"Chapter 22: Guns for Hire"
Air date: 4/5/2023
Written by Jon Favreau
Directed by Bryce Dallas Howard
Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan
Hoo, boy. Was that ever a mess. I'm honestly not even sure where to start. I mean, what the actual F?
"Guns for Hire" takes what should be a majorly significant transfer of power on this series and turns it into the strangest shaggy-dog story you probably never would've imagined — nor wanted to. The Mandalorian used to be known for its clean narratives and gritty western sensibilities. Now it's a comic book patchwork that feels like a meaningless Andromeda action hour one minute, and Law & Order: Droid Investigation Unit the next. Meanwhile, the stunt casting (Jack Black! Lizzo! Christopher Lloyd!!!) trips all over itself on its way to offer up cipher characters that feel like they wandered in from the wardrobe department on the way to the actors' Star Wars checkboxes on their bucket lists.
Following a cold open that's much ado about nothing, the plot brings Bo-Katan and Din Djarin to Plazir (a bright, domed city, nicely rendered by VFX), an independent democracy that isn't part of the Republic and is forbidden from having an army. Instead, it's protected by the mercenary Mandalorians who used to be Bo-Katan's tribe, which she hopes to bring back into the Mandalorian fold now that she's the chosen one.
Before she can do that, however, Bo and Din are drafted into the employ of the king and queen (Jack Black and Lizzo), although they aren't really king and queen since they were elected, or something. Their city has a rather bizarre droid problem. Their droids, you see, used to be Imperial battle droids but were reprogrammed to be helpful servant droids. But a bunch of them have malfunctioned recently and started causing mayhem in the city, and Black & Lizzo (Blizzo?) need Din and Bo (DinBo?) to figure out why. Why don't they just turn off the droids? Because the citizens have come to rely on them and have voted not to. Okey dokey.
Thus ensues an investigation that plays for a while like a cop show, give or take Mando literally kicking a battle droid to piss it off and see if it will malfunction, which is so odd that it's funny, I think? The investigation takes us to some Ughnaught droidsmiths ("I have spoken"), then to a droid bar where we learn the drinks were laced with something called "Nepenthe" that caused their malfunctions, and finally a forensic lab that reveals Commissioner Helgait (Lloyd) was behind the sabotage, because he's a Dooku Separatist loyalist who hates Jack Black. Okay, then. The whole thing plays like a weird, goofy, pointless, and easily solved twist-free sci-fi police procedural. It's a laughably baffling detour in a season of detours.
The last 10 minutes find the episode's actual ostensible purpose, in which Bo-Katan must reclaim her place as leader of her former Mandalorian flock. To do so, she must fight the leader who took her place in the band, a man named Axe Woves, I kid you not. This battle is a rather by-the-numbers action affair, which Bo-Katan naturally wins. But then there's the business with the Darksaber. The Mandalorians ask why they shouldn't follow Din Djarin, since he wields it. But then Din explains how he was rescued on Mandalore after having been captured with the Darksaber, and Bo-Katan defeated the one which captured him. So she actually won the Darksaber in combat after all! Where has this realization been for the past four episodes?
The entire Mandalorian "Creed" and culture is pretty much collapsing like a house of cards. These people will follow anyone who has the best story of that particular day. None of this would-be world building has an ounce of conviction, because it's all about technicalities rather than the meaning behind it, whatever that might've actually been. Despite the growing of the Mandalorian flock this season, there's simply not enough substance beneath the hollow words to make these people seem like they live by any actual values.
Meanwhile, Bo-Katan makes Mando look irrelevant. And Grogu, who seems like a more pointless mascot/prop with each passing episode, does his obligatory Cute Grogu Thing (jumping into Lizzo's arms) but otherwise seems like his purpose in the story truly ended when he left to be with Luke Skywalker. Sadly, this season has felt like watching a magician where you've figured out how the trick works ... and the magician isn't very good.
Previous episode: Chapter 21: The Pirate
Next episode: Chapter 23: The Spies
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70 comments on this post
Wed, Apr 5, 2023, 3:03am (UTC -5)
I can't believe that this is the same studio that made Andor.
So for some reason a rogue group of Mandalorians, including a couple from last season, have a bunch of ships including Gideon's cruiser, and they do what they want, but in order to even talk to them, the rulers of the planet give Din and Bo Katan (why this character is interesting to anyone I have no idea why) a ridiculous side quest involving malfunctioning droids. Sigh. Every actor in a supporting role seems miscast, the staging of each scene was terrible, and even Din acted completely out of character, and I began to question my own sanity at each moment.
Wed, Apr 5, 2023, 7:22am (UTC -5)
But something was just off. I agree, Katie Sachoff was not in her element.
That’s not to say that there wasn’t a lot to love:
- Mando’s negotiations (“I have spoken”) was great
- The Resistor: a very cool bar idea
- back to cute baby Yoda
- the colors! So many colors!
But it really didn’t gel. And the whole saber handoff was too rushed. Maybe that’s the problem with the season - they know where they want to go, and are in far too much of a hurry to get there.
2 1/2 stars
Wed, Apr 5, 2023, 8:49am (UTC -5)
I thought this episode was a standout in an already good season.
-seemingly larger budget allowed for lots of well done aliens (the quarren looked great), sets, environments, and atmosphere. The whole planet felt really well integrated into the design language of SW, feeling part cloud city, part coruscant, and part mandolare (domes).
-interesting subplot about a former seperatist that still believes Dooku was sincere (wish Andor had touched on this kind of thing more)
-Axe Woves actors performance was better than I was expecting
-Good progression on Bo now commanding these Mando, leading us into the finale
-droid bar was great, enjoyed the inversion of the "we don't serve their kind here" scene, as well as some tidbits of droid lore/worldbuilding in general
If I had to name any flaws it would be that Bo's hair looks kind of awkward at times, Grogu is pretty much irrelevant now, and Lizzo can't act.
But overall, great ep. Surprised fans aren't more into this.
Wed, Apr 5, 2023, 9:06am (UTC -5)
Wed, Apr 5, 2023, 9:14am (UTC -5)
Perhaps, but I thibk the presentation of Mando feels more like the movies in tone. Andor is great, but is far more grounded than even the OT. Ferrix, for my money, almost felt *too* mundane.
That being said, I agree that Andor is the best live action SW media since the Disney sale.
Wed, Apr 5, 2023, 9:26am (UTC -5)
I'm not a stickler. I enjoy fun, colorful and silly eye candy. But here its overdone and is taking over for the story. It helps that none of the actors seemed to have a clue what was happening this week.
Wed, Apr 5, 2023, 9:27am (UTC -5)
"I find it strange how everyone is turning on this show, even on SW fan sites."
I don't. A lot of people were emotionally invested in the characters of Mando and Grogu and thought season 3 would be more of what we got in seasons 1 and 2. And it isn't. People don't want Grogu to be "pretty much irrelevant now". So there's that. It also feels messy and unfocused plot wise plus I'm not as interested in Bo Katan as the show seems to think I ought to be.
There were things I liked in this episode: Mando negotiating with the Ugnaughts, the Resistor bar, Grogu craftily using the Force so her Majesty won at the game.
Some of the acting in the opening scene seemed really off though. And the Bo Katan fight with whatever his name is was poor.
Wed, Apr 5, 2023, 9:39am (UTC -5)
I don't know, the OT felt lived in, but it still felt quite fantasy IMO. With Ferrix my main issue wasn't that it looked almost too grounded (though I think it did), but that the goings on and culture weren't fantasy enough, especially in the opening 3 episodes which are somewhat of a slog (the following episodes are all excellent though).
Just saying, SW has always had a dollop of pulp cheese, and Andor's whole thing is looking at the galaxy without that.
Wed, Apr 5, 2023, 9:43am (UTC -5)
Seriously though, this felt like a Clone Wars episode in the best possible way. Swap out Din and Bo for Anakin and Obi-Wan and it wouldn't be significantly different.
Alternatively, I could go for a Law & Order: Special Droid Victims Unit show with Detectives Djarin and Kryze (Din as a racist cop was darkly funny) The droid morgue that was exactly like a human morgue might have been my favorite touch, though I also really enjoyed how it subverted the expectation that a world this beautiful with citizens that pampered led by a former Imperial had to have a deep, dark secret. Turns out it actually is a really nice place with a truly rehabilitated ex-Imperial whom I believe really loves his wife the Duchess. It'll be hilarious if Grogu being a Knight of the Independent Realms or whatever actually carries some weight.
Not everything has to be Andor. Sometimes it's okay for Star Wars to embrace its roots as children's entertainment. Plus, Christopher Lloyd!
Wed, Apr 5, 2023, 9:49am (UTC -5)
I see your point but I prefer coherence and honesty in the worldbuilding. There were a few ideas in Ferrix thay stood out.. like the wall of gloves or that strange hovering grappling hook. But I really loved how real it felt. How gritty it felt.
As for city scapes.. I liked the Jedi rescue of Grogu better than the action in this episode, and Orville's "Gently Falling Rain" was the best episode yet for this kind of thing.
Wed, Apr 5, 2023, 10:17am (UTC -5)
Oh but it does! By repeatedly telling the world how poor something is because it’s not Andor that is how you know I have amazing taste. Just like everything non-sci fi related has to be Breaking Bad or nothing (substitute for The Wire a decade earlier). There’s no reasoning with this mindset. The height of childish pop-culture tribalism.
Wed, Apr 5, 2023, 11:08am (UTC -5)
Wed, Apr 5, 2023, 11:18am (UTC -5)
The first two seasons of Mando were quite good bar one or two bits and bobs (frog episode. Waste of time).
But at least it had simple story telling with errand of the week and overall plot moving along nicely.
S2 ends and that's probably where 'The Mandalorian' should have ended. Dins appearance in TBOBF which sidelined Boba Fett in his own show has now happened to Din in his own show.
Grogu is simply there to sell Merch. Doesn't matter what anyone thinks. Disney needs to make money. Grogu makes money. Figures of Maarva (we do love you) won't. Simple as.
This season is very watchable but it's lost complete focus on what made it good in the first place and really as I said should have ended with S2. Make Rnagers of the New Republic and "The Mandalorians". Got no idea why anyone is doing anything in this show apart from the fact they all wanna go live on a planet that got glassed even though there seem to be places all over the shop for then to setup home in.
Enjoy reading all your comments guys. Love this website!
Wed, Apr 5, 2023, 11:38am (UTC -5)
I guess Mando is fun. But I don't feel anything watching it anymore.
Wed, Apr 5, 2023, 11:42am (UTC -5)
With that said, and in line with others, I cannot help but feel this season is more meandering and campy than the first two. This is not to say that the first two seasons did not have lighthearted moments, but there is something of a tonal shift here, as though whoever thought up the scooter gang in The Book of Boba Fett has been given creative charge (highlighted here by the performances of Jack Black and Lizzo). This entire season has just felt a bit... off.
And my critique of Mandalorian politics remains, in that any potential drama seems to often be quickly resolved by creed. Credit to Mandalorians, I suppose, in devising a set of ways that minimizes political discord to standalone fights or meetings. This is the way.
Finally, nepenthe oil... if only Din Djarin and Grogu had to visit Riker and Troi to get to the bottom of the issue, and enjoy a pizza for their efforts. :)
Wed, Apr 5, 2023, 12:07pm (UTC -5)
That said, they need to stop STOP STOP with the bringing in "special guest stars". I gave Tim Meadows a pass last week because it was a one off. Then, this week we get Jack Black, Lizzo, and Christopher Lloyd?
No no no no no no no no no
This is what Star Wars and The Mandalorian don't need to become... a place for friends of the filmmakers to make special appearances. Daniel Craig in TFA was okay, because we didn't see his face. Meadows, Black, Lizzo, and Lloyd making cameos just brings us out of the fantasy of Star Wars.
If they're not a main or recurring character, let them be played by unknowns. Star Wars should not be the Love Boat of the 2020's.
I have spoken.
Wed, Apr 5, 2023, 2:38pm (UTC -5)
Jack Black and Lizzo, sorry. I love both of them but they don't work here. Jack's too "twee" and Lizzo just can't act. Hell of a singer though. I'd advise her not to quit her day job because she's great at that.
Christopher Lloyd works BETTER, but, eh. Nice callback to the Separatist cause though - it makes sense that those sentiments wouldn't just GO AWAY in the post-Empire world. Bo-Katan's simple "...Politics." made me chuckle. Love me some deadpan Katee Sackoff.
Nice to see Ugnaughts again, though. Actually all of the aliens looked fantastic. On a show with a lesser budget, this episode could have been downright terrible by way of cheap sets and unconvincing costumes.
Loved the droid bar, though. I like how the droids were helpful and simply wanted the problem to be dealt with - I expected the typical "droids vs. biologicals" story and was pleasantly surprised.
The Mandalorian street fight at the end was pretty solid,
Not bad overall. 2.5/4?
Personally, I'm not one of these people who thinks Mando needs to be "all serious, all dark, all serialized story, all the time." I like these episodic stories and I like some levity. So for me, an episode like this doesn't fail on a conceptual level - heck, it doesn't even fail on an execution level, technically - it just feels somehow "off."
Wed, Apr 5, 2023, 9:26pm (UTC -5)
The big red button.
The big red button.
If Hellgate (Yes, that's the name of Christopher Lloyd's character) pushed that BIG RED BUTTON all the Droid would start fighting.
Even with his dastardly plan that would have gotten away with if it hadn't been for those pesky Mandaloriana, you'd think the button would be more of a secret.
Which leads to one reason why Andor is so much better.. everything in Andor feel like ir exists for real, that even the sets feel like actual equipment instead of a farce of sci fi cliches.
Wed, Apr 5, 2023, 9:30pm (UTC -5)
Wed, Apr 5, 2023, 9:30pm (UTC -5)
This episode got a bit silly - but it was worth it for the droid bar.
So far, it doesn’t feel like there are any stakes for the season - or any real danger/point.
I know this is The Mandalorian, but I don’t really care about the fate of Mandalore.
Wed, Apr 5, 2023, 9:41pm (UTC -5)
Upon reflection, it appears that the main issue is that the show has lost focus. It’s not Mando and Grogu taking on the remnants of the Empire; and/or Mando’s bounty hunter exploits; and/or Grogu slowly learning the ways of the Force. Instead, they’re trying to paint on a much larger canvas, but they don’t have the time or resources to properly do this. Eight 30-40 minute episodes every two years or so just isn’t going to cut it. Perhaps when these ancillary series (“Ahsoka”, “Rangers”, et al) kick-in all of this will make more sense. For now, though, this season just seems … flawed.
Wed, Apr 5, 2023, 11:24pm (UTC -5)
And it's not. Not really. At least, not the bits most people liked about the first 2 seasons.
Wed, Apr 5, 2023, 11:32pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Apr 6, 2023, 2:07am (UTC -5)
Seems a sloppy and forced way to get the Darksaber back to Bo Katan.
I didn't not enjoy it though.
Thu, Apr 6, 2023, 3:35am (UTC -5)
"Finally, nepenthe oil... if only Din Djarin and Grogu had to visit Riker and Troi to get to the bottom of the issue, and enjoy a pizza for their efforts. :)"
Ha I thought the same thing when they said the name of the oil. It's also a funny coincidence on the very same night, Troi and Riker admitted to each other they hated that planet.
Thu, Apr 6, 2023, 7:47am (UTC -5)
As always, the issue comes down to poor writing. The writing has just diminished, markedly. It just comes across as half baked.
They arrive at the planet and immediately get co-opted by a Hyperloop train and right away you are wondering: what kind of sinister place is this? Is this another Bespin situation? But nope, the rulers are actually really friendly and nice.
And then you're thinking, ok ex Imperial ruler, decadent out of touch aristocrats, where are they going with this? Nowhere. They have some malfunctioning droids and they won't let Jin and Bo talk with the other Mandalorians until they complete the droid malfunction quest.
And then they go into a droid bar called "Resistor" and you're thinking huh, this is something we haven't seen - Star Wars taking Artificial Life seriously despite hinting at deeper issues since the beginning (we don't serve your kind here). But nope, the droids aren't resentful at all. They love serving as slaves to organics. No. Seriously, they really do.
And the mystery turns out to be a technobabble plot by some die-hard Dooku follower to.... randomly kill people for no reason to accomplish, something? Boy oh boy does this guy love Dooku for reasons unstated except he was a "visionary". Ummm... world building?
Then after completing the side quest and receiving some exp and loot from the grateful rulers Mando and Bo confront the other Mandalorians. And she kicks this dude's ass. And ummm, it turns out that joke people were making about her having "won" the Dark Saber from that Grievous like spider robot wasn't a joke - she really did win it but was too stupid to have figured it out. I guess Mando didn't feel like explaining it to her until now because, well, I guess he wanted to fuck with her. There's gratitude for saving his life I guess.
Where am I going with this? No idea. Where is this story going? Bloody hell if I know. Why have we "turned on" this show? Because apparently the writing team is now working part time remotely by Zoom except they're too busy watching their kids at home and taking out the drycleaning to actually write something credible. Time to get back into the office me thinks.
Thu, Apr 6, 2023, 8:33am (UTC -5)
Agree on all points
I have been watching Andor again and Ira crazy how good the writing is, from the way exposition is handled to the emotional moments that count.
Mandalorian at best has surprised me by telling me how far off course they are willing to go.
One show feels like a story that has enriched our world, the other feels like a product
Thu, Apr 6, 2023, 8:45am (UTC -5)
"Never remove your helmet" - *Unless* you need to eat, so you "go off to be alone" - That seems...inconvenient, not to mention antisocial. How the heck is oral history passed on if Mandalorians not together for meals???
What if you sneeze, or vomit, or have an itch, or something on your head or face requiring medical attention? What if you're on a small ship and there's no where to "go off to be alone"? What about sex?
"OK Bo can remove her helmet around other Mandalorians" - The Armorer really is just making this up as she goes along, huh?
How is the son of one of the Mandalorians a "foundling"? Where's the mom? Was he adopted?
"The Darksaber cannot be given, it must be taken" - *Unless* some weird cyborg disarms its owner and you defeat that cyborg weeks (possibly months in-show) ago, then you can just hand it over to that person when it's most convenient.
The Mandalorian does not lend itself to intense scrutiny, and yet it invites that scrutiny by playing fast and loose with its own purported hallowed rules.
And yeah, I have no idea why Grogu is still around, plot-wise. His arc was complete (ok I do know the cynical reason - he's popular and a money maker).
Luke taught him how to hop around like Yoda, and every scene he's done that seems manufactured to simply demonstrate that he can hop around like Yoda. ...Ok?
Thu, Apr 6, 2023, 10:05am (UTC -5)
You've just described every religion ever. What you see as a bug, I see as a feature. Of course it's nonsense, but no more nonsense than covering your head at all times or only eating certain foods or never touching alcohol or participating in ritual cannibalism every week.
Thu, Apr 6, 2023, 11:02am (UTC -5)
Thu, Apr 6, 2023, 12:04pm (UTC -5)
I see your point, but what's missing is an indication from the writers that this is what they are doing. There's no sense of irony or commentary in here at all. It's just blind (and silly) plotting. At least with, say, the Bajoran religion, it was actually *about* how their religion and culture had these issues and conflicts and affected Sisko and Starfleet. Here, it's just moving from A to B to C with a nod and no insights on any of it.
Last season, Bo-Katan called them zealots, and now she's a blind follower. Is that the point? Maybe. But at the moment the show seems to take the Creed and all the nonsense at face value, and is not commenting on it or using it to drive character conflict or development at all.
In the real world, there are people to call out the zealots for the silliness you mention, and that's what's missing here.
Thu, Apr 6, 2023, 12:27pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Apr 6, 2023, 3:00pm (UTC -5)
It feels like the entire content of what was supposed to be this season has been shunted into different properties or scrapped outright, and this is the hastily-dashed-together replacement season we get instead. Maybe the original plan for the season kept Mando and Grogu separate - Grogu stayed with the Jedi and developed his skills, while the Mando plot made heavy use of both Bo-Katan and Cara Dune - but the combined effect of a) an edict from the studio that Grogu must remain with Mando b) the unavailability of Gina Carano made the original plan for the season unworkable. Maybe the Mando part of the "original" season 3 was partly shunted into Boba Fett and the Grogu part was shunted into the upcoming Ahsoka show. Maybe this season will end with a Mandalorian movie being announced, and it will contain the material originally intended for this season. I'm speculating. In any case, what we have is a season almost entirely comprised of filler episodes and wheel-spinning - and not even the same kind of filler each week, but different filler in a way that feels completely haphazard. E1-2: Mando bathes in the waters. E3: Side story on Coruscant involving two minor characters whose names I can't remember. E4: Monster babies. E5: Pirates! E6: Robot chase and Lizzo tea party. Ever since it resolved its primary narrative arc at the end of S2, this show has no idea what it actually is.
I think the show's problems were already in evidence before this, because S2 - while good - derived much of its purpose from setting up other future shows and seasons. S2E1 is a backdoor pilot for a potential Cobb Vanth series, S2E5 for the Ahsoka series, S2E6 for the Boba Fett series, while S2E3 exists to set up season 3 of The Mandalorian. Other than the finale, the remaining instalments are filler (S2E2) or formulaic heist episodes (S2E4, S2E7). The middle of S1 also has a run of poor filler episodes, particular S1E6 with its terrible Suicide Squad-knockoff characters, most of whom we thankfully never saw again. It's a wonder that S2 handled its main storyline and characters as well as it did given the amount of screentime devoted to setting up spinoffs.
Thu, Apr 6, 2023, 4:56pm (UTC -5)
Totally agree about Grogu - after Chapter 18 Mines of Mandalore I thought we were going to be seeing him take a more active role in the series, but all he's done since then is a (rather poorly executed) force jump per episode.
The casting of Lizzo and Black didn't work for me and pulled me out of the show. Lloyd somehow fit into this world, but Lizzo and Black were the most jarring elements in a scene that was already an odd aesthetic fit for the show. Truthfully I am old enough that I had no idea what Lizzo looked like and only a vague idea of who she is, but she still stood out as a celebrity cameo regardless.
The droid mystery was fun for what it was but it was also completely extraneous. It is our 3rd diversion in four episodes, and had Mando and Bo just landed amongst the Watch in the first place, the season arc likely wouldn't be any different. I haven't been this dissatisfied with the series since chapter 5 The Gunslinger.
I have heard that elements from the abandoned Rangers series made their way into this show. I could totally see this droid story along with the Dr. Pershing tale being two scripts that had been written and repurposed rather than discarded. If so, this in yet another way the Carasco fiasco has harmed The Mandalorian.
Thu, Apr 6, 2023, 6:51pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Apr 6, 2023, 7:04pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Apr 6, 2023, 9:04pm (UTC -5)
I loved it, but I can see how others would hate it. I loved all the Prequel references, and a Romeo and Juliet fish folk story too!
Fri, Apr 7, 2023, 4:29am (UTC -5)
@Artymiss: "I don't. A lot of people were emotionally invested in the characters of Mando and Grogu and thought season 3 would be more of what we got in seasons 1 and 2. And it isn't. People don't want Grogu to be 'pretty much irrelevant now'. So there's that."
If that's true, it means they are missing from at least two different angles. Because I'm fairly indifferent to Grogu (I'm certainly not captivated by his cuteness the way a lot of people are), and I have found this season uneven with this episode being the nadir of the entire series. And I'm not alone: others have complained that the Disney brass seems to have insisted "Baby Yoda" return, probably against the creators' wishes.
@Roger Ailes: "the opening 3 episodes which are somewhat of a slog (the following episodes are all excellent though)."
I've seen so many people say this, there must be something to it for a lot of people but not for me at all. I absolutely loved that first arc--and in fact one of my favorite scenes the entire series was the introduction of Karn when he is getting questioned about whether he has modified his uniform ("some piping and light tailoring") and his cynical CO is laying out what he thinks really happened and instructing him to sweep the murder under the rug. But then I also loved all the scenes with Karn and his mom, while a lot of people said they found them boring. Shrug.
But then, I also seem to dislike this episode of Mando for the opposite reason a lot of people do. I have seen a lot of commentary to the effect that it was a fun episode that was then ruined by the stuff with the dark saber at the end. Whereas I thought it was a really stupid, goofy episode partially redeemed by the ending--because that so-called "loophole" is in fact totally legit in my eyes and a clever way to solve the problem.
@Chase: "Not everything has to be Andor."
Absolutely true. Earlier episodes of Mando were definitely not "Andor" but I still liked them a lot more than this.
"Sometimes it's okay for Star Wars to embrace its roots as children's entertainment."
This is a valid point. My daughter really liked this episode. But here's the thing: I had established the pattern (which she appreciates) that she and I and her mom would watch it together every week. Fun for the whole family. Whereas when she watched "That's So Raven" or other kiddie fare, we don't watch with her except incidentally if we happen to be in the room. I don't rate "Raven" unfavorably as something I'm really watching on its own merits: it's just kiddie stuff, so all that matters is whether she likes it. I guess maybe I have to start rejiggering my expectations and just treat it as a kids' show that I'm watching with her so as not to disappoint her. But that's a shame because in the past it has been something more than that.
"Plus, Christopher Lloyd!"
He didn't do much, though. A quick introduction, and then "oh look, the CSI evidence shows he's guilty" and after a quick standoff (which didn't have much promise of working out for him, assuming he was ever going to use the bathroom or sleep), that was pretty much it.
@Camelsarse: Glad you came out of lurk mode! Welcome to the comments section.
@Joseph B: "This was the best episode of the season so far"
That is WILD to me that you think that--but you are not alone! For me it was the worst episode of the entire series.
@Jason R.: "As always, the issue comes down to poor writing. The writing has just diminished, markedly. It just comes across as half baked."
Cosigned. Your entire comment was spot on, including all the particular details you laid out.
@philadlj: "What about sex?"
I liked your other questions (sneezing, vomiting, etc.) but I don't understand the sex objection (Jammer raised it too, and I've seen it elsewhere). Why do people think it would be so difficult to have sex with a helmet on?
@Keith R.A. DeCandido: "You've just described every religion ever."
Haha, great point. In particular, ultra-Orthodox Jews "observe" all kinds of strict, seemingly arbitrary rules--except that they have found a bajillion loopholes, never seeming to consider that Jahweh might be more interested in the intent of the law than technicalities.
@wolfstar: "The middle of S1 also has a run of poor filler episodes, particular S1E6 with its terrible Suicide Squad-knockoff characters, most of whom we thankfully never saw again."
I loved the prison episode! My favorite episode of the series, in fact: the only one I would give a full four stars, although I did also award a perfect rating to the two Mando episodes of "The Book of Boba Fett".
Fri, Apr 7, 2023, 8:59am (UTC -5)
You know, when Emmett Brown is taken there before JB and Lizzo, and that poor and werk dialogue happens (but why, Emmett Brown? Oh because yadayadayada) I immediatelly though "oh no, this is just to fool Mando and Bo Katan. Something else is happening behind the scenes. Cant be just this". But..... no, that was it.
Fri, Apr 7, 2023, 2:39pm (UTC -5)
With all due respect, I don’t think you’re being very fair.
The writing and plotting may be falling apart faster than Mando's old ship, but there is real irony and conflict in the Mandalorian religion. Bo Katan is your typical elite non-believer who was forced to mouth the platitudes to maintain her family’s rule. I wouldn’t put her in a Kai Winn category, so much as a Sisko category (wait, @Jammer, don’t shoot me yet! at least hear me out...).
The "godless Federation” never had much use for the Bajoran gods, and it took Sisko a very long time - and some up close and personal experiences with The Prophets - for him to come around.
Bo Katan and her band of merry Mandolorians didn't believed in the sacred waters or the helmet thing. But they did believe in something - the legend of the Dark Saber.
Like the sword in the stone, it was only available to someone worthy. Bo Katan really did believe that it had to be won in battle. Why? Why believe in that and not the other Mandalorian customs? Who knows! People are complicated, and rarely consistent.
Bo Katan became a convert (The Convert?) after an up close and personal experience with the Mythasore. Like Sisko.
As with most things religious, Babylon 5 did it better. There is great line in Season 3 episode 20, “when God comes knocking at your door, you won't need me or anyone else to tell you what that sound is.”
When you see The Prophets, or a Mythasore, you won’t need an Admiral or a Vedic or an Armorer or tell you what you believe.
@Daniel Prates said, "Doctor Emmett Brown in an even mkore [sic] ridiculous role.”
I think the thinking was he is a Man and he has a Delorean. So he is perfect for the… ManDolorean. Yeah, the writers really are that fucking high ;)
Fri, Apr 7, 2023, 5:54pm (UTC -5)
It is, essentially, slavery. I suppose it always was, but when the droids weren't the centerpiece of the story we didn't have to think about it too hard. Disney should have left well enough alone and kept the droids in the background.
My partner threw the remote across the room in disgust at the line were the bartender droid said they're cool with it because "Biologicals gave us a lot" or however it was phrased. Really, you're cool with being erased, reprogrammed, or junked, like a piece of property? I guess slavery for a droid is a choice? 🤮
Disney fired Gino Carano because of unpopular social media posts. I don't really care, except to point out the irony they're missing with this whole droid subplot. It has to be the least woke thing ever if you bother to unpack it for more than five seconds. Was there not a single person in the writer's room that called this out?
Fri, Apr 7, 2023, 7:04pm (UTC -5)
But the opening of the episode with the Quarren was unbelievably awful. And the whole thing looked rather cheap (until we got to the CGI of the city on the planet).
The world building certainly wasn’t Andor finesse. It felt like an episode of the Clone Wars but lacking cohesion. The plot thread about a Separatist refusing to quit this whole time has massive potential, but felt like it should be an entire arc, not just thrown away like that. I personally thought Bo Katan was fine. But the way that neither she or the Mando use jet packs to proper effect in the chase for the sake of plot convenience is typical of this show.
The B1 battle droids were the best part of this episode with the sass. The Super battle droids look NOTHING like the movies. These were made into that ridiculous TCW shape.
I sincerely hope the Doc is simply undercover trying to get his Space Delorean fuelled up to go back to 2012 and prevent Disney from ever getting their hands on the saga.
Fri, Apr 7, 2023, 8:01pm (UTC -5)
@Camelsarse: Don't you think this season is worthwhile of st least to explore the planet Mandalore like in the Mines of Mandalore and for an upcoming episode where I hope and presume we FINALLY SEE and LEARN ALL ABOUT THE MYTHOSAUR?? And maybe ither wondrous creatures and secrets of Mabdalore
Fri, Apr 7, 2023, 9:30pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Apr 8, 2023, 2:05am (UTC -5)
Jon Favreau has been on record saying he already has season 4 planned out and mostly written, and Ahsoka and Skeleton Crew have still yet to air. So if we infer there will also be a whole another season of The Mandolorian before this eventual film, Disney basically needed this season of Mando to keep Star Wars humming along, but also have nothing actually advance the plot because that will come later when all the shows can be interconnected once they're ready and culminate in a big budget feature film.
It's totally cynical garbage, and we should stop indulging this idiotic cinematic or theatrical universe crap. It's ruining the fun big budget stuff into just pure corporate money grabs. I hate it. How do we tell them to stop?
Sat, Apr 8, 2023, 2:14am (UTC -5)
Sat, Apr 8, 2023, 4:18am (UTC -5)
Which is fine, I guess, but if so, what the heck was that episode on Coruscant a few weeks back? I mean, I liked the episode quite a bit because it was very intriguing as "where are they going with this?" and it was early enough int he season to justify this sentiment, I feel, but so late in the season it now feels like a very odd detour.
It also seems like the show can't decide whom it wants to be about, and what story it wants to tell. It can't decide of it wants to be episodic or serialized.
And In retrospect, it also seems like a big mistake to have included two of the best and most important episodes of the show as part of the season of another show.
I think Faverau is shooting himself in the foot if his aim here is to assume everyone will watch every SW show there is. It's enough that The Mandalorian is heavilly influenced by Clone Wars and Rebels, two animated shows I never watched so I'm missing lots of callbacks, but so far it didn't bother me.
I hope I will not be forced to watch Ahsoka to know what's going on in The Mandalorian or to watch Skeleton Crew to know what's going on in Ashoka and to...
Well, you get the point.
Sat, Apr 8, 2023, 6:06am (UTC -5)
Sat, Apr 8, 2023, 8:18am (UTC -5)
Sat, Apr 8, 2023, 2:34pm (UTC -5)
I too found the implications of that droid scene uncomfortable and it definitely rubbed me the wrong way.
But JUST to play devil's advocate...
Perhaps droids in the Star Wars universe aren't TRULY sentient, but rather, such a good simulacrum of sentience that- y'know what, scratch that thought, I don't know where I was going with it.
How about this? Perhaps droids' conception of "self" differs from our own in a very fundamental way. In a sense, human "identity" is the product of all of our experiences and memories. Perhaps droids value different things. They may derive their sense of self from their sense of "purpose": I was built to be an astromech, and I'm a very good one. To such a creature, it's entirely possible that memories would hold little personal value (i.e. have little bearing on their "identity"), so to them, a memory wipe isn't the sort of absolute invasion of "self" that it would be to you or me.
Again, just playing devil's advocate here. I think it's definitely pretty problematic. But I think it's interesting to consider.
Sat, Apr 8, 2023, 8:44pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Apr 9, 2023, 6:56am (UTC -5)
As always the truth points to itself: there was no message; the droids were fine and dandy with slavery because they needed to wrap the side quest up in time for the Christopher Lloyd reveal / climax and there was no time for the droid bartender to deliver a Hath not a Droid? speech. So yes, laziness would be the answer to your query. And it's a kid's show.
Sun, Apr 9, 2023, 7:38pm (UTC -5)
Kids show? It’s TV-14. I wouldn’t let young children watch it. 🤷🏻♂️
Star Wars ceased being a “kids show” somewhere around the time we saw child murder. (Err, sorry, I mean, “youngling murder”)
Also, kids shows can legitimately unpack complicated moral issues. Ever seen Avatar: The Last Airbender?
Sun, Apr 9, 2023, 7:57pm (UTC -5)
Star Wars ceased being a “kids show” somewhere around the time we saw child murder. (Err, sorry, I mean, “youngling murder”)
Also, kids shows can legitimately unpack complicated moral issues. Ever seen Avatar: The Last Airbender?"
ATLA is one of my favorite TV shows of any genre. The reason so many loved it (kids and adults) is because (1) it respected its characters, even (and especially) the silly or childish ones; (2) avoided hackneyed or cliched lazy writing with rushed easy conclusions, and (3) took seriously its own craftsmanship in terms of world building. As I said, a rare bird in the Saturday morning cartoon genre.
If ATLA was a kid's show with the quality of an adult drama Mando Season 3 is an adult show with the quality of a Saturday morning cartoon.
Sun, Apr 9, 2023, 8:39pm (UTC -5)
The things I didn't like as much about the first 3 eps of Andor are
-Tim and Bix scenes were almost too pedestrian and not SWsy enough
-Ferrix as a setting has a rather drab look
-Bix as a character is the weakest character in the show (not that she's awful, but she's the least interesting to me)
-also didn't appreciate the fact that the whole flashback sequence had bad guys in CIS suits (which goes unexplained) AND Maarva acted like the *Republic* would kill a bunch of kids as her reason to "save" Cassian. That whole thing felt to me like Gilroy couldn't be arsed to figure out the political factions of the prequel trilogy, making that whole thing very muddled.
But don't get me wrong, those first 3 also had plenty of really good moments that made me think the show was something special.
Sun, Apr 9, 2023, 8:41pm (UTC -5)
To be fair, in some ways ATLA takes itself more seriously than the 1977 original SW film, which has things like Leia brushing off the death of her world to get down to business.
Mon, Apr 10, 2023, 12:04pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Apr 10, 2023, 12:15pm (UTC -5)
Dealing with the "droid problem" in the SW universe, if done right, could be make for a compelling season, if not a series all its own.
If you're not going to address the elephant in the room, don't bring it in the room!
Yes, it's funny that there's an all-droid bar, and that they all go completely silent when two organics enter. But that's about it for the comedy. But was I the only one who felt *bad* for the bartender he threatened to torture, or the cargo droids he was shoving?
Yes, he lucked out that the third or fourth he messed with drank the bad batch of Nepenthe, but the fact Mando remains an unrepentant "droidist" (and that it's mined for yuk-yuk comedy) makes for a bad taste in the mouth.
Mon, Apr 10, 2023, 3:51pm (UTC -5)
No, I felt that too. Like you said, don't bring it in the room!
"the fact Mando remains an unrepentant "droidist" (and that it's mined for yuk-yuk comedy) makes for a bad taste in the mouth"
Mando at least has a story reason for hating droids and has been able to be won over (e.g., IG-88) in the right circumstances.
The casual attitude from the rest of the characters bothers me a lot more than Mando hating droids because they killed his parents. It's just accepted that this is a slave race we can do whatever we want with and is so throughly unremarkable that nobody comments on it.
Mind wipe over the objections of the droid? Within bounds.
Toss on the scrap heap? Within bounds.
Reprogram to do what you want? Within bounds.
It's gross. It could be compelling, if they wanted to explore it, but I get why they don't. If they can't though, just leave it alone. Bring a droid like IG-88 into the story when it makes sense. Just don't go telling a story about the droid underclass if you don't want the audience asking questions about it.
Mon, Apr 10, 2023, 8:15pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Apr 10, 2023, 10:48pm (UTC -5)
There are many copies.
And they have a plan.
Coming to Disney+ Spring 2025!!!
Mon, Apr 10, 2023, 11:01pm (UTC -5)
@Tim: "Kids show? It's TV-14. I wouldn't let young children watch it."
I hadn't realized it was rated TV-14. In that case, they really need to pick a lane. They should either reduce the violence or whatever it is to bring it down to TV-PG, or level up the writing so it doesn't come across as so juvenile. As @Jason R. said, you don't want to be making "an adult show with the quality of a Saturday morning cartoon".
@Roger Ailes: The flashback sequences were definitely the weakest part of the first three episodes of "Andor", but I loved the rest of it more than enough to make up for it.
Tue, Apr 11, 2023, 8:28am (UTC -5)
Abd the sense that I am learning something new
Tue, Apr 11, 2023, 9:12am (UTC -5)
Ludwig Göransson was the composer for the first two seasons, but he's only credited for "themes" in the third. Joseph Shirley composes the rest of the music...which is utterly forgettable.
Anything you hear this season, be it Mando's primal flute stab, Bo-Katan's theme, the Armorer's theme, etc., are Göransson, and dare I say, that flute stab has gotten pretty stale? It's overused for sure, to the point it would make a dangerous drinking game to take a shot every time you heard it.
But even if Göransson were still composing all the music for this season, I think I just like and appreciate the Andor score (by Succession alum Nicolas Britell) more. It's more mature, more varied, and just sounds more sophisticated in the same way the writing and direction are optimized for an older adult audience, while still sounding like Star Wars.
Tue, Apr 11, 2023, 11:35am (UTC -5)
"Meanwhile, Bo-Katan makes Mando look irrelevant. And Grogu, who seems like a more pointless mascot/prop with each passing episode, does his obligatory Cute Grogu Thing (jumping into Lizzo's arms) but otherwise seems like his purpose in the story truly ended when he left to be with Luke Skywalker. Sadly, this season has felt like watching a magician where you've figured out how the trick works ... and the magician isn't very good."
So true Jammer. While I LOVE Katee Sackhoff, it's sad to see this series center more on her character than Din Djarin. Only a couple episodes left, I'm not sure how they save this season.
This season suffers from a bunch of potentially great plot threads that conveniently resolve themselves all too easy. I.E. the Dark Saber... Bo should have fought Mando for it, etc.
2 stars from me. It was kind of fun to watch.
Tue, Apr 11, 2023, 6:31pm (UTC -5)
I didn't have any complaints about the writing prior to this season. It was what it was, a great Western themed largely episodic adventure set in the Star Wars universe.
It was, past tense, a great contrast to what we get out of modern day Star Trek productions. Episodic adventures that leave you feeling upbeat at their conclusion. Even the darker moments, like Kuill's death and the cliffhanger immediately thereafter, they never left us feeling depressed or let down, which is a frequent occurrence when we watch new Picard or Discovery episodes.
This season, I don't know what to make of it. I fear what we're seeing is Disney shoehorning other stories and characters into this season of Mando. It seems destined to end with another spinoff and/or the rise of The First Order.
If true, ugh, it undermines EVERYTHING that drew us to the show in the first place. We just want to see Mando go on adventures with Baby Yoda (we refuse to call him Grogu, lol) and the excellent cast of characters established in S1 and S2.
Also, I'm still irked that Disney put the backstory in an entirely different show. We never watched Book of Boba Fett, we don't got the bandwidth right now for another show, and we were completely lost when we started S3. I still haven't seen those episodes. I got the cliff notes off the internet and moved on. Crossover episodes can work but they should not be foundational for an established show. Imagine if an entire season of Magnum PI was dependent on the story told in the Murder She Wrote crossover episode. :D
@ Yanks, "This season suffers from a bunch of potentially great plot threads that conveniently resolve themselves all too easy. I.E. the Dark Saber... Bo should have fought Mando for it, etc."
I actually thought that was a semi-clever way to resolve the conflict WITHOUT the characters coming to blows, which would have been cliched.
Of course, they totally ripped it off from Harry Potter. I screamed, "IT'S THE ELDER WAND!" at the TV during that scene. 🤣
(In fairness, for all I know JK ripped that concept off from some other story I'm not familiar with. The best ideas are rarely original.)
Tue, Apr 11, 2023, 8:53pm (UTC -5)
Wed, Apr 12, 2023, 12:09am (UTC -5)
I wouldn’t personally choose to apply that critique to this review though. My lament above your comment is that Mando S3 is seemingly straying from that “fun pulpy little adventure” model that made it so darned popular in S1 and 2. I think this is reflected in the reviews and ratings for S3.
“The Mandalorian used to be known for its clean narratives and gritty western sensibilities.”
Couldn’t agree more with this critique, FWIW.
Thu, Apr 13, 2023, 4:24am (UTC -5)
That's too bad. I didn't want to watch the Boba show either, but I watched those two and they were two of the best Mando episodes ever. I just skipped the rest of the show. I don't believe Boba had any lines in either episode, or maybe one? They definitely should have just started the third season with them, or featured them as an optional "prequel" to the season they nudge people toward if they are about to start S3 and haven't watched those.
@Trek fan: "Fun, pulpy little adventure — more like classic Star Wars than the turgid slow burn that Andor sometimes feels like."
Uff da. Something I can say with great confidence: your brain does not operate the same way mine does. I found "Andor" to be among the greatest TV series of all time (like up there with "Mad Men", "Breaking Bad", etc.), and I thought this episode of Mando was a travesty.
Thu, May 11, 2023, 8:16pm (UTC -5)
I found it really hard to care about the minutiae involving the sabotage of the droids or even their desire to continue serving and not be replaced. The whole thing was just wrapped up in too much stupidity. I want the Empire to wipe out this world!
Some interesting guest stars in Christopher Lloyd and Jack Black -- should not be able to go wrong in a show with Lloyd, but "Guns for Hire" did just that.
Of course Bo-Katan would win the fight against the male leader of the Mandalorian privateers. And what is this logic Din Djarin comes up with to have her get the dark sabre? Anyhow, Bo-Katan is well on her way to reuniting the Mandalorians but it's pretty silly.
1.5 stars for "Chapter 22: Guns for Hire" -- now MAND S3 is a truly uneven season and Bo-Katan is the clearly focal point of this story. That in itself isn't objectionable or anything -- just that it wasn't what was expected. Most of this episode felt like some kind of fairy tale, then it turned into an investigation with a half-hearted attempt at humanizing droids before returning to typical MAND fare of the predictable and weak kind. Just a mess of a chapter and the worst one to date.
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