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‘The Mandalorian’ – Season 3 Episode Five Recap: “The Pirate”

(L-R): Grogu, Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) and Paz Vizsla (Tait Fletcher) in Lucasfilm's THE MANDALORIAN, season three, exclusively on Disney+. ©2023 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.

*Warning: the following article contains spoilers for episode five of season three of The Mandalorian*

I remember the days when The Mandalorian premiered on Disney+, and it was nearly impossible to avoid spoilers on social media without watching the show. Now, it seems that no one is talking about it. It shows how unremarkable it has become, even with moments of fun sprinkled throughout. This week, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse co-director Peter Ramsey helms a fun and fast-paced episode, which is essentially one big action setpiece, but the connective tissue of the show barely flows together.

As far as animation directors turned live-action filmmakers go, Ramsey has done a great job crafting compelling setpieces, compared to how Dave Filoni helmed his episodes in past seasons of The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett. The core threat of the episode is simple: Pirate Captain Gorian Shard (Nonso Anozie) wants to take over Nevarro after a brief stint with Greef Karga (Carl Weathers) and Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) in episode one didn’t go well. Karga enlists the help of Carson Teva (Paul Sun-Hyung Lee), who goes to Coruscant to ask Colonel Tuttle (Tim Meadows) if he can send out a crew to liberate Nevarro.

During the episode’s opening moments, Zeb Orrelios (Steve Blum) from Star Wars: Rebels makes his live-action debut. I’ll admit that I’m getting tired of characters from the Skywalker Saga showing up for absolutely no reason other than for fans to do the Rick Dalton pointing meme, but this one made sense. Plus, it was so unexpected that I enjoyed the hell out of it. It’s a sign that he will likely appear in Ahsoka, which Peter Ramsey also directed! It’s all connected, of course.

Unfortunately, Elia Kane (Katy M. O’Brian) tells Tuttle they have no jurisdiction over Nevarro since they are an entirely independent system. This leads Teva to seek help from The Mandalorians, to which they return the favor. The rest of the episode is a large action setpiece, and it ranks high among some of the best of the show. The ground combat isn’t particularly impressive, though its pacing is incredibly fast that some moments are quite effective to watch. What’s most stunning to watch in this episode is the aerial fight between Djarin, Bo-Katan Kryze (Katee Sackhoff), and Shard’s Corsair, who fight with relentless energy.

That’s where the action shines. It’s a recurring theme for The Mandalorian‘s third season, but every aerial scene has been spectacular. This episode is no different — many surprising moments occur in the air that makes the whole thing feel like Star Wars attempting to do their version of Top Gun: Maverick. It may not be perfect, but watching it on the small screen is fun. After liberating Nevarro, The Armorer (Emily Swallow) asks Bo-Katan to find the remaining exiled Mandalorians to unite to retake Mandalore.

As this occurred, I said, “This is great and all…but where the hell is Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito)?” The joke’s on me because the episode ends with Teva exploring a prison transport that was…transporting Moff Gideon! Where did he go? Who knows, but a reveal ending the episode makes Teva realize that Mandalorians captured him. The Mandalorians that audiences spent time with likely haven’t captured him, but what about Koska Reeves (Mercedes Varnado), who parted ways with Bo-Katan, which she will likely go to in her hopes of reuniting all Mandalorians? What happened to her? Now that would be an interesting plot point to explore.

Episode five of The Mandalorian – Season 3 is now streaming on Disney+.

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Written by Maxance Vincent

Maxance Vincent is a freelance film and TV critic, and a recent graduate of a BFA in Film Studies at the Université de Montréal. He is currently finishing a specialization in Video Game Studies, focusing on the psychological effects regarding the critical discourse on violent video games.

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