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The Mandalorian: Chapter 22: Guns for Hire

What is it ? : A spacecraft of Mon Calamari design flies through space, manned by a group of Quarren, when they detect an Imperial Arquitens Cruiser on intercept. They hail it and offer to pay the Warlord to pass unharmed, but the cruiser is manned by Mandalorians. They have been paid by a Mon Calamari to retrieve their son who is aboard the ship, the Quarren Captain and the Mon Calamari are in love, but threats to destroy the ship mean that they hand over the Mon Calamari to the Mandalorians headed by Bo-Katans once lieutenant, Axe Woves.
Aboard Bo-Katan's ship, she and Din Djarin arrive at the world of Plazir-15, a modern looking world with domed cities. They are guided down to a landing spot, and a speeder capsule takes them to the leadership of the world to negotiate to be allowed to speak to the Mandalorians who have been hired to act as a protection force for the planet.
The leader of the world, The Duchess, and her husband, Captain Bombardier, an ex-imperial who has been through New Republic processing, are having a banquet with other nobles, and after befriending Grogu offer Din and Bo-Katan the chance to earn access to the Mandalorians. The planet is heavily reliant on droids, but recently some have began malfunctioning leading to some deaths. When asked why they are being asked to deal with this, the Duchess tells them that the world is usually free from weapons, but is also understanding of other cultures, and knowing that to a Mandalorian weapons are part of their culture they and only they are allowed to carry those weapons in the cities.
Bo-Katan and Din agree, Din especially as it will involve going up against Droids, and head off to visit the head of security, Helgait. He shows them footage of the malfunctions, and points them towards the Ugnaughts who maintain the droids, revealing that he could deactivate all of the droids, but that would mean that the idyllic civilisation they have built would crumble as people would have to begin working again.
Visiting the Ugnaughts, Bo-Katan uses her status and the fact that they have been sent by the Duchess to request help, but is ignored by the workers. But Din brings up his friendship with Kuiil, and the fact they have a job they have been given to complete to get the Ugnaughts involved. They refuse to accept that there are any problems, as their work was done well, and Din praises their skill and reputation, and gets given the location they think the next malfunction will occur at.
Heading to the loading docks, there are dozens of Super-Battle Droids working, supervised by a Clone Wars era Battle Droid, who assures them that the droids have been checked. But Din begins kicking the droids, telling the supervisor that if they droids have been reprogrammed as he claims, they will not be bothered by this. But one of the Super Battle Droids responds, clubbing Din to the ground before fleeing.
Bo-Katan and Din chase the droid through the streets before gunning it down, and discovering it is carrying a token for a Droid Bar, The Resistor. Heading to the bar they find that while initially hesitant to help, the droids fear becoming considered a threat and losing their usefulness to the planet and being phased out. So check their records, revealing all of the droids received lubricant from the same batch.
Going back to the security headquarters, they get the Super Battle Droid analysed, and discover that it has the same lubricant, which is infected with Nano-Droids developed by the separatists during the Clone Wars.
Tracking the id codes of the Nano-Droids they discover that it was registered to security chief, Helgait, whop they confront. He reveals he was loyal to the Separatists and Count Dooku, wanting democracy against the corrupt Republic, and he has remained loyal throughout the rule of the Empire.
He threatens to release the programming on all the droids, turning them against the populace, but while he is monologuing Bo-Katan stuns him, and they take him to the Duchess. She is grateful and grants them the key to the planet to go where they wish, and knights Grogu.
They then head to meet with the Mandalorians, and Axe Woves refuses to follow her, so she challenges him to a duel, and they fight. Using their jet-packs, flame projectors, missile launchers, cable dispensers and force shields they battle, until Bo-Katan gets the better of Axe, and holds a knife at his throat demanding he yield.
He refuses, telling her she is fighting the wrong person, that she should be fighting Din to get the Dark Saber back and lead the Mandalorians, that Din isn't even a real Mandalorian just a cultist.
She lets him go, and tells them that Din follows the way, the same rules their ancestors did to become Mandalorians, and is just as much one as any of them.
She is prepared to give up, but Din steps forward, offering her the Saber, but she refuses saying it cannot be given to her, she has to deserve it. Din then tells the gathered Mandalorians how he lost the sword on Mandalore, and that Bo-Katan rescued him, that she defeated the enemy that defeated him. Asking them if this does not make her the rightful owner of the Dark Saber, to which the Mandalorians agree, and she takes the saber igniting it. . . .

High Points : There's quite a lot of comedy in this episode, which given that the Duchess and her husband are played by Lizzo and Jack Black makes sense. But this isn't out of character for the series, as it's never let itself be taken too seriously, and I really feel they're laying down the groundwork here.
It was great to see a Separatist holdout be the villain of the story, as we've seen, the Separatists and even Count Dooku weren't actually the bad guys, just manipulated to look as such by Palpatine.
And the whole Solar-punk design ethos of Plazir-15 looks absolutely great, from the city designs, technology, right down to the hologram projecting dress the Duchess wears being just awesome.
I really liked the diplomatic moment with Din and the Ugnaughts, as Bo-Katan being nobility herself just demands they help, but Din actually understands the way they think from his time with Kuiil. Right down to ending his sentences with "I have spoken".

Low Points : Helgaits reasons don't make a whole load of sense, he seems to be causing the attacks based entirely upon the Duchesses husband being ex-Imperial. As he points out the Separatists were fighting for democracy, and this planet is a democracy as they population are fully represented at all times. So it doesn't make massive sense, but I feel as if we're going to see these characters again.
And while Bo-Katan earning the Dark Saber back on Mandalore makes a lot of sense, it's annoying it's taken a bunch of episodes for her or Din to realise it when it seemed so obvious at the time.

So what do you really think ? : I enjoyed this one a lot, it progressed the storyline, and built the foundations for what is to come in a way I think a lot of online commentators seem to have missed. While the humour might be a little too on the nose for some, it didn't seem excessive to me as the show is usually quite humorous (think back to IG-72 and his self destruct cycle in the very first episode and how that was played).

Final Words : I'm really starting to see the pattern here, where I think people expect the recovery of Mandalore to be done this season (especially with how fast they usually move through plotlines in this series), I think that any attempt in season 3 will be unsuccessful. The series is more going to be about bringing together an alliance to help liberate their homeworld. That the peaceful world of Plazir-15 is going to come back, probably threatened by Moff Gideons Imperial Remnant. That we'll see Captain Bombardier and the Duchess under the boot of the Empire once more, that Helgait will come back from his exile to fight for his planets democracy, probably with a droid army which will play a larger part in the future as Din will learn to trust them more. That the Mandalorians will become the core of a new force against Moff Gideon (the conqueror of their world), with Nevarro, Plazir-15, the start of the formation of the Resistance as Republic officers such as Carson Teva leave the New Republic as it becomes more corrupt under the influence of people like Elia Kane.
And of course we have to see how the cloning experiments of Doctor Pershing will play out, probably to the creation of Snoke, or the reborn Emperor.
There's a lot going on here, a much larger plot than just a Mandalorian and his Jedi foundling, and I for one am really liking it.

Score : 9/10

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