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The Mandalorian might be the least-contested, least-debated Star Wars property in years, but that doesn’t mean we’re all in harmonious agreement.
There are two general schools of thought here – there are the fans who get nervous whenever the pace starts to slack, who consider any episode that doesn’t significantly advance the story to be “filler”. Then there are those just like to soak in the atmosphere.
For them, The Mandalorian is all about the journey, not the destination. “The Passenger”, the second entry in season two (referred to as Chapter Ten), is one for the dawdlers. It’s a low-key, low stakes episode with no concrete revelations. But it’s also light, fun, and impressively nimble in its direction. It feels breezy without undercutting the hard-bitten western tone the show worked so hard to reiterate in last week’s “The Marshal”.
After a run-in with some bandits, Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal), our Mandalorian, returns to Mos Eisley to track down Peli Motto (Amy Sedaris). She’s at the cantina, playing sabacc with an ant-like creature called Dr Mandible – potentially a Killik, mentioned in a short story tied to the new Star Wars: Squadrons game. It’s also a neat, little calling card from the episode’s director, Ant-Man’s Peyton Reed.
Dr Mandible has a potential lead for Din: a nervous creature known only as Frog Lady, carrying around her eggs, the last of her bloodline. Her husband has settled in a nearby sector and she swears – in gurgling noises that Peli has to translate – that Din will find other Mandalorians there.
Watch a recap of S1 of The Mandalorian
But that’s a mystery to be solved at a later date. “The Passenger” is a slice of pure adventure, as our heroes are left stranded at the bottom of an icy gorge, forced to fend off a horde of spindly creatures hardcore fans might recognise from a piece of concept art Ralph McQuarrie created for The Empire Strikes Back.
It’s part of The Mandalorian’s continued commitment to pulling references from every medium of Star Wars storytelling. There’s even a brief nod to Galaxy’s Edge, the Star Wars-themed land at Disney’s theme parks – Peli roasts a chunk of Krayt dragon meat using an old pod racer engine, just like your sausages are meant to be cooked at one of the land’s restaurants.
Jon Favreau, who wrote the episode, also weaves in a few callbacks to season one, when a pair of X-wing pilots (Dave Filoni, the show’s executive producer, and Paul Sun‑Hyung Lee) interrupt Din’s flight.
It offers another intriguing look into the inner workings of the post-Empire period. We think of the rebels, now the New Republic, as noble heroes. But why does this particular interaction carry the same tension as two cops making an unwarranted traffic stop?
“The Passenger”, thankfully, offers the Child, AKA Baby Yoda, plenty of room to do his thing. In fact, he’s a little more energetic than before. He waddles around. He cuddles up to his new dad. He scarfs a few of Frog Lady’s eggs – look, he might still be cute, but this last part is worrying.
If Baby Yoda’s this compulsive now, what’s going to happen when his force abilities really start to grow?
And who’s going to explain to Frog Lady that her vat of unborn children is now half-empty?
The Mandalorian streams exclusively on Disney+, with new episodes launching every Friday.