This Is Not the Way, Baby Yoda

The Child marveling at a tank full of eggs.
The Child marveling at a tank full of eggs.
Photo: Disney+

The second episode of The Mandalorian’s second season took its central bounty hunter and his infant space gremlin son from the deserts of Tatooine to a dangerous new locale as part of a mission to help save a family. But within its larger, horror-driven plot, “The Passenger” ended up drawing attention to something about Baby Yoda himself that, frankly, was stomach-turning.

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The Mandalorian’s first season established that, physically vulnerable as the creature sometimes is because of his age and stature, the Child is not completely helpless in the right situations. In addition to having an uncommonly powerful connection to the Force that he’s used to attack enemies and lift animals exponentially larger than he is, the Child’s also proven himself to be something of a capable predator, chasing down living Sorgan frogs and eating them whole.

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“The Passenger” expands on this element of the Child’s burgeoning personality, but it does so in a way that raises some rather serious questions about the baby’s sense of morality...and Mando’s parenting skills.

Illustration for article titled This Is Not the Way, Baby Yoda

When Pelli Motto tasks Mando to transport a frog-like woman to the distant moon Trask to reunite with her husband, he’s none-too-jazzed to learn that the mission has to be completed without the use of hyperspace travel. This must be done in order to protect the woman’s fragile, unfertilized eggs, which she’s transporting in a temperature-controlled canister full of a neon blue liquid. Because of the Frog Lady and her husband’s unique biology, Trask is essentially the only place where their spawn could safely grow to maturity. But what truly moves Mando and convinces him to play escort is Pelli’s translated explanation that the Frog Lady’s genetic line will end should her eggs go unfertilized.

As a newly minted father himself, there’s part of Mando that understands the Frog Lady’s plight and why she would risk her life in order to protect her children. The story follows as the bounty hunter gains an even deeper understanding of the power of the bond between parents and their children. While Mando and the Frog Lady’s feelings about parenting take center stage, the episode also takes a number of moments to focus on the Child, who stays mostly away from the episode’s action-packed moments as he wanders off in search of snacks.

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“Tell the Frog Lady. I want her to know it was me.”
“Tell the Frog Lady. I want her to know it was me.”
Screenshot: Disney+

At multiple points throughout the episode, Mando finds the Child posted up next to the Frog Lady’s opened canister with one of her orange, boba-like eggs clutched in his tiny hand, ready to pop it into his mouth (or already having done so). The Mandalorian plays these moments for laughs, and Mando’s never quite quick enough to stop his son, but each time the baby gobbles one of the eggs down and Mando softly chastises him, the story never pauses to really make you sit with the significance of what’s happening.

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Important as these eggs are meant to be to the Frog Lady, at no point throughout the episode does she ever seem to be all that concerned with keeping the canister right by her side in the same way that Mando has the baby sleep on the Razor Crest’s lower level with him, as he knows the baby’s prone to wander off and get into trouble. For all the importance “The Passenger” puts onto the Frog Lady’s eggs at the top, as you make your way through the episode, each of the Child’s scenes where he’s stolen one and gulped it down sort of undercuts the story, as you’d imagine that the woman would know precisely how many eggs she was transporting. The Frog Lady’s not just shuttling a rare and valuable cargo to another planet in order to make a profit the way Mando’s accustomed to. She’s carrying her bloodline’s past, present, and future, and the show makes light of it all in service of the Child, who, in this particular scenario, is a voracious monster.

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Late into the episode, after Mando and the Frog Lady are stranded on a frozen planet where she happens to find exactly the kind of hot spring her species prefers to bathe in, the Child is the first person to realize that the area isn’t as devoid of life the way it initially seems. When the Child stumbles upon a clutch of eggs of a different sort, he gleefully cracks one open to devour its slimy green contents, only to realize that it’s one of seemingly thousands of eggs belonging to a gargantuan Krykna mother—the spider-like creatures last seen in Star Wars Rebels—that immediately set out to attack the intruders.

“The Passenger” frames the swarm that descends upon the Razor Crest as a terrifying event that embodies the kinds of situations Mando prefers to avoid—and were it not for the Frog Lady wandering off the bathe in the hot springs, it’s possible that their landing party might have gone completely unnoticed. But at the same time, there’s an argument to be made that the spider was merely trying to protect its own progeny from a potential threat, and that the creatures had every right to attack Mando and company—just as we feel when Mando and the Child are threatened in the episode’s opening, or, as we feel when the Child wolfs down another of Frog Lady’s eggs for laughs.

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What’s most unsettling about the whole egg-eating thing is that, by the end of “The Passenger,” Mando still doesn’t seem all that concerned with making sure the Child doesn’t eat any more of the Frog Lady’s eggs, and she doesn’t even seem completely unaware that he’s consumed at least three of them. Mando’s still getting the hang of fatherhood, but not eating other people’s children is the sort of lesson he should want to impress upon his young charge, as it’s deeply messed up. More than that, it’s likely to get them both in even more trouble if that behavior keeps up.

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io9 Culture Critic and Staff Writer. Cyclops was right.

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DISCUSSION

apocalypse-cow
Apocalypse Cow

So here’s a theory (SPOILER?):

In the next episode, we see the egg container destroyed, along with all of the remaining eggs. Frog mom is devastated; all is lost. Baby Yoda saves the day by bringing-up the intact eggs he “ate,” and returns them to mom — turns out he wasn’t consuming them but just providing them another safe place to be stored. Remember, he didn’t chew on them like he did with the spider, or slurp them down like he did with the frogs, but just popped-and-swallowed ... so maybe they went to a safe-stomach or something (What? Do YOU know how Baby Yoda’s insides work??).

Okay, so it’s not the greatest theory ever, but it’s how I’m rationalizing-away the fact that he’s literally eating away the future of this frog lady’s family, which is *very* messed-up. So I’m sticking with it for this week and we’ll see how they resolve things on Friday =)