The Mandalorian Season 3 Episode 6 review: A major improvement

A still of Bo-Katan and the Darksaber in The Mandalorian Season 3 Episode 6Disney+

The Mandalorian Season 3 Episode 6 has a lot going for it: the cameos are hilarious, it manages to balance between self-contained plot and overarching progression, and above all else, it’s fun.

It’s been hard to stifle the growing feeling of resentment towards The Mandalorian. Over the course of Season 3, with the exception of the thrilling Episode 2, I’ve felt like I’ve been suckered – almost as if reuniting the show’s main duo in another series altogether was a bad omen for what was to come.

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Last week, a tiny light started glimmering at the fast-approaching end of the tunnel (remember, we’ve only got two episodes left now, and not much has really happened). Bo-Katan (Katee Sackhoff) and The Armorer came to an agreement: she can remove her helmet and travel the galaxy to unite the other Mandalorian tribes so they can finally retake Mandalore.

We’re ways away from that epic goal coming to fruition, but Episode 6 harks back to the show’s stronger chapters, managing to have a compelling, standalone mystery while paying due attention to the main plot.

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Spoilers for The Mandalorian to follow…

The Mandalorian reveals Tenacious cameos

We open on some funky music and a sand-toned ship drifting across space, commanded by squid-like people bobbing in water tanks. Suddenly, they notice a Star Destroyer on their tale, but it’s not being flown by warlords, criminals, or Imperial soldiers – they’re Mandalorians, led by Axe Woves (Simon Mario Kassianides).

He explains that he’s been hired to find the Calamari prince aboard the ship, who happens to be in love with its commander, and bring him home. As he’s taken away, he says: “I thought Mandalorians were honorable,” to which he’s told: “We are kid, all it takes is a few credits.”

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Meanwhile, Bo-Katan, Din, and Grogu make their way to Plazir-15, a never-before-seen planet in the Outer Rim, to recover the fleet and appeal to Woves and his squad. This particular planet isn’t on the New Republic registry, so the Mandalorians have been hired for its protection. Bo-Katan tries to land the ship outside the perimeter and enter slowly, but her ship is remote-controlled from afar and forced to touch down.

Jack Black and Lizzo as Captain Bombardier and the Duchess in The Mandalorian Season 3Disney+

When they exit the ship, they’re greeted by friendly Imperial droids. This raises Din’s hackles – he hates droids, if you somehow forgot – but they move forward. They’re hailed by the planet’s gregarious leaders: Captain Bombardier (Jack Black) and the Duchess (Lizzo), who may be the show’s most jaw-dropping guest appearances yet.

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Both stars relish every single line, and they have hilarious chemistry; Black brings goofy charm to every role, and Lizzo fully commits to her elegant, eloquent regality. Whoever decided to pair these two pop culture titans together deserves a raise. Lizzo also gets to live out every Star Wars fan’s dream: she gets to hold Grogu, who leaps across the table just to sit in her arms and eat little treats.

The Mandalorian turns into I, Robot

Bo-Katan asks if she can meet with the Mandalorian “privateers” stationed on their planet, but it’ll come at a price: they have a bit of a droid problem, with malfunctioning units failing to complete their tasks or, in particularly alarming cases, lashing out at people. Bombardier insists they were rehabilitated for civic duty, but something has clearly gone wrong along the way.

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Bo-Katan asks why they can’t get their mercenaries to handle it, but their charter prohibits them from entering the city walls. However, as they’re a pluralistic society, and weaponry is integral to Mandalorian culture, there’s a loophole that would allow Bo-Katan and Din to investigate on behalf of the leadership.

What ensues is basically the plot of I, Robot, with the duo running around trying to solve the mystery of the rogue droids. They start by talking to the planet’s head of security, Commissioner Helgait (Christopher Lloyd).

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“The droids were all reprogrammed to serve the community from the stockpile of captured Imperial robotics,” he tells the visitors. “The droids reprogramming was a complete success. Until one day an isolated event.”

Christopher Lloyd in The Mandalorian.Disney+

Helgait shows them a number of “isolated events” where droids have been malfunctioning, but he refuses to press the fail-safe switch because the people in the city can’t live without them. So, he wants Bo-Katan and Din to “seek out and decommission any rogue droids until we can fix the problem.”

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It doesn’t take long to figure out who’s responsible, although Din’s aggressive methods do cause havoc along the way; he kicks several droids in an effort to instigate the rogue ones and threatens to torture a droid bartender. They discover nano droids inside some of the units, and their chain code reveals they didn’t arrive via droid acquisition, the only legal way for droids to enter a planet – they were ordered directly by Helgait.

Din and Bo-Katan confront him, and he immediately threatens to transform the planet’s “docile workforce back into battle droids and unleash them upon the unsuspecting citizens of Plazir.”

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“I didn’t give up to the corrupt Republic. I didn’t give up to the Empire. And I won’t give up to you… I support democracy. Count Dooku was a visionary. He was cut short in his prime by the Jedi enforcer,” he adds, before Bo-Katan shuts him up with his blaster. They bring him to the Duchess, who expresses her shock and sadness at having been betrayed. While she talks about forgiveness, she’s not there with him yet, and exiles him to the moon of Paraqaat.

Before they head off to meet Woves, the Duchess gives them a final gift: she makes Grogu a knight of the ancient order of independent regencies.

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Bo-Katan finally wields the Darksaber

The atmosphere quickly turns frosty as Bo-Katan comes face to face with Woves. “Have you come back to join the mercenaries?” he asks. “It’s no longer your fleet, is it? I’m now in command and I’m quite fond of it,” he adds. She challenges him to a fight to regain control of the fleet, which he gladly accepts, and the pair duke it out with jetpack-powered fisticuffs and missiles. The fight itself is well-choreographed – the bad part of any episode will never be getting to see Bo-Katan in action.

He yields, but he doesn’t hesitate to point out the obvious: a “misguided zealot” is currently in possession of the Darksaber, meaning she can’t be the one to retake Mandalore. Bo-Katan refuses to take it as a gift, but Din explains that it’s not a present: when he was captured by the cave-dwelling creature, it took the Darksaber from him. She killed it, so technically the Darksaber is rightfully hers.

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The episode ends on a spine-tingling note: Bo-Katan wielding the saber, ready to lead the Mandalorians. We will say, it’s a crime that the coolest weapon in all of Star Wars has barely been seen in Season 3, despite being a major contentious MacGuffin in the story.

The Mandalorian Season 3 Episode 6 review: 4/5

Episode 6 is a high-point for The Mandalorian Season 3, cruising on the well-honed, star-studded power of its cameos while actually giving us a reason to care about anything that’s happening. This is the way.

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The Mandalorian Season 3 Episodes 1-6 are available to stream now. Check out the rest of our coverage here.