Beware, dear reader! Spoilers abound!
A lot of fun, but not much movement on the broader story as we enter the second episode of season 2 of the Mandalorian on Disney+!
At the outset of Chapter 10, Mando’s crusade to find the network of coverts has run aground on Tatooine. The only man in Mandalorian armor he could find was a pretender and, while he made off with some very familiar armor, he did not find the network of his people he was looking for.
He resorts to his old contact, Peli Motto, the starship mechanic and docking proprietor for help. She has some info, but it comes at a cost. Mando needs to transport an amphibian mother to her husband with their spawn. The second catch is he can’t use hyperdrive. With all these conditions, the build up is definitely leading to some snags along the way.
From there, apart from The Child’s egg-ingesting gag, the whole episode becomes a pear-shaped romp through an unnamed ice planet, fighting off some terrifying albino snow-spiders. The episode was a thrill with some ingenious twists that were enjoyable call-backs to last season, but did little to move the over-arching plot of the show forward.
Back when X-Files was on the air in the 90s, it became famous for having two distinct categories of episodes. Ones that moved the main conspiracy storyline forward, asking where Mulder’s sister was, what the government was hiding, etc., etc. Then there were the “creep of the week” episodes that simply featured a cool concept like flukeman or that one town where everything was from the 1950s and in black and white. This episode fits in the “Creep of the Week” style category.
Mando originally found himself grounded on this snowy hellscape because two New Republic X-wings on patrol shot him down or at the very least chased him down into a crash landing. Some of the most interesting elements of the Star Wars universe have always been the morally relative rogue elements. In Mando’s interactions with the former Rebels, we see the New Republic’s rogue-ish roots and their willingness to balance karmic budgets.
Two things that detracted from the episode maybe more than the show runners anticipated:
First, Baby Yoda’s ingestion of the Passenger’s eggs. This element of the episode took Baby Yoda’s gorging on frogs from Season 1 and amped it up to uncomfortable levels. It was either gross, unendearingly callous, or downright evil depending on how you look at it. Mando and by extension Baby Yoda, were charged with safe passage of this mother and her brood to a mating planet. At the very least, Baby Yoda was playing havoc with that business arrangement.
Of course, if you disagree with me and want to commemorate that moment, there is, of course, a POP! for that:
Second, David Filoni showing up yet again as an X-Wing Pilot cameo played less convincing than his other cameos have in the past. At this point it’s hard not to feel like he’s rubbing his ability to cast himself in any episode he wants in the face of myriad fans watching the show. I think we owe a debt of gratitude to Filoni for saving the franchise along with Favreau, but the cameos need to be slowed down to a drip at this point. Nothing removes the audience more from the story than watching a performance that, at best, seems like weekend cosplay by your daughter’s doughy soccer coach.