TV Review / Recap: “The Mandalorian” Delivers a Goofy-Fun Detective Noir Episode in “Chapter 22 – Guns for Hire”

By now we’ve figured out that this season of The Mandalorian is all about the rise of Bo-Katan Kryze and her (hopefully) eventual reinstatement as the ruler of the planet Mandalore.

What I wasn’t necessarily expecting to get in this week’s episode, entitled “Chapter 22 – Guns for Hire,” was a side quest that plugged our heroes Din Djarin (voiced by Pedro Pascal), the aforementioned Bo-Katan (Katee Sackhoff), and baby Grogu into a freewheeling detective-noir romp– but once I got the idea of what they were going for, I allowed myself to have fun with it.

“Guns for Hire” begins by checking in on the Mandalorian mercenaries who used to work alongside Bo-Katan– namely Axe Woves (Simon Kassianides) and Koska Reeves (Mercedes Varnado)– and have now taken up bounty-hunting assignments like tracking down a pair of somewhat hilariously star-crossed lovers of the Quarren and Mon Calamari species. Then we see Mando and Bo-Katan arrives at the planet Plazir-15, where Woves’s fleet has set up shop as the contracted protectors of a wealthy aristocracy led by hammy guest stars Jack Black and Lizzo. Yes, you read that right. But stunt casting aside, these two rulers hire the team-up of Djarin and Kryze (the reasoning behind why they can’t bring in Woves and Reeves to do the same job is fuzzy at best) to solve the mystery of why some members of their reprogrammed battle droid workforce have recently been turning on their masters. That leads our two would-be detectives to the head of security for Plazir-15, played by Back to the Future star Christopher Lloyd. In true noir fashion, Lloyd sends them on a wild goose chase around the city, where Din and Bo-Katan visit both a droid bar and a droid morgue before realizing that it was the security chief himself who covertly sabotaged the errant droids. After solving the mystery and arresting Lloyd, our heroes are rewarded with a key to the city– not to mention a knighthood for Grogu– and sent back on their way to meet with the other Mandalorians.

I do wish that this subplot felt a little less disposable, but I guess we’ve learned from this series that even one-off adventures can pay off later down the line, and it was admittedly pretty fun along the way regardless. Anyway, “Guns for Hire” climaxes with Bo-Katan challenging Axe to a duel to reclaim her fleet, which also triggers Din to return the Darksaber to her as well (the transference of its ownership being acceptable now that she defeated the monster that captured him back in episode 2, as many Star Wars fans have noted). It’s a reinvigorating way to end this adventure and set up the final two installments of the season, and I got a kick out of seeing Kryze more legitimately wielding that weapon in live-action form. As a whole, “Guns for Hire” feels a bit disjointed. It was fun seeing Lloyd, Black, and Lizzo popping up in A Galaxy Far, Far Away (though the latter is undoubtedly a better musical artist than she is an actor)– plus Lucasfilm’s Matthew Wood reprising his famous battle-droid role– but you really could just cut out the middle half-hour of the episode and not affect the outcome in any way. Still, director Bryce Dallas Howard (who has now helmed more episodes of The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett than anyone except executive producers Rick Famuyiwa and Dave Filoni) keeps things visually interesting, energetic, and charming enough that– like the series as a whole– it never stops being entertaining.

New episodes of The Mandalorian are released Wednesdays, exclusively via Disney+.

Sign up for Disney+ or the Disney Streaming Bundle (Disney+, ESPN+, and ad-supported Hulu) now
Mike Celestino
Mike serves as Laughing Place's lead Southern California reporter, Editorial Director for Star Wars content, and host of the weekly "Who's the Bossk?" Star Wars podcast. He's been fascinated by Disney theme parks and storytelling in general all his life and resides in Burbank, California with his beloved wife and cats.