After starting out strong, season three of The Mandalorian caught the edge of a slippery slope, and began falling further and further. Episode six represents the absolute-worst the show has ever offered, and signals a potential point of no return for the once-respectable series. “Guns for Hire” manages to do so much wrong within its modest running time that it can scarcely be believed.
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Bryce Dallas Howard returns to direct another episode of the show, but it’ll hang like a cloud over her resumé for years to come. Jon Favreau is credited as script writer for this episode, but it’s impossible to believe that the dude who once brought Iron Man to the silver screen in 2008, and started The Mandalorian off on such solid footing could be capable of penning something so awful, without studio interference. I’m not buying it, and neither should you.
What we have here is an episode that continues to make the same telltale mistakes as other Disney+ Star Wars TV shows, which proves that both Lucasfilm and its parent company are wholly incapable of learning from their failures. “Guns for Hire” is an episode dragged down by an unnecessary story that procrastinates its way to the final ten minutes, which is the only part viewers should actually care about.THE STORY
“Guns for Hire” picks up immediately after the liberation of Nevarro by the Children of the Watch. The Armorer’s bizarre decision to allow Bo-Katan Kryze to remove her helmet and “walk two worlds” means she is able to seek out her former brethren in an attempt to bring them into the fold.
This preposterous notion was touched on during my review of that particular episode, and here it comes to fruition.
Djarin, Grogu and Kryze travel to the planet Plazir-15 on the Outer Rim, which is being run by an ex-Imperial and a Royal whose peaceful society is suffering from a series of droid malfunctions. Before Kryze and Djarin are allowed to speak to the Mandalorians who provide protection for the planet, they are tasked with figuring out the source of the problematic droids.
It’s a precursor for the final act, where Kryze and Djarin come face-to-face with the former’s old crew. There, Kryze fights the new leader Axe Woves for rulership over the Mandalorian mercenary group, and convinces them to join her cause…with a little help from Din Djarin.
The show’s main recurring theme is the use of pleasant visuals and effects to create compelling episodes, and it’s no different this time ’round. Yes, the set designs are nice, the costumes flamboyant and colorful, and the battle sequences treated with visual splendor.
That much, it seems, is a mainstay for The Mandalorian, and shows no signs of letting up.
There’s something to be said for the nostalgia of seeing prequel trilogy battle droids featured front and center once more, as it has been a while. The premise of the story might be pointless (more on that later), but at least the episode can be credited with trying to establish a link back to those films. Even entities like the Techno Union, the Separatists, and Count Dooku are mentioned here, albeit briefly.
Besides those two points, there isn’t a lot going on in this episode, and that’s a major problem. Pretty visuals and colors do not a good story make, and “Guns for Hire” is a victim of style over substance…multiplied.THE BAD
The episode starts off on one of the most ridiculous notes imaginable, with a cringeworthy inter-species love affair between a Quarren and a Mon Calamari. It’s every bit as ridiculous as it sounds, and handled with utter incompetence.
The two star-crossed lovers don’t even sound alien, but rather, like two stubborn and immature British teenagers upset that their parents are keeping them apart. Also, the Quarren “love whiskers?” Fire whoever came up with that idea, pronto.
Once that bit of nonsense subsides, the real pain begins. Djarin and Kryze touch down on Plazir-15, only to be greeted by Captain Bombardier and his wife, the Duchess, played by Jack Black and Lizzo, respectively.
I have nothing against Jack Black, but here, he’s supposed to be playing a former Imperial, and it’s done with total insincerity. Black is known for his comedic trimmings, which aren’t capable of selling a former Imperial, whether rehabilitated or not. He is, however, tolerable, perhaps due to his history as an actor who just so happens to be liked by a wide audience.
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Then, there’s Lizzo, a complete miscast for the Duchess. Her presence was obviously done for the sake of capitalizing on her pop music fame, but she doesn’t belong anywhere near Star Wars. Lizzo cannot act, and it’s made even more excruciating when she reads the cringeworthy dialogue in this particular script. If you thought the dialogue in Attack of the Clones was bad, “Guns for Hire” is the “hold my beer” equivalent.
Once Djarin and Kryze investigate the cause of the droid attacks, it becomes clear that the writers have no clue what they’re actually doing. This is a completely superfluous, pointless, uninteresting, and drab plotline that only gets in the way of the actual main narrative. If it were a case of battle droids reverting back to their old programming and slaughtering the local populace, perhaps the episode could have created a real mystery and a sense of dread.
Instead, the droids in question merely do stupid things, like flip out when performing their duties, or drive hover cars into solid walls. The culprit behind the whole affair turns out to be a pro-Dooku Separatist (played by Back to the Future’s Christopher Lloyd), but his reasoning makes absolutely no sense. Before Djarin and Kryze can make a move on him, he threatens to push a big red button – clichéd as it is – to cause every droid on Plazir-15 to revert back to battle droid programming.
Why not just do it in the first place? Why continue to remain employed by the Captain and the Duchess, only to trigger oddball behavior in random droids? The man has no endgame to mention. It’s patently absurd, and the entire plot feels like an excuse to showcase the first Droid bar, which may, or may not be some sort of reference to the stigmatization of gay bars. Who knows?
I bring it up, because the episode takes enough time to talk about “democracy” from a typically absurd Left-wing perspective, and the utopian nonsense parroted word-for-word by modern-day politicians like Nancy Pelosi. “The citizens are no longer required to work!” barks Lloyd’s character Commissioner Helgait. “They can spend their days engaging in recreation, the arts, and participating in our direct democracy!”
It’s clear that whoever wrote this episode (and we doubt it was actually Favreau) is high on their own Woke supply.
When this pointless plotline gets resolved, it’s Kryze vs. Woves in a battle for all the marbles. Admittedly, this is an excellent fight, and no punches are pulled, which is a highlight of the episode. However, the stupidity of this particular plot arc is self-evident, and can be referenced back as early as the first episode where Kryze wallowed in self-pity and isolation, while complaining to Djarin that her Mandalorians abandoned her and became mercenaries.
Yet, within minutes, she manages to take down Woves and claim the mantle of leadership. If it was so easy, why didn’t she just do it at the beginning? Kryze herself insinuated that she needed the Darksaber in order for her brethren to follow her, yet here, she challenges Woves without it. Once again, the writers create another plot hole and an entirely new set of contradictions that make no sense.
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The only thing that does make sense – somewhat – is when Djarin gives Kryze the Darksaber, and claims that she had taken it after his enemy defeated him – a reference to the cyborg creature in episode two. It’s a stretch, to be sure, but it is enough to complete the foreshadowing I predicted in that earlier episode, and it works, albeit imperfectly. Kryze now wields the Darksaber, but unfortunately, its symbolism and merit has been obliterated in the wake of the challenge which directly preceded it.
Season three is a Bo-Katan Kryze show, as I predicted. The Book of Boba Fett formula has seeped into the cracks of The Mandalorian, and turned the main character into a second-rate sidekick. Unfortunately, so much damage has been done to the lore and established canon that it doesn’t even matter anymore.
“Guns for Hire” is a terrible episode that sinks to the same level of monotony and carelessness as anything The Book of Boba Fett and Andor managed. The pointlessness of the larger story arc robs the season of some much-needed time to focus on more important things, which again proves that the showrunners treat every single Star Wars TV property like a pair of bookends.
All emphasis is placed on the beginning and end acts, with pan scrapings and hot dogs stuffed into the middle, then sold to the viewer with a false sense of authenticity.
For that reason, it’s almost a sure bet that season three of The Mandalorian is a total write-off. It started off with all the elements required to make something special, but within the space of just four episodes, all of it has been squandered.
This show should have wrapped up its main storyline at the end of season two, and been done with it. Instead, Lucasfilm and Disney are trying to milk a dry cow, and it shows.
It’s easy to see why this season’s viewership numbers are so bad, and kudos to audiences for noticing. There’s nothing of substance here, just a company desperately trying to squeeze as much blood from a stone as possible. The story is a complete waste of time, the dialogue is psychologically painful to endure, and the end payoff is nothing but another Disney-led bait and switch.
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- Nice visuals, as usual.
- Battle Droids offer up some quaint nostalgia.
- A surprisingly brutal and engaging fight between Bo-Katan and Axe Woves.
- A completely pointless and inconsequential plot that distracts from the main story.
- Lizzo's acting prowess mixed with terrible dialogue.
- More plot holes, contradictions and canonical destruction.