The Star Wars universe marches on with more adventures for everyone’s favorite space dad and his adopted son, and this time, the plotting ties into previous seasons. That hasn’t really been the case so far this season. Or at least, not much. But The Mandalorian 3×05 goes all in with an eventful episode that firmly sets its sights on the story arc of the entire series.
Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) escaped from a skirmish with Pirate King Gorian Shard in the first episode of this season. I knew then that we hadn’t seen the last of the creature or his minions. Besides that, Din and Grogu (who I still call Baby Yoda and probably always will!) have worked at settling into the hidden Mandalorian covert Din recently rejoined. They are one sect of the scattered Mandalorian culture. Bo-Katan Kryze (Katee Sackhoff), a member of Mandalore’s ruling family, is another new addition to the group. She doesn’t follow the creed the way they do but she is with them for the time being. Now, these two plot strands converge. And the result is significant progress for the storytelling of this season. Then, a final scene drops a bombshell that widens the scope of the plot for this season to encompass the whole series so far.
The best thing about The Mandalorian 3×05 is that it feels like an important piece in both the puzzle of this season and in the series overall. More than that, it’s entertaining, as usual with this show.
“I like your attitude.”
Din’s old friend Greef Karga (Carl Weathers) is trying to improve the Outer Rim planet of Nevarro in his new position as High Magistrate. He and Din worked together to oust Gorian Shard’s henchmen from the planet, and Din may have escaped Shard (voiced by Nonso Anozie) but the pirate still has plans for Nevarro. Karga finds that out the hard way when Shard arrives in a corsair ship to attack. Star Wars fans get a treat when Karga tells Shard, “He shot first,” referring to the henchman who started the confrontation in the season premiere.
However, it’s not a treat to watch the innocent people of Nevarro in fear for their lives and evacuating to a remote area while Karga sends a message to the New Republic for help. He contacts Captain Carson Teva (Paul Sun-Hyung Lee) who has helped him before. This turns out to be a wise choice. Teva is no-nonsense and dedicated to the Republic. Even when his superior (played by Tim Meadows!) doesn’t provide much help, he pursues another option.
“It often takes a new perspective before one is able to see the light.”
Viewers of this show will not be surprised to see that part of the reason the New Republic didn’t really help was interference from Elia Kane (Katy M. O’Brian). Yes, the same “reformed” Imperial officer who entrapped Dr. Pershing earlier in the season. She seems loyal to the New Republic but she is clearly this show’s example of how the Empire’s ideology was able to survive. And Teva senses it, which makes us like him even more. He knows helping Nevarro is the priority right now, so he finds Din and lets him know Greef is in trouble.
Din gives a rousing speech to the other Mandalorians to convince them to help. When Paz Vizsla (Tait Fletcher) takes the floor to speak, the audience will wonder if he’ll support Din because there has never been any love lost between them. But Din helped save Paz’s son in the last episode, so he’s all in, a bit unexpectedly. Din also lets them all know that Greef had offered him a tract of land on Nevarro, which can be the covert’s new base. This is meaningful because this episode emphasizes that Nevarro is an independent planet. It is no longer under the protection of any Imperial remnants, and it is also not under New Republic protection because it has not signed the Charter. It is an opportunity that suits the Mandalorians.
“This is the Way.”
I probably don’t even need to tell you that Din, Bo, and the rest of the covert defeat Shard and his pirate army. The Mandalorians may be outnumbered but their skills are undeniable. This sequence is quite engaging, with Din and Bo fighting in their ships while the others drop into the streets. And they all get moments to shine, even the Armorer (Emily Swallow). She doesn’t fight often but when she does, it makes an impression. Most importantly, after the fighting is over, the Armorer tells Bo to remove her helmet, which is against the Mandalorian creed. But the Armorer has decided that all Mandalorians need to come together now, and Bo is the one to lead them.
As big as this moment is for the Mandalorians, this episode has another kicker up its sleeve. For the final scene, viewers join Captain Teva again. He is investigating a damaged and abandoned shuttle. It turns out to be exactly what he suspected: the prisoner transport for Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito). The crew has been killed and Gideon extracted. This is bad news, as Gideon will still want to capture Grogu, just as he did for the first two seasons. But that’s not the worst surprise. Beskar steel left at the scene suggests rogue Mandalorians helped Gideon escape. The tension that could arise from this as Bo is about to round up all the Mandalorians! The focus of the plotting so far this season has not been tight but The Mandalorian 3×05 changes that and the audience will be ready for what happens next.
The Mandalorian is streaming on Disney Plus.