By Josh Reilly B. and George Bate
WARNING: The following review contains spoilers for The Mandalorian – Season 3 Chapter 21
“This is the way.”
That is the main catchphrase of The Mandalorian, a saying meant to unite the remaining factions of the planet destroyed by the Empire and reaffirm their commitment to the creed. After a hugely popular initial two seasons, some fans and critics have noted that, in a storytelling sense, the way hasn’t been as clear in the third outing.
Season 3 continued today with Chapter 21, The Pirate, written by Jon Favreau and directed by Peter Ramsey. The plot of the episode might be largely isolated from the overarching narrative, but there appears to be more of a direction for the rest of the season, a welcome change from the extremely entertaining but relatively choppy first half. The Pirate focuses on Gorian Shard’s invasion of Nevarro, once a bounty hunter guild planet, which requires the help of The Watch and Carson Teva of the New Republic. Din Djarin wants to help Greef Karga as they are good friends, and he convinces his fellow Mandalorians to join him with the promise of being able to live out in the open on the planet.
Teva helped sound the alarm about the issues surrounding the Outer Rim planet, including a trip to Coruscant to request backup. There, he discusses Moff Gideon, citing his belief that the Imperial war criminal escaped prison before he his trial. These suspicions were confirmed at the end of the episode, where Teva discovered that Mandalorians helped him escape. What that means for the rest of the season remains to be seen.
This is another action packed episode, and one that is the best directed of the season thus far. The fight sequences are engaging and the pirates are capable and interesting villains, and the fact that one member of the group managed to escape might mean that his time in this story is not yet complete. The Mandalorians fighting together as a group is fun to watch as well, with Peter Ramsey taking full advantage of the Star Wars aesthetic to make this as entertaining as possible. In an interview with The HoloFiles, Brendan Wayne, who plays Din Djarin, said that Ramsey was the first director of the show so far to not be a fan of the franchise before joining, but it’s clear that he embraced the galaxy greatly here. A particular shout out must go to the creature designs once again here, with Gorian Shard in particular giving off excellent Pirates of the Caribbean vibes.
Towards the end of the episode, The Armorer gives Bo-Katan the task of reuniting all of the Mandalorian clans because she has walked both ways of the creed, which could set Katee Sackhoff’s hero to be the leader of the group going forward. It’s interesting that The Armorer suddenly decided that it was okay for one of them to take their helmet off, and that combined with the Mandalorian presence in the escape of Moff Gideon could suggest that there is more to all of this than what The Armorer is saying. If she was revealed to be on Gideon’s side, for example, that could be the thing that pushes Din Djarin to become more of a regular Mandalorian of sorts, thus taking off his helmet regularly.
Speaking of Djarin, he appears regularly throughout this episode but still lacks any substantial character arc this season. In the first two episodes, he had his mission to make up for his transgressions and bathe in the waters underneath Mandalore, but ever since then, Pedro Pascal’s character has been sidelined in favor of other lead heroes and an overarching storyline. Bo-Katan has significantly more to do than Djarin this season, and her sudden main role alongside him is very noticeable throughout. That’s far from a complaint as Bo-Katan is a compelling character played excellently by Sackhoff, but Djarin’s absence relative to past seasons is a shame. At this point, it’s hard not to wonder if Pedro Pascal’s role in The Last of Us in some way impacted Din Djarin’s screen time this season.
For many, this season has not hit the heights of some of the previous moments of the show. Based on the evidence of this episode, the way could be found once again by stabilizing Djarin’s character development and giving him a proper arc that is consistent throughout.
The Pirate is a compelling isolated story that features the return of Gorian Shard and his band of enemies. Peter Ramsey makes an excellent debut in a galaxy far, far away as the action is excellently directed throughout. Despite that, with only three episodes left, season 3 still lacks an overall narrative and an interesting arc for Pedro Pascal’s hero.