The Mandalorian S2: "The Passenger" spoiler review
After last week's large scale episode, with a closing shot we can't seem to stop talking about, this week fans were treated to an episode that was maybe smaller in scale, but no less important to the tale of our Mando and his little charge. There are MAJOR SPOILERS below the image, proceed at your own risk
The episode opens, as some predicted, on Tatooine. However, it doesn't start with Boba Fett still standing on a cliff. Temuera Morrison actually doesn't appear in the episode at all. Rather, we start with Din Djarin and The Child speeding away from Mos Pelgo and back to Mos Eisley, their tip about a Mandalorian on Tatooine having led nowhere. But then they're thrown off - literally - by a group of would-be bandits.
I'll admit, I was worried that they'd been sent by Boba, or some new mysterious antagonist, to kidnap The Child for whatever nefarious reason. Thankfully, this doesn't seem to be the case, as they were just your average, run of the mill Tatooine pickpockets. Din quickly, and cleverly, takes care of them, and with all this belongings slug over his shoulder, including Baby Yoda riding in his bag, they make their way back to town.
They meet back up with Pelli Motto, who tells them that she has another lead for them, a Frog Lady (as referred to in subtitles) who offers to lead Din straight to a cohort of Mandalorians one system away from Tatooine. All she asks in exchange is passage to Trask for herself and her tank of eggs. She also adds another condition: sublight travel, because a jump to hyperspace will kill her spawn.
Din is hesitant to travel sublight, pointing out that that will be more likely to get him caught. That instinct proves correct when the Razor Crest is approached by two X-Wings, who repeatedly ask for his identity, before recognizing the ship as the same one involved in the prison break from Chapter 6: The Prisoner. Not wanting to be apprehended by the New Republic, Din brings the Razor Crest all but crashing down onto an unknown snowy planet.
Those who watched the trailer and the MNF preview will recognize this planet as being heavily featured in those previews. Some of us had speculated that this planet might be Ilum, where young Padawans go to find their kyber crystals, and where the First Order will eventually build Starkiller Base. We thought that this would perhaps be the next step in The Child's journey as a budding Force user. Alas, it was not to be, which didn't surprise me too much. It really does seem like the trailers only showed scenes from the first few episodes, so it would have surprised me if they went with a plot point that big this early in the game.
With the Razor Crest in terrible shape, the Frog Lady takes her eggs to a nearby cave to warm them in a hot spring. The Child wanders off and pokes at a mysterious pod, which opens to reveal a small spider. Bad news for our crew, as this small act awakens the entire nest of spiders, that range in size from tiny to gigantic. This is also bad news for anyone with arachnophobia, or really any fear of bugs, because what follows is an intense chase scene back to the ship, which is shortly swarmed with the creatures. The gang is trapped in the cockpit and fearing the worst when they are rescued by the same two X-Wing pilots who tried to stop them earlier. The pilots tell Din that although he is wanted for freeing one dangerous criminal, he also aided in the capture of three others and risked his life to try and save a New Republic officer, and for that they're willing to look the other way and let him leave. With the Razor Crest barely keeping it together, Din, The Child, the Frog Lady and her eggs finally make their way towards Trask.
While the early social media chatter has called this episode "filler," it is important to remember that we are now 10 chapters into what we can expect to be at least a 24 installment series. Dave Filoni shows have been accused of inserting filler into his other series (Clone Wars and Rebels) that eventually paid off. Remember the space whale episode of Rebels? We've also seen that no incident happens without a reason in The Mandalorian. Everyone he has met has been called upon again. From Cara to Pelli and Kuill to IG-11, the characters Din meets along his journey return with purpose. I would imagine we will see Cobb Vanth and even Temuera Morrison return to fulfill a major plot advancement in future episodes.
Another key to this episode was the further character development of the Mandalorian himself and the Child. Mando wanted to cancel the deal when the chips (and the Razor Crest) were down, but was reminded of his code of honor. This will not go unrewarded. Additionally, the Child continues to be raised in a world of violence and gray moral values. How will this impact him as he grows. The concept of a youngling strong in the Force with no clear dark and light paths is an exciting one to be sure.
Before we wrap this up, here are my Top 5 Easter eggs/moments from this episode:
5. Not an Easter egg, but The Child's little "pick me up" waddle towards Din Djarin on Tatooine is possibly the cutest thing he's done so far.
4. There are a lot of references to Chapter 6 in this episode, both big and small. Because Din and the Frog Lady don't speak any common languages, she repurposes Q9-0, the droid from that episode, and uses his voice box to speak Basic to Din, which means we saw a brief return of Richard Ayoade (or his voice, anyway)
3. In another reference to Chapter 6, when the X-Wing pilots are telling Din all the reasons they're willing to let him go, they mention his attempt to save the life of Davan, the New Republic security officer. Not only is it a nice callback to Matt Lanter's cameo in season 1, it goes a long way to show Din the positive consequences of the selfless actions he takes.
2. This episode was directed by Peyton Reed, director of Ant-Man, so it's no surprise that the cantina scene featured Peli playing cards with a large ant man.
1. Dave Filoni returns as X-Wing pilot Trapper Wolf, but he is not the one who does the bulk of the speaking. That honour goes to Korean-Canadian actor Paul Sun-Hyung Lee as Carson Teva. Lee is currently known for his starring role in the comedy series Kim's Convenience, and is a huge Star Wars fan with an impressive cosplay collection.
I've already seen a lot of criticism online about this episode. About how it's "filler" and adds nothing to the plot, and I've got to say that takes like that frustrate me. Yes, the episode had no Boba Fett-style earth shattering revelations, but to that I say: good. Honestly, if the show tried to match that level of "OMG plot twist" every week, it would have run out of steam by now. When your seasons are this short and tight, every episode matters. No episode is pointless. This one allowed the viewer to get a closer look at Din's relationship with The Child,
and to appreciate how far he's come in the last 10 chapters. He is a father trying to do the best for his child, and his passenger is a mother trying to do the same. There's nothing wrong with an episode taking a moment to breathe. And I encourage any who would criticize the episode for its slower pace to remember that Chapter 2 last season was very similar in tone. It was smaller in scale, was more about interpersonal relationships between the Mandalorian and another being trying to help him, all while his relationship to the Child is developed and the whole thing is punctuated with a weird creature action scene. If you had no problem with Chapter 2, you should have no problem with this. Unless of course you don't like spiders, then I can't say I blame you.
What was your favourite moment? What Easter eggs did you spot? Check out this week's Streaming Star Wars for even more in depth analysis of Chapter 10.