The Mandalorian delivers a weird, pulpy Star Wars version of Law & Order


The Mandalorian season 3 takes a page straight out of Law & Order, CSI, and even a bit of The X-Files for its sixth episode, “Guns for Hire.” At times this episode feels like misplaced filler, but with Bryce Dallas Howard in the director’s chair, it’s also Star Wars at its quirky, campy best.

“Guns for Hire” opens in space aboard a Quarren ship that finds itself in the path of an Imperial warship. The warship is crewed not by Imperials but by Mandalorians: the Nite Owls formerly led by Bo-Katan Kryze (Katee Sackhoff).

The group has turned itself into mercenaries led by Axe Woves (Simon Kassianides), and they’ve intercepted the Quarren vessel to retrieve a kidnapped Mon Calamari prince (Harry Holland). Just one snag: the prince wasn’t actually kidnapped; he and the captain of the vessel (Christine Adams) are in love. But The Mandalorian mercenaries don’t care about that, only finishing the job they were hired for.

Jack Black and Lizzo are married on The Mandalorian

From there, it’s back to Bo-Katan and Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal), whose current mission to find the Nite Owls and reunite the scattered Mandalorians leads them to the planet Plazir-15. The lush planet’s city is encased in a massive clear dome that looks eerily similar to the Spaceship Earth ball at Disney World’s Epcot.

Inside is a sprawling, tranquil paradise that somewhat recalls Alice in Wonderland. Bo-Katan and Din even walk into a Mad Tea Party-esque feast hosted by Captain Bombardier (Jack Black) and his wife and heiress to the planet (Lizzo).

The pair explain how they hired the Nite Owls as privateers to maintain the planet’s security, and that they need a favor before they connect Bo-Katan and Din with them. Cue a criminal investigation through the streets and seedy cantinas of Plazir-15.

Christopher Lloyd appears on The Mandalorian

It turns out Plazir-15 has a bit of a droid problem. None of the “organics” on the planet work. Instead, the community’s infrastructure and other labor-based systems are kept afloat by recommissioned droids, including battle droids from the Clone Wars and Imperial makes.

But some of the droids are going rogue, malfunctioning, wreaking havoc, and hurting citizens. Bo-Katan and Din’s criminal investigation leads them to Helgait (Christopher Lloyd), the head of surveillance, who shows them clips of some droids behaving badly.

Their next stop is the group of Ugnaughts responsible for the droids’ upkeep. After some polite questioning by Din — who understands and cares about not insulting them — the Ugnaughts provide information that leads the duo to the loading docks. There, they see battle droids being used to haul and load cargo. Din begins to antagonize the droids until he finds one that’s been compromised, which sets off a chase through the streets of Plazir-15 and ends with holo police barricades surrounding the downed droid.

The Mandalorian meets Law & Order meets ChatGPT

A piece of evidence found on the droid then leads Din and Bo-Katan to a droid bar called The Resistor. Back to his old ways for some reason, Din threatens the droid bartender with violence despite Bo-Katan’s insistence that it’ll talk.

And talk the bartender does, revealing that the only beverage served at this bar is called Nepenthé. And all of the malfunctioning droids consumed the same batch.

At the droid morgue, the technician withdraws fluid from the destroyed battle droid and tests it. They find that the Nepenthé in the droid’s system contains something strange, but as they look further, the hovering medical droid attacks them. Din quickly dispatches it, and the tech then finds that the Nepenthé is full of nano-droids containing a chain code that points directly back to none other than Helgait. The surveillance lead reveals that he purposely compromised the droids to disrupt normal life on the planet. But not for the Empire; for the Separatists and the late Count Dooku.

Bo-Katan stuns Helgait and they bring him back to the Plazir-15 leaders for punishment: exile on the moon of Paraqaat. Bo-Katan is honored with the key to the planet, and Grogu — who was hanging out with Lizzo’s princess character the whole time — is knighted under the Ancient Order of Independent Regencies. Sir Grogu has a nice ring to it even if he isn’t a Jedi knight.


With the Law & Order mission handled, Bo-Katan and Din finally reach the Mandalorian privateers. They aren’t happy to see her, but she challenges and bests Axe Woves, who continues to taunt her about her inaction in reclaiming the Darksaber from Din.

Again, Din offers to give the Darksaber over. And again Bo-Katan tells him that’s not how it works. But Din says he had the Darksaber taken from him on Mandalore and Bo-Katan defeated the creature who defeated him. So technically, the Darksaber is Bo-Katan’s. The other Mandalorians agree, and the episode ends with Bo-Katan with the coveted Darksaber in hand, finally back where it belongs.

While the episode is certainly fun and silly Star Wars — and I’m not complaining about the focus on Bo-Katan — “Guns for Hire” feels disjointed and misplaced within the rest of the season. With only two episodes left, I can’t help but wonder if this quirky side mission and reclamation of the Darksaber would have hit better earlier on.

Episode Grade: B

Next. The Mandalorian season 3 finally comes together in “The Pirate”. dark

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