The HoloFiles

REVIEW: The Mandalorian – Season 3, Chapter 22

By George & Josh Bate

The climax of The Mandalorian season 3 is beginning to come to fruition with the release of Chapter 22: Guns For Hire.

Guns for Hire follows Din Djarin and Bo-Katan as they travel to an exotic, quiet world in the galaxy as they search for other Mandalorians to help join their tribe. The duo’s goal is to now unite all of the remaining Mandalorian groups, and Bo-Katan chooses to start with Axe Wolves and co., the team that used to be under her leadership prior to season 3. It seems that they lost faith in her, though, hence why Wolves is now the designated commander. The team are set up on this remote world acting as contract workers, offering protection to the planet that is distinct from the New Republic after opting not to join the newly created political organization.

What follows is a classic (or standard) episodic television story. The battle droids used throughout the planet are beginning to wreak havoc, causing substantial issues for the locals. There’s a Law and Order vibe throughout as Din and Bo-Katan are tasked with investigating these issues, a style that mostly works but does at times feel a little bit too procedural in nature. Those law enforcement shows are always going to be popular, but they can get extremely repetitive at times, and these effects are unfortunately felt in this episode. Din and Bo-Katan eventually find who is responsible for the crimes in a relatively interesting twist that does well to tie the various droid elements together, but something still feels lacking.

The final moments of the episode see Din Djarin gift the darksaber to Bo-Katan, saying that his rescue on Mandalore was down to her and she slayed the enemy using the weapon, thus making it rightfully hers. It seems more and more as if Bo-Katan is once again being set up to be the leader of the Mandalorians, despite the fact that, at times, Din Djarin seemed like he could be the ruler. The issue with this plot line is not that Bo-Katan is the potential new leader, as she’s quite frankly far more qualified than Din, but that in telling this the way they are, Pedro Pascal’s character feels sidelined in an extremely jarring way. He was once in almost every scene of this show, but this season he appears more as a side player than a lead hero. It’s an odd change that feels like a disservice to the character and to Grogu, despite the fact that there is some interesting writing with Bo-Katan.

Chapter 22 might ultimately be defined by the number of surprising celebrity cameos sprinkled throughout the episode. The culprit of the droid crimes was none other than Christopher Lloyd from Back to the Future, an appearance most fans were expecting after insiders teased his cameo last year. Jack Black and Lizzo also appeared as the royals of the planet, two interesting choices that are fun but ultimately end up being a distraction from the regular story. Star Wars has never been a franchise that has regularly called upon celebrity cameos, so this does feel a little out of place.

On a broader note, it’s peculiar that almost every plot point from season 2 has now been reversed. Grogu is back with Mando, who has now atoned for taking off his helmet, and any potential rivalry with him and Bo-Katan is now gone. Moff Gideon is out of prison and seemingly back in some position of power, even if he’s hiding, and Din Djarin no longer wields the darksaber. It’s once again jarring, and for all the fan complaints about the sequel trilogy and the lack of structured planning from film to film, it’s hard not to argue that those criticisms don’t apply here as well.

VERDICT: 6/10

The Mandalorian season 3, Chapter 22 has some unique cameos and a relatively interesting episode of the week storyline, but with only two episodes left this season, the main storyline still feels weak and under explored.

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