How much smaller The Mandalorian will be in scope compared to the Star Wars movies remains to be seen. But if any episode will inform you that the show is smaller to some extent, it’s this one. Here, the Mandalorian has to deal with Jawas who scrapped his ship for parts. If that doesn’t have low stakes, I don’t know what does.
Does this episode reek of filler? We admittedly don’t know what this season’s story looks as a whole but it does feel like we got a bit sidetracked here. I mean, you have Jawas as the opposition. They may be inconveniencing the Mandalorian but they’re no Galactic Empire or Separatist fleet. The story especially comes across as sidetracked during the second half of the episode. The Mandalorian and Kuiil try to barter for the parts and the Jawas agree to return them if the former can retrieve an egg from a beast’s nest. This frankly felt akin to a fetch quest in a video game, the kind that diverts you from the main storyline but is mandatory in order to continue on.
Despite the perceived lack of progression, I still enjoyed the episode. If nothing else, it’s believable. A galactic bounty hunter ready to claim his reward, only to get stuck thanks to some pesky locals living on the planet. That kind of scenario can just as easily happen in the Star Wars galaxy as the big, interplanetary conflicts seen in the movies. And this is all made entertaining by how much work the Mandalorian ends up doing to get his parts back. He shoots them, chases their Sand Crawler, and fights a beast just to get lunch for them. These are all solid action scenes but when you think about it, it’s an awful lot of action for a very low stake. Even the execution sometimes exaggerates the Mandalorian’s efforts such as when he snipes the Jawas with his rifle which makes his targets disintegrate. Seeing Jawas die in such extreme fashion is downright comical.
To be honest though, a bigger reason why I don’t mind this episode is that we get to see more Baby Yoda (I know it’s not actually Yoda but come on, that’s what we’re all calling it). I still find it a little surreal that this character exists. After all, Yoda has been remembered in pop culture for decades and we’re suddenly now seeing an infant variant of him. Even so, I can’t deny that this littler green friend is pretty adorable. I lost it when it swallows a frog whole right as the Mandalorian tells it spit it (also, I guess we now know why Yoda picked Dagobah for his exile).
That said, it’s becoming clear that Baby Yoda isn’t just here to mug to the camera. A surprising revelation is that the infant can use the Force which it demonstrates by levitating the beast and prevent it from killing the Mandalorian. On one hand, I was hoping Disney would finally spare us with sprinkling in the Force in every live action production they’ve done so far. On the other, this does make me more curious about what kind of role Baby Yoda will ultimately play. Does the Client and his scientist buddy know the baby is Force-insensitive? Assuming they do, it’s ominous to think what they might want of it. You also have to wonder if the Mandalorian knows of what he just witnessed. He’s undoubtedly awestruck but he makes no direct comment on seeing the baby use the Force. Has he ever heard of it? With scarce knowledge of the Jedi are in this era, you have to wonder.
If anything disappointed me about this episode, it’s seeing the Mandalorian part ways with Kuiil. I really enjoyed the friendship these two have formed. Kuill has been nothing but selfless these two episodes and you can tell that the Mandalorian is genuinely grateful of his help. It would’ve been great to see Kuiil join as a crew member and frankly, the explanation given for why he declines the offer is last minute and contrived. I suppose it’s always a possibility for him to show up again but considering this and how quickly IG-11 exited the story, it’s looking like recurring characters don’t stay in this show for very long. Oh God, how long is Baby Yoda going to be around then?
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