So this is the kind of show The Mandalorian will be, eh? After an intriguing series premiere, the second episode of this Star Wars Disney+ original is more of a small step in terms of plot, one that doesn’t move the story significantly forward, but continues in building on the characters and mood of the show. For that, “Chapter 2: The Child” is successful.
But if I had to sum up the entire episode in a sentence, it would be super easy: Baby Yoda, the internet’s new phenomenon, knows the Force. That’s arguably something we didn’t need a full 30-minute episode for to tell us.
After warding off a fairly uneventful ambush, apparently also after “baby Yoda,” the Mandalorian, alongside his bounty (riding in a remote controlled crib), find that leaving his ship unattended was not the best idea. A group of Jawas, those short, scavenging hooded dudes from the original trilogy, have stripped the Mandalorian’s ship of some of its essential parts.
The Mandalorian responds with hostility, straight up sniping and vaporizing some of these scavengers, while the survivors make off with the parts in their giant sandcrawler. A fairly amusing chase ensues, with our bounty hunter climbing the vehicle while offing some more Jawas on the way. It’s messy, and clearly a struggle for our guy.
It is then when we finally get the answer to the question: how many Jawas does it take to defeat a Mandalorian? I don’t have an exact number, but it’s got to be an entire horde of them, guns up. This scene was Sisyphysian in nature, with the Mandalorian literally climbing up only to fall all the way down, in a totally futile way—it seems comical in design.
With nothing to show from his assault, the Mandalorian and the baby return to Nick Nolte’s Kuill character, and the baby gets some adorable close-up shots and ends up eating a space frog, or something. It’s clear that disintegrating people won’t get the results that the Mandalorian needs, and instead he’s forced to take a more diplomatic approach.
It still won’t be an easy task, as the irked Jawas in negotiation wants the bounty hunter to retrieve an egg—this results in the Mandalorian, with the baby following him, entering a cave to fight a giant horned beast. A bit worrying, seeing how this guy could even handle some blurrgs in the premiere episode, and rightfully so—our guy gets a good shellacking.
But the day is saved by the baby, who uses the Force not only to stop the beast, but to lift it up; only then can the Mandalorian provide a fatal stab. Like the sandcrawler attack, this sequence showed the Mandalorian approaching the situation in a messy and far-from-perfect way. By the end of it all, he is exhausted and covered in mud, not exactly the image you’d expect from the show’s namesake.
That’s probably what I really like about this protagonist—he isn’t a total, unstoppable badass, but rather a decently-skilled individual who is sometimes outmatched and in over his own head. He is no Jango Fett or Boba Fett, and he certainly isn’t cold or emotionless; his humility towards Kuiil and his offer of giving him half of the reward was a great example of this.
And even without seeing the Mandalorian’s face, this episode, as much of a slow burn it was, was able to convey an emotional bond between the Mandalorian and this child Yoda-like creature. Perhaps it’s the audience projecting our own thoughts on the baby through the blank face of the protagonist, but it is effective nonetheless.
I’m curious to see how much of the rest of this season will be a long journey, because it was strange to me how the second episode felt like an aside. I suppose we needed this episode to justify any sort of attachment the Mandalorian may feel for this child. Whatever the case, for once in the history of humankind, the internet was right about something: this thing is freaking adorable.