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The Mandalorian

The Spies (The Mandalorian - S03E07) - Live Action Series

Series: The Mandalorian

Title: Chapter 23 - The Spies

Season: Three

Episode: 7

Original Air Date: April 12th, 2023

Runtime: 49 minutes

Credits: Review & Text: Thomas; Page layout & Design: Chuck Paskovics

Discuss the latest Chapter! (Discussion)

"Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes!" SPOILERS.

Quelle surprise! Who would have thought that Elia Kane is still working for Moff Gideon?

Where is The Mandalorian headed after what many perceive to be the absolute low point of the series? "Guns for Hire" is the lowest rated The Mandalorian episode yet and while there are fans who really liked it many more apparently are less than pleased. On IMDB last week's episode has a very disappointing 6.4, which is the absolute lowest rating for any episode yet. Well, after today's episode, which is basically part 1 of the season 3 endgame, Jon Favreau tries his best at making a fun action adventure episode that throws everything including the proverbial kitchen sink at the viewer. However, I cannot shake the feeling that The Mandalorian has jumped the shark. Not just any shark. Imagine Evil Knievel putting on his best stunt suit, the motorcycle is powered by a jet engine and Evil Knievel doesn't just race towards a ramp to jump over a single shark, no he gives full throttle and jumps over the Grand Canyon filled to the brim with sharks. And as he soars over the beasts he fails to stick the landing, he crashes and explodes into a giant fireball. And from the wreckage he gives a feeble thumbs up before he faints.

Moff Gideon and his Mando-Stormtroopers

About the episode: we get a cold open with Elia Kane who contacts Moff Gideon. The five people or so who believed Elia Kane does not work for Gideon shall remain anonymous. Anyway, we learn that the pirate attack on Nevarro was instigated by Gideon, but Kane has to report that it all failed because the Mandalorians interfered. Gideon is not pleased. Next we see all new stormtroopers wearing Mandalorian style armor, a few indistinct clones in vats and then we get to meet the Imperial Shadow Council, including the father of General Hux and Thrawn's second in command. There is the usual bickering and infighting. And we learn an important tidbit: apparently Gideon's research project may be unrelated to the bigger Imperial research project labeled "Necromancer". Really the Empire is in dire need of some PR people who come up with better names. Anyway, we learn that Gideon is not heading the Remnant faction that apparently works on the Palpatine cloning project, instead it seems Gideon researched something else.

Shadow Council. Project Necromancer. Death Star. Who comes up with these names????

But despite all the rivalries the Imperial warlords still have a common goal. They wait for Thrawn, whose name gets dropped, his second in command is a member of the Shadow Council after all. But as Gideon points out Thrawn is nowhere to be found and he asks for help. The Mandalorians who want to reclaim Mandalore are a threat when united and he wants to deal with them once and for all. So he asks for three Praetorians and several ships.

When worlds collide

Back on Nevarro Bo-Katan returns with her (formerly Axe Woves') fleet. There is a somewhat uneasy first meeting between the helmet cultists and the other Mandalorians, but eventually all is well. They agree on working together and they have a common goal: to resettle Mandalore. But before we go there Greef Karga has a very special gift for Din Djarin and Grogu.........

Behold Metal Gear Grogu!

Greef Karga had the Babu Friks work on the IG-11 frame. And they completely repurposed the former assassin droid. All memory banks were removed, they hollowed out the chest and turned IG-11 into a droid that can be piloted by a very small person sitting in the chest cavity. And that person is supposed to be Grogu. Din is very much against the idea but Grogu, the 50-year-old toddler that he is, loves it of course. What follows is probably the best joke we've had in the series so far. You see, IG-12, as he is now dubbed, doesn't just come with levers to steer the droid around. No, he also comes with two buttons that play "Yes" or "No" sound clips (sampled from Taika Waititi's voice). And the second Grogu hops into IG-12 he begins to push the "Yes!" button exuberantly. And yes, any toddler would do just that. We then cut to a scene of Din and Metal Gear Grogu walking the streets of Nevarro and we hear a never ending sequence of "Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes!". One can only imagine the face Din is making under his helmet, but he seems to bear it all with extreme patience, as any good parent would whose kid has a new alltime favorite toy. Now while I think the joke itself is the best thing ever the very idea of Grogu piloting IG-12 as Metal Gear Grogu is just... silly.


After Grogu's upgrade it's time to head off to Mandalore! Previously Bo-Katan asked for volunteers who are to come down with her to the planet's surface, whereas the other Mandalorians stay behind on the ships. All the usual suspects volunteer, Din Djarin is the first, but Axe, Koska, Paz Vizsla and the Armorer are all volunteering as well. On the surface it does not take long before the vanguard encounters a massive overland sailing ship (don't ask) crewed by Mandalorians who held out and survived on the planet ever since the war. It is quickly agreed upon to join forces and the Mandalorians piloting the ship even know the way to the forge, so this is where they are all headed then.

The moment Din Djarin officialls hands over his series to Bo-Katan

It's time for some fun and relaxation. Din Djarin has a brief chat with Bo-Katan reassuring her of his loyalty and that he serves her now, because her song "is not yet finished". In short: we get a brief scene that cements what season 3 has already hinted at, which was then confirmed by executive producer and director Rick Famuyiwa (who also directed this episode): The Mandalorian has more than one main character now. And that other main character (for now) is of course Bo-Katan!

You know you are really childish when Grogu is the adult in the room

We then see that Mandalorians like losing at space chess even less than Wookiees. But whereas Wookiees rip your arms out, Mandalorians of course use vibroblades and want to cut your throat. When Axe Woves doesn't like it when Paz Vizsla uses some house rules for space chess things heat up immediately and the two duel. Their fight is eventually stopped by the only adult on the ship, apparently: Metal Gear Grogu! And these people are supposed to retake Mandalore?

What is it with these super freaking huge space kaijus?

After this short detour into parenting Grogu style things go downhill even more. Some giant space kaiju (not a mythosaur! though) lies dormant on the surface, but wakes up when the sailing ship approaces. And the space kaiju does what space kaijus do best: it attacks and demolishes the ship. The Mandalorians manage to escape in time and make it to the caves that lead to the forge.

They definitely fly now!

The Armorer however decided before that she has to take care of the weak and wounded (the surface dwelling Mandalorians aren't doing too well) and thus she missed all the fun. So she's not with the vanguard anymore scouting the forge and getting almost eaten by space godzilla. Instead she's heading back to the fleet. Bo-Katan and the others do not have much time to be wistful and nostalgic about the Mandalore that was once, because shortly after they arrive at the forge an army of those Mandalorian armor wearing stormtroopers we saw at the beginning attack them. It seems Poe Dameron, Finn and C-3PO never heard of the exploits of Bo-Katan and Din Djarin, since roughly 20 years later Imperial / First Order troopers with jetpacks are all but forgotten... but I digress...

He will be rescued for a third time by Bo-Katan next episode, no worries

The Mandalorians manage to fight off the Mando-Stormtroopers (i.e. I believe they are not Mandalorians, but Imperial stormtroopers with Mando inspired armor only) and push forward. Until they arrive at a massive underground Imperial installation. It seems they have found Moff Gideon's new headquarters. And of course it all is a trap. All but Din Djarin and a few unfortunate redshirts are not trapped inside two blast doors that close, cutting Din off who finds himself surrounded by an army ot Mando-Stormtroopers. Din tries his very best but is eventually captured by the Mando-Stormtroopers who bind him with their cables. And then it's time for Moff Gideon's grand entrance...

Behold the new Hasbro super deluxe action figure coming in 2025!

Giancarlo Esposito seems to have a lot of fun chewing the scenery as super evil Moff Gideon. Gideon is now wearing a brand new dark trooper inspired armor, made of Beskar, fashionable helmet with mini horns included. And it's all black of course. And it comes with a cape. He gloats and does all the things villains do. Din is taken away and then he approaches Bo-Katan who is still trapped between the two blast doors and demands she hands over the darksaber. Again. However, Bo-Katan won't fail yet another time, and instead uses the darksaber to cut open one of the blast doors, so she and the other Mandalorians can escape. Of course Gideon won't have that... but Paz Vizsla decides to stay behind, covering the retreat of Bo-Katan.

The sequel-torians defeat Paz Vizsla. It was an honorable death. Qapla!

Paz Vizsla is a true force of nature and with his gatling gun he mows down endless numbers until the three Praetorians Gideon requested earlier in the episode arrive on the scene. With the gatling gun broken, because it overheated, Vizsla draws his cute vibroblade. But of course he is no match for the three Praetorians who wear Mandalorian inspired helmets, so they are not quite the same Praetorians we meet in The Last Jedi. Well, and here things end. Bo-Katan manages to escape with the Mandalorian survivors, the Armorer is with the fleet in orbit. Din Djarin has been captured, Metal Gear Grogu is with Bo-Katan and Paz Vizsla commited suicide by Praetorians. Things look pretty bleak... but we still have one more episode to go!

Ok, I will make a prediction here: Bo-Katan will find and tame that mythosaur. She will ride it into battle and munch her way through all the evil guys. Metal Gear Grogu will help free Din Djarin while pushing that "Yes" button one thousand times. But Moff Gideon will not be killed once more, he will make a last minute escape. Bo-Katan is then crowned the queen of all Mandalore, but the Armorer reminds Bo-Katan of this ancient rule that demands the Queen needs a prince regent. So Din volunteers and marries Bo-Katan on the spot, the selfless servant that he is. On their wedding night Din tells Bo that the Armorer looked pretty lonely and sad during the wedding ceremony and the two invite her up. She then removes her helmet, but we only see the back of her head... and then we fade to black. Ok, forget about the wedding part. You will find this in fan fiction forums or maybe inĀ  The Mandalorian - A XXX Parody.Well, The Mandalorian is already a parody in a way, not much further to go really....

Anyway... where was I... well, this episode was very much in the tradition of everything George Lucas grew up with as a kid. This is saturday morning space adventure dialed up to 11. It's big, it's dumb, very dumb, and it's fun, lots of fun. I am not sure how one fun episode can make up for a third season that was very, very lackluster. But you cannot say Jon Favreau did not try his best to recreate a wild saturday afternoon in the sandbox with all your favorite Kenner Star Wars toys.

However, my major criticism about this season is still the same: I am not sure it was a good idea to sideline Din Djarin and to make Bo-Katan the main character. I am not against more than one main character. Ensemble shows have more options and you can tell more varied stories, Bo-Katan is not the issue. The issue is that Favreau had no ideas at all for a Din Djarin character arc. He's really just along for the ride. And in this episode he even confirms it once and for all in dialogue. I am not sure all fans will like this bait and switch. Again, I don't think anyone dislikes Bo-Katan and Katee Sackhoff. But that Din has no character arc to speak of anymore is sad. The same can be said about Grogu. He has no arc. He is a cute pet and now he's even Metal Gear Grogu. It turns out those "Grogu will pilot IG-11 like a mech" rumors that started months ago were spot on.

As a joke it was great. But I am not at all convinced this is a good idea for the series. I mean, sure, The Mandalorian is evidently meant to be extremely silly and fun, but Grogu piloting IG-11 now is just a little bit out there perhaps. This is maybe peak shark jumping. In style at least.

What else... the volume is still blatantly obvious in various scenes. It looks fake. But even worse was the very, very rough puppetry for the Babu Frik scene, it looked, very, very cheap and not convincing at all. CGI exists for a reason. It exists precisely for these things. Puppets simply cannot walk realistically.

So where is the series headed? "Dumb and fun" can be a very good thing. But I admit at times I would like it if I could take the characters somewhat more seriously, including the villain. Gideon was a credible threat in seasons 1 and 2... but in season 3 he was upgraded to moustache twirling cartoon villain with cartoon armor. It's ironic that Gideon shaved off his moustache. Esposito as Gideon is still fun, just as almost everything in this episode was fun. Fun in a "5-year-olds smash their action figures together for an hour straight" way. I suppose the dictionary entry for "guilty pleasure" has a new picture now. But I take "dumb" and "fun" over "stupid" and "silly" any day. I'd rather have this than Jack Black and Lizzo cosplaying Alice in Wonderland.

Final remarks: there is a chance Gideon at least is not working on proto snokes but something else entirely, since project Snoke seems to be a different department, labeled "Necromancer" (really????). So what could Gideon be working on? Does he research the transfer of force powers, the transfusion of midichlorians maybe? It would certainly be something a megalomaniac comic book villain like he would do, getting force powers. He could become unstoppable. But everything else seems to build up to the sequels. Now all that remains is to wait for the ratings. Alleged rumors claim viewership for The Mandalorian episode 6 (the one with Jack Black and Lizzo) was down 93% (!) on day of release, compared to the same time frame for the season 3 premiere which did exceedingly well in comparison, it was, according to this rumor, Disney's most watched season premiere released on a Wednesday yet. Which is in line with the Nielsen numbers actually. But we'll see how the ratings develop according to Nielsen soon. I wonder if Metal Gear Grogu, Queen Bo-Katan and all the action figures you can think of will improve the ratings again. Or if The Mandalorian has jumped the sharks so hard, there are no more sharks left to jump over. Evil Knievel can jump across the Grand Canyon only once. But whatever the future will have in store for The Mandalorian, I hope it will include an actual story for Din Djarin and Grogu as well and not just for the awesome Katee Sackhoff as Bo-Katan.

Added: April 12, 2023
Category: The Mandalorian
Reviewer: Thomas
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