When we left off last week, Bo-Katan had been tasked by the Armorer to go and collect the other Mandalorians throughout the Galaxy. Some of them, including Bo-Katan’s old crew now led by Axe Woves, are now guns for hire. When they aren’t snatching lovestruck Calimari princes away from their Cthulhu-faced Quarren lovers to return them home, they’re acting as an intergalactic defense force for planets that need them.
Planets like Plazir-15! This beautiful domed city is constitutionally forbidden from having an army, so (unlike Greef Karga) they were smart enough to hire outside help. Now, Bo-Katan must try and get them back onside to unify the Mandalorians.
While on their way to see these hired guns, Bo-Katan’s ship gets locked into the planet’s auto-landing system, and their monorail automatically ferries them away from the mercenaries and off to a meeting with the rulers of the planet.
In our first big cameos of the week, it’s revealed that the rulers are Jack Black and Lizzo, here playing Captain Bombardier and the Duchess of Plazir-15. Dressed like extras from the Capitol District of Panem, they welcome Din, Bo-Katan and Grogu. Lizzo is just smitten with little Grogu and he feels the same as he excitedly force leaps into her arms from across the table. (And really, who could blame either of them. I have about 10 Grogu plushies and played “About Damn Time” approximately 1000 times in the car last summer.)
The Captain is another success story of the Amnesty Program. He used to be Imperial, but after the war he helped rebuild Plazir-15, and then he and the Duchess fell in love. (Awww…) Unlike other “successes”, (*cough,* Kane, *cough cough*) Bombardier seems sincere. And he is sincerely concerned that all of the imperial droids he painstakingly reprogrammed seem to be glitching out. If our Mandalorians can help figure out the droid problem, he’ll grant them diplomatic access to the privateer Mandalorians they’ve hired to defend the planet.
He sends them to his head of security, Commissioner Helgait, to review the footage of the droid attacks. In our next big cameo of the week, Helgait is played by Doc Brown himself, Christopher Lloyd.
He shows them some footage of the Plazir-15’s Wackiest Malfunctioning Droid Videos. Droids are tearing up luggage they’re carrying, droid valets are slamming land speeders into walls, and generally causing havoc. He has a killswitch for all the droids, but he’s reluctant to use it. The population depends on droids for literally everything, and they won’t be able to function without them. He sends them to the lower levels to get a list of the droids that are going haywire.
And here is where the episode turns into a buddy cop show. Din and Bo-Katan follow the breadcrumbs from scene to scene, chasing the clues as they find them. Bo-Katan is the by-the-book rookie, Din is the cop who plays by his own rules but gets results, dammit! They go talk to the Ugnaughts who have been working on the droids, and because Din knows how to talk to them with respect (“I have spoken!”) they give them the info they need. The Ugnaughts’ analysis predicts that the next rogue droid will pop up on the loading docks. They head over there where they quiz the foreman, an old B1 battle droid, aka a “Roger Roger.” (Alas, they don’t let the droid say the line. Come on, if you’re doing prequel fan service like that, SERVICE THE FANS!)
While Bo-Katan questions Roger, Din starts shoving the battle droids that have been repurposed into loaders. If they’re loaders now, reasons Din, they aren’t going to react when I disrupt their programming. Except, of course, for the rogue droid who reacts very badly. After a chase through the Plazir-15 nightlife, Din and Bo-Katan subdue the droid, who conveniently has a matchbook (sorry, strike pad) from a droid bar. Shout out to the little police bot that projects some holographic crime scene tape around the dead droid.
They head to the droid bar, and I was totally prepared to have the bartender yell at them that they don’t serve their kind here. (You know, an homage to the Mos Eisley cantina). But the bartender is quite eager to help. They’d rather not be melted down or deactivated and want the rogue droid problem fixed as well. It turns out that all the rogue droids came to that bar, and all of them refreshed themselves with nepenthe, a lubricating solution that also carries programming patches. Hmm…
Back at the droid morgue, the technician takes a sample of the nepenthe from the one they destroyed. Turns out those programming patches are actually nanobots. And, super conveniently, they have a blockchain on them identifying the purchaser as…
Commissioner Helgait! Gasp! You mean Judge Doom was the villain all along? When confronted, he admits that he did not want to serve the corrupt Republic or the Empire, he is a separatist! And I’m sure he’d have more to say about that but Bo-Katan tases him before he can get much further. Case closed!
So, finally, Bo-Katan and Din get to the other Mandalorians. Axe is quite happy doing his own thing and doesn’t want to leave, so Bo-Katan challenges him to a trial by combat. The fight is very well done, with all of the Mandalorian gadgets being used to great effect. Grappling lines, jet packs, gauntlet blades, it’s a no holds barred affair. Bo-Katan subdues him, but he still doesn’t want to follow her. After all, she doesn’t wield the darksaber! You know, for all the crap they gave Din about wearing the helmet last season, they sure are fixated on that darksaber.
Din helpfully tells them that when he was exploring Mandalore, he got captured, and Bo-Katan rescued him with the darksaber. She bested the ones who defeated him, therefore she controls the blade. And frankly, I think Din was glad to be rid of it. He always looked extremely awkward holding it. Bo-Katan now has her blade and the loyalty of the Mandalorians!
So, this episode was…fine. I actually quite liked the CSI: Plazir-15 vibe that Din and Bo-Katan had going, to the point where I wouldn’t mind seeing a full on Law & Order: New Republic show. (Anything to bring back the police tape droid! When’s that action figure coming out?) But there weren’t really any stakes to speak of. Did you ever doubt that they’d crack the droid case? Or that Bo-Katan wouldn’t get the Mandalorians back on her side? Me either. I kept expecting there to be a reveal about Captain Jack Black secretly reprogramming the droids for Moff Gideon, but no. Everything played straight down the middle. Still, it was enjoyable if nothing special.
And, as I have said before, I am still not really invested in Bo-Katan, leader of Mandalore. Maybe I will get there, but it’s really not clicking for me.
The sheer wattage of the guest stars threatened to overwhelm the show, considering the usual level of guest is more of a character actor like Bill Burr or Titus Welliver, but Lizzo and Jack Black were clearly having a blast which made it more fun to watch.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Grogu Cuteness Meter: Grogu is having the best time with his babysitter, Duchess Lizzo. He coos while she scratches his head! He uses the force to help her win at pillbug croquet! (I doubt Luke would approve) It’s making up for the absolute dearth of Grogu from last week.