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In “The Pirate” The Mandalorian Still Struggles to Make You Care
Image: Disney

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In “The Pirate,” The Mandalorian Still Struggles to Make You Care

With three episodes left in the season, The Mandalorian still hasn’t given a compelling reason to care and “The Pirate” doesn’t change that.

The Mandalorian Season 3, Episode 5:
“The Pirate” Review

We’re now five episodes into an eight-episode season of The Mandalorian and despite some entertaining Star Wars action, there’s been a permeating feeling throughout of “why do I care?”. There’s been some good episodes and some not-so-good episodes but there has yet to be a reason to care. There are three episodes left of the season and the thorough line of the plot is just barely coming into focus. The Mandalorian has also been a very side-quest-centric show but the previous two seasons still had a main thrust of all the action established by the end of the first or second episode. 

Season three has been a season of teases. It’s teased things that may come into play later, it’s teased things that may connect, and it’s teased character arcs. By the end of this episode, the only teased set-up that has had any meaningful progress is Bo-Katan’s arc. There are three episodes left and the show has not given a sufficient reason to care. The teases were nice for a while when it felt like they would lead to something and this episode should have been that something. But Chapter 21, titled “The Pirate,” just continues to tease and my patience has run out. 

In “The Pirate” The Mandalorian Still Struggles to Make You Care
Image: Disney

The episode itself is fine. The pirates from the first episode of the season come back for revenge on Nevarro and since the New Republic won’t send help, it’s up to the Mandalorians to help. There’s some fine action as the Mandalorians take out the pirates although nothing we haven’t seen before in this series. The episode also offers a nice view into the incompetence of the New Republic. I just don’t care. The show gives me no reason to care. The pirates are coming for revenge four episodes later and now they’re all dead and there’s just no reason this couldn’t have happened in episode two. 

Of all the things this season has been teasing, Bo-Katan’s arc has been the biggest strength of the season, helped immensely by Katee Sackhoff’s performance. “The Pirate” finally moves that forward in a meaningful way. After she told the Armorer last week about her encounter with the Mythosaur in the first episode, Bo’s crisis of faith finally comes to an end as the Armorer deems her as the one who can unite all Mandalorians as the one who has walked both paths. The old ways and the new. It’s nice forward momentum for her after three episodes of watching her process what she saw.

In “The Pirate” The Mandalorian Still Struggles to Make You Care
Image: Disney

Bo-Katan’s arc moving forward is all well and good, especially as I mentioned how it’s been the season’s biggest strength but it illuminates a big problem this season has had. Din Djarin, the titular Mandalorian, has no arc this season and has very little to do. This is now the Bo-Katan show. Bo-Katan is a great character and Katee Sackhoff is excellent so putting her at the forefront isn’t a problem in and of itself. The problem is that Mando literally has nothing meaningful to do other than to kill bad guys and be a plot device. He is now there to do things like to convince the other Mandalorians to help Nevarro because that’s what the plot needs. He’s just there now with no real reason to care about him other than the fact that he’s the Mandalorian.

Beyond the pirate plot and Bo-Katan’s arc, the episode also features the return of Kane from episode 3 although nothing she says or does is noteworthy. Upon seeing her I was hopeful that this episode would start connecting all the disparate parts of the season but it just doesn’t. She’s there but does nothing of substance and then disappears. The ending of the episode does reveal what happened to Moff Gideon and that revelation is an exciting one but it’s again another tease. If the next three episodes follow through on that final tease with a meaningful story arc that spans the rest of the reason, then great, but at this point, by the time this episode finished I was too tired of teases to get excited. There are three episodes left in the season and the main plotline is just now being revealed.

If the show builds on the momentum of the end of “The Pirate” then the final episodes of the season should theoretically be terrific. I hope they are but as of now I just don’t care and it’s because the show has given me five episodes without giving me a reason why I should. If you just want to watch some Mandalorians take out space pirates, you’ll enjoy this episode. It offers the bare minimum Star Wars fun. I really just wished I cared more about anything that was happening.

Written By

30% Water, 70% James Bond movies. Matt is a writer, gamer, film enthusiast & silly person. The winner of various fictitious awards, he's fluent in English & pop culture references.

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