmet as an Imperial officer in Empire and was a beloved fixture on the convention circuit for decades. He passed away in late 2020.

85% The Mandalorian: Season 3 (2023) new episodes stream on Wednesdays on Disney+.

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