In a sprawling saga like Star Wars, there are heavy moments and there are lighter moments that really explore the galaxy and its quirky characters. Nobody understands this more than Dave Filoni, who is responsible for animated series such as Rebels and Clone Wars. This episode felt the most like a side adventure in Clone Wars in the best way possible.
The opening sequence illustrates that Bo-Katan’s lost Mandalorians have been operating as mercenaries as she said, as they complete a bounty on a Mon Calamari prince aboard his Quarren lover’s ship. While he doesn’t want to go, his partner Captain Shuggoth exercises diplomacy stating “I can’t destroy everything I’ve built for a childish fling.” Koska mentions their strong loyalty, but also that it can be easily bought with credits.
Bo-Katan Kryze, Grogu, and Din Djarin are flying in the Gauntlet to Plazir-15, when they spot the fleet that Bo spent a lot of time assembling. They are forced to land and are taken to a dinner party where they are introduced to none other than the Duchess (played by Lizzo!) and Amnesty-reformed ‘ex-Imperial’ Commissioner Bombardier (played by Jack Black!). The cameos don’t stop there when they also meet the head of security Commissioner Helgait played by the great Christopher Lloyd (Doc Brown in Back to the Future).
The main plot of Chapter 22 plays out like a law enforcement procedural show, with Din and Bo-Katan investigating the city’s droid problem, which ultimately leads them on a search for malfunctioning battle droids that were fed a bad batch of nanobot-infused Nepenthe lubricant (a product of the Techno Union). They end up at a droid bar called The Resistor, and ultimately trace the sabotage back to Helgait (Lloyd), who gets exposed for clinging to old Separatist ways (he even hails Count Dooku and nearly mentions Anakin Skywalker by name before being electrocuted by Bo-Katan) and is exiled on the moon of Paraqaat.
With their side-quest completed, Bo-Katan must face the real challenge: fight Axe Woves for leadership of her old crew of Mandalorians. There is an intense battle between the two, with Axe yielding to Bo after attacking with various Mandalorian weaponry. We get an interesting reveal when Din hands Bo the Darksaber and tells the Mandalorians that he was captured in the Mines of Mandalore and it is Bo-Katan who is worthy as she had slain the enemy that defeated him.
This episode served as a calm before the storm that is sure to take place across the remaining two-part finale, but side quests are not without their importance. With Din and Bo-Katan exhibiting very different styles when carrying out the mission on Plazir-15 (Din brute forcing the droids as opposed to Bo-Katan using more subtle investigatory tactics), it is still unclear who will rule Mandalore or if they will somehow share this responsibility. The continued focus on Bo-Katan this season is one of its strengths, and it will be fascinating to see where she ends up by the season’s finale.