The Mandalorian: Chapter 21: The Pirate
March 29, 2023 1:05 AM - Season 3, Episode 5 - Subscribe

Navarro comes under attack.
posted by EndsOfInvention (41 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Your eyes did not deceive you. That was Zeb from Rebels, with the same voice actor, Steve Blum.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 4:59 AM on March 29 [12 favorites]


Oh shit, I didn't realize that was THE Zeb. I just thought it was a similar accent. Nice!

I enjoyed this episode. Lots of adventure and pew pew lasers and fun. I think Fleebnork Jr. will enjoy it quite a lot.
posted by Fleebnork at 5:12 AM on March 29 [1 favorite]


I was like oh cool a live-action Lasat... wait, the voice! It's Zeb!

It was a lot of fun - a repeated plot-line (Mando helps some friends in trouble/defends a town) but well made and some exciting pew pew pew. I still like the pirate captain, and his ship looks (looked) cool. Nice to see the Mandalorians beginning to unite.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 5:45 AM on March 29 [1 favorite]


I'm genuinely shocked at how good Zeb looked. Finally an alien that doesn't look like a dude in a rubber mask! Also, there's no way he got that flight suit off the rack.
posted by orrnyereg at 5:55 AM on March 29 [6 favorites]


Solid ep all around; lots and lots to like. Maybe most of all? This show is starting to brush up against some actual serious themes. The difficulties of geography (er, astrography) for a large centralized government... The tensions between the benefits of unification vs. preservation of local/ancestral traditions... The line between rehabilitating fascists vs. tolerating them. Whew.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 9:40 AM on March 29 [1 favorite]


Can't put my finger on it but this still feels so uncanny to me, like a chatgpt wrote it or something. Partly the pacing maybe? Eveything feels so consequenceless.
posted by ominous_paws at 10:38 AM on March 29 [9 favorites]


this still feels so uncanny to me

Jon Favreau is a filmmaker with a strong background in improv. What I think is going on here is that Favreau writes very generic dialog, and then lets his actors come up with something that sounds better while shooting. Which is fine, if Favreau himself is directing, or at least someone with very similar sensibilities. It seems like Peter Ramsey is just having the actors recite what is written on the page.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 12:45 PM on March 29 [4 favorites]


Jon Favreau is a bad writer and writing has never been the strong suit of this series, especially when it comes to ongoing arcs. But at least the first two seasons were straightforward and the "Wolf & Cub" premise didn't require too much depth.

Every week this show is different but still bad. And I'm glad people are excited by a character from Dave Filoni's other show appearing, but right now I wish this show would be itself and not a hundred other things.
posted by crossoverman at 3:17 PM on March 29 [2 favorites]


Entertaining, but it's all pretty ridiculous, isn't it? I laughed when Mando said the kids deserve to play out in the sun... like they can't do that where they are now?

I'm warming to the whole conspiracy and growth of the Empire within the New Republic, I guess they were able to sell it better this ep what with better characters and acting and stakes, who would've thought that mattered?

But I could've done with another five minutes on how everyone is now OK with some people not wearing helmets. Like, I assume there'll be more fallout in forthcoming eps but I would've liked to have seen more mandalorians lose their shit or seem upset. Not just a few eps ago they were like "fuck everyone else who doesn't wear helmets, you're all heretics, gtfo!"

Finally: Very cool X-Wing horror bit at the end, I want more of that please!
posted by adrianhon at 3:45 PM on March 29 [3 favorites]


I think that the uncannyness is that it's one big archetypal story, ones told over and over again, perhaps in different sequences but the fundamental human storytelling memes (in the original sense) are all there - and told very very well this time.

The sequencing in particular, that the battle culmination wasn't the real apex of the arc, for me it was the Armourer talk with BK.
posted by porpoise at 6:05 PM on March 29 [1 favorite]


I was glad to see the Armourer get more to do this week than just issue pronouncements and intone "This is The Way". Nice sneak-attack on that pirate. Barely any Grogu this week, though.

I only ever saw a few episodes of Rebels, so I would not have picked up on Zeb if I hadn't read this post before watching the episode. Nice cameo without overdoing it.

I agree with the criticisms that this particular episode felt very generic in a series that already relies on so many tropes. Jon and Dave are letting the style of the show slide while they set up a ton of story threads, and it is making the whole season feel somewhat lifeless, particularly compared to Season 2.
posted by briank at 6:21 PM on March 29 [1 favorite]


Yeah this was super lazily written. Perfect candidate for a “gets faster every time someone says Mandalorian” cut.
posted by sixswitch at 6:48 PM on March 29 [1 favorite]


So that was fun, but man, they’re really not making a good argument for the New Republic. I’m not on team fash, but the showrunners almost seem to be saying “Hey, that Werner Herzog character made some good points (before he was gunned down by his superior in a fit of pique)”
posted by rodlymight at 6:56 PM on March 29 [2 favorites]


Yeah, this episode was fun. Some nice payoffs for that kind of aimless first episode of the season, and setting up some stuff that feels like it could have real stakes (if the pacing of future episodes doesn't immediately sabotage any sense of urgency or importance to the stakes they have just set up, so far this season has had trouble with that). And Pas Vizsla's mid-speech pivot worked on me - caught me by surprise but also absolutely fit the character (and their culture) in retrospect. I'm looking forward to seeing Bo-Katan show up for a meeting with the leaders of whichever Mandaloran clan turns out to be The Bad Ones and having Gideon be there to re-enact that dining room scene from Empire Strikes Back.

But I could've done with another five minutes on how everyone is now OK with some people not wearing helmets. Like, I assume there'll be more fallout in forthcoming eps but I would've liked to have seen more mandalorians lose their shit or seem upset. Not just a few eps ago they were like "fuck everyone else who doesn't wear helmets, you're all heretics, gtfo!"

Armorer really puts the "cult" in "Mandalorian culture"; I think they're all just good cultists who know better than to question the pronouncements of the Cult Leader. Same with Mando claiming he'd bathed in the waters of the mine - everybody thinks it's impossible, but if the Armorer says he did, then he did.

They're walking an interesting tightrope with the New Republic; it's fine, and absolutely works narratively, to show it as overstretched and struggling to do what it can, but they also need to show that it is still fundamentally different from, and better than, the Empire, not just another big soulless bureaucracy. I thought they managed that pretty well here.
posted by mstokes650 at 8:21 PM on March 29 [1 favorite]


I laughed when Mando said the kids deserve to play out in the sun... like they can't do that where they are now?

You mean, on the beach where they've had both a giant crocodile attack and a dragon kidnapping another kid? Mmmmmaybe not?

The pirate battle did seem like it was kind of cursory--like, a few cannon around the perimeter of the city might have done for them just as well--but I do appreciate the Armorer finally coming around to the idea that their funky helmet crew wouldn't be enough by themselves in the long run. And having Tim Meadows as the harried bureaucrat going "you know how many requests I've got in my inbox right now", and Elia Kane being all "oh don't mind me, purely a coincidence that I happen to be working in this particular office on BureaucracyWorld, just being a good reformed Imperial here", was pretty cool. Sincerely, talk about a small galaxy, eh?
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:33 PM on March 29 [7 favorites]


Really liked this episode! Good action scenes. Liked to see the Mandalorians fighting as a unit, they almost seemed to be doing actual fire-and-movement at times: unusual in Star Wars. Also good to see the plot actually get moving with various elements being drawn together.

Would like to think it was implausible that a former Imperial officer would be granted an influential position in the New Republic, but then I thought about post-WW2 Germany...
posted by TheophileEscargot at 9:18 PM on March 29 [3 favorites]


But at least the first two seasons were straightforward and the "Wolf & Cub" premise didn't require too much depth.

Yeah, I am still enjoying this season, but it's definitely showing the strain of not playing to the creative team's strengths the way the first 2 seasons did. And coming after Andor, it's suffering by comparison. But ultimately I'm happy to roll with a dose of "looks cool, don't think too hard about it, hey - Tim Meadows!" in my entertainment schedule. I'm along for the ride even if I'm unsure about the direction.
posted by EvaDestruction at 6:40 AM on March 30 [1 favorite]


So that was fun, but man, they’re really not making a good argument for the New Republic.

The Clone Wars makes a pretty good case for the Republic (and Jedi Order) being in a terrible state to begin with, which is why it was so easy for Palpatine to take control. No surprise that it went back to its previous state as it seemed so much "better" than the Empire.

whichever Mandaloran clan turns out to be The Bad Ones

This might be the Death Watch - the cult/faction that the Children of the Watch spun off from, and Bo-Katan was formerly a member of before they allied with the Sith. On the other hand I wonder if it's a false flag by the Empire/First Order to put the blame on Mandalorians as they're clearly seen as a threat.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 7:17 AM on March 30 [3 favorites]


Liked to see the Mandalorians fighting as a unit, they almost seemed to be doing actual fire-and-movement at times: unusual in Star Wars.

I also really liked the battle:
- Winning with tactics instead of winning because "good guys can aim well and bad guys can't";
- Emplacement on high ground effectively pinned them down;
- Monkey-Lizards warning of an ambush!
posted by EndsOfInvention at 7:22 AM on March 30 [6 favorites]


If Mandalorians took Moff Gideon it may have been to do worse than a New Republic prison. Probably not, since this is a family show but you know, in the hands of another set of writers.

Seeing Tim Meadows' desk all piled up with bullshit that's making a backlog to real requests (and seeing Kane just standing there and watching) brought to mind this WW2 sabotage manual. Who knows where these decisions are really coming from?
posted by fiercekitten at 7:33 AM on March 30 [9 favorites]


On the other hand I wonder if it's a false flag by the Empire/First Order to put the blame on Mandalorians as they're clearly seen as a threat.

Yep, definitely trying to frame the Mandalorians as a misdirect to get the New Republic to go after them instead of looking for the traitors in their midst.
posted by briank at 10:29 AM on March 30 [4 favorites]


I really wish they'd stop poking at the "never take off your helmet" thing. It was stupid when they first introduced it in Season 1, it was stupid when they immediately contradicted it the next episode when DD took of his helmet to eat IN FRONT OF AN OPEN WINDOW, it was stupid when they made him go on a whole "quest" to cleanse himself (and go back into smelly solitude), it was stupid when they all split up to go eat WHILE TRYING TO HIDE FROM SOME DRAGONS... And it was EXTRA EXTRA EXTRA stupid when, after spending all this time hammering into us that it's REALLY IMPORTANT TO THEM that you don't take off your helmet, the Armorer just said, "Take off your helmet", and BKK just shrugged like, "OK, if you say so."

I'm really trying here. I'm trying to let the stupid helmet thing fade into the background, but they keep pulling it back and shining a bright narrative light on it. At least show me that the people in the story have SOME sense of skepticism about the radical flip-flopping. Just spend a MINUTE of screen time: "Wait, you've made it abundantly clear that I'm never supposed to take my helmet off. What's changed? Am I being expelled? And don't give me that 'Do you accept my leadership?' line—I've accepted your leadership, but what you're saying now flies in the face of something that's clearly central to your beliefs, beliefs that I've accepted along with your leadership. What gives?" And THEN write an answer for the Armorer that's even VAGUELY consistent with what's been said until now. Maybe they have a traditional Emissary position that hasn't been filled while they were in hiding, and that person is allowed to go unhelmeted outside the community? (Note: OUTSIDE THE COMMUNITY) It's terrible writing.
posted by The Tensor at 1:03 PM on March 30 [17 favorites]


I TOTALLY AGREE WITH THIS HELMET RANT. And I would have said the same things you said if I were Bo.
posted by jenfullmoon at 1:46 PM on March 30 [3 favorites]


holy cow the writing in this was awful. And the pacing was bizarrely bad: that whole central sequence where we had to see Karga send a message, and then Teva got the message, and then had to ask to play the message, and then talk about the message, and then go FLY TO CORUSCANT TO PLAY THE MESSAGE AGAIN, and then talk about it some more!

So incredibly painful and slow.

It was so clunky. An amateurish way of shoe-horning Kane into the storyline, I guess, and showing the New Republic is kind of shitty too.

I would like to like this show! But it's actively bad right now.

(It was fun to see Zeb! Glad to hear he's still alive.)
posted by suelac at 8:04 PM on March 30 [4 favorites]


I dunno, I still love it. Nice to see some narrative threads coming together (Elia Kane!) and seeing the Armorer kick ass was A++.

The helmet stuff is standard issue cult nonsense, so it doesn't really bother me either.

TBH I don't hold this show to the same standards as Andor, so YMMV. I'm largely here for Baby Grogu, and just enjoying it as low stakes entertainment.
posted by Space Kitty at 9:53 PM on March 30 [1 favorite]


Yeah, good point, I forgot to comment on 'how the fuck long did it take for that guy to go to several planets?!"
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:55 PM on March 30 [1 favorite]


The Armorer is making a fundamental change to Children of the Watch's way of life, in that from now on they will tolerate other Mandalorians not wearing helmets, in order to work together to retake Mandalore.

It's not a random inconsistency, it's a major plot development.

It's not unlike what Paul and Peter did in early Christianity, when the Jesus movement began to expand among Gentiles as well as Jews. Jewish/Jewish-born individuals often kept to their dietary restrictions. Gentile/Gentile-born individuals didn't have to, but they were asked to respect the Jews/Jewish-born and not make a big deal of it.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 1:18 AM on March 31 [4 favorites]


Elia Kane continues to be the most henchwoman looking character I have ever seen.
posted by yonega at 5:15 AM on March 31 [6 favorites]


I TOTALLY AGREE WITH THIS HELMET RANT.

I'd just been wondering just how foul their hair must smell... the real reason they're outcasts?
posted by sammyo at 2:26 PM on March 31 [3 favorites]


Technically, they can shampoo their hair every day so long as someone isn't around to see them do so.

After the Armorer gave Bo Katan the nod to lead everyone going forward, I swear Katee Sackhoff made the smallest satisfied smile, not so much "hurray I'm the leader!" as "well that went as I hoped it would when I agreed to play by their silly rules."

I agree with the writing not being super great. Carson Teva has the chance to be a far more interesting character than I think the show has really let him be. Course, he was going to be part of a spin off, and now I wonder if Zeb was going to be part of that with him. Thanks crazy actors! It was also hilarious that the Mandalorians go to Navarro to get land, and then promptly turn around and say, "Let's go to Mandalore!" When "lava flats" is described as part of your new land, I guess ruined planet of ancestors is just as attractive.

I appreciate the struggling New Republic, if only because it does fall into the problems that happen going forward with the government. In Bloodline by Claudia Gray, we basically see a whole chunk of the New Republic split off as they were unrequited Imperials (also known as the "Centrists.") Still, it all represents something sad, in how Lucasfilm/Disney decided to approach the Sequel Trilogy with everyone heroic in the original trilogy failing in some aspect or another.

Zeb was cool, if a little on the dark side. I'm used to him being a bit brighter thanks to animation, but really great transition there. He followed Hera into the regular rebellion. Not sure what his rank is, but Hera was a general by the time of A New Hope and continued to be a general in charge of hunting down particularly annoying imperial remnants - such as Shadow Wing (I think? I'm tired), a lethal Imperial TIE wing.

Someone felt that a lot of Carson's dialogue was in part shoving in storylines from the show that didn't happen. I agree with that.
posted by Atreides at 7:12 PM on March 31 [1 favorite]


It looks like the way to win a Mandalorian debate is to be the first to say "This is the way".

However, maybe it's not just saying it, but saying it with enough confidence? It's gotta be crushing to say "This is the way" and look to the crowd to respond "this is the way" and instead get alien crickets. I hope this happens someday!
posted by ignignokt at 11:51 AM on April 1 [5 favorites]


Elia Kane continues to be the most henchwoman looking character I have ever seen.

It would probably help her undercover work if she could look less evil.
posted by bq at 12:27 PM on April 1 [2 favorites]


This might be the Death Watch - the cult/faction that the Children of the Watch spun off from, and Bo-Katan was formerly a member of before they allied with the Sith. On the other hand I wonder if it's a false flag by the Empire/First Order to put the blame on Mandalorians as they're clearly seen as a threat.

I think it'll work back around to the first episode of this season, in which Bo-Katan says her group abandoned her when she returned sans Darksaber and became mercenaries.

If they're willing to work for whoever will pay them....
posted by kewb at 2:33 PM on April 1 [2 favorites]


It's gotta be crushing to say "This is the way" and look to the crowd to respond "this is the way" and instead get alien crickets.

I'm picturing myself trying "This is the way" at a work meeting and getting same.
posted by jenfullmoon at 2:37 PM on April 1 [4 favorites]


So say we all...
posted by sammyo at 5:33 PM on April 1 [7 favorites]


It would probably help her undercover work if she could look less evil.

I dunno, it seems to be going pretty well...

CARSON TEVA: These people need help!
TIM MEADOWS: But they never joined the Republic.
ELIA KANE: Yes, perhaps this will serve as an object lesson about the TRUE MEANING OF POWER!
MEADOWS: Kane, I like the cut of your jib.
TEVA: What?!?
MEADOWS: She says what we're all thinking!
TEVA: What are you talking about?
KLANE: Make the Galaxy Great Again.
MEADOWS: She tells it like it is!
posted by The Tensor at 3:34 AM on April 2 [10 favorites]


It looks like the way to win a Mandalorian debate is to be the first to say "This is the way".

Yeah... I noticed this as well this episode. As soon as a character says "this is the way," everybody's just like yup, this is the way.

Din: "We should all dip our junk in glitter and run pantsless at the enemy!"
Everybody: <confused looks>
Din: "This is the way!"
Everybody: <mumbling while dropping trou> "Sigh... this is the way. Somebody hand me the glitter."
Armorer: <To Din> "You have earned the special Beskar glitter of honor. This is going to really sting..."
Baby Yoda: "Fuck. I should've picked Jedi. I really should've gone Jedi."
posted by jzb at 1:58 PM on April 2 [2 favorites]


I dunno y'all, someone in a previous thread said something to the effect of "Star Wars is best when you don't think too hard", which I agree with completely!

But really, this episode put that to the test. I don't really have the energy to dissect the different reasons why, but there is absolutely a disconnect between what people say and what's happening on screen.

Just a random example, so the pirates come and they attack the city. Some townspeople die. The Carl Weathers character (sorry, not looking up his name) leads the rest of the surviving people to a cave. Then he gives a speech to (and I quote) "citizens of Navarro!..."

Wait, these are "the citizens"? There's like two dozen people! I dunno, this does not seem like a *city* to me, or even a town, maybe a hamlet?

This episode was only 36 minutes long from opening credits end, to closing credits beginning. It felt like it was twice that long, and not in a good way.
posted by jeremias at 4:39 PM on April 2 [5 favorites]


No, you're not wrong. This was a rough episode in a number of waves. I was also kind of surprised how the citizens of Navarro went from a bustling growing town to about 40 people. Some kind of comment about, "everyone else is scattered" or "hiding in their homes" or something to explain the difference would have gone a long way to explain where everyone went (for lack of funds?).

The same is for some of the reasons Carson Teva's character had a rough time. He started talking about the Imperial attack on Navarro...I guess, a year or two ago based on the show's Jeremy Beremy timeline and then connecting that to the pirate attack and claiming there might be an emerging Imperial threat.

Star Wars works just fine when you don't think too hard, but at the same time, it has to maintain a certain level of production cohesion. I think a good example of when the production worked really well was during the fight at the end, which I think was well shot (mainly) from the ground to the aerial combat. But the show had some pot holes that were a bit jarring, more than usual, this episode. I think generally there were a few instances where the director could have made some decisions while shooting and a lot of this would have been resolved, but...didn't.
posted by Atreides at 6:58 AM on April 3 [2 favorites]


The tensest moment of the episode was when Carson Tevya gives the little hologram disc to Mando in front of everyone else standing on the beach and the audience has to hold its breathe to see whether he’s going to play it and make us watch the whole thing again.
posted by skewed at 8:38 PM on April 9 [4 favorites]


Liked to see the Mandalorians fighting as a unit

But they do the same stupid thing that the Jedi do in Ep2, drop into a fight by landing in the middle of a bunch of enemies with guns pointing at them. It works out better for them than it did in that film, but it still seems it would have made more sense to land behind some of the pirates on the ground. Or for the boxed in Mandalorians to fly off.

Concerning the New Republic being a bit stretched and not doing much, that seems fine to me, given we already know the NR is going to fail. Plus it ties in with the Old Republic also being pretty shit in the Outer Rim.
posted by biffa at 5:14 AM on May 16 [1 favorite]


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