The Mandalorian Went Full Horror, But With Tons of Adorable Baby Yoda

The Child really started some shit this week on The Mandalorian.
The Child really started some shit this week on The Mandalorian.
Photo: Lucasfilm

Can’t the Mandalorian and the Child get a few moments of peace and quiet? It seems like the instant one adventure ends, such as defeating a huge Krayt dragon, another one starts right up again. If you thought the dragon was big, bad, and scary, The Mandalorian just said “Hold my blue milk.”

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Illustration for article titled iThe Mandalorian/i Went Full Horror, But With Tons of Adorable Baby Yoda

“Chapter 10 of The Mandalorian is called “The Passenger,” and after the episode’s cold open, we probably all thought the “passenger” would be someone other than who it ended up being. The episode picks up right where the last left off, with Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) speeding back to Mos Eisley, Boba Fett armor in tow. However, a group of scavengers set a trap for the traveler, and Mando winds up crashing his bike, putting him and the Child (aka Baby Yoda) in a bad situation.

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If you’re like me, you probably thought these people were related to that mysterious stranger at the end of “Chapter 9” and what they wanted was the armor. But, no. They were after anything, but especially the Child. Mando takes care of them quickly enough before returning to Mos Eisley to find Peli Motto (Amy Sedaris). She’s hanging out in what we think is the infamous Mos Eisley Cantina, playing cards with a creepy-ass bug guy she called Dr. Mandible. He looks like something out of District 9 and is a subtle precursor of what’s to come.

Mando muscle.
Mando muscle.
Photo: Lucasfilm

After some classic Star Wars banter with the bug man, Mando has a new lead on the whereabouts of other Mandalorians—which, if you’re like me, still had you thinking we were going to see the stranger from last week’s episode. Quickly, though, it’s apparent that’s a storyline for another time and place.

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The person who knows where the Mandalorians are is a new character, referred to in the subtitles as “Frog Lady.” Frog Lady needs to get her eggs to her husband on the estuary moon of Trask for fertilization as soon as possible, or her line will be gone forever. The problem is, the eggs are fragile, which means the cost of getting her to Trask is traveling “sublight.” That means no hyperspace jumps, and a long, dangerous ride for Mando and Frog Lady, considering Baby Yoda promptly starts munching on her eggs the second their journey starts.

That’s only the first problem. Since the Razor Crest’s not traveling at lightspeed, two New Republic X-Wings are able to intercept it after it leaves Tatooine. They basically try and pull him over because his ship is old and unregistered, and eventually Mando makes a run for it. It’s a high-speed chase, Star Wars style, as the Razor Crest tries to get away from the X-Wings flown by Captain Carson Teva (Paul Sun-Hyung Lee) and Trapper Wolf (Dave Filoni, a guy we’ve never heard of).

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X-Wings!
X-Wings!
Photo: Lucasfilm

One chase sequence and an impromptu hasty landing on a nearby ice planet later, Mando thinks he’s gotten away...until he finds that the ice is not thick enough to hold a massive starship and they all go crashing deep down into a cave. It’s a wreck (and right after Peli and her pit droids fixed it too!) and Mando fears that he, Frog Lady, and the Child might freeze to death.

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Here’s where two big things unfold. The first is that the Child keeps going into the case holding Frog Lady’s eggs and eating the last members of her family. No matter how cute he is, it’s messed up. Second, an old friend comes back for a brief cameo. That friend is Zero, the Richard Ayoade-voiced droid that flew the Razor Crest and almost killed the Child in “Chapter 6” (which will soon become very, very important!). Frog Lady uses Zero’s system as a translator to overcome Mando’s inability to speak her language, and, using the droid’s voice, basically guilts our hero into not giving up on the planned mission.

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The stunt works, and Mando gets to work fixing the Crest, but Frog Lady runs off—because no one on this ship can sit still for more than five damn seconds—and when he and the Child find her, she’s floating in a luxurious hot spring...surrounded by sinister-looking eggs. We’re talking super Alien vibes here. Those eggs, naturally, are almost immediately taste-tested by the voracious Child. What the hell, kid?

But here’s the thing: the eggs are filled with little white spiders. Talk about a moment of mixed emotions. On one hand, there’s excellent CG work of the adorable Child cooing and eating. That’s juxtaposed with the abject terror of knowing those other eggs are all about to hatch. Which they do. Mando barely has time to register that the Child has done yet another very bad thing that could get them both into trouble before spiders start swarming the trio en masse. Small, medium, large, and extra extra extra extra large spiders fill the cave and attack Mando, Frog Lady, and the Child as they race back to the Razor Crest.

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What a fun action scene.
What a fun action scene.
Photo: Lucasfilm

It’s one of the most action-packed blaster battles the series has done so far. Our heroes find themselves barely fighting off the horde of horrifying spiders—with Mando getting some more use out of his flamethrower attachment—but ultimately the creatures make their way into the Crest. Just when all seems lost, those X-Wing pilots from earlier finally show up, blasting the spiders to bits from a safe distance.

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After all is said and done, even though he’s a wanted man, they let Mando off with a warning for what’s basically the Star Wars equivalent of a broken tail light. This is where—after what’s obviously been a fun, exciting, gross creature feature—the episode went from feeling like a one-off to fitting into the fabric of the series beautifully. The only reason the New Republic lets Mando off is because, according to their info, he put his life in danger to protect a New Republic Lieutenant from mercenaries—another call back to season one’s “Chapter 6.” They also figure they can use all the help they can get in these new and exciting times.

It’s a cool way to cap off the adventure, a neat example of tying in a standalone story into what we’ve seen before, making The Mandalorian’s world feel a little more connected.

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As the credits rolled, it was no surprise to find out this was the episode directed by Peyton Reed—director of both Ant-Man films (he’ll be doing the next one too). For him to do a Star Wars episode with tiny creatures all running around on the ground felt right. Though the episode didn’t forward a ton of mythology, it did continue to bring cohesion to the series overall.

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“The Passenger” also gave us a great sense of the New Republic’s role in this post-Empire world. That two X-Wing fighters would just be patrolling as basically space cops—and presented as an antagonistic force until the last minute—says a lot about the way they’re trying to bring peace to the galaxy. They’ve implemented new regulations, but they realize that arresting Mando at the end probably isn’t the right thing to do in spite of his past. They’re just, but fair.

So no: We didn’t find out if the stranger glimpsed last week was Boba Fett. But we did see a bunch of creepy spider-aliens almost eat our heroes, a hilarious jetpack mishap, an X-Wing flight chase, and so much adorable Baby Yoda moments that “The Passenger” was a winner.

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The Baby!
The Baby!
Screenshot: Disney Plus

Assorted Musings:

  • In Star Wars, if you are using a speeder bike, you better be careful of the old rope trick. It worked for the Ewoks on Endor in Return of the Jedi, and it worked here against the Mandalorian.
  • I loved that Peli was using a pod racing engine to cook the dragon meat. It was a cute wink to Ronto Roasters at Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge, where meat is also cooked by pod engines.
  • Peli’s hanger is truly a great place to see old droids. Not only does she have R5 from A New Hope, she’s got a WED-15 Treadwell droid, which was also first seen in A New Hope.
  • We got to see another Filoni animated creation come to life in live-action. Star Wars fans, meet the Krykna: a vicious spider-like creature that feels very much like the face-huggers and xenomorphs of Alien mixed with Shelob from the Lord of the Rings. These deadly creatures debuted on Star Wars Rebels—inspired by old Ralph McQuarrie concept art for Empire Strikes Back—and, apparently, come in all shapes and sizes.
  • Composer Ludwig Göransson outdid himself with this episode, not just with the usual themes, but how he begins to use and repeat a lovely, lullaby-esque theme for the Child. It plays anytime he looks lovingly at food in this episode (which happens a lot) and feels very reminiscent of Gizmo’s music in Gremlins by Jerry Goldsmith.
  • And look, in terms of Baby Yoda, this was a full-on Baby Yoda showcase. We got to see him scurry around, eat, walk in snow, and get pretty close to talking. Instead of “The Passenger,” the episode could’ve been called “Cute Baby Yoda Scenes” and it would’ve worked too. Giant spiders aside.
  • Though we didn’t find out who that stranger was from last week, there was a subtle clone cameo here. Dee Bradley Baker, who voices the Clones in The Clone Wars, did the voice of Frog Lady. Misty Rosas, who played live-action Kuiil in season one, was in the suit.
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Entertainment Reporter for io9/Gizmodo

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DISCUSSION

genejacket
Gene Jacket

I....did not enjoy this episode, for a few different reasons...

1. The rope trick. Really? A rope? A helmet full of advanced tech and you couldn’t see the three marauders directly in front of you setting a trap? I know it’s a nitpick, but I hate it when media does this kind of thing. Here’s your badass main character who has seeming preternatural senses and reflexes, until we need them NOT to for some contrived moment.

2. The baby sucks in this ep. Yes, he’s adorable and seeing him move about more than we have was super cute....but, he’s also kind of a monster. It’s hammered home how important this trip and those eggs are to the Frog Lady’s family, and just straight up kills half a dozen of them and it’s played as a joke. As soon as he sees the canister we think “oh no, he’s gonna eat them!”, then he puts his hand on the canister and uses the force, the eggs move toward him and I got the impression he sensed their life force, and would leave them alone...nope, he fucking eats them anyway, so what was the point of the shot of him using the force on the canister?

3. There’s no forward momentum in the overarching narrative and no character growth whatsoever. If anything, this ep kind of does Mando and Baby dirty, and paints them both as assholes. Mando, despite devoting his life to saving a baby who is (as far as he knows) the last of his species, he isn’t sympathetic to the Frog Lady at all, he’s a dick to her the whole time, and she has to guilt him into helping her. That sucks, and I already went over how monstrous this ep depicts Baby.

4. I love Amy Sedaris, but Peli’s writing this ep was a bit too far into Jar Jar-esque comic relief territory. She’s a fun character, but less is more.

Even at (arguably) its worst I didn’t hate it by any means, but I do think it’s far and away the weakest episode they’ve done, especially after how incredible the season premiere was. Maybe it’ll have larger implications later in the season, but without hindsight to put it into context it felt like a huge step backward and came off like a filler episode of a 22-ep network season rather than an 8-episode Prestige show.