It’s time to once again visit a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away with the new episode of The Mandalorian. “Chapter 21: The Pirate” is the fifth episode of season 3, and this episode sees Nevarro getting attacked by pirates with the Mandalorians needed for help.
Unfortunately, season 3 has been the weakest of the show so far, with many episodes feeling disjointed. “Chapter 21” sees many of the loose threads of the first four episodes tied together for an installment that’s a step in the right direction but not where it needs to be.
The episode begins with the pirates from “Chapter 17” returning to take over Nevarro, as Shard destroys many buildings and sends people fleeing for their lives. We are then reintroduced to a few familiar faces. First, Captain Carson Teva (Paul Sun-Hyung Lee) returns as he sees Greef Targa’s (Carl Weathers) message pleading for help. He then speaks to Garazeb “Zeb” Orrelios (Steve Blum), a character familiar to fans of the animated TV series Star Wars Rebels (like me). Seeing yet another fan-favorite character be transformed into live-action was an excellent experience, and it is great to see Zeb years after the conclusion of Rebels.
Teva goes to the Mandalorians for help, and Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) agrees to do Teva this favor. Djarin tells the Mandalorians they should unite to save Nevarro. Paz Viszla (Tait Fletcher) agrees to help Djarin and Bo-Katan Kryze (Katee Sackhoff) as they rescue his son in the previous episode. This chapter does a better job of making the first four episodes seem substantial, even with including Elia Kane (Katy O’Brian). Although the road is rough, it’s getting smoother as the season progresses.
The Mandalorians come to the rescue and save the day in a great action set piece. But, unfortunately, this is where the show falters. While the action onscreen looks damn cool with Mandalorians flying around with jet packs, getting invested in the characters isn’t easy. The villains are one-dimensional drunk pirates. The heroes are cool, but you don’t get attached to this clan of people who blindly follow a code. Djarin was boring, but the writers made him interesting by humanizing him with his relationship with Grogu. Unfortunately, many of the Mandalorians are not humanized, so you don’t feel the emotional stakes, worrying about whether they will make it. Growing attached to these characters is even more complicated when you cannot see their faces.
The final scenes of the episode tease a few new plot threads. After Karga gives the Mandalorians a home on Nevarro, the Armorer allows Bo-Katan to take her helmet off so that she can unite the Mandalorians and retake Mandalore. Teva discovers that Moff Gideon’s body is missing, meaning he never went to trial.
After discovering Beskar, the pilots suspect the Mandalorians took Gideon. This is a fascinating concept that will hopefully be explored more. However, an issue still arises as Djarin takes a backseat in this episode. His character has been the least exciting aspect of the season so far, and it sometimes feels like the writers ran out of things to do with him. Overall, this episode is a mild improvement over the predecessor but will need more steam to get to where it needs to be.
As ComingSoon’s review policy explains, a score of 5.5 equates to “Mediocre.” The positives and negatives wind up negating each other, making it a wash.