TV Show ReviewsJosh Reviews The Mandalorian Season Three — Part Two!

Josh Reviews The Mandalorian Season Three — Part Two!

On Monday I began my in-depth look back at The Mandalorian season three!  Let’s continue with the second half of the season:

Episode 05: “The Pirate”

  • For the first chunk of this episode, I thought we were getting another installment without our main characters (Din, Grogu, and Bo), just like episode three’s spotlight on Dr. Pershing!  We open on Nevarro, and see that the space pirates have returned and they’re pretty pissed.  Greef Karga calls on the New Republic for help, and we catch up with X-Wing pilot Carson Teva (Paul Sun-Hyung Lee), who we’ve seen before on this show.
  • We also get to see — in a moment that nearly knocked me off my couch in joy — none other than Zeb Orelios, from Star Wars: Rebels!!  I was not expecting this at all.  It was a thrill to see Zeb in live-action, looking absolutely PERFECT.  And sounding perfect as well, as Steve Blum was back to voice the character.  (I guess this means we’ll be seeing Zeb in the upcoming Ahsoka show, right??  I mean, there’s no way they created this perfect-looking CGI model for Zeb just for this cameo, right??)
  • Once again this show takes the time to emphasize how flawed the New Republic is.  They’re stretched too think to be able to help Nevarro.  Zeb and Teva talk about how their superiors in the New Republic aren’t responding to their outpost’s dispatches.  And when Teva travels to Coruscant (wow, we’re seeing a lot of Coruscant this season!! I did not expect that!!) we get to meet the ineffectual Colonel Tuttle (Tim Meadows!!).  It’s great to see Tim Meadows, and he’s terrific in the scene; he’s nice but he’s useless.  And he’s pretty easily manipulated by Elia Kane, who to my surprise popped up again here.
  • So then Teva turns to the Mandalorians for help, and our main characters enter the episode.  I’m not sure how Teva knew that R5 was with the Mandalorians now, but I can roll with that.  I like Mando’s speech in support of helping Nevarro, and I liked Paz Vizsla’s even better.  It’s fun to see Mando and Vizsla on the same side.  And I love it that, again, it’s Bo Katan who leads the mission.  Bo is becoming more of the lead character of this show than Mando!  I don’t mind, because I love Bo Katan.
  • The scenes of the denizens of Nevarro taking shelter were awkward; it looks like there’s 50-some people, but wouldn’t there be thousands living in that city now??
  • The Mandalorians arrive and the show gives us yet another absolutely kick-ass action sequence, with incredible ground combat and space-ship combat.  It’s all absolutely amazing; thrilling and fun.  There are lots of incredible little sequences of battle, all very well assembled so we never lose track of the geography of who is where and what is happening.
  • I loved the moment when the tree-lizards (like the one we saw in Jabba’s palace in Return of the Jedi) help the Mandalorians.
  • My only complaint about the battle is that I’d expected Carson Teva to come back to help!  After spending so much time with him for the first half of this episode, it was weird to me that we didn’t see him again.
  • I loved the final scene between Bo and the Armorer.  Building on what we saw at the end of the previous episode, we see the Armorer acknowledge that Bo can connect them with other groups of Mandalorians in a way that she cannot.
  • In the episode’s closing scene, Teva discovers what we’d already guessed: that Moff Gideon isn’t in a New Republic prison but that he’s escaped, apparently rescued by Mandalorians because Teva discovers a piece of Beskar armor.  (I’d assumed this cliffhanger ending was setting up a conflict between Teva and the New Republic with the Mandalorians.  But to my great surprise, the show never picks up on this.  What a weird choice!!  I guess the Beskar was just there to foreshadow that Moff Gideon is now making Stormtrooper armor out of Beskar, as we’ll learn in the season finale.  Feels like a let-down, to me.)
  • Also, after the show making a big deal about how the New Republic doesn’t want to use any Imperial ships back in the Dr. Pershing spotlight episode, I don’t understand why the New Republic ship carrying Gideon to prison was an Imperial ship like the ones we’d seen Vader and the Emperor use.

Episode 06: “Guns for Hire”

  • A lot of fans online seem to have flipped out at this episode, upset by the many famous actors who appeared here: Lizzo, Jack Black, and Christopher Lloyd.  But Star Wars has always used famous actors!  (See: Alec Guinness, Natalie Portman, Ewan McGregor, Liam Neeson, etc. etc.)  I loved seeing those familiar faces pop up here in the Star Wars universe, and I enjoyed this episode’s diversion into a detective type of TV show.
  • I absolutely loved the opening sequence, in which we get to see a Quarren ship.  (We’d seen the Quarren in the animated Star Wars shows, and briefly before on The Mandalorian.)  I loved the female captain; I loved her water tank in the middle of the bridge, and I loved the fish-in-a-martini-glass she gets served.  I laughed at the revelation that she and a Mon Calamari kid were in love and trying to sneak away from his wealthy family.  When they embraced and their face tentacles started intertwining I was grinning ear to ear.  What a gloriously gross and wonderful moment.
  • I’m glad to see Bo Katan’s former Mandalorian allies, Axe Woves and Koska Reeves (gotta love these Star Wars names) back on the show, and it’s a fun revelation to see they’re still using Moff Gideon’s Imperial warship, which they’d captured in the season two finale!
  • Bo and Mando are trying to reconnect with Axe and Koska, who are working for the wealthy leaders of Plazir-15.  I loved the look of this new Star Wars planet; it felt like Epcot Center!  They even had a Monorail!!
  • As usual for the show, we get a mini-quest for our characters, as Bo and Mando have to solve the mystery of the planet’s malfunctioning droids in order to get permission to talk to the Mandalorians.  Seems like a stretch, but I can go with it because this mini-quest was so much fun.  I loved watching Bo and Mando as detectives investigating the crime.
  • We get to meet Lizzo and Jack Black as the rulers of Plazir-15, and I thought they were both a lot of fun in these roles.  Turns out Jack Black’s Captain Bombardier (again: gotta love these Star Wars names!!) is a product of the Imperial Amnesty Program (that Dr. Pershing was in, in episode three), while Lizzo is the Duchess, whose family are royalty on the planet.  (The episode emphasizes they’ve been elected democratically, which reminds me of how Amidala in the Prequels was both a Queen and also an elected official, somehow.)
  • The planet can’t have armed police officers of their own because Captain Bombardier is a former Imperial, but they can get around that because weapons are part of the Mandalorians’ culture and they have to respect the culture of all aliens.  But I don’t understand why that wouldn’t apply to Axe and Koska and the other Mandalorians who are in their employ and parked right outside their city.  Why did they need Mando and Bo??
  • I loved the scene with the Ugnaughts, in which Mando uses what he’d learned back in season one to connect with these Ugnaughts.  Hearing these characters say “I have spoken” again was a joy.
  • I enjoyed the whole investigation story, though I wish it had been a little more tightly plotted.  There were too many things that didn’t make sense.  How could the Ugnaughts have a list of Droids they think are likely to malfunction if they have no idea what’s causing the malfunctions?  How and why would a Super Battle Droid have a matchbook with the name of the bar where it hangs out??  (I get that’s a play on a detective story trope, in which our hero finds an important clue in a dead character’s pocket, like a matchbook with the name of a location… but it was just too many leaps to get to a Battle Droid carrying a matchbook for me.)
  • On the other hand, I loved the Droid bar, and I liked the twist that the Droids actually want to help the investigation.  Though it’s weird that the Droids are in favor of basically continuing to be slaves.  Star Wars has occasionally brushed up against the larger issue of how poorly Droids are generally treated in this universe.  In Solo, we got the hint of a Droid rebellion… I wonder if we’ll ever actually get that story?
  • I liked that the Droid bar gives us the reverse, at first, of the “we don’t serve their kind” line from the original Star Wars.
  • It’s fun to see Battle Droids and Super Battle Droids again.  (Though I can’t believe they didn’t let one of the Battle Droids say “Roger Roger” at any point!!)  (It’s funny, I hated the Battle Droids when I first saw The Phantom Menace — they were so dumb and ineffectual.  But Dave Filoni’s use of the Droids over the years in his animated shows, especially The Clone Wars, has built up a lot of affection in me for those droids!  It now makes me smile to see these dumb droids on screen again!)
  • I liked the chase with the Super Battle Droid, and I loved the scene in which the medical droid (like the one Vader uses to interrogate Princess Leia in the original Star Wars) goes wild.
  • It was fun seeing Christopher Lloyd as the villain, and it was interesting to hear him talk about Count Dooku.
  • I loved seeing Grogu using the Force to help the Duchess cheat at whatever weird space-croquet game she was playing.
  • I liked seeing Bo Katan kick Axe Wove’s ass at the end.  But then I was disappointed by the anti-climactic resolution to the conflict with the Darksaber.  The season two finale set up that Bo had to win the Darksaber in combat, which hinted that she and Mando were going to have to fight one another at some point.  On the one hand, that seemed a little contrived, and we’d never before gotten that rule about winning the Darksaber in combat in any of its previous appearances on the animated Clone Wars or Rebels shows.  But we’ve been waiting two years to see how that would play out.  So I was bummed that here Mando is able to talk his way into a work-around (that he’d lost the Darksaber when fighting the creature beneath Mandalore back in episode two, whereas Bo picked it up and used it to defeat that creature, so now it’s rightfully hers because she defeated the one who defeated him).  It makes sense, but feels like a let-down after so much build-up.

Episode 07: “The Spies”

  • First off, let me say it amused me to see many people online confused about what the title of this episode means.  “The Spies” clearly refers to the Biblical story in which Joshua and a group of Israelites were sent into the land of Canaan (“the promised land” for the Israelites) to scout it out.
  • We open with the Imperial spy Elia Kane communicating via hologram with Moff Gideon, who finally re-enters the show after a lot of build-up.
  • We then get a very cool sequence in which Gideon communicates via hologram with the Imperial “Shadow Council”.  Clearly we’re seeing the seeds of what will grow into the First Order.  I loved hearing Grand Admiral Thrawn’s name mentioned, and I was delighted to get to see Captain Pellaeon, who was Thrawn’s right-hand-man in the novels written by Timothy Zahn.  (Mr. Zahn’s terrific first novel was called “Heir to the Empire”, and don’t think I didn’t love hearing Pellaeon drop that phrase!!)
  • I also loved seeing a new character: Commandant Hux.  This is clearly the father of General Hux from The Force Awakens.  In a very cool bit of connectivity, Commandant Hux here is played by Brian Gleeson — his brother, Domhnall Gleeson, played General Hux in The Force Awakens.  Nice!
  • They mention “Project Necromancer”, which has got to be the project to create Snoke, right?
  • I absolutely loved Grogu’s new IG-12 suit.  All the “yes” “yes” “no” “no” stuff was a riot.  (Though it’s a little grim that Grogu is riding around in IG-11’s corpse, no?)
  • It’s fun to see the different Mandalorians not wild about working together.
  • We finally get back to Mandalore, and to my delight, we learn that in fact there were still some Mandalorians living on the planet.  I’d been wondering about that.  It makes perfect sense that there would still be some survivors of the planet somewhere.  I loved their Mad Max look and their awesome land-sailboat.  It was fun to see Charles Parnell (Warlock from Top Gun: Maverick) and Charles Baker (Skinny Pete from Breaking Bad) as two of these grizzled Mandalorian survivors.
  • I really liked the scene in which Mando pledges to serve Bo Katan, calling her Lady Kryze.  Bo really is the main character on this show now, huh?
  • The Mandalorians get waylaid by another huge monster creature (seems like this is a perennial problem for them) as a huge beast smashes up the land-ship.  (At first I thought it was a Mythosaur, but I guess it was some other kind of monster.)
  • Then they wander into a (pretty obvious) trap, discovering that Moff Gideon has had a base on Mandalore all the time, and that he’s created new Stormtrooper armor crafted out of Beskar.  For some reason, Bo Katan just stands and listens to Gideon’s villainous monologue instead of using the Darksaber to cut a hole through the sealed blast doors.  I was impatient with them, but then we do get a great action sequence as the Mandalorians finally fight back… and an awesome and ultimately tragic scene in which Paz Vizsla wreaks havoc before ultimately being taken down by three bad-ass Praetorian Guards.  Wow, I was sad to see Paz die!  This character was an obstacle for Mando for a long time; it’s cool to see him get to go out in a blaze of glory here.

Episode 08: “The Return”

  • This was a fine season finale, though I felt it was a little more straightforward than I’d have ideally liked.  I wanted some more twists or turns, or some sort of fun surprise at the end.  (It’s hard to top the appearance of Luke Skywalker in the season two finale.)  The title seemed to hint at the return of someone or something (I was really hoping we’d see Thrawn at the end), but it turns out to just have the straightforward meaning of the return of the Mandalorians to Mandalore.
  • My biggest problem in this episode is that, for the third Mandalorian season finale in a row, they have tried and failed to develop Moff Gideon as a villain.  He’s just not a threat!  They keep talking about him like he’s a big, scary villain, but we’ve already seen him get defeated in the season one and season two finales, and now exactly the same thing happens yet again here.
  • This episode is packed with amazing action.  I loved seeing the Tie Interceptors zooming into combat.  But of course the highlight was the extended sequence of flying Mandalorians battling flying Beskar-armored Stormtroopers.  That was just amazing (particularly the Braveheart moment in which the two groups of flying warriors smashed into one another).
  • R5 comes out of nowhere (where has he been all this time?) and we get some fun scenes in which he acts like R2D2 and helps our heroes out at key moments.
  • The show seems to remember that Din Djarin used to be the main character, and we get a fantastic extended fight scene in which he takes out all of Moff Gideon’s guards, who are separated by red energy shields (reminiscent of the ones we saw in the center of Naboo in The Phantom Menace).
  • Gideon gets super-pissed that Mando destroys all his clones.  But this is frustratingly dumb to me.  We’d seen previously that Gideon was tracking Mando and Grogu; he knew exactly where they were.  So why not intercept them BEFORE they got to his super-secret cloning chamber??  It plays like Gideon LET them destroy the Clones, which is just another reason Gideon winds up looking ineffectual to me and not threatening as a smart, dangerous villain.
  • I smiled at the scene in which we see the Mandalorian survivors have found caves deep underground where life is growing again.  (It’s just like the Genesis cave from Star Trek III: The Search for Spock!!)  Even before the Empire destroyed Mandalore, when we saw Mandalore in the animated Clone Wars series, they told us that no life could grown on the planet’s surface because of all the wars that have devastated the planet; that’s why all the Mandalorians were living inside domed cities.  It’s cool to see life returning to the planet.
  • I quite enjoyed the extended fight sequences with Gideon and the Praetorian Guards versus Mando and Grogu and Bo Katan.
  • Ugh, I did not like when Moff Gideon crushes the Darksaber.  Wouldn’t the hilt of this important weapon have been made out of Beskar, which should not be able to get crunched up like that?  After following the story of this weapon through The Clone Wars, Rebels, and three seasons of this show, this is a disappointingly anticlimactic ending.
  • Axe Wove crashes his ship into the Imperial base and seems to incinerate Gideon — good riddance.  We get to see Grogu use the Force to protect himself and Mando and Bo from the flames, which is a cool moment that would have had more impact if we hadn’t already seen Grogu do the exact same thing in the season one finale.
  • It’s cool to see the Mandalorians re-light the great forge of Mandalore, and it’s nice to see Din Djarin formally adopt Grogu (even though it’s been clear for a while now that Din considered Grogu his son).  I liked hearing Grogu called Din Grogu, but shouldn’t it have been Grogu Djarin?  Din Grogu sounds better, but all the Mandalorian names we’ve seen so far work the other way.  It’s Lady Kryze; it’s Pre and Paz Viszla; it’s Clan Wren.  Oops.
  • I like the idea that Mando is now going to work for the New Republic, to help where they can’t, and I like seeing the restored IG-11 as Nevarro’s new Marshall.
  • It’s fun and satisfying to see Mando and Grogu settle into a peaceful life on Nevarro, though I was a little surprised Din wouldn’t stay on Mandalore.  I wish we’d gotten a goodbye scene between Mando and Bo in which Mando explained why he wanted to live on Nevarro rather than Mandalore.
  • I’m thrilled the season did not end on a cliffhanger.  When these streaming shows keep us waiting a year or more between seasons, I think cliffhangers are very frustrating; I’m much happier when each season comes to a satisfying resolution.  I do also like to get a little tease of what’s ahead; I wonder why they decided not to do that?  I guess I can’t object to their wanting this show, and this season, to stand on its own and not end with a tease of another show.  (Seeing Thrawn would have been a lead-in to the Ahsoka show.)

So, overall this was an enjoyable season of The Mandalorian!  I have my complaints, but without question I had a tremendous amount of fun watching each of these eight new episodes.  It’s hard for me to ask for too much more.  I hope they don’t make us wait too long before the next season.

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