REVIEW: ‘The Mandalorian’ Opens Old Wounds, Foreshadows a Tough Turn in Store

Chapter 22 of The Mandalorian, Guns for Hire, ended exactly where most fans of the show predicted it would. Bo-Katan had reclaimed the Darksaber and reunited with her Mandalorian mercenary unit. It was a good day. However, all of that happened over the course of 4 minutes or so of the episode’s 45-minute runtime which gave director Bryce Dallas Howard plenty of time to explore some other avenues…and she did just that.

Over the past several weeks, Bo-Katan Kryze has steadily grown into a more central role in the ongoing narrative of the series. Her status as a “true” Mandalorian–a princess from House Kryze–who can now, as the Armorer said, walk in both worlds and her experience on Mandalore has her primed to lead her people into a new age of prosperity on the planet they have long thought was lost to them. Bo-Katan has a formidable task ahead of her in reuniting the Clans and returning Mandalore to its former glory and one thing that’s being made very clear is that even if she does succeed, it’s a strange new world out there.

(L-R): Mon Calamari Nobleman [Harry Holland (voice); David St. Pierre (performance artist)] and Quarren Captain [Christine Adams (voice); Joanna Bennett (performance artist)] in Lucasfilm’s THE MANDALORIAN, season three, exclusively on Disney+. ©2023 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.

Chapter 22 does its level best to illustrate just how different the galaxy has become since Bo-Katan last led Mandalore before the Great Purge. The episode’s opening sequence no doubt reminded fans of Star Wars: The Clone Wars of the rift that once existed between the Quarren and the Mon Calamari following the death of Yos Kolina. Kolina’s assassination set off a civil war on Mon Cala, one that saw both sides backed by larger galactic entities with the Separatists supporting the Quarren and the Republic supporting the Mon Calamari. If the opening sequence was meant as a subtle reminder of the scars of a galaxy torn apart by war for far too long, Christopher Lloyd’s cameo as Plazir-15’s still-a-Separatist-after-all-these-years Captain Helgait served as a much more coarse reminder.

Try as the Duchess and Captain Bombardier do to establish an opulent, shining example of how incredible the opportunities provided in the New Republic can be, Helgait’s considerable experiences with war won’t let them be. It’s the Star Wars equivalent of “the North remembers.” Bo-Katan’s trip to Plazir-15–which provided a shiny second chance for many of its inhabitants–worked brilliantly to remind the series’ central characters and audience alike that nothing will come easy in the New Republic. The Mandalorian has put some heavy work into highlighting some of the obstacles that the heroes will face on their quest to restore Mandalorian glory and Howard used Plazir-15 as an overt analogy of what lies ahead for Bo-Katan as she tries to claim her shiny second chance on Mandalore. Nothing–not a fleet, not a Darksaber and not even a mythosaur–will heal all the scars from all the wars that have ripped the galaxy asunder. In the Star Wars galaxy, peace can never be the status quo. It’s awesome that today was a good day because Bo-Katan and her Mandalorians are about to come face-to-face with a lot of bad feelings and a lot of bad days.

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