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Episode 5 Cannoli Send a noteboard - 29/03/2023 03:10:21 PM

4:32 Every now and then the issues with Grief Karga this season hint at an interesting military/political story going on, but there are big gaps in the execution, not least the point that the writers appear to have confused the concepts of “city” and “planet”.

5:13 Seriously, how have they lasted this long without any sort of military?

7:54 I don’t understand communications in Star Wars. A “dispatch” doesn’t get answered, so Captain Teva, the CO of a fighter unit, goes to the capital in person to get permission to conduct an anti-piracy operation. I know this is set “a long time ago”, but I guess they mean the 18th century? Swap out the details and this is basically operating as if by courier and telegraph.

Also, the New Republic is run kind of badly. If they are going to be out of communication for long periods of time, local commanders need clear guidelines on what they can and can’t do. Best fan-splanation I can come up with, especially given that the New Republic military is a former insurgency, is that they are over-correcting for their past as a guerilla or resistance operation, where local commanders would often have to basically be running their own private wars, by cracking down hard on independent operations, in order to establish a unified government, rather than a patchwork of small federations. Even if the strong implication of this show and this season is that the latter setup would be more effective at protecting its people and creating prosperity.

8:27 Colonel Tuttle sounds like the principal from Mean Girls. Also, I think Tuttle was the name of a fake officer in an episode of M.A.S.H. whom Hawkeye used to requisition supplies and cut themselves fake orders to do what they wanted.

9:37 “Officer”? He addresses a subordinate working in his own office as “officer”? They wear rank insignia so that you know what rank they hold, even if you don’t know their names, which in this case, Tuttle should. Especially since he knows she’s spent time in the Outer Rim. What we have here is writers who can’t be bothered to fill in the details.

9:43 Like, that look from Teva, and the camera’s focus on it suggests that he, in fact, knows to look for some sort of insignia that will tell him important details. If I am remembering from the episode with Pershing correctly, that thing on her chest might indicate her status as a rehabbing Imperial. Someone on this show knows what they are doing, just not the writers.

9:54 Is this the same Captain Teva who let a conspirator to a major jailbreak walk because it would be easier than doing the paperwork? Now he cares about the ideals of the job?

10:00 “We have a backlog of requests from member worlds that have priority.” And yet, the base Teva was on did not give the impression of an overworked unit. That a high-ranking officer is able to take time to fly from the Outer Rim to Coruscant (which I presume is somewhat centrally located) for a face-to-face meeting, supports this supposition.

“I don’t even know what resources we have available.” That is his job, or at least the job of someone in this building, and Colonel Tuttle should have enough awareness of the setup to know whom he can call to ask for a summary of resources available.

“Especially for pirates.” Does that mean that pirates are beneath their notice, and not a target worth the expenditure of resources, or that pirates are too challenging for the military to take on when they are stretched so thin? Also, I don’t think Disney understands what pirates actually are. The old fashioned term was hostis humani generis – “enemies of all mankind”. Basically the sort of thing two unfriendly nations (like the Republic and the Empire) might cooperate to take down, at least as long as the particular pirates in question were not actually in the employee of one of them, or conveniently operating in such a way as to make their ex post facto licensing as privateers worthwhile. Which Shard is apparently not.

10:21 Actually, going from Imperial occupation, to a pirate attack suggests the Empire is gone, and the pirates are attempting to occupy a power vacuum. Not only that, but in his conversation in the wardroom or mess or wherever he got Karga’s message, the guy talking to Teva said he thought Navarro would make it, suggesting that the Adelphi personnel were aware that it was independent. So Teva seems to be playing dumb here in order to fabricate a conspiracy between the pirates and the Empire.

10:31 See, this is what I mean. “We’re not a rebellion anymore, we have a structure.” That can be good. Even the bit about “I work in requisition”. Why is Teva going to a logistics & procurement officer to get approval to relieve a pirate attack? Because he’s not used to working in a professional military hierarchy, but rather in lobbying a higher-positioned individual for support.

10:36 You don’t request “authorization and backup for dealing with pirates on Nevarro” from a guy who has just defined his military specialty as limited to “Requisitions”. And given the shortcomings previously demonstrated in the lexicon of this show, I don’t think the writers have any more of an idea of what Requisitions means than Teva apparently does. It means the process by which military personnel or units draw on supplies. Requisition generally implies by orders or force, from lower-ranking sources, rather than making a request from above. In other words, Teva would requisition supplies from local civilians, or from a depot run by a mere lieutenant. He would only request things from Colonel Tuttle (assuming they are in the same branch of the military, in which case Teva is astonishingly old for a mere captain; basically, if you have a captain & colonel in the same chain of command, the latter has literally twice the rank of the former, at least in the American system. My assumption had been that Teva was something like a naval captain, which is the same grade as a colonel). By contrast, an officer working in Requisitions would be in charge of collecting materiel from other sources, not distributing it to field units.

Also the subtitles list the woman’s name as “Officer G86” which would explain the issue of Tuttle calling her officer and we’re back to the New Republic being a dystopian nightmare state where people are dehumanized for dubious reasons.

12:59 The unfortunate tendency of this show (setting, to be fair [genre, to be even more fair] ) for planets to have a single terrain and environment type does serve to make it fairly obvious that Teva (assuming that’s his X-wing) is not returning to base nor going to Nevarro on his own, but rather is going a planet of nothing but desert-like rocks and still water. Like the one the Mandalorian cult is currently hiding on. So much for “covert”.

13:33 They call their base a covert and do nothing to conceal the distinctive starship parked outside of it. And they are still not keeping a guard up, despite multiple attacks by giant predators.

13:56 They do seem good at hiding, however pointlessly (re: large ship parked next to their hideout).

14:13 How did he not see the snipers on the ridge when he was flying overhead? And who is Paz Visla calling “blue boy”?

14:24 Mandalorians pride themselves on lots of things besides secrecy, but this show just depicts them as dumb pushovers.

14:37 Looks like another penitential bath is in order, Din. OTOH, whoever is in charge of security for the covert should have been on this. Also, could Din just please shoot Amy Sedaris’ character? I don’t know why he lets her walk all over him and foist off whatever crap she has in her inventory instead of what he actually needs and requests.

14:55 Why are they calling him Blue? His ship is white, his uniform is orange, and blue is not exactly the most prominent color used by the Rebellion or, AFAIK the Republic?

14:59 Wow, they are twitchy considering every one of them is wearing beskar, which to date has proven to render any sort of weapon concealable behind one’s back, ineffective. It can shrug off lightsaber blows, and ignore explosions. What can Teva possibly be carrying to make them nervous?

16:08 Oh, his helmet, which he left in the cockpit, is blue. Makes total sense they’d call him that, I guess.

17:00 These guys are heavily armored, highly mobile elite infantry. They strike me as an excellent boarding force for ship to ship combat, so one way to pitch this operation might be the chance to obtain ships and other gear their group could use, by stealing them from the pirates. Long-term, contracting as security for a growing commercial port and mining industry might be another way to earn.

17:37 I’m not giving the show credit for something this obvious. Or contrived. Also “Our children deserve to feel sunlight against their helmets”. Mandalorian culture makes everything silly.

18:02 Is Paz going to be the designated asshole of this bunch or will he have a change of heart, because Din played a critical role in saving his son?

18:48 except for this being the same show, and the same guy bringing about the mission, there really is not much of a through-line between defending Din and the foundling from the Imperials back in season 1 and a proposed operation to liberate a world from pirates that Paz Visla should be asking “Why should we lay our lives down yet again?” Also, Din Djarin gave a reason – to get land and a secure base in exchange for fighting. If you don’t want to fight for stuff, if you don’t want to risk your lives, why do you follow a militaristic religion, where your sacramentals are weapons and armor? This better be rhetorical.

19:05 Yay, it was rhetorical.

19:38 I wonder exactly what you could convince a Mandalorian to do by simply appending “This is The Way” to the end of your demand?

20:35 Bo-Katan’s little monologue there was very light on briefing plans and more of a motivational speech, to a group that already bought what she is trying to sell. And the plan seems to suck. They should be trying to board the cruiser, which is the primary asset of the pirates, and if they manage to board, would then negate the advantage in firepower the pirates possess, and reduce the battle to a close-quarters action where the Mandalorians’ expertise can be decisive.

21:07 What are the pirates getting out of this? Their priority should have been in taking Nevarro intact. It should not have a lot of portable wealth, given what it was like before this season. The appeal of taking Nevarro is the potential income from its growth and resources, and trashing the place and bullying the people is only going to get you pocket change. Going back to the pirates’ initial face-off with Grief in the first episode, their actions have been incredibly counter-productive.

21:22 I’m not very good at music stuff, but this sounds like Pirates of the Caribbean-type music.

21:40 Did the pirates hear the Mandalorian soundtrack? Why did they suddenly look up?

21:51 That’s NOT what a gunwale is! Space ships don’t even HAVE gunwales! They certainly are not gun turrets. I don’t care if your starship is dressed like drab pirates, you can’t just make up nautical terminology.

22:52 The corsair was ridiculously close when Bo-Katan came in. That was barely a diversion at all, the only reason it is effective is because the pirates are obsessively tunnel-vision focused on single targets, to the extent that they are unaware that two of them are converging on the same enemy fighter, so closely they ram each other when it drops out of their flight paths or that their ship continues pursuit of a small fighter-craft while ignoring a large ship immediately to its rear.

23:45 A thing that has been annoying me since the first encounter with the pirates this season, who is Din such a good starfighter pilot? Granted, no one should be expecting military precision, or Top Gun levels of excellence from these adversaries, but they are also sort-of specialists in flying snubfighters. This is their thing, while up until now, Din’s work has mostly been about close-quarters combat as heavy infantry. Being a good enough pilot to take on ten to one odds (in an obsolete fighter, whose design is at least 30 years old) should take a lot more practice, experience and formal training than we have seen him display so far.

The problem with Rey is really NOT that she’s a woman, but that she exhibits a similar array of unearned skills, including hand-to-hand combat, mechanical proficiency and extreme piloting expertise, at least one of which her portrayed lifestyle and backstory gives no indication of an opportunity to learn or practice.

25:12 I was just about to give them credit for using decent tactics and unit cohesion, but no one was checking their six.

28:06 I feel like we just lost a cool scene to the editing. There was a Mandalorian standing on one of the fighters, having apparently rendered it inoperable by hand, and jet-packing away when it crashed. How and when did that happen? Did one of the Mandalorians join the fight to help Din and Bo-Katan? How did their jet-packs, which can’t catch up to giant bird lizards before they run out of fuel, catch up with a snubfighter to land on it?

28:38 This is why I said they should have been boarding the ship. Take the town, and you still have to worry about the ship. Take the ship, and the pirates in town can’t do anything to stop you.

29:04 Or maybe it’s just a really crappy ship that falls apart like tissue paper after a handful of shots from a single starfighter and fighter-transport, who were both more preoccupied with the snubfighter complement. They have personal armor that lets them take torso shots from heavy weapons and get up and walk it off, but ships blow up like gunpowder kegs.

30:24 They do, in fact, have a home planet that supports like and has a breathable atmosphere, and access to mines of their magic super-metal. Rather than a stretch of land defined by features like “lava flats” and a canyon (which, together, scream “barren wasteland” to me), they should be contracting for some of the miners Grief mentioned last time, to get the beskar production going again.

Also, there is a lot of talk about having fought against each other in a prior season, for people who all seem to have experience in the mercenary & bounty-hunter business. That’s just how that sort of thing goes. The buddy who helps you on one job might be coming for you next time, if someone puts a big enough price on your head. What matters is who is signing the paychecks. All that you should be taking from your personal experience with a colleague in these professions is how competent, and how reliable they have proven in the past.

32:24 I would respect her station more if I was sure about the rules. They really seem to fit whatever the plot calls for.

33:09 Is she proposing intra-Mandalorian ecumenism or a jihad to force the deviants into compliance?

34:14 That guy on the left just backing up, and backing up, to stay in the shot looks more like he’s trying to avoid Bo-Katan’s contagion.

35:02 {Milhouse voice}: Say the line….!

35:16 Fine, I’ll say it. “This is The Way!”

35:35 “Captain Teva, your actions have resulted in a Mandalorian crusade of heavily armed religious fanatics, who have learned to be practical in place of blind dogmatism, and who have ambitions and capability to restore their monarchy. You have some ‘splainin’ to do!”

36:01 Fighter pilots generally have callsigns for just this sort of purpose. Including the institutional preceding Teva’s current outfit. Or did the writers think “Red Two” was someone’s name? For that matter, pilots have stopped using call-signs, but Imperial veterans are now called by numbers. The New Republic is very very weird.

37:42 Before we get to the dramatic reveal for the cliffhanger, I would just like to point out, that Teva is off in deep space somewhere, with his astromech droid launching an integral probe. He is not only reading the results of that probe in real time, he is simultaneously in communication with a Lieutenant on a planet or another vessel somewhere far away, who is seeing the same results with him. But we have to travel around the galaxy having face to face meetings of less than ten minutes.

38:02 I don’t see how this is a big deal, that Gideon was taken by Mandalorians. They are scattered around doing mercenary work. Din Djarin was working for him in the first episode, through his lackeys, Dr Pershing and Werner Herzog. Only an idiot, or a character written by the creative team at Disney+, would assume this has anything to do with Din Djarin or the covert, much less act on that notion. Also, Gideon’s people paid Din in refined beskar, and Gideon himself carried a singular Mandalorian weapon. That he has allies or retainers with access to Mandalorian tech or materials should not remotely be a dramatic reveal.

All in all, that was a decent episode, especially by Disney+ standards, and definitely by the standards of this season. The action was not ridiculous, and even the problems were tolerable. And the Mandalorians behaved sensibly for once. That's not nothin'

“Tolerance is the virtue of the man without convictions.” GK Chesteron
Inde muagdhe Aes Sedai misain ye!
Deus Vult!
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