You may occasionally only want to watch an old-fashioned Star Wars. It’s meat-and-potatoes Star Wars bliss on a glossy plate in Episode 5 of The Mandalorian’s third season, and gosh, that original recipe still works. This is one of the best and most complete episodes of the series so far. The skirmish for Navarro delivers everything you’d want from a traditional, good vs evil Star Wars battle, while the season’s bigger story unfolds in fascinating ways in the background.
Thanks to a standout performance by Carl Weathers and a brief backstory that gives the conflict between the erstwhile associates a somewhat personal feel, the battle for control of Navarro between Gorian Shard and his pirates and Greef Karga and his people is clear-cut and fairly successful in this film.
Even if Shard (Nonso Anoziefiery )’s exit is fittingly opulent, it would have been lovely to see more of him on the show due in part to how incredibly cool his design is. It’s important to understand how the stakes are set up before the combat begins in order to fully appreciate how well it works as a set piece.
We are aware that Shard is threatening to halt Karga and his people’s development of a community that is healthier, safer, and economically successful. As Paz so beautifully states in his pre-battle speech, the Mandalorians have their honor on the line as well, and should they successfully defend the city.
They May very well be able to start over for their people. Moff Gideon, whose power seems to be connected to Nevarro in some way, also poses a looming menace. The show is doing an excellent job of setting up the tale gradually and including many parts so that it can develop in a way that feels natural. The story is set up really nicely.
It’s kind of interesting to see Captain Teva (Paul Sun-Hyung Lee, who is making a comeback) become more involved in the narrative of the program. He’s not the most interesting character on the show, but getting to experience things from his point of view as he works his way through the New Republic’s bureaucracy does give the world a little more depth and richness.
The impending threat posed by Gideon and the Empire is further made worse by his angry exchange with Elia Kane. Another amusing nod to Terry Gilliam’s Brazil, a comedy depicting a society governed entirely by bureaucracy, is Tim Meadows’ portrayal of “Colonel Tuttle” as the requisitions officer.
Even Meadows’ amusing cameo, however, is overshadowed by the appearance of Zeb Orrelios from the Rebels animated series (Steve Blum also plays the character)! Even though the new CGI Zeb is only on screen for a few seconds, that’s enough to give us a brief update on the activities of the Lasat freedom warrior since the end of the conflict.
Even if he’s a little dubious about how the New Republic is now run, it appears that he’s an Adelphi Ranger presently. We’ll have to wait and watch the upcoming spinoff show if he leaves his position to embark on an adventure with Ahsoka and the rest of the Ghost team.
It is lovely to watch the sliver of camaraderie that has grown over time between Captain Teva and Din, despite the fact that Teva traveling to the Mandalorians’ covert cave to enlist their assistance is primarily a means to a goal. Their shared hate of the Empire has led to an understanding among them.
Moreover, it’s good to see Paz defend Din while he asks the other Mandos to help Navarro, as it brings back memories of the prior episode when Din saved his kid. It’s extremely simple to become immersed in the show because of all of these thoughtfully planned minor character developments.