'Star Wars: The Mandalorian' season 3 chapter 22 'Guns for Hire' recap/review • AIPT (2023)

Last week’s episode of Star Wars: The Mandalorian concluded with a couple of major plot lines hanging in the balance:

  • The New Republic prison transport carrying Moff Gideon was attacked, which resulted in the Imperial Remnant commander being at large again. While that’s no surprise, the giant hunk of Beskar embedded in the shuttle (implicating Mandalorian involvement) certainly was.
  • The Armorer has tasked Bo-Katan Kryze with bringing the various factions of Mandalorians together to retake their homeworld. She’s also decided that Bo-Katan doesn’t have to keep her helmet on, which led to Armorer actress Emily Swallow making this hilarious TikTok:

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While this week’s episode doesn’t address the first point, it does explore the second one via a fun story packed with unexpected cameos.

As always, the recap portion of this review will containplenty of spoilersalong with some brief explorations ofStar Wars lore.

'Star Wars: The Mandalorian' season 3 chapter 22 'Guns for Hire' recap/review • AIPT (1)

Star Wars: The Mandalorian (Disney+)

The episode opens with a Quarren ship being chased down and hailed by an Imperial light cruiser. Instead of agents of the Empire being on board, it turns out that the ship is piloted by our old friend Axe Woves. Since we last saw him back in season two, he’s taken over the group of Mandalorians who Bo-Katan used to command (along with all the ships they took from the Empire).

With the help of Koska Reeves and the rest of his crew, Axe is easily able to convince the Quarren captain to turn over the Mon Calamari prince she was having a torrid affair with — a job the Mercenary Mandos were paid by someone to do.

*Side Note: As most Star Wars fans are well aware, Quarrens and the Mon Calamari hate each other, which makes this affair even more intriguing. This is all we’ll see of it for now, though.

'Star Wars: The Mandalorian' season 3 chapter 22 'Guns for Hire' recap/review • AIPT (2)

Star Wars: The Mandalorian (Disney+)

Later, we see Bo-Katan and Din Djarin arriving on the planet (Plazir-15) where Axe and his crew are docked. Their plan to meet with them about rejoining Mandalorian culture is hijacked when a government transport takes them to the planet’s rulers: The Duchess (Lizzo) and Captain Bombardier (Jack Black).

Yeah, I totally wasn’t prepared for that either.

The power couple explains their planet’s tumultuous history, which includes Bombardier’s time with the Empire. Since reforming from his Imperial ways, however, he and the Duchess have turned Plazir-15 into a utopia — thanks in no small part to the massive amount of repurposed Imperial and Separatist droids they use for nearly every inch of the planet’s infrastructure. Unfortunately, some of the droids have begun to malfunction in ways that are dangerous and potentially a result of sabotage.

'Star Wars: The Mandalorian' season 3 chapter 22 'Guns for Hire' recap/review • AIPT (3)

Star Wars: The Mandalorian (Disney+)

The planet’s new charter forbids Plazir-15 from having a military, hence why they’ve hired Axe’s crew for protection. But even taking them into account, no military forces are allowed to enter their capital city and no weapons are allowed at all. Thankfully, Din Djarin and Bo-Katan provide them a loophole for this law since weapons and armor are part of their Mandalorian culture.

*Side Note: I get that Axe & Co. abandoned Bo-Katan, but it feels like the Mandalorian loophole could’ve applied to them as well.

If Bo-Katan and Djarin can help Plazir-15’s rulers with the droid problem, then they will arrange a meeting with Axe & Co. They also offer to treat their help as an act of diplomacy by Mandalore and petition the New Republic to recognize them as a sovereign system.

Upon hearing that last part, the pair agrees to take on the side quest.

'Star Wars: The Mandalorian' season 3 chapter 22 'Guns for Hire' recap/review • AIPT (4)

Star Wars: The Mandalorian (Disney+)

After leaving Grogu with the Duchess (who the kid has really taken to), Djarin and Bo-Katan visit Commissioner Helgait, who is the planet’s head of security. He shows them footage of the droid’s malfunctions, which start off as minor annoyances before escalating into full-blown assaults. He also explains that the droids can’t be shut down because the populace has become too dependent on them.

The pair then visit the Ugnauts who repurposed the droids. After Bo-Katan struggles to communicate with them, Djarin uses the cultural familiarity he picked up during his friendship with Kuill (RIP) to secure their help. They narrow down the next malfunction to be most likely to occur near the planet’s main loading docks.

When Bo-Katan and Djarin arrive, they are met by a B-1 Battle Droid foreman overseeing a large group of B-2 Battle Droids as they lug supplies. While Bo-Katan tries to parse things out by speaking with the B-1, Djarin goes in a completely different direction and startskicking B-2s like they’re Boston Dynamic robots. Predictably, one of the robots decides to fight back.

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What happens next is so wonderfully absurd that no description I write would do it justice. I will say, though, that we’ve never seen a B-2 move like this (that I can recall). But it absolutely works and I absolutely love it.

Now let’s roll that beautiful bean footage:

After taking down the B-2, the pair find that it’s carrying something called a spark pad with the name and address of a robot bar on it.

*Side Note: And before anyone gets all pissy about robots going to a bar, droids in Star Wars have ALWAYS had personalities and varying degrees of autonomy. There’s no reason to think a large number of them wouldn’t want to hang out at a local watering hole after work.

'Star Wars: The Mandalorian' season 3 chapter 22 'Guns for Hire' recap/review • AIPT (5)

Star Wars: The Mandalorian (Disney+)

When they arrive at the bar (called The Resistor), Bo-Katan attempts to reason with the bartender while Djarin lets his well-established dislike of droids be known. The pair are both surprised when it turns out that the droids actually want to help them — primarily due to how the malfunction incidents have threatened the second chance at life they’ve gotten on Plazir-15.

The bartender checks his records and discovers that the rogue B-2 had partaken of the same batch of Nepenthe as the other malfunctioning droids. Nepenthe is also much more than a recreational lubricant — it also carries subatomic particles that patches new programming.

This leads Djarin and Bo-Katan to a robot morgue, where the mortician discovers that the Nepenthé the rogue B-2 drank actually had nano-droids in it. Announcing this causes an interrogator droid to almost kill them all, but the hassle ends up being worth it when they discover that the nano-droids also had a chain code…which leads right back to Commissioner Helgait.

Upon confronting him, Helgait denounces what Plazir-15 has become while revealing that he’s a loyal/holdout Separatist. Before he can expound on what a visionary Count Dooku was, Bo-Katan stuns him into submission. After being brought before the Duchess, he confesses his crimes and begs forgiveness. The Duchess shows a surprising amount of grace, but still sentences him to exile. She then awards Bo-Katan and Djarin the key to their capital city along with permission to meet with Axe Woves.

'Star Wars: The Mandalorian' season 3 chapter 22 'Guns for Hire' recap/review • AIPT (6)

Star Wars: The Mandalorian (Disney+)

Bo-Katan walks over to her former fleet/crew, challenges Axe Woves for control, and proceeds to beat the crap out of him. After forcing him to yield, he proceeds to taunt her for not taking the Darksaber from Djarin. He goes so far as to say that Djarin isn’t a Mandalorian because he wasn’t born on Mandalore.

Bo-Katan promptly shuts that xenophobic crap down, but is still left without the Darksaber. Djarin then attempts to hand it over to her, but with an explanation: Since she defeated the spider monster that defeated him (and used the Darskaber that it took from him to do it), she is now the fabled blade’s rightful owner.

This explanation appears to satisfy everyone, who look on with reverence as Bo-Katan takes the Darksaber from Djarin and ignites it.

'Star Wars: The Mandalorian' season 3 chapter 22 'Guns for Hire' recap/review • AIPT (7)

Star Wars: The Mandalorian (Disney+)

I get what Djarin’s saying, but it still sounds dangerously close to the type of transitive property debates that happen with Top 25 college sports rankings or middle school arguments. It’s also a bit of a letdown considering how much the Darksaber conflict between him and Bo-Katan had been built up. I didn’t necessarily want them to fight, but this did feel too easy.

Thankfully, the fight that preceded Bo-Katan getting the Darksaber helped make up for it — a near-perfect mix of melee combat and futuristic weapons in a brutal, close-quarters brawl. It shared a similar energy with the B-2 battle droid chase, although that one was somehow terrifying and hilarious at the same time.

And then you have that wonderful meeting with the Ugnauts and the callback to Kuiil, which was yet another moment that kept this episode from feeling too breezy. I love Jack Black and Lizzo, but their presence (and the comedy surrounding it) took me out of the story a bit. Since I’m a child of the 80s/90s, seeing Doc Brown right after those two nearly fused my synapses.

But in between the comedic bits, there was a whole lot to like. Even when you pull back from the big moments, it was neat getting to see the ways that Djarin and Bo-Katan both conflict and complement each other. Also, while I never felt like Jack Black stopped being Jack Black (if that makes sense), Lizzo pulls off royal/regal nobility very well.

Let’s hope that next week’s episode shows us Bo-Katan finding her own royal pathway to taking back Mandalore…and maybe figuring out what happened with Moff Gideon along the way.

'Star Wars: The Mandalorian' season 3 chapter 22 'Guns for Hire' recap/review • AIPT (8)

'Star Wars: The Mandalorian' season 3 chapter 22 'Guns for Hire'

Even if you don't like lighter comedic stories, "Guns for Hire" still provides plenty of thrills and impactful moments.

Reader Rating0 Votes

The fight between Bo-Katan and Axe Woves was fantastic.

The scene with the Ugnauts was surprisingly impactful/emotional.

It was great seeing how Bo-Katan and Din Djarin both conflict and complement each other.

After all that build up, Bo-Katan's retaking of the Dark Saber felt far too easy.

Some of the comedic moments and cameos were so jarring that they distracted from the story.



'Star Wars: The Mandalorian' season 3 chapter 22 'Guns for Hire' recap/review • AIPT (9)

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