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Jack Black Can’t Save an Anticlimactic ‘The Mandalorian’

By Mike Redmond | TV | April 7, 2023 |

By Mike Redmond | TV | April 7, 2023 |


Previously on The Mandalorian: After Nevarro is attacked by the Pirate King Gorian Shard, Greef Karga pleads for help from the New Republic. The fledgling government blows him off because Nevarro is an independent planet, and former Imperial officer Elia Kane used her influence to tip the scales. Sensing there’s a greater danger afoot, X-wing pilot Carson Teva tracks down Mando’s covert and informs of them of Greef’s plight. Loyal to Greef, Mando convinces his covert to join the fight. They smash Gorian Shard’s forces, and in return, are now free to live in the open on a plot of land gifted by Greef. With their covert’s future looking bright, The Armorer gives Bo-Katan a special task: Remove her helmet and bring together Mandalorians of all creeds so their people can prosper together. However, there is a danger waiting in the shadows, Teva discovers the shuttle transporting Moff Gideon to his trial. Whoever rescued him was wearing Beskar, the prime ingredient in Mandalorian armor…

Greetings, so as you can already tell by the headline, I was not a huge fan of Chapter 22, “Guns For Hire.” But because online Star Wars fans are more incel than man now, twisted and evil, I want to make one thing brightly, crystal clear:

Lizzo was not the problem with this episode.

Like a lot of people, Star Wars has a special connection with her late father. It is a f*cking beautiful thing that she got to play in this world and hold Baby Yoda, who she unabashedly stans. Delivering pure joy is why this franchise continues to live long and prosper.

So again: Lizzo was not the problem with this episode.

Chapter 22 opens with a cold open as a Quarren vessel comes across a refitted Imperial ship. For a moment it seems like we’re finally getting into the business of who is the shadowy Imperial warlord pulling strings in the background, but nope, the ship is under the command of Axe Woves (Simon Kassianides) who’s now leading Bo-Katan’s former fleet and working as a mercenary, confirming what Bo-Katan told Mando in the season premiere. Woves’ crew has been hired to retrieve a Mon Calamari prince by his mother. Except he hasn’t been kidnapped. He’s in love with the ship’s captain, but this means jack squat to Axe because they’re honor-bound to complete the job they were paid for. I wonder if that will come up later.

After reminding everyone what Bo-Katan’s old crew looks like, we cut to her and Mando arriving on Plazir-15 in pursuit of said crew, who’s now camped out on the planet. Fully committed to the task of bringing the people of Mandalorian together once again, Bo-Katan is determined to bring her fleet back in the fold. But will they be receptive to seeing her again? Probably not.

However, before Bo and Mando can meet with her crew they’re locked into a hyperloop and whisked off to see the planet’s dignitaries, who demand an audience with them. Those dignitaries? Freaking Jack Black and Lizzo.

Did I smile when I saw Jack Black bringing his Jack Black energy? I did. Was I jealous of Lizzo luring Baby Yoda into her lap with a snack? I’ll never tell. But, unfortunately, celebrity cameos do not a good story make. In a very Clone Wars-ian twist, this episode is fully dedicated to kicking the can down the road with a meaningless subplot.

In a nutshell, the planet has been relying on refitted Battle Droids, who have mysteriously gone rogue and started attacking people. If you know anything about Mando, he is 800% on board with solving this problem. Because our dude is frustratingly returning back to square one in every way, he’s back to hating droids, especially the kind that attacked his home planet when he was a child.

Black’s Captain Bombardier sweetens the deal by informing Bo-Katan that Plazier-15 will help her restore Mandalore’s standing in the galaxy should she become ruler of the planet again. He’ll also grant them access to her old crew who are attacking as the planet’s standard army, but because of space politics, aren’t allowed to enter the city and take care of the rogue droids.


So now our heroes are off to play detective, and I’ll just cut right to the chase because, my god, was all of this frustratingly pointless: The culprit is Christopher Lloyd. That’s right! Another cameo. In a nutshell, Lloyd’s Commissioner Helgait a cranky old reactionary who thinks Count Dooku had some swell ideas. (I swear to God, the politics in this season are all over the map.) Thanks to his role as the trusted head of security for the planet, he was able to… *checks notes*… slip nanodroids into the oil that the other droids drink at their robot bars, which made them freak out. Neat.

With that side quest complete, Mando and Bo-Katan gain access to her old crew, and Axe Woves is not thrilled to see her. Mando being along for the ride also isn’t helping because, remember, these people think he’s a weirdo religious zealot. Realizing that talking things out isn’t going to work, Bo challenges Axe to combat and proceeds to wreck him in a predictable fight. We’ve seen Bo slap ass all season, and it’s never been more inert than this moment. Unfortunately, the anticlimactic vibes are just getting started.

After being defeated by Bo-Katan, Axe calls her out for not taking the Darksaber from Mando. Finally, we’re getting into some shit. Ownership of the legendary blade has been hanging over the whole season, and fans have been patiently waiting to see how the matter will be resolved. Turns out, very boringly.

In probably one of the most glaring examples that The Mandalorian painted itself into a corner and didn’t know how to get out of it, Mando simply gives the Darksaber to Bo-Katan after, I shit you not, recapping “The Mines of Mandalore” episode to her crew. Despite this show making a huge deal about how the blade must be acquired through combat or there will be grave consequences, Bo-Katan’s crew is surprisingly content with Mando’s explanation that since she defeated the crab droid that removed the blade from him technically she’s now the rightful owner. They literally just nod and go, “Okay, well, that makes sense,” and then the episode ends with her holding the Darksaber with all the visual pizazz of oatmeal.


Mike Drops

— Going into this episode, I was extremely stoked to see that Bryce Dallas Howard was directing. She delivered the highly excellent “Return of the Mandalorian” during The Book of Boba Fett, which is arguably one of the best Mandalorian episodes to date. What the hell went wrong here, I will never know. Though if I had to wager a guess, it’s because this season is getting Marvel-ized to death.

— Normally, I write these recaps on Thursday night, but thanks to Easter vacation, I’m tapping it out on Friday morning as Star Wars news is blasting out left and right. In what really feels like confirmation that this show is leading towards a loose adaptation of Heir to the Empire, Lucasfilm has confirmed that Dave Filoni will direct a Star Wars movie that will “close out the interconnected stories told in The Mandalorian, The Book of Boba Fett, Ahsoka, and other Disney+ series.” That information does not bode well for this season wrapping up any sort of cohesive story. We’re looking at table-setting for the last two episodes. I genuinely hope I’m wrong, but it ain’t looking good.