Friday, March 31, 2023

Recap: Mandalorian Episode 21—The Pirate

If you've ever dreamed of watching a live-action Rebels episode, you’re going to love this week’s entry as galactic politics come into sharper focus as the Mandalorians help an old friend. 

We open back on Nevarro, as our scoundrel-turned-respectable civic leader Greef Karga goes about the business of city planning. All hell breaks loose as the city falls under attack to the pirate king Gorian Shard, the same one that Mando handily escaped from back in the season premiere.

In the bustle of the evacuation, Karga does his best Princess Leia and inserts a distress message into an R5 unit with the hopes of obtaining some help from the New Republic.

Who Is Gorian Shard?

Let’s talk about Gorian Shard for a quick second. First, let it be known that I love all of the different life forms in Star Wars, from the devil-looking Devaronians and bug-like Rodians to the head-tailed Twi’Leks and furry Bothans, many of whom as we all known died to bring the Rebellion info about the second Death Star. 

But Gorian Shard, though, looks ridiculous, and he takes me out of the Star Wars universe a bit. (Kind of like how the Mod scooter gang did in the Book of Boba Fett.) He almost seems to belong in an old Dr. Who episode, really.

And because I have to, here is a list of things that Gorian Shard resembles:

  • A Christmas tree

  • Old Gregg

  • One of any number of characters from Pirates of the Caribbean (this makes sense)

  • This plant sculpture at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens

A Few Minutes Kicking Back with Some X-Wing Pilots at a Top Gun-style Bar

Karga’s plea for help finds its way to our favorite New Republic space cop, Captain Teva, who’s off duty at a cantina with fellow space jocks.

We get a brief scene of a New Republic fighter pilot base/Top Gun-style bar hangout, and it absolutely thrilled me. For fans of Michael Stackpole’s X-Wing series — along with those of us who were so excited about the possibility of a Rogue Squadron movie that seems to have been shelved — this was an absolute treat. 

Dave Filoni, master that he is, also gives us another cameo this week — this time in the form of Zeb Orrelios, a key character from Rebels. One thing that animation doesn’t always capture is the absolute size of some of its characters, and Zeb is an absolute beast. How do his hand fit around the controls of a fighter?!?!

Zeb informs Teva that the New Republic probably won’t answer him if he forwards the request for help, so he decides to head to Coruscant directly. 

Old Greg Exposes the Hole in Galactic Politics

Teva arrives at the galactic capital and runs into a brick wall in the form of a bureaucrat named Tuttle, played with bumbling incompetency by SNL alum Tim Meadows. Teva explains the danger that Nevarro is in and is flatly rebuffed. The New Republic can barely take care of its existing member planets, much less neutral systems that have yet to sign the charter. 

Tuttle gets back up from everyone’s favorite slimy amnesty officer G68/Elia Kane, who downplays Teva concerns that this pirate business could be related to Moff Gideon (her old boss)’s disappearance from New Republic custody. 

Mandalorians of a Feather, Flock Together

Teva has one left card to play, and luckily the help is nearby — Din Djarin and the Mandalorians. One thing I love about this show is that people remember favors, and they’re always repaid. In a rousing speech, Mando convinces his folks that this battle is also their battle, and they agree. 

Bo-Katan and Mando take to the skies to battle Gorian’s ships, while the other Mandalorians have infantry duty. One of my favorite scenes features the Armorer showing up to save the day in a pivotal scene, and seeing her use forging tools as deadly weapons was incredibly bad-ass and a joy to behold.

It also had me thinking: I never really thought of her as a warrior for some reason— though she obviously is. Instead I assumed her to be solely an admin/leader type. But maybe the Mandalorians are like the Marines, with their every-Marine-a-rifleman ethos. 

The Armorer Backs Bo-Katan

After Nevarro is liberated in a fun dual air/ground battle sequence, Karga honors his promise and grants the Mandalorians a tract of land for homesteading. This tribe of Mandalorians is doing well! They don’t have to hide anymore!

The Armorer asks to speaks with Bo-Katan, and asks her to remove her helmet. Not as punishment, but as acknowledgement that Bo-Katan walks both worlds — that of more secular Mandalorians and that of the Children of the Watch. Being able to do this gives her unparalleled power among her people, especially with the fact she witnessed the mythosaur. The Armorer announces to the tribe that Bo-Katan will be the one to unite their people. They’re going to retake Mandalore! 

Where’s Waldo: Imperial Officer Edition

For the final scene, Teva comes across a silent and damaged Lambda-class shuttle floating in space. This shuttle, we learn, was the one carrying Moff Gideon to trial — and it was an obvious rescue mission. He finds a piece of beskar lodged in the hull, and this could mean many things for our heroes.

But most importantly — could it be Thrawn?


The Math

Baseline Score: 8/10

Bonuses: +1 We’re finally starting to see plot threads from multiple seasons come together, and this was the first episode of season 3 that really felt cohesive.

Penalties: -1 Not enough Grogu for my liking.

Nerd Coefficient: +7 Zeb Orrelios in the flesh!; Very good snubfighter content; Turns out astromech units have detachable probe parts that can explore space wrecks just like the subs in Titanic.

Gonk droid count: +2

POSTED BY: Haley Zapal, new NoaF contributor and lawyer-turned-copywriter living in Atlanta, Georgia. A co-host of Hugo-nominated podcast Hugo, Girl!, she posts on Instagram as @cestlahaley. She loves nautical fiction, growing corn and giving them pun names like Timothee Chalamaize, and thinking about fried chicken.