THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS SPOILERS
Chapter 22 – “Guns For Hire”
Greef Karga needed help taking back Nevarro from Pirate King Gorian Shard. In a desperate plea for help, Karga reached out to the New Republic, but they refused to come to Nevarro’s aid. Captain Teva decided to pay a visit to the Mandalorians to let Din Djarin know his friend was in trouble. The unconventional visit prompted the Mandalorians to action. Not only would they help Din’s friend, but they would then have the prospect of securing a brighter future no longer in hiding. Din Djarin and Bo-Katan Kryze lead the attack on the Pirate King.
After defeating Gorian Shard, the Armorer requested to speak to Bo-Katan Kryze, where she requested Bo-Katan remove her helmet. Bo-Katan hesitated but complied. “Bo-Katan walks both worlds. And she can bring all tribes together. It is time to retake Mandalore,” the Armorer explains to the Tribe. Will Bo-Katan be able to convince the other Mandalorians to join forces for a better, brighter future?
My top three picks for noteworthy highlights of Chapter 22:
#3 Axe Woves and the Stolen Fleet of Mercenaries
This chapter jumped right in. Where is the Stolen Fleet? What are Bo-Katan’s former comrades up to? They’re expensive, but they are for hire and very good at what they do. Axe Woves is in command, and the role suits him. Aboard what was formerly Gideon’s Imperial cruiser, the Mandalorians stop their target and offer a non-confrontational solution.
A Quarren captain named Shuggoth absconded with the son of a Mon Calamari viceroy for love. The Quarrens and Mon Calamari have a long, complicated history where both species have had many political disagreements and wars. It’s the classic Romeo and Juliet story where warring families and species do not get along, nor do they approve of the relationship. Now the Mon Calamari Viceroy wants her runaway son back.
“I didn’t say anything about war. I know it was for love. But my job is not to judge, but simply complete the tasks for which we were hired,” Axe calmly reasons with Shuggoth. His demeanor is straight to the point. Logical. He’s giving her a chance to turn over the Mon Calamari Prince without a fight. She’s outnumbered, outmatched, and outgunned. She would lose everything if she chose to fight.
“Sorry, I’ve gotta bring you back home to your folks. After that, you can do whatever you want,” Axe doesn’t care what these love fish do after he completes his assignment. The Mandalorians gather the Mon Calamari Prince without a fight. Axe Woves seems to be acting as a wise leader.
#2 The Ugnaughts, Kicking Battle Droids, and an Old Timer Separatist
The ‘middle’ of this episode took us for a ride on a monorail that even Bo-Katan and Din did not want to be stuck on. I felt like this script was handed to Bryce Dallas Howard, and she figuratively used this ‘ride’ as a figurative way of saying, “Not even our main characters want to be a part of this side track of a story, but here we are. There is no escape.”
Plazir-15 hired the Mandalorians for protection since their charter forbids them from having their own military because of Jack Black’s Imperial past. He was a part of the Amnesty Program and is now reformed. Lizzo was a part of the royal family and fell in love with Jack Black. Plazir-15 held democratic elections, and they now serve as royal and elected leaders. Now all their resources go to growth and the people. The general population lives in a utopian society where they do not have to work and can spend their days in recreation. However, they are entirely reliant on droids to make their society function. They have been experiencing severe random droid malfunctions, which have been increasing in frequency. Jack Black and Lizzo want Din and Bo-Katan to solve their problem and get to the bottom of things. Why didn’t they have the hired Mandalorians from the Stolen Fleet do this job? It’s explained away by Plazir-15 offering to formally recognize Mandalore as a sovereign system and petition the New Republic to recognize it as such, helping Bo-Katan in her quest to retake Mandalore.
I wasn’t a fan of this detour, but there were a few things I enjoyed from the ‘middle’ of this episode.
“See what happens when you rely on droids?” Din and Bo head to the lower levels to speak with the Ugnaughts. Bo-Katan announces herself, inquires who is in charge, and explains who sent them there and that they were there to help with the droid problem. She has a very “I would like to talk to your manager” air about her. The Ugnaughts completely ignore her. “I am Mandalorian Din Djarin, friend of Ugnaught Kuill. You will answer our questions and help us with our tasks. I have spoken.” Din now has their attention.
“Thank you for your hospitality and for sharing your table with us.”
One of the Ugnaughts explains there is not much of which they are not aware, “These halls are the central nervous system of the city,” he goes on to explain that the droids are not malfunctioning. Bo-Katan reaffirms that the droids are malfunctioning, but she has not learned the skill to communicate effectively with the Ugnaughts yet.
“We’re not in any way suggesting your work is to blame. The stories of Ugnaughts’ skill with smithing droids are legendary. We know that the Ugnaughts are considered the hardest-working species in the galaxy. We, like you, have been engaged with a task to perform. We will investigate the dangerous incidents. We would appreciate your help,” Din says.
The Ugnaught confers with another Ugnaught with a data pad. They supply the locations of the malfunctioning droids. One of the malfunctioning droids is located at the loading docks.
“I haven’t seen battle droids since the Clone Wars.” “I have.” “Any of ‘em look suspicious?” “They all look suspicious.”
Din’s parents were killed in the Clone Wars by the same model droid that is marching through the loading docks completing their tasks. Bo-Katan talks with a B1-series foreman droid, explaining their presence. Din is not interested in that conversation. Instead, he goes and inspects the line of marching droids waving his hand in front of their photosensors.
“I wouldn’t do that if I were you. Their base function was warfare,” the B1 seems nervous. Din starts kicking the marching battle droid’s knees, sending a few off-kilter. One of the droids falls when kicked and retaliates with a backhanded fist. When the droid’s fists connect with Din’s helmet, it makes a very loud clunk and sends Din flying backward. Good thing he’s wearing beskar. I’m pretty sure he has a concussion. An intense pursuit of the fleeing droid takes place through the streets of Plazir-15. A few blaster shots later, they stop the droid.
Christopher Lloyd joins the Star Wars universe! Christopher was cast as Commissioner Helgait, who is the head of security. He has all the records of the droids malfunctioning. In his introduction, he explains there is a failsafe cutoff switch that can turn off all the droids. It’s a big red button. However, the citizens voted against any interruption in droid services. All the clues lead back to Commissioner Helgait. He was behind the malfunctioning droids.
“Everyone, freeze! If I trigger this failsafe, it will convert the planet’s docile workforce back into battle droids and unleash them on the unsuspecting citizens of Plazir. Don’t make me do it. I never give up. I didn’t give up to the corrupt Republic, I didn’t give up to the Empire, and I won’t give up to you.”
“You’re a Separatist,” Bo-Katan accuses. “Separatist is a pejorative term. I support democracy. Count Dooku was a visionary. He was cut short in his time by the Jedi enforcer… ” Bo-Katan shoots out an electrical dart that tases Commissioner Helgait, stopping his rant. “Politics.”
I thought it was brilliant to cast Christopher as a secret misguided Separatist. It’s intriguing to see that even in Star Wars, old politics can run deep and influence someone’s universal view. If only the Commissioner knew the real story behind Count Dooku. He’s based his beliefs on old wartime propaganda from decades before and almost brought a utopian society to a screeching halt.
#1 Bo-Katan Reclaims the Fleet and the Darksaber
Bo-Katan and Din make their way to a large field outside the city where the Fleet and the Mandalorians are stationed. “Have you come back to join the mercenaries?” Axe Woves taunts sarcastically. “I’ve come to reclaim my fleet,” Bo-Katan corrects. Axe admits to being fond of being in command. “Then I challenge you, one warrior to another. Do you accept my challenge?” Bo-Katan needs to win this fight.
Bo-Katan and Axe square off. Wrist rockets, skilled use of jetpacks, well-placed kicks, a knife fight, and both warriors knowing how to deal and take a hit makes for a great evenly matched fight. Bo-Katan gains the upper hand and asks, “Do you yield?” Axe isn’t done just yet.
He sends them both in the air using his jetpack, landing on one of the spacecraft’s wings. Dealing two punches to Bo-Katan, he sends her falling, but she is quick on the draw and uses her grappling hook to pull him down with her. It’s a smart maneuver. A flamethrower, a shield, and a jetpack-enhanced jump later, Bo-Katan again asks Axe with a knife to his throat, “Do you yield?”
“You’ll never be a true leader of our people. You won’t even take the Darksaber from him. He’s the one you should be challenging.”
“Mandalorians are stronger together,” Bo-Katan says to the rest of the Mandalorians. “But a misguided zealot possesses the blade. One, I might add, who has not one drop of Mandalorian blood in his veins,” Axe doesn’t see the larger picture. “Din Djarin took the Creed and chose to walk the Way, just as our ancestors did. He is every bit the Mandalorian that they were. Certainly as much as any of us,” Bo-Katan explains.
Axe reaffirms that the ruler of Mandalore must possess the Darksaber. “Then she shall have it,” Din offers the saber to Bo-Katan, “This belongs to you.” He goes on to explain how while exploring the ruins of Mandalore, he was captured, and the blade was taken from him. Bo-Katan rescued him, taking the blade from his captor, “She defeated the enemy that defeated me. Would this blade then not belong to her?” Technically, by all the rules, the Darksaber now belongs to Bo-Katan. “It would,” Axe affirms. The Mandalorians are taking in these new developments of shifting power dynamics.
“I return this blade to its rightful owner,” Din hands Bo-Katan the Darksaber.
He gives her a nod, knowing this is what is best for the Mandalorians if they are to rebuild unitedly together. The blade looks good in Bo-Katan’s hands. So much history, so many legends, and so many possibilities for the future.
I loved the beginning and end of this chapter. The middle took a huge detour and abruptly disrupted the flow of the story, the entirety of season three, for a side quest. What in the Star Wars fever dream, Disney acid trip, was that? Hunger Games, I Robot, Detroit Become Human, and CSI had a baby in the Star Wars universe, and no one wanted to take that monorail story filler.
Our main characters were forced into a mission. Isn’t that considered kidnapping? Now that Bo-Katan has acquired the fleet, there is no way she’s going to hang around to fulfill the contract with Plazir-15, so will they redact their offer to recognize Mandalore as a sovereign system and petition the New Republic to recognize it as such?
There are certain key moments, settings, characters, and items in the newer Star Wars series on Disney Plus that I can see marketing agendas with massive price tags attached. Plazir-15 was one of these settings. Who wouldn’t want to have an extravagant tea party in the Star Wars universe where all the Princesses, royalty, and public figures meander through for meet and greets? Disney’s admission price? You can guarantee they would ask at least a few hundred dollars a head. Or who wouldn’t want to hang out at the droid bar, The Resister? Perfect settings to bring to life in Galaxy’s Edge. I see it all as a potential money grab, and I’m not buying it if it disrupts the pace of the overall story.
What will Bo-Katan do next now that she has acquired the fleet and possesses the Darksaber? Will the different Mandalorian factions willingly get along to better their future? Will they be able to envision the grander vision? I can’t wait to find out.