“Enough Mandalorian blood has been spilled by our own hands!” – Bo-Katan
This season, I have been enjoying the slow world-building and storylines possibly leading to other Star Wars series, the fun nostalgia, Mandalorian culture, and the amazing practical and CGI effects.
Chapter 22, “Guns for Hire”, is a mixed bag. While the overarching story of Bo-Katan is finally coming together and fans were treated to some exciting action sequences and clever cameos by Jack Black (although not utilized correctly to show his quirky traits), Lizzo and Christopher Lloyd, the episode was at times filled with too much camp and humor as well as a “side mission” that took away from the main mission of retaking the leadership of her Mandalorian tribe. With such a difficult mission given in the previous episode, I had hoped for a more serious approach to the task and that we would see more resistance and politics surrounding Bo-Katan negotiating with Axe Wove and the others. The episode felt quick and easy.
That being said, there was so much to love about the episode, and I have broken it down to my 6 favorite parts.
1. “Romeo and Juliet” – The forbidden love between the Mon Calamari Prince and the Quarren Captain.
The episode opens on the bridge of a Quarren ship on its way to Trusk when they are intercepted by an Imperial ship. The Imperial ship is run by a crew of Mandalorians that are there to retrieve a Mon Calamari Prince that is on the Quarren ship. It is revealed that the Mon Calamari is in a romantic relationship with the Quarren ship’s leader, Captain Shuggoth – a “forbidden love” for these two species. I found this scenario amusing and reminded me of the story of “Romeo and Juliet”.
For those that don’t understand, the Mon Calamari and Quarren have a complex relationship in the Star Wars universe. Both live on the aquatic planet of Mon Cala, and their history has been marked by conflict and cooperation. The Mon Calamari are a peaceful and artistic people known for their shipbuilding and aquatic technology. At the same time, the Quarren are more aggressive and industrial, with a reputation for being cunning traders. The two species have sometimes worked together despite their differences, such as when they formed an alliance to fight the Galactic Empire during the Battle of Mon Cala. However, tensions have also flared between them, with the Quarren sometimes resenting the Mon Calamari’s cultural dominance and feeling marginalized in their society.
2. Mandalorian Privateers
What is scarier than a privateer? A Mandalorian privateer, and in the episode, we see what became of the former followers of Bo-Katan since leaving her for a mercenary life and taking on jobs for the right amount of credits across the galaxy and as we see, protectors of the planet Plazir-15. The Mandalorians and their skills are made for this kind of work. I did find them lacklustre at the end of the episode when we see them in their designated area on Plazir-15. When we finally see the Mandalorians, instead of a scene of combat training, building armor, working on their ships, or other cultural activities, they sit on boxes in a field beside their ships, doing… nothing. It was still great to see the group, even as subdued as it was. We got to see this with the Children of the Watch on the beach and it would have been exciting to see it here.
The independent outer rim planet of Plazir-15 is an aesthetically pleasing domed city filled with a diverse population of species. The reason why it made this list was most for the reason that it reminds me of the city in the 1976 film Logan’s Run, especially the transport Din and Bo used to travel to the capital. In the movie Logan’s Run, the film’s city is depicted as a utopian society where everyone lives a luxurious and carefree life. The city’s citizens enjoy a seemingly endless supply of food, entertainment, and material goods. However, there is a dark side to this perfect world, and we see this in the episode on Plazir-15 with its own carefree citizens and a darkside with the “malfunctioning” droids that oversee the daily lives of the decadent population.
4. Droids – “Roger, Roger!”
Droids are at the center of a mystery in the episode that Din and Bo-Katan must solve before they can meet with the other Mandalorians privateers. They must find and eliminate the malfunctioning droids in the city before they hurt citizens anymore.
The episode includes some nostalgia from the Star Wars prequels, along with the usual Astromech, Protocol, and Gonk droids. This includes Separatist Droids and fan favorites Battle Droids, the most well-known type of battle droids used by the Trade Federation and Separatist Alliance.
Din and Bo-Katan’s investigation takes them to a droid bar called “The Resister”, which is a hang out for droids wanting to refresh their programming with a fluid called Nepenthe. I loved seeing all the different types of droids and their reaction when Bo and Din entered. The bar had a very Bladerunner feel bordering close to a human bar. I feel that Star Wars is making the droids too sentient. In the bar, droids sit around tables drinking, playing Sabaac, and other human-like activities. I was just happy not to see Go-Go Dancing Droids! It would have made more sense that a droid bar would look like a bunch of bland charging/fluid stations lined around the walls. As Obi-Wan Kenobi once said, “if droids could think, there’d be none of us here, would there?”
5. Battle Droid Chase Down and Mandalorian Fight for Leadership
The episode included more than just some politics and a mysterious story. It included two exciting action scenes that I was happy to see, as the series has not had many.
While Din and Bo-Katan chase down a “malfunctioning” B2-series super battle droid, we get a fantastic foot chase through the busy and colorful streets of the city. This felt like an old-school police chase with action, explosions, and that dramatic tackle take-down of the super battle droid by Din was a stylish end to the scene. The scene also reminded me of the Bladerunner chase with Deckard and the replicant.
The other action was at the end of the episode, where Bo-Katan and Axe fight for leadership of the Mandalorians. The fight was a well-choreographed scene showcasing not only the Mandalorians’ skills but their unique armor and weapons. In one part, Bo-Katan takes a straight kick to the chest by Axe, and I swear, Katee Sackhoff feels the full force of this! I hope we see some behind-the-scenes on this fight after the season ends. Ultimately, the kick didn’t matter as Bo-Katan’s skill and perseverance prevailed, winning her leadership and Darksaber. We need MORE of this action in the series!
6. Din Djarin
We have yet to see much of the Din this season as we have in the previous two. In season 3, Din has been more subdued and measured, taking a backseat to other characters and storylines. I am alright with this as I appreciate the world-building, including possible storyline links to upcoming series’ such as Ahsoka. Still, seeing “The Mandalorian” return to his direct and sometimes brutish tactics that we’ve previously witnessed was refreshing.
In the episode, Din shows his skill in combat, knowledge, and diplomacy. We see a clear difference in approaches to situations between the two Mandalorians, where Bo-Katan takes a more thought-out and subdued angle. In contrast, Din uses unique ways of talking to those around him, including getting the droid information from the Ugnaughts, interrogating the droid bartender, and his hilarious way of kicking the super battle droids to discover the malfunctioning one.
Din also displays, in my opinion, his loyalty and devotion to the Mandalorian creed as he sacrifices the Darksaber (with a questionable reason) and returns it to Bo-Katan so that she may take leadership of the tribes. While this was a weak way to get the saber back to Bo-Katan (like in Star Wars Rebels), it shows that Din is thinking not about himself or his needs but as the Mandalorian people as a whole. This is the creed. And this is after Axe Wove questions Din’s heritage as a Mandalorian as he wasn’t born on Mandalore but only a foundling. Din shows more in each episode that he is more Mandalorian than anyone else, and it is this devotion that inspires Bo-Katan to respect her family roots and Mandalore history again. THIS IS THE WAY!