“The Pirate” shows the slow wheels of Republic bureaucracy, and a united Mandalorian people rising from the ashes.
Hello friends, and please step inside for this week’s almost too-action-packed episode of The Mandalorian. If there’s one thing that’s hard to recap, it’s action sequences, so let’s just jump right into “Chapter 21: The Pirate.”
On Nevarro, Greef Karga (Carl Weathers) meets with some engineers as he makes grand plans for his city. Screams from outside interrupt the meeting; Karga hurries to his balcony to see townspeople running in fear from the giant ship that has appeared in the sky. Appropriate. It’s the ship of Pirate King Gorian Shard (Nonso Anozie), whose men Karga and Din Djarin previously killed in the season premiere. Shard runs a motley alien crew of Trandoshians and Niktos (among others) while he himself appears to be from the “The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill” planet.
Shard comms Karga and makes some basic pirate threats before firing upon the city. Karga hastily records a message into his office droid before running out to help evacuate the people.
Meanwhile, at the New Republic base on Adelphi, Captain Carson Teva (Paul Sun-Hyung Lee), making his valiant return from previous seasons of the show, receives and watches Karga’s request for help from the New Republic. A Lasat pilot joins Teva, but not just any Lasat pilot: that’s Garazeb “Zeb” Orrelios (Steve Blum), a Ghost crewmember from the show Rebels and our This is All Leading to Something cameo of the week! The live-action translation of the Lasat is fairly impressive, given that they’re one of those aliens that almost always look best in animation.
Teva decides to fly to Coruscant and ask in-person for resources and backup for the people of Nevarro, reasoning that they can’t ignore him if he’s right in front of them. Once there, he pushes his way into a meeting with Colonel Tuttle (Tim Meadows), a comically overwhelmed bureaucrat who is less than enthusiastic about hearing Teva out.
Tuttle starts to watch Karga’s message, but guess who also fumbles her way into Tuttle’s office at that very moment? Why, it’s Elia Kane (Katy M. O’Brian), our resident former Imperial from a couple episodes ago, who sweetly lets slip that Nevarro isn’t a New Republic planet. “Uh oh,” replies Tuttle. He tells Teva that they “aren’t a Rebellion anymore” and now things require paperwork and permission.
Kane gets sneaky again and says that maybe this will teach Nevarro a lesson about the importance of joining the New Republic. Her “Imperial way of thinking” appalls Teva, which Kane pretends to take as an insult, bravely forgiving Teva when Tuttle calls him out. His plans scuttled by Tuttle’s disinterest and Kane’s machinations, an angry Teva leaves.
Meanwhile, Teva has tracked down the Mandalorian Covert via R5, with whom he served in the Rebellion. He tells Din (Pedro Pascal) that his friend Karga needs help – along with his theory that the pirates’ arrival, along with the rumored escape of Moff Gideon, are all pointing towards a return of the Empire. He needs proof of that for the New Republic. Buddy, I don’t even think that will help you.
Teva leaves and the Covert holds a meeting, complete with a Talking Hammer. Din asks the Covert to help save Nevarro, telling them that Karga (whom, you’ll recall, they helped Din to fight way back when Din was rescuing Grogu from Werner Herzog*) has changed, and that the Covert can take the parcel of land that Karga offered Din and live in the open for once. “I’m in no position to ask any more of you,” Din says, and…Din. No one likes a tyrant, but you are quite literally in that position.
Din finishes and sits next to Bo-Katan (Katee Sackhoff) when Paz Viszla asks to speak. At first, it sounds like he’s against the plan, but surprise! They’re Mandalorians, he says, and they need to help their own, and Din and Bo-Katan, who so recently saved his son, are their own. It’s decided! We’re all going to Nevarro!
Once they get there, Nevarro is none the worse for wear, with large swaths of the city in ruins and pirates overrunning the rest. The Mandalorians make their appearance: Din distracts/blasts the pirates’ ships in the Starfighter and Bo-Katan drops the other Mandalorians into the city. Din, who has brought Grogu to a gunfight, manages to draw away the pirates’ fighters, including one flown by Vane, the Nikto who has a real grudge against Din from their last meeting. Bo drops the ground troops and swoops up to attack the pirates’ main ship. Shard calls back the fighters that were chasing Din, but Din follows and easily takes them out, saving Vane who abandons Shard and flies away.
On the ground, the Mandalorians make short work of most of the pirates, though there’s a brief setback when some pirates set up a blaster cannon on Karga’s old balcony. But never fear: the Armorer takes them out with her forging tools. The last batch of pirates surrenders when trapped between the Mandalorians and the returning townspeople of Nevarro. Shard attempts to use his ship’s last gasp to kill the townspeople, but Din and Bo-Katan crash his ship.
Karga publically thanks the Mandalorians and invites them all to return to Nevarro, giving them their own parcels of land. The Armorer sends for Bo-Katan and Paz leads her down to the Covert’s old home in the sewers, leaving Bo and the Armorer in the Covert’s old forge. The Armorer muses that the Great Forge on Mandalore and her Covert’s smaller Forge were all part of the same work, despite their differences. Uh oh, sounds like someone has started learning.
She tells Bo-Katan to remove her helmet. When Bo hesitates, the Armorer says that all Mandalorians need to walk The Way together, helmets or no helmets. Bo-Katan seeing the Mythosaur means a new age is beginning; Bo has lived both Ways and can use that knowledge to unite them all. I think Bo-Katan gets to be The Mandalorian this week. Not bad for someone that the Armorer once called “a cautionary tale.”
They leave the sewers and the other Mandalorians are just a little taken aback to see Bo sans helmet. Paz is probably beet red under his. The Armorer announces that Bo is going to go out and seek other exiled Mandalorians and bring them home, yes even with her helmet off, Paz. It’s time for them to retake Mandalore.
Out in space, Teva gets an alert and finds the remnants of a Lambda shuttle full of corpses, which turns out to be the same New Republic prison transport meant to transport Moff Gideon. The rumors are true: he never made it to trial. Then Teva finds something embedded in the ship’s wall: a fragment of beskar alloy. Could Gideon have been extracted by Mandalorians?
Director Peter Ramsey and writer Jon Favreau have thrown a lot of balls in the air this week: more Mandalorian culture-building, a pirate attack, a cameo/crossover that calls up previous storylines on another show while hinting at things to come (likely on the Ahsoka show), more evidence of the cracks appearing in the shiny New Republic, and a live-action Lasat. Still, they juggle them all admirably.
The Armorer’s character growth has been a sight to behold and set at a believable pace, not everyone has a road-to-Damascus-level moment of discovery, after all. Teva’s suspicions about the New Republic, the maybe undead Empire, and the whereabouts of Moff Gideon are all coalescing into something all-too-real, and what, exactly, is Elia Kane up to?!
With Bo-Katan taking off to find more Mandalorians, will she find the one who is also a member of the Ghost crew? Is Din ever going to remember that he has the Darksaber? So many questions! The Mandalorian gives as much as it takes.
- *Remember when Werner Herzog was in Star Wars?
- None of the Mandalorian foundlings are among the drop team, so maybe, just maybe, Din could leave Grogu home next time. He’s just a little guy.
- This week’s Mando’a word is Haar’chak, which means “Damn it!”. Let’s all use it this week, I bet we’ll all find a reason.
- Among the bar-goers at the Adelphi base are Sash Ketter (Deborah Chow), Jib Dodger (Rick Famuyiwa), and Trapper Wolf (Dave Filoni), who’s always there to remind us that there are still cowboy hats in space.
- The Lasat’s appearance is based on early concept drawings of Chewbacca by Ralph McQuarrie. I’ll…just leave this here.