“Guns for Hire” sends Din and Bo-Katan on a police procedural side-quest while Grogu has a day off and more Mandalorians join the fray.
Hello all and welcome to Chapter 22 of The Mandalorian. It’s an episode that has already become the most divisive of the season, all for the crime of…cameos? “Guns for Hire” lets the show have a little fun this week. While doing so, it paints itself into a couple of plot corners as more Mandalorians join the New Way, and Din finally decides what he will do with that pesky Darksaber.
Bo-Katan’s former gang, led now by Axe Woves (Simon Kassianides) and an entirely silent Koska Reeves (Mercedes Varnado), are the titular guns for hire. They approach a Quarren ship to collect a Mon Calamari runaway in love with the Quarren captain. Sadly for the lovers, Mandalorians don’t switch jobs halfway, and they separate the pair. The Mandalorians and their stolen Imperial fleet are also hired military for the planet Plazir-15. So that’s where Bo-Katan Kryze (Katee Sackhoff), Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal), and Grogu (he’s real) head this week to try and get Bo’s old group back on their side.
Once again, Din doesn’t need to bring Grogu on this mission. He especially doesn’t need to if it’s so crucial for Grogu to get Mandalorian training. However, it’s undeniably necessary from a viewer’s perspective. We love that little guy. There are plot arguments for whether Grogu’s return was too soon, but there’s a problem with any show that devotes so much to one character: how can you easily have them leave? The titular Mandalorian has been Bo-Katan these past couple of episodes, but it’s a change that has seemed pretty organic to the show itself. Din isn’t especially interested in taking back Mandalore, but he’s helping someone who is. It’s a Space Western, and he’s the helpful gunslinger.
Plazir-15 is a highly automated planet with auto-landing and auto-monorails. They zip Bo and Din to one of the domed cities rather than allowing them to seek out the Mandos on their own. Once they arrive, they’re hustled to a feast headed up by planetary ruler the Duchess (Lizzo) and her husband, former Imperial Captain Bombardier (Jack Black). The rulers hired the Mandalorians because they’re not allowed to have their own military, what with Bombardier being a former Imperial state. They’ll let Bo and Din talk to them if the duo can do a little favor. That’s right. Side-quest time!
The rehabbed battle droids that Plazir-15 uses for everything have started to act up. If Bo and Din can help resolve the issue, the Duchess will formally recognize Mandalore as a sovereign system. Bo tries to say she’s abandoned the plans to rule Mandalore (herself), but Din is in. Mostly, he just wants to fight droids. I guess several episodes this season and in The Book of Boba Fett in which he learned to like droids don’t count. Or maybe it’s just a battle droid exemption.
Bo and Din visit with Commissioner Helgait (Christopher Lloyd), head of security. He shows them some video of the droids malfunctioning and notes that while he has a killswitch for the droids, the people of Plazir-15 voted to keep them despite the issues. After all, the droids allow people not to work or carry their groceries. Din feels very smug about these droids right now.
Of course, Star Wars can be serious, heartbreaking, and make strong statements about politics and racism. It also can be very, very silly. It’s allowed, everyone.
Din and Bo visit the Ugnaughts, who work on the droids next. It gives us a nice little callback to Kuiil, the Ugnaught whom Din befriended on Arvala-7 in season one. Thanks to Din’s diplomacy–Bo’s a little more forceful than the Ugnaughts respond to–the Mandalorians get the location of the battle droids most likely to act up. Where’s Grogu, you might ask? He’s back at the feast with his new Aunt, the Duchess, helping her to win at…giant roly-poly space croquet? By using the Force, of course.
While the battle droids work on the loading docks, Din pretty swiftly finds the next malfunctioning droid by kicking them all until one reacts. Din and Bo chase it through the streets, alarming all the nice fancy people of Plazir-15, until they manage to take it down. Then constable droids set up a little crime scene around their fallen metal colleague.
Bo finds a spark pad on the droid from a droid bar called The Resistor. With that, this episode of Law & Order moves on to the obligatory bartender-questioning scene. Droids all drink the same thing at The Resistor, a lubricant with programming sub-particles called Nepenthe, and the bartender can pull the receipts and see that all of the malfunctioning droids drank from the same batch.
Din and Bo-Katan go to the droid morgue–everyone stay with me here– where a medical droid also goes off from having drained the Nepenthe. Din destroys it with the Darksaber. The Darksaber is that important cultural heirloom, you may recall. If not, don’t worry. It is a weapon Din also seems to routinely forget he possesses.
The tech at the droid morgue discovers that the sub-particles in this batch are actually nano-droids manufactured by the Techno Union and illegally requisitioned by none other than Commissioner Helgait. Helgait wastes no time when confronted before confessing to reprogramming the droids. He’s an old-school Separatist who hates the new way the planet is going. The Duchess exiles Helgait and gives Din and Bo permission to head out to see the Mandalorians, but not before knighting Grogu.
The scenes featuring Lizzo and Jack Black have received a lot of flack on social media since the episode aired, including personal attacks that shall not be dignified here. There’s also been plenty of frustrated commentary that the episode was too silly or a waste of time. However, it’s important to remember at all times when watching The Mandalorian that it’s a Space Western show about a man who lives in outer space and his son. A son who also happens to be a little green magic baby.
Of course, Star Wars can be serious, heartbreaking, and make strong statements about politics and racism. It also can be very, very silly. It’s allowed, everyone. The show can have color and frog people and parties. Last week a plant man who was also a space pirate attacked a planet with monkey lizards. Everyone relax and examine your actual problems with casting.
Din and Bo take the monorail to where the Mandalorians have landed the fleet. Unsurprisingly, seeing her and Din thrills no one. Bo challenges Axe for leadership of the fleet. A vaguely disappointing fight ensues before Bo emerges victorious. Axe tells her that she should be challenging Din for the Darksaber as a “misguided zealot,” not even a blood Mandalorian, shouldn’t have it. Is this the first time anyone has disparaged someone else’s Mandalorian heritage? Do we count when Boba Fett had to prove his father was one? That was more about the ownership of the armor, though, not a full insult like Axe just gave, right?
Bo defends Din as a real Mandalorian, but he tries to give it to her anyway. She declines because it cannot be given as a gift. However, Din argues The Terrible Thing captured him–and the Darksaber on Mandalore. Bo retrieved it then, not Din. Therefore, he lost the Darksaber. Bo won it back. She accepts that logic as sound. Thus, when Din again hands the Darksaber over, she does not resist. Bo-Katan is Mand’alor once again.
[Director Bryce Dallas Howard] knows how to balance humor and drama and how to make space seem just a little more real, parties with frog people and all.
While it does make sense that Bo-Katan would need the Darksaber to rally her former clanmates, having Din hand it over lends a certain letdown to the entire storyline of him having it at all. He barely used it, never gained complete control over it, and then lost it. Okay? That’s it?
It’s one thing for Din’s story to merge with Bo-Katan’s as they try to reunite the Mandalorian people, but it is a bit disappointing that he had the Darksaber for the ultimate purpose of giving to Bo-Katan. It’s not even the first time that this has happened. Sabine Wren wielded and gave the Darksaber to Bo-Katan over on Star Wars: Rebels before Bo lost it to Moff Gideon.
Bryce Dallas Howard directed “Guns for Hire,” and she always has a nice amount of world-building and a fantastic atmosphere in her episodes. She directed “Return of the Mandalorian” over on The Book of Boba Fett, which featured probably the last time Din successfully used the Darksaber (cutting a bounty’s head off), and Mandalorian episode “The Heiress,” which introduced Bo-Katan into the series. She knows how to balance humor and drama and how to make space seem just a little more real, parties with frog people and all.
Speaking of Moff Gideon, as we were, are we going to find out who broke him out of his prison ship? There are two episodes left this season. Let’s see what the remnants of the Empire are really up to.
- Baby Ugnaughts are called Ugletts.
- A B1 Battle Droid supervises the droids on the loading dock, so you know something will go wrong.
- The Quarren captain’s name is Shuggoth, which seems a little insulting.
- I would like the electric teal protocol droid from The Resistor, thank you.
- So we can namedrop Count Dooku but not Satine Kryze, not once, not ever.
- This week’s Mando’a saying is “Aliit ori’shya tal’din,” which means “Family is more than blood.” Maybe Axe Woves should write that on the board a few times.