***WARNING! The following contains major plot spoilers for Season 2, Episode 2 of The Mandalorian!***
Things go from bad to worse in the second episode (“Chapter 10: “The Passenger”) of The Mandalorian‘s second season.
Moments after their victory against the krayt dragon, Mando (Pedro Pascal) and Baby Yoda are ambushed in the middle of the Tatooine desert by a group of bandits as our heroes make their way back to Mos Eisley Spaceport. One of the thieves attempts to use The Child as a bargaining chip (a low blow, to be sure), and Mando is forced to trade his precious jetpack for BY's life. Thankfully, the would-be robber gets their comeuppance when Mando activates the jetpack remotely.
Mando reunites with a clearly agitated Baby Yoda in a tender moment that highlights how much these characters have been through. Over the last nine episodes, Din Djarin has gone from ambivalent protector actually to care about The Child's well-being. Someone get him a #1 Dad mug stat!
His speeder bike trashed beyond repair, Mando walks back to Mos Eisley on foot, rendezvousing with Peli Motto (Amy Sedaris), who is enjoying a friendly game of Sabaac with Dr. Mandible, a nightmarish and ant-like alien that was first introduced in Season 1, Episode 5. Mandible is a great example of the show's commitment to using practical effects wherever possible. The obviously fake animatronic is a lovely throwback to the cantina scene in A New Hope and helps ground the viewer in the fantastical world.
Ok, back to the plot: Mandible says he has valuable intel on more Mandalorians' whereabouts but will only offer up the information if Mando provides the capital for his Sabaac bet. The bounty hunter agrees, but it turns out Motto is a bit of a hustler, and Mandible loses the hand. Still, a deal's a deal, and Mandible connects Mando with a frog-like alien that can lead Mando to more of his kind.
The Frog Lady (again, another practical creature that recalls the Ahch-To caretakers in The Last Jedi) is looking to transport her eggs to a nearby system, where the equinox must fertilize them. Fun fact: Frog Lady is played by Misty Rosas, the actor who did the physical performance for Nick Nolte's Kuiil last season.
Here's the catch, though: Mando can't jump into hyperspace; he needs to travel “sub-light,” or Frog Lady's spawn will die. The bounty hunter insists that traveling at hyperspeed is the only thing keeping him out of trouble but reluctantly agrees due to the possibility of finding more Mandalorians, whom the Frog Lady's husband has allegedly seen. The group blasts off, and Baby Yoda gets hungry, deciding to feast on some of Frog Lady's eggs.
Working off a script by creator/showrunner Jon Favreau, director Peyton Reed (Ant-Man and the Wasp) gets to flex his comedic sensibilities here as Mando tries to teach his surrogate son a lesson about ingesting other people's babies.
Spoiler alert: it doesn't quite work, leading to a great ending scene that will make you laugh with relieved mirth after all the suspenseful action preceding it. More on that later.
During the flight, the Razor Crest gets flanked by two New Republic X-wings piloted by series executive producer Dave Filoni (his pilot character, Trapper Wolf, appeared last season in Episode 6). The other, Captain Carson Teva, is played by Paul Sun-Hyung Lee of Kim's Convenience.
It's another standout moment from Chapter 10 that highlights how much the galaxy has changed since the defeat of the Empire. The Rebels have won, and now they're calling the shots, casting suspicion on vessels that may have been involved with criminal activities. Even so, the X-wing pilots sound more like lazy cops pulling a person over because of a broken taillight — a sign of complacency in peacetime.
I just love how Favreau takes the time to really give us a sense of what the galaxy looks like after Return of the Jedi without being super heavy-handed about it.
Even the way Mando tries to shake off the X-wings pilots' suspicion by saying “May the Force be with you” is filled with incredible nuance; he turns this iconic slogan of hope into a passive, throwaway line in an effort to make these guys go away. He nearly gets off with a warning until the X-wing pilots realize that his ship was involved in the New Republic prison's hullabaloo last season.
Aware that the jig is up, Mando takes evasive action, steering his ship to a nearby ice planet, where he's able to ditch the X-wings in a good ol' fashioned Star Wars canyon chase. The downside? His ship falls into an ice cave and is critically damaged.
He tells everyone that they need to hunker down for nightfall when the temperatures drop, but Frog Lady isn't having any of it. She hijacks Q9-0 (voiced by Richard Ayoade) in yet another nice reincorporation of Season 1, Episode 6, to translate her raspy amphibian language into Galactic Basic Standard. She urges Mando to fix the ship and guilts him by suggesting that Mandalorians' creed of always staying true to their word is just a myth for children.
And so, the bounty hunter starts trying to repair his ship, but he barely makes any headway when Baby Yoda alerts him of the fact that Frog Lady has wandered off. They track her to a subterranean hot spring where she's enjoying a nice soak with her eggs. Mando insists that it's not safe to be away from the ship and starts gathering up the eggs. The Child tries to eat another one, but Mando tells him no, an admonishment that nearly proves fatal for all three characters.
Giving me some great Dark Crystal vibes with his puppeted movements, Baby Yoda looks around and sees that the cavern is bespeckled with egg-looking objects. He opens one and eats the slimy, spider-looking thing within. Right away, any fan of Ridley Scott's Alien knows what's going to happen next.
The rest of the eggs start hatching, and the group is chased by an army of horrific, Lovecraftian ice spiders of varying sizes. The race back to the ship is an action set piece crown jewel of Chapter 10 and allows Frog Lady to show off her leaping skills.
The trio makes it back to the ship, but the spiders are just too numerous, overrunning the hull and filling it with cosmic webbing (arachnophobes need not apply). The ice spiders' design and absolutely brutal nature reminded me of my favorite Stephen King story: “The Mist,” in which unspeakable creatures enter our reality from another dimension.
Anywho, Mando, Baby Yoda, and Frog Lady fortify themselves in the cockpit, and Mando's nearly able to get the ship out of the cave before a massive ice spider weighs it down.
At this point, all seems lost, and the trio almost becomes spider chow before the big arachnid is dispatched by the blaster fire of two miraculous saviors: the X-wing pilots!
They've found their quarry, but they're no longer interested in arresting Mando. They know that he tried to save Lt. Davan's life while aboard the New Republic prison and that while he sprung one of the inmates, he still captured three other high-profile targets (Mayfeld, Xi'an, and Burg). The pilots let Mando go because “these are trying times” but refuse to help him fix his ship, even if he does forego the bounties on the fugitives he captured.
With no way to properly repair his vessel's damage, Mando pressurizes the cockpit and takes off with Baby Yoda and Frog Lady. The Razor Crest is holding up just enough for them to limp their next destination, and just like that, Mando is now responsible for Baby Yoda and the lives of several other kids (all of them unborn).
The bounty hunter can finally take a rest, but Baby Yoda (his appetite still insatiable) looks back to the canister of frog spawn. Frog Lady puts her hand over it as if it to say, “Buzz off, kid — they're mine.” The Child turns back around and — wouldn't ya know it — pops one more amphibious egg into his mouth.
It's a wonderfully light-hearted end to a traumatic series of events. However, we're still not back into the main storyline with Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito), his Darksaber, and his avarice for acquiring The Child.
For our recap of the Season 2 premiere, click here.