The Mandalorian season two blasted off in some style last week, with an Easter Egg and action-packed episode that also (apparently) ended with the series’ biggest cameo to date.
Still, with the series’ big return now behind us, we have to look to the future. Will the rest of the season live up to that opener? And could episode two top the civilised Tusken Raiders, Krayt dragon battle and Boba Fett?
Well, now that the episode has been released we have our answer… no. While episode two is still all the action-packed fun we’ve come to expect from The Mandalorian (though arguably with a few more laughs, possibly courtesy of Ant-Man’s Peyton Reed, who directed the episode) it’s definitely a smaller, more standalone story as Mando (Pedro Pascal) fights off deadly ice spiders with a precious cargo.
Still, for anyone just watching the series to see what Baby Yoda (aka the Child) will get up to it’s good news – because The Child really takes centre stage in this episode, albeit not always helpfully for his allies.
Beginning back on Tattooine where season two’s first episode kicked off, The Passenger (aka Chapter 10 for fans of confusing numbering) initially sees our heroes in trouble when they’re ambushed on the way back to Mos Eisley by a gang of ruffians. It doesn’t take long for Din Djarin to take care of them, with the final attacker enduring a fun “death by jetpack” exit, and then he’s back to his quest hunting for other Mandalorians.
Sadly, this doesn’t mean catching up with Temuera Morrison’s Boba Fett from the last episode. Instead, he takes a new job ferrying an alien mother and her unfertilised eggs to a neighbouring system, in return for information about a different collection of Mandalorians said to be hiding nearby.
All he has to do is play taxi driver to this nice frog-lady, travel outside of super-fast, hard-to-detect hyperspace and deliver the goods – but of course everything goes wrong when the Razor Crest is pulled over by a couple of officious X-Wing drivers, concerned that the ship doesn’t have the right sort of documentation.
One botched escape later, and the Mandalorian and his passengers are stuck in icy caves, apparently unable to escape. Bad enough – but then the mother of the eggs he’s transporting decides it’s time to enjoy a hot spring, The Child’s propensity for snatching at food like an infant in a viral video backfires and all three are overwhelmed by the sort of horrible alien spiders you’d meet in a licensed Star Wars videogame.
Again, after the heights of the first episode this all feels a little more basic storytelling-wise, but not every episode can be quite so packed full of big reveals and Easter Eggs, and this episode probably makes up for it for many by giving more screentime to Baby Yoda.
You see, after taking a relative back seat in the season opener in this episode he’s everywhere. Mewling cutely as he’s taken away from Mando, shuffling around on the floor running from foes, crying, trying to eat various other species’ eggs… it’s a real greatest hits for The Child, and a reminder of what this show is really about most of the time – a cute alien getting into scrapes while an exasperated gunslinger chases after him like a mother hen.
It’s also worth noting that technically, it feels like the puppetry and VFX time spent on Baby Yoda has been enhanced for this second run of episodes, with the diminutive green figure moving more expressively and, well, just more than ever before. Whether he’s furiously batting baby spiders off his head or exchanging a knowing look with his helmeted guardian, Baby Yoda feels more real, and we can only hope we’ll see even more sides of him as the series progresses.
In the end, it’s the Rebels who save the day – or at least those two X-Wing pilots – blasting away the remaining spiders and letting Mando go in return for some kindness he showed one of their colleagues in the last season.
Finally, he’s back on track to find the other Mandalorians, and through them can hopefully take The Child back to its own people. Though if we were him, we’d still be pretty loath to part with the little guy.
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