“Guns For Hire” finds a Quarren ship being tailed by the stolen Imperial fleet. The captain hails the Mandalorians aboard, mistakenly offering payment to any Imperial warlords in the area. However, they’re after her lover, whose family has paid for his return. Bo-Katan and Din Djarin head to the planet Axe Woves and the other Mandalorians are based on. There, the local leadership enlists the two Mandalorians to investigate a series of droid malfunctions. They solve the mystery and are granted a meeting with the Mandalorians. Bo-Katan challenges Axe to single combat and defeats him, but he refuses to yield. Din returns the Darksaber to Bo by virtue of her defeating the creature on Mandalore with the blade.
“Guns For Hire” is a strange episode. For one thing, I question the decision to place a more or less filler episode this late in such a short season. Secondly, the tone and performances in this episode feel off. The regulars like Pedro Pascal and Katee Sackhoff are great, as usual, but I have an issue with some cameos. I’ll come back to this. I think the opening scene is actually pretty good, especially Koska Reeves (Sasha Banks) saying, “All it takes is a few credits,” before the cut to black. But the inclusion of the story in the middle of the episode is puzzling, and I’m just baffled by some of the larger story choices.
The make-up on the Quarren and Mon Calamari looks great in the opening. In fact, the episode looks fantastic in general. The musical score is interesting, and I particularly like the theme when they arrive on Plazir-15. However, Plazir-15 is, unfortunately, where a lot of my problems with “Guns For Hire” stem. It makes sense for Din and Bo to go there because that’s where Axe, Koska, and the others are, sure. But the whole interlude with the Duchess (Lizzo) and her consort (Jack Black) feels like a waste of time and momentum. And look, I love Jack Black! He’s funny, likable, and I’ll watch almost anything with him in it. But going in, I would have said he wasn’t a good fit for Star Wars. I try to keep an open mind, especially with actors and shows I like and want to continue enjoying. But nothing in “Guns For Hire” changed my mind about this, and I must confess I was a little confused when I saw Lizzo. I didn’t watch She-Hulk (and have no desire to do so), but this reminds me of the infamous Megan thee Stallion cameo. Why is Lizzo here? All she does is coo over Grogu (understandable) and profess her love for and trust in Black’s character (again, I get it). Neither of these performers brings anything to this episode except for a campy feeling. This is the opposite of the Dr. Pershing episode; where that was slow and thoughtful, this is bright, booming, and dumb. This is dumb. I don’t necessarily even blame Black or Lizzo because what were they supposed to do? He’s a funny man, and she’s a pop singer. This isn’t really their thing, and now we see why. So why did Jon Favreau put them in “Guns For Hire”? Was this Disney meddling in the show’s story decisions yet again? I don’t find the droid plot all that interesting anyway, but the silly tone of these scenes isn’t helping. The idea is likely that these two act goofy and jovial to reassure the people, but they’re actually apprehensive about the droid dilemma. That would make sense, right? But the acting doesn’t sell it. Grogu jumping into Lizzo’s arms for food and purring was cute, though.
The one thing I enjoyed about this interlude was Christopher Lloyd’s character and what he says about droids and human laziness. He programs the droids to misbehave to challenge the people of Plazir-15 and their reliance on technology. He also remarks that ordinary citizens no longer have to work. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that so many of the characters we see there are fat. The citizens also voted against the interruption of the droids’ services, even for maintenance. I found the work thing strange since we see several people with jobs, including Lloyd and a scientist who discovers what’s causing the problems. I guess that rule doesn’t apply to doctors and government officials because you require those people for society to function. The scenes with the Ugnaughts are okay; I didn’t love nor hate them. I wonder if these specific Ugnaughts know Kuill because they react to Din mentioning his name. This oddly reminds me of the IG-11 nonsense earlier this season; Kuill is yet another character I loved in season 1, but like IG, this reference made me feel nothing. There’s something off about this season, even if I have mostly enjoyed it so far.
Some of my issues are more with the larger story this season. Isn’t it odd that Bo-Katan didn’t actively choose to join the Way? She didn’t intentionally keep her helmet on; it just worked out like that. Then, she didn’t decide to remove her helmet, instead being instructed to do so by the Armorer. Despite much of the season focusing on Bo-Katan, one of the biggest choices wasn’t made by her but for her. Twice. Also, they say in “Guns For Hire” that the Mandalorians now led by Axe Woves left her because she wanted to retake Mandalore. Didn’t they already know that? I thought that’s exactly why they followed her, to begin with. I was confident this season would improve, and it did last week, but now I’m just baffled.
“Guns For Hire” is an enigma, and I don’t mean that in a good way. Season 3 has been flawed from the start, but I’ve mostly enjoyed each chapter, whether it focused solely on Din, Dr. Pershing, or the Covert. I still have concerns about where they’re going with the Covert; before this season aired, I assumed that wearing the helmet all the time was silly and a rule that would either be overturned or Din would find his own way outside of this cult. I don’t know what’s going on with Bo-Katan, but she’s apparently not a villain this season, and she hasn’t said anything about her sister. There are only two episodes left, this one was largely wasted, and we still haven’t seen Moff Gideon. I’m stunned.