The Mandalorian Season 3 Episode 5 Goes Full Pirate

Spoilers for "Star Wars: The Mandalorian" follow. 

The hyper-chickens come home to roost in the latest episode of "The Mandalorian." The twenty-first chapter is called "The Pirate" and brings Gorian Shard back to the forefront of trouble for the people of Nevarro. The episode begins with Greef Karga (Carl Weathers) doing some serious city planning with city engineers, pleasing NUMTOTs the world over by including rail in his plans to make the city better and move cargo around. But that's when Gorian Shard returns to Nevarro to threaten Greef and the planet. Greef tries to bluff him, insisting the New Republic might help, but Gorian Shard knows better. For the insolence shown to his men the last time they visited the planet, Gorian Shard opens fire, laying waste to the city Greef Karga has worked to make safe and respectable. As he's evacuating the citizens to safety, Greef Karga dispatches a message to none other than Carson Teva (Paul Sun-Hyung Lee) of the New Republic's Adelphi Rangers.

Receiving the message, the Rangers don't have the authorization to help on their own, so Teva travels to Coruscant to petition his superior, Colonel Tuttle (Tim Meadows), to allow them to intercede. Unfortunately, there are other worlds that are members of the New Republic that need help and he can't give them the authorization. Taking matters into his own hands, Captain Teva susses out the location of the Mandalorian covert and passes Greef Karga's information to them, in hopes that Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal, et al) might rush to aid his old friend Greef Karga and save Nevarro from the pirates.

This sparks a debate among the Mandalorians, but Din explains that it's his honor-bound duty to go and help. Once Paz Vizsla offers his vocal support for the plan, they spring into action. The Mandalorian goes in first as a distraction in his N1 Starfighter while Bo-Katan deposits two strike teams of Mandalorians into the streets of Nevarro to take down the pirates there.

Together, they all work to take back the city. Greef Karga gives them their plot of land, and the day is saved.

But things don't end there.

The Armorer brings Bo-Katan into the old forge room and bids her to remove her helmet. The Armorer realized her mistake and asks Bo-Katan to walk amongst both worlds for them. If Bo-Katan can unite the Watch and the other tribes, they might all be able to go back to Mandalore together.

The episode ends with Carson Teva out on patrol. He finds a damaged Lambda transport showing signs of having been attacked. Sending a probe in for information, there are no survivors, and doing some checking, he discovers that this was Moff Gideon's transport. And Moff Gideon's body is not among the wreckage. The only clue about who might have rescued him? A fragment of beskar armor is wedged in the damage.

But what Mandalorian would dare rescue Moff Gideon?

Rangers of the New Republic

The message Greef Karga sends makes it to an officers club that looks like it came straight out of "M*A*S*H" by way of "Star Wars" and cameos abound. Deborah Chow, Rick Famuyiwa, and Dave Filoni all reprise their New Republic Pirates in the background of this scene, but the character that is the most exciting to see rendered in live action is Zeb, from "Star Wars Rebels," with Steve Blum reprising the voice role. The only thing we knew about Zeb's post-"Return of the Jedi" future is that he eventually takes Kallus to the new Lasat homeworld, there's very little about what he did before or after. Now, it seems, he joined the Adelphi Rangers and wore the blue uniform of the New Republic for a time.

This side-quest of Carson Teva's also gives us a taste of what the "Rangers of the New Republic" show might have been like had Lucasfilm not parted ways with Gina Carano and needed to fold the show into the contents of "The Mandalorian." It was particularly nice to see another great comedian step into the show with Tim Meadows. Most will recognize Meadows from his near-decade-long stint on Saturday Night Live playing Colonel Tuttle on Coruscant. There's a frustration in watching the inertia of the New Republic as they transform from Rebellion into bureaucracy.

Bo-Katan in both worlds

One of the most shocking events of this episode comes when the Armorer insists that Bo-Katan remove her helmet. The Armorer seems to be seeing a future for a united Mandalore, and the seeds were sown by Bo-Katan's revelation of having seen the mythosaur. It's fascinating to see this turn of events, because as a member of the audience, we feel that the Armorer is testing her into a trap as much as Bo-Katan does.

How will this play out, though?

The Darksaber is still a vital symbol among the Mandalorian people and the Armorer appears to have picked sides regarding who should be uniting Mandalore. Is this going to cause more conflict or bring about unity? It's one of the biggest lingering questions of this season so far, and hopefully, we'll get answers as we head to the last few episodes of the season from here.

Who freed Moff Gideon?

The other biggest question this episode leaves us with is who freed Moff Gideon? The only clue appears to be a sliver of beskar armor, indicating Moff Gideon's liberator might have been Mandalorian.

Who could this have been? There are a couple of options. First, it's possible (though I find the idea unlikely) that Bo-Katan's former adherents who had gone mercenary have been paid to do this. The other possibility, that I think might be more interesting, is that he was freed by Mandalorians that were former followers of Gar Saxon (and possibly even Maul). These were the Mandalorians loyal to the Empire that supplanted Bo-Katan. Either situation will lead to really intriguing storytelling, and I can't wait to see where it takes us.

The other thing to note in this episode is that it feels like Elia Kane (Katy M. O'Brien) is clearly a Moff Gideon plant. It felt apparent before, during her last appearance, but seeing her just pop into Tuttle's office after recognizing Carson Teva and giving some, frankly, bad advice to blunt the Republic's response there, is frustrating in the best ways. I'm glad her story has been expanded upon and I hope we see more of it.

Details to watch out for

There are a lot of things to take note of in this episode. I've already mentioned the cameos of Trapper Wolf, Jib Dodger, and Sash Ketter. And we talked about the importance of Zeb's appearance. But there's a lot more here than that.

At one point, Gorian Shard shouts "In a Puffer Pig's Eye!" It's a reformulation of an English-language idiom that brings it to "Star Wars", but Puffer Pigs are some of the coolest (and most hilarious) creatures to come out of "Star Wars Rebels." Lando Calrissian peddled in them when he tried to run a mining concern since they had such great noses for ore. You can buy Puffer Pigs at Galaxy's Edge in the creature shop and when you squeeze them, they make the most hilarious noise.

Amongst the survivors of Nevarro were a number of aliens, but one, in particular, stood out: a Melitto. The most prominent Melitto in the narrative to date has been Sarco Plank, originally appearing in "The Force Awakens."

You'll also notice that Greef Karga ceded territory to the Mandalorians all the way to "Bulloch Canyon," and this is a nod to the history of Boba Fett. Jeremy Bulloch was the primary actor in the Boba Fett costume in the original trilogy and was one of the nicest people you'd ever meet. He passed away in 2020.

My favorite film reference in this episode was a subtle one, a nod to "Aliens." In the opening sequence of that film, a robot arm offers a blue-laser scan of Ellen Ripley's ship. That same visual can be seen when Carson Teva scans the Lambda Shuttle that had been tasked with transporting Moff Gideon.

My second favorite film reference comes from "Jaws." Carson Teva's approach to the Lambda Class shuttle feels very much like Hooper and Brody finding Ben Gardner's boat, and the slice of beskar is very much like finding the shark tooth in the hull. There's a spike of music when Carson Teva sees the first body, just like when Hooper sees Ben Gardner's face float into the hole of the hull. It's a great moment here.


There's something to be said about not taking this episode too seriously. When the theme song hits those accordion notes like we're on the "Pirates of the Caribbean," it tells us exactly what sort of episode it's going to be. There's a silliness here that I rather like, but it's able to balance the "Flash Gordon" absurdity with the depth and gravitas of the mythology expertly.

This episode does little to advance the character of The Mandalorian, but it does move forward Bo-Katan and the Armorer, and gives us a new window into Carson Teva, who I hope becomes a more vital part of the show.

"The Pirate" is merely a setup for more storylines to pay off, and with so little runway left, I worry we're going to simply end this season on Moff Gideon's return, rather than see it here. And then who knows how long we'll have to wait before we get a resolution to the story. With Jon Favreau talking about letting the show just run forever, there's no sense in him rushing things, I suppose.

In the meantime, I'll just sit back and enjoy this as best I can.

"Star Wars: The Mandalorian" is streaming only on Disney+. New episodes come every Wednesday.