“The Pirate” opens on Navarro as Gourian Shard attacks the city to avenge his slain pirates. Greef Karga contacts Carson Teva and asks him for aid in removing the pirates. Teva requests permission and backup from the New Republic and is denied. As the people of Navarro flee into the mountains, Teva visits the Mandalorian covert to ask for help. Paz Viszla rallies the Mandalorians to join Din and save the city. The pirate ship is destroyed, and Gourian Shard with it. Greef Karga grants the Mandalorians a large tract of land on Navarro as their new home. The Armorer tasks Bo-Katan with recruiting more Mandalorians to join the Way… without her helmet. Carson Teva discovers that Moff Gideon escaped his prison transport.
Since this episode is called “The Pirate,” I’ll talk about a gripe I have first. Why did they kill off Gourian Shard in his second appearance? This character has an awesome look and voice, and I can’t help thinking this was a waste. Of course, they’re setting the pirates up to be connected with Moff Gideon, so it’s not like this plotline will just disappear. But this was a really cool villain, and I would have liked to see his true might more than once. By no means does this ruin the season, or even “The Pirate; ” I just think this was a misstep. I have a couple of other quibbles, like Teva not helping Greef himself at all. Of course, he probably knew deep down that Din would help his old friend. And I understand that his overlords wouldn’t give him clearance and aid, but I still think he could have joined the Mandalorians on their mission. Finally, Greef does give the Mandalorians a sizable chunk of land for helping the town, honoring his previous offer to Mando. But then, at the end, after they accept this gracious gesture, the Armorer tells Bo-Katan she should lead the charge to retake Mandalore. What’s going on here, and what’s the takeaway? Is the show saying, “Home is where the heart is,” or is this more of an “It matters where you come from”? To paraphrase a garbage movie, is Mandalore a people or a place?
A random thing I appreciated is Greef saying, “He shot first,” when Shard protests having his men killed. I may be reading too much into it here, but it reminds me of the whole “Han shot first” controversy. Speaking of this conflict, I love how Greef carries himself. He refuses to abandon his people and his city. I’ve always liked this character; Carl Weathers is just awesome, and his relationship with Mando is interesting. But I love this sense of honor he displays in the face of danger. Another awesome moment comes when we find Carson Teva, and he listens to Greef’s plea for help. I’m not sure if the Lasat sitting with Teva is supposed to be Zeb from Rebels, but he sure looks like him, and he’s voiced by Steve Blum. I’m not sure what Zeb would be doing here with the New Republic, though. At the end of Rebels, he went with the other Lasats and Agent Kallus to their new home world. This was a perfect ending for him, and I can only surmise they would bring him back into the fold to set up his appearance in Ahsoka. It’s similarly awesome when Paz Viszla backs up Mando’s plan to aid Navarro. These two men have had an adversarial relationship thus far, going back and forth on who holds the cards and stands in higher esteem. But he endorses the attack because Din saved his son. He gives an awesome speech about how they are willing to suffer and sacrifice because it’s the Mandalorian way. I’m really liking Paz this season.
The New Republic really sucks, don’t they? Part of me loves this, but the other part of my brain is worried about this being a potential set-up for the movies nobody likes. Jon and Dave have long since admitted that they are acknowledging ( or at least not denying) the sequels with the “Mando-verse,” and I don’t know why I keep hoping that can be avoided. I like what we’re seeing, for the most part. It makes sense for the governing body to fail to keep up with the outer rim; it’s not good, but it is very realistic. And the reluctance to aid non-member systems reeks of real-world government bureaucracy. Of course, they can’t just up and do the right thing abruptly. They need clearance, funding, the blood of a virgin, and all that jazz. I really feel for Teva, who clearly wants to help and represents the goodness within the Republic. He’s not being allowed to show that goodness and aid to a system that might have joined up otherwise. Regarding the sequels, I’m officially over seeing the Rise of Skywalker animal Babu Frik things. They’re cute, and Grogu’s interactions with them were funny, but it’s just gratuitous at this point.
The final thing I want to discuss is Bo-Katan’s mission and the Armorer’s seeming change of heart. I thought she made Bo-Katan a sword, and that was why she talked about the ornate forge on Mandalore. Like, “You may not have the Darksaber, but this sword will serve just as well.” Regardless, instructing Bo-Katan to remove her helmet feeds in nicely to a theory a lot of fans have had about the Mandalorians unmasking this season. I think it’s a dumb rule with no practical applications, and now I wonder if Paz and the Armorer would be willing to do away with it to recruit more Mandos.
I definitely have issues with “The Pirate,” some worse than others, but I enjoyed the episode by and large. The Bad Batch has beaten the pants off of The Mandalorian this season, especially in the last couple of weeks. While that isn’t hugely important to The Mandalorian, I find it surprising, and I never felt that way before. I’m enjoying this season more than not, but I worry that the creative spark behind it is dimming. I’m excited to see Moff Gideon again, though. He’s awesome.