The Mandalorian: Chapter 2 Review
The response to The Mandalorian has been overwhelmingly positive. While that’s not a huge surprise for the Disney era of Star Wars, the fact that we’ve gone a week without backlash whiplash is the surprising part. It didn’t take long for people to sour on most things Star Wars since the Mouse bought out George. After all, people eventually soured on The Force Awakens. It didn’t take long for people to turn on The Last Jedi. The latter movie seemed to taint Solo. Fans didn’t give Resistance a chance.
The fact that we’ve got a near consensus positive attitude to The Mandalorian after a couple of episodes is a pretty big deal. After the most recent episode, it sure seams like everyone is on board with Star Wars’ first foray into live-action TV.
Spoiler Warning: This review may contain some spoilers for The Mandalorian (and will include spoilers for previous episodes) and other Star Wars TV series, movies and novels.
While The Mandalorian is the focus of the series, the asset (AKA The Child, AKA Baby Yoda) is an absolute scene stealer. I read a brief quote from one of the show’s stars (who will remain nameless because of potential spoilers) who said that the baby was operated remotely by two technicians. One operated the eyes and the mouth while the other operated facial expressions. While I would imagine that the scenes where the child is out of the bassinet are largely CGI, Baby Yoda sure looks amazing in or out of the crib. It doesn’t take a lot of searching to find Baby Yoda memes or cute GIFS on the internet.
So the mystery of Baby Yoda is alluded to in this episode and the big reveal is in that fight scene between The Mando and that giant beast. Whenever Baby Yoda is walking to The Mando while he’s treating his wound, you get that feeling of “he’s about to heal him using the Force” but we never got that payoff to find out if it will happen. Instead, we get another massive Baby Yoda moment at the end of the episode. Sometimes, a big moment doesn’t have to be a massive plot twist but rather a payoff to a long tease. We suspected he could be Force-sensitive from his introduction but that the payoff was what we expected doesn’t make it any less satisfying.
Of course, like the series premiere, there was a whole episode that led up to the signature Baby Yoda moment. It’s kind of amazing how one character can take over a show when he/she isn’t the star or the main character. It’s not necessarily a bad thing that Baby Yoda is overshadowing the rest of the show but it could be a problem if he’s not in an episode and suddenly the also-rans have to carry that episode.
Prior to our big Baby Yoda moment, we do get some insight into The Mando and some exploration of classic Star Wars moments. For example, back in Empire Strikes Back, Darth Vader is quite explicit in telling the assembled bounty hunters “no disintegrations.” In this episode, we get to see what disintegrations look like. We also get a closer look at the life of Jawas with a fantastic call back to Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade mixed in.
In keeping with my previous observation that they’re letting The Mando look both like a bad ass and completely vulnerable, they certainly kept with that theme in this episode. He definitely looked every bit the best bounty hunter in the parsec against the trandoshans and the jawas. From then on, it was downhill for our hero in spectacular fashion. We got to see jawas be jawas and have it look like all hope was lost for The Mando. Then it was losing a fight against the jawas and a giant monster. It’s a series of great moments that differentiates The Mando from other heroes. It’s almost like he fits in better with the world of premium TV because you almost never know if he’s going to make it out the other side of an encounter.
Overall, I liked this episode as a follow-up to the previous. We had our setup in the first episode and got some enjoyable logical follow-up and pay-off in this one. I think that it makes the first episode better in retrospect because we get the building blocks upon which this one is built.
Other random points of note:
- This episode was titled “The Child.” I found that interesting if only because the first episode didn’t have a title.
- Seriously, though, Baby Yoda is just the best.
- I thought that the first episode was short but this one was in the neighbourhood of a half-hour in length. On the one hand, it’s keeping them easy to watch and they never feel padded out. On the other hand, we’re so used to premium TV being longer than the standard 42-minute run time for broadcast TV shows.
- I know that Nick Nolte’s character is called Kuill but am I the only one calling him Ugnolt?
- I have spoken.
At the end of the episode, The Mandalorian takes off in his repaired ship. Presumably, we get to see all of our friends from the first episode. What happens to Baby Yoda when we reunite with Werner Herzog remains to be seen. I get the feeling that many more blaster bolts will be fired between now and the end of the next episode, though.