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Tom’s Guide
Tom’s Guide
Henry T. Casey

I want to quit The Mandalorian — but episode 5 gives me hope

Grogu in The Mandalorian season 3

The Mandalorian season 3 continues to push me away, and now it's got me thinking about the Taylor Swift song "Anti-Hero." Yesterday (Wednesday, March 29) morning, I did what I do every week now: get up, boot up Disney Plus, remember that Mando and Grogu's latest adventure is on Disney Plus, and watch before work.

If you've read my previous article about Mandalorian fatigue, you'll probably wonder why I'm doing this to myself. While I don't love this season, I still have some curiosity and I tune in to avoid getting spoiled on what happens on social media (and, of course, in case there's something worth writing about here at Tom's Guide). 

But yesterday's episode — Chapter 21: The Pirate — was nearly all of the shove away I needed. Allow me to explain why, after this spoiler warning for The Mandalorian season 3 episode 5.

Not the freakin' space pirates ... and Tim Meadows

(Image credit: Lucasfilm)

Most of The Mandalorian Season 3 episode 5 was about these generic and boring pirates who cannot inspire any fear. They're comedy material.

I knew I was in trouble when the "Previously on" video delivered flashbacks to the season 3 episode 1 fight with the space pirates who terrorized Nevarro and Greef Karga (Carl Weathers). Possibly the biggest low-mark for The Mandalorian so far, these aliens were nothing but trouble — both for Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) and myself. 

And most of The Mandalorian Season 3 episode 5 was about these generic and boring pirates who cannot inspire any fear. They're comedy material.

(Image credit: Lucasfilm)

Then, to my shock, The Mandalorian leaned into its comedic side more with SNL veteran Tim Meadows as Colonel Tuttle, a middle New Republic middle manager. This was mostly important to slow-burn the Elia Kane (Katy O'Brian) storyline from episode 3, you know, Kane's the one who is supposedly reformed, but definitely evil?

Kane's working for Tuttle, and makes she he doesn't help the folks on Nevarro, as New Republic captain Carson Teva (Paul Sun-Hyung Lee) got a holographic request for their help. So, Teva has to fly his X-Wing to the not-quite-secret planet where Din Djarin and the other Mandalorians are holed up. Sure, they're hostile to Teva at first, but then they help. That is the Way.

The Mandalorian's action scenes don't feel important

(Image credit: Lucasfilm)

My biggest issue with the new Mandalorian episode is that its middle 10-minute section didn't feel important at all. It's another "mission of the week" episode as Mando and Bo-Katan Kryze (Katee Sackhoff) lead other Mandalorians in the rescue of Nevarro.

Thematically, this quest makes some sense — the Mandalorians and Nevarro people were former enemies who now have common enemies, so you've got the topic of Djarin's growing family going on — but the action is just not that important. That's not because Karga is a bad character, but because these pirates are obviously going to lose. They're no threat.

Outlook: Finally, The Mandalorian season 3 teases greatness

(Image credit: Lucasfilm)

And right before the episode finished, when I was ready to write a post beginning with "OK, I've accepted that The Mandalorian isn't for me, I'm out!" We got two moments that were predictable — and two that actually felt pretty cool.

First, Bo-Katan Kryze ascended to a leadership position in the Mandalorian group. This felt obvious ever since The Armorer welcomed her back. The cool twist, though, is that she's allowed to go around without her helmet — because she can court Mandalorians who go without theirs. Any time where Star Wars factions voluntarily break from their dogma, I'm listening.

I know I'm not out of The Mandalorian yet. I'm theorizing about a mystery, a key moment in every TV watcher's habits.

Then, we get another 1-2 moment. First, Teva makes the discovery that we all could have seen coming: the captured Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito) was freed — and those transporting him were left to die. The twist? Beskar steel was left behind, making it look like Mandalorians were responsible. 

So, two situations seem likely. Elia Kane and other Gideon disciples could have done the heist, leaving the Beskar steel behind to frame Din Djarin (holding a grudge for his role in their leader's arrest and him escaping with Grogu). Or, Kryze — who seems very suspicious at the moment — played a part in it, and this is all a setup for her to take the Darksaber from Mando. 

And here lies the moment where I know I'm not out of The Mandalorian yet. I'm theorizing about a mystery, a key moment in every TV watcher's habits. That's when you know you're hooked. See y'all next time.

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