***WARNING! The following contains spoilers for Episode 2 of The Mandalorian!***
After the seriousness of its season premiere, The Mandalorian indulges in some comedy with its second episode, “The Child.”
His bounty now firmly in hand, the titular warrior (Pedro Pascal) heads back to his ship, only to be attacked by a group of Trandoshans, a species of lizard-like aliens. If they look familiar, it’s because we met a Trandoshan named Bossk in The Empire Strikes Back. Bossk was among one of the bounty hunters (which included Boba Fett and IG-88) hired by Darth Vader to find the Millennium Falcon.
Speaking of the Mandalorian’s bounty, I think I can finally reveal that it’s a baby Yoda. Well, not Yoda per se, but a child of the same species as the deceased, funny-talking Jedi Master. The unnamed toddler is cute as a button and recalls Gizmo in Gremlins, which I’m sure was not a mistake on the part of Favreau & co.
Episode 2 also removes all doubt about whether or not the child is cut from the same cloth as Yoda. Near the end of the story, the little tyke clearly taps into the Force to help the Mandalorian defeat a raging rhino beast. Does this mean all of their species are inherently born with a strong midi-chlorian count? The answer is probably yes, but The Mandalorian, which doesn’t have any dialogue for the first 11 minutes of its second episode, isn’t giving up explanations that easily.
Taking care of the Trandoshans in quick succession, the main character returns to his ship, only to find that it’s being stripped by Jawas—the hooded, red-eyed desert merchants that sold R2-D2 and C-3PO to Luke and Uncle Owen in A New Hope. Given the appearance of the Jawas and their massive Sandcrawler, it may be safe to assume that the Mandalorian’s been on Tatooine this entire time.
The Mandalorian takes a few shots at the small-statured thieves and even disintegrates a few before they take off. What follows is a fun little chase sequence that recalls the train heists of the Old West, which, as you know by the now, the show is channeling.
The Jawas comedically incapacitate the gunslinger and he’s forced to ask Kuiil (Nick Nolte), the gruff moisture farmer, for help. In the first episode, Kuiil seemed like an eccentric hermit with little else to his persona. “The Child” dispels that notion by giving him a greater role and hinting at a deeper backstory for his character.
He parts ways with the Mandalorian by the end of Episode 2, but I’d really like to see them together again; their mismatched dynamic is incredibly charming.
Acting as a translator/mediator, Kuiil helps the Mandalorian get his ship parts back. At first, the Jawas asks for the gunslinger’s Beskar and Yoda child, which are obviously non-starters. Luckily, there’s something else the Jawas want: the egg of the aforementioned rhino creature, which nearly kills our protagonist.
The Mandalorian doesn’t care much for the squeaky-voiced scavengers and even when he reluctantly puts down his weapons before sitting down at the negotiation table, he has a flamethrower hidden up his literal sleeve. It’s a testament to something he says just a few seconds before: “I’m a Mandalorian, weapons are part of my religion.”
Since he doesn’t have much of a choice, the Mandalorian gets the egg, which you might think is some valuable commodity that the Jawas can sell…Nope! They slice off the top and feast on the slimy yolk inside. It’s weird and pretty much representative of Episode 2, which offers a nicely strange breather from all the action and exposition of the season premiere. ,
There’s almost a Samurai Jack quality to the series, which prefers its visuals to speak louder than its dialogue.
His ship repaired with some major help from Kuiil, the Mandalorian blasts off to his next adventure. Hopefully, he doesn’t turn the Yoda creature over to the Client (Werner Herzog) and his associate, the shady Dr. Pershing (Omid Abtahi).
Again, I can’t leave off the recap without praising the eclectic score of Ludwig Göransson, which continues to grow and evolve in the second episode. At times, it sounds like the music could belong in a cheap sci-fi movie from the 1970s, but it works so well within the context of the show.
Tender, epic, personal, and sweeping, Göransson’s compositions are just so evocative of what The Mandalorian is all about.
From now on, the series will air its subsequent episodes on a weekly basis. For instance, Episode 3 of The Mandalorian will premiere on Disney+ next Friday, Nov. 22.