The stakes just keep getting higher for our ragtag group as The Mandalorian progresses, pushing our trio into deeper enmeshment with the world around them. “Hired Guns,” the twenty-second chapter in The Mandalorian saga pushed us further into the story by leaps and bounds. Moving Din Djarin and Bo-Katan from the outsiders that they both were in their respective families, this episode did wonders to reinforce the themes of power and responsibility that have been present from the beginning.
But of course, before we can begin…
Warning: The following review contains spoilers. Be sure to check out our reviews of the first, second, third, fourth and fifth episodes.
We begin the story aboard a Quarren ship that has stumbled across Bo-Katan’s former crewmates who, after abandoning her when she returned without the Darksaber in the previous season, have now turned guns for hire. Captain Shuggoth, the captain of the Quarren ship, had absconded with the son of the Mon Calamari royal family after they had fallen in love. After a short series of brisk, blunt negotiations, The Mandalorian crew take the prince back to his family. We then cut to Bo-Katan and Djarin seeking out the leader of the rogue Mandalorian group, Axe Woves, on the planet Plazir-15. When they arrive, they are taken—by force—to a feast being held by a former Imperial Captain Bombardier (Jack Black) and his wife, the Duchess (Lizzo) of Plazir-15.
When the monarchs request their help with a droid uprising occurring on the planet, they do so in exchange for recognizing Mandalore as a sovereign system, giving political weight to Bo-Katan’s position as leader. The next scene on the gently democratic planet brings the audience to another familiar face. Commissioner Helgait (Christopher Lloyd) explains to Bo-Katan and Djarin that the droids in question cannot be shut down because the citizens would be left without their aid. He then sends the pair to speak with the Ugnaughts who are in charge of the droids in the city and have a list of the malfunctioning ones. Using his prior knowledge of interacting with the Ugnaught Kuiil (Nick Nolte) in the first season, Djarin manages to get information on where to go to locate the droids that have been malfunctioning.
True to form, a droid does malfunction after being kicked at by Din, leading the two of them on a chase, where they bring down the malfunctioning droid. Bo-Katan finds a business card that takes them to a droid bar called the Resistor. While there, the droid bartender explains that droids that come to the bar do not consume alcohol like organics do, but rather, are given a liquid called Nepenthé that would allow for reprogramming. At the morgue where the malfunctioning droid was brought after it had gone rogue, the two Mandalorians were attacked by a surveillance droid that forced Djarin to cut it in half with the Darksaber. On further investigation, they find that the Nepenthé contained nano-droids that were inscribed with a chain code that leads back to the Security Office on Plazir-15.
Once there, the two Mandalorians confront the Commissioner on the nano-droids he had installed in the droids, who turns around and threatens to turn the droids back to battle droids. He is stopped in his plan by Bo-Katan, and brought before the royalty of the planet where they exile him for his crimes. The Duchess gives both Djarin and Bo-Katan the key to the city and annoits Grogu (who had stayed behind as a guest of the Duchess during Din and Bo’s investigation) as a Knight of the Ancient Order of Independent Regencies.
Upon finding the group of Mandalorian mercenaries, Bo-Katan challenges the leader to combat but despite winning, isn’t automatically seen as their leader. After some debate on the ownership of the Darksbaer, Djarin confesses to the group of Mandalorians that while he had returned to Mandalore, he was taken captive and lost the Darksaber. He then explains that Bo-Katan slayed his captor, and argued that the mythic weapon was, in fact, Bo’s to claim. The group agrees and Djarin returns the Darksaber to her.
This episode was a blast. Taking us from the depths of space and some deep, inner political workings before rushing us to the Neo-synth Blade Runner dreamscape of the planet Plazir-15, this episode provided so much world building that I can’t see any Star Wars fan being mad about it.
With hints of a classic detective noir, the buddy cop banter between Djarin and Bo-Katan really made the action flow smoothly from scene to scene and made the mystery of the week format truly shine. With tight action scenes, just enough hints at a greater lore and surrounding political turmoil, this episode manages to touch upon both the present danger facing our two heroes as well as a greater galaxy-wide plot brewing between the Quarren and the Mon Calamari.
Final Score (4 out of 5 stars)
This episode was fantastic. The action was well-timed with each reason why being clear as it progressed, given the end of last week’s episode. The good cop/bad cop routine between Djarin and Bo-Katan made the detective story flow well, with Bo’s empathy for the droids making for an interesting contrast to Din’s disdain for them. Lizzo and Jack Black, of course, shined in their cameos, their silly and affectionate relationship with Grogu making for a delightful palate cleanser after some of the heavier themes of the season.
The mutual respect that Bo-Katan and Djarin share between them continues to grow as they face the trials of their lives as Mandalorians, as they help each other reach their individual and shared goals. The movement from centering only Din and his actions allows for more space for Bo-Katan to grow and permits a fleshing out of the eponymous title of the show. The Mandalorian is more than just Din: Din Djarin is The Mandalorian. Bo-Katan is The Mandalorian. And perhaps, one day, Grogu will also be The Mandalorian, too.
The set up at the end with Din conceding his ownership of the Darksaber made for a fantastic set up for the final two episodes while deepening the growing trust and empathy between these two characters. Since the beginning of the series (I could argue here, since the beginning of Star Wars, really) the most ubiquitous theme has been one of family, both blood and found. This season has done wonders to flesh out what it means to be linked by fate but also by choice, and as the galaxy around our heroes continues to grow more and more convoluted, I expect for those bonds to fully be tested as we spiral towards the season finale.
I cannot wait to see which spark sets this powder keg off.
Are you as hyped as we are for the finale? Let us know your theories over on the Boss Rush Discord.
The Boss Rush Podcast is the flagship podcast of Boss Rush Media and The Boss Rush Network. Each week, Corey, LeRon, Stephanie, Edward, and their friends from around the internet come together to talk their week in games, entertainment, and more while also bringing topics for conversation, answer listener and community questions, and cover major news and events happening in the video game industry. Watch The Boss Rush Podcast live on Wednesday Nights on Twitch at 8:30 p.m. ET / 5:30 p.m. PT or on Monday mornings at 7 a.m. ET on YouTube and podcast services everywhere. Thanks for listening! You can also get this episode one week early on Patreon.
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