The first episode of The Mandalorian was excellent. But it was also about what we were all expecting: a sci-fi western focusing on a lone gunslinger hunting down and capturing wanted criminals. That all changed in the episode’s closing moment, though. And now with the second episode, we have an idea of what The Mandalorian is actually going to be.
Episode two of The Mandalorian season one is called “The Child,” which is slightly odd considering the first episode didn’t have a title. Maybe they’ll add one later, A New Hope-style. But yes, things pick up right where they left off, with the Mandalorian walking around with what we’ll still refer to as a “Baby Yoda” for lack of a better term. Any thoughts that the show would leave that cliffhanger hanging are instantly killed, and it’s clear this show, at least at the start, is going to be about the Mandalorian not just traversing the galaxy but dealing with what is obviously an adorable, important child. It’s carrying on the tried-and-true Western tradition of a loner forced to care for something he doesn’t initially care for.
After fighting off some fellow bounty hunters keen to steal his prize, the Mando sits down to heal himself, and Baby Yoda wants to help. He keeps getting out of his crib to heal the Mandalorian but, Mando keeps putting him back in. Right away, we know that this might be a baby in stature, but it’s smart and has something else going on, too. Something Star Wars fans can probably guess but aren’t 100 per cent sure of. Yet.
Really though, the Mandalorian just wants to get back to the Razor Crest with Baby Yoda and go collect his beskar. Really, is that so hard? In fact, it is, because the Mando returns to find Jawas have completely ransacked his ship for parts. He vaporizes a few with his Amban phase-pulse blaster and quickly sets off to stop the Sandcrawler from getting away with the guts of his ship.
Quick aside here: Since the very first footage of The Mandalorian, I said the show kind of felt like a bunch of kids playing in a Star Wars sandbox. “Oh let’s have the Boba Fett-guy follow the gonk droid to the stormtroopers, with a Salacious Crumb-thing outside and he finds a baby Yoda.” Just a hodgepodge of the coolest, weirdest, mostly unexplored things in Star Wars finally getting a moment in the sun. And here in episode two, that gets dialed up even further.
It gets dialed up when the Mandalorian chases down the Sandcrawler and we get a huge action set piece set on a moving Sandcrawler. Like, come on! Is that not the coolest thing ever? Did you ever watch A New Hope and think, “I wish we could learn more about that Sandcrawler?” Well, now you can! Episode director Rick Famuyiwa has lots of fun with it too, bringing in elements of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and more to make a very kinetic sequence. One we’re sure the Mandalorian is going to win, but, alas, when like a dozen Jawas stun him with his blasters, he’s knocked to the ground and the Jawas escape. It seems the Razor Crest is all but lost.
But wait! The Mandalorian has a friend on this planet. No, not the IG droid he shot in the head, but Kuiil, the ugnaught voiced by Nick Nolte. Thankfully, Kuiil is friendly with the Jawas and promises to mediate some kind of deal so the Mando can get the parts of his ship back. Eventually, after a very funny negotiation, the Jawas say then want “The Egg.” And they start chanting “The Egg, The Egg,” which is super freaking weird. But also, very funny, as are a few shots of the Mandalorian in the belly of the Sandcrawler, hitting his head because he’s so tall.
As you may have guessed, this egg isn’t easily attainable. In fact, it’s the egg of a very, very large creature that resembles the Reek from Attack of the Clones but isn’t a Reek from Attack of the Clones. In fact, it’s called a Mud Horn. So the Mud Horn and Mandalorian do battle and, to put it bluntly, the Mandalorian gets fucked up. Like, seriously fucked up. He’s toast. Cancelled after two episodes. Which is when you remember the Baby Yoda has been around for the entire episode, quietly floating next to our hero. And just as the Mud Horn is about to skewer the Mandalorian like Star Wars shish kabob, it stops in his tracks… and starts floating. Baby Yoda has USED THE FORCE TO STOP THE CREATURE.
While the Mud Horn is in the air, the Mandalorian kills it with his final usable weapon, his knife, and is able to retrieve The Egg. But any questions about why this baby is so important have just been answered. Baby Yoda may be young but he is already very strong with the Force. Strong, smart and capable. But also, sleepy. Saving the Mandalorian takes a lot out of him, and he takes a little nap.
Because he’s sleeping, Baby Yoda missed the Jawas eating delicious-looking yellow goop out of the egg, a hilarious shot of Kuiil dragging all of the Razor Crest parts, which is followed by a fun montage of the two of them putting the ship back together. Interestingly, Kuiil refuses any payment for any of this help as well as a highly lucrative job as a first mate. He’s just grateful the Mandalorian brought peace back to his home.
And so “The Child” ends with that titular child sleeping peacefully as the Mandalorian flies away in his newly repaired ship, off to an uncertain future. Will he actually turn this kid in for money? We’ll find out next Friday.
Much like the first episode of the show, “The Child” was deceptively simple. It’s just about The Mandalorian trying to get off the planet. But in that story, Jon Favreau’s script and Famuyiwa’s direction pack in so much Star Wars entertainment. The Sandcrawler, the Mando versus the creature, tons of Jawas, a hint of the Force, building a starship. Plus, relationships and characters are being formed on the back of that simple, direct story. We’re here for all of it and are just so excited that this show is building emotion with this fascinating little baby.
Did you notice there’s, like, no talking for the first 10 minutes or so of this episode? I felt like I was watching the Star Wars version of There Will Be Blood.
The Baby Yoda is—and I can’t stress this enough—so fucking cute. I know it’s technically a spoiler, but I’m ready to get a doll ASAP.
By the second episode, Ludwig Göransson’s musical themes are starting to blossom. In particular, the end credits music and kind of adventure theme, which has a distinct John Williams tinge, but more Indiana Jones than Star Wars. Repeat viewings only make it better.
It’s interesting that neither Kuiil nor the Mandalorian quite understands what Baby Yoda did. Almost as if they’ve never heard of the Force before. Which seems possible in a universe this large, that had been run by the Empire for so long. But you’d think characters who seem to be seasoned and familiar with the ways of the galaxy would have some clue about an energy force that surrounds everything. More likely they’ve heard of it, just never seen it, and are confused by the revelation of it being true. All of it.