Is the Mandalorian the best thing Star Wars has going right now? That is undeniable.
Let’s dive into season two, episode two, “The Passanger.”
First thing, right off the bat. Just like in season one, episode two, “Hard Broiled”, the episode kicks off with an attempted ambush of The Mandalorian and Baby Yoda. Some bandits thought a simple enough Ewok trick of raising rope to destroy some speeder bikes and the riders would take down Mando. Well after it looks like one appears to get the upper hand, and the last rambler is send skyward to realize his mistake.
The best thing about the opening was Baby Yoda rushing back to Mando, knowing that it was in trouble and knowing were safety is. But my question is, how did these bandits know about Mando and The Child? Did they have trackers? Did someone tell them? Was a little bit confused about that.
Mando eventually returns to the “urban” setting on Tatooine and finds Peli taking money away from Dr. Mandible. The best thing to come from this short dialogue is a nice quip: “Stop your crying and you’ll rust.”
The overarching arc of the first two episodes of season two are about the Mandalorian trying to find more people of his kind. Peli says she can help because she knows someone who knows something. Naturally it is more than Mando anticipated. A frog species is carrying a backpack of her possible offspring, and it is the last chance for her species to survive. Babysitter Mando must man up and escort her a planet where her husband is setting up an environment for the species to survive…but it should be noted that the travel must happen without using hyperspace.
In the three minutes of dialogue exposition setting up this whole scenario, we get cutaways to Baby Yoda staring at various things to eat. We have the Kraty Dragon meat that is searing…and the eggs of the frog. Baby Yoda is a growing child.
Getting to the stars inside the Razor Crest, Mando is flanked on both sides by a pair of X-Wings. There is a tense conversation over comms about how Mando’s ship is not sending a ping, which is a new law under the new republic. Mando tries to dismiss the pair of fighters with a quick “May The Force Be With You”; this is the second reference to force this season after none in season one.
The fake politeness of Mando doesn’t go over well when all of sudden he sees the X-Wing fighters enter fighter mode. The expanded wings are because it comes across the patrollers that the Razor Crest was at a republic prison trip recently. This is a direct reference to “The Prisoner” episode from season one, and personally it was a phenomenal call back to my favorite episode of season one.
The Mandalorian enters flight mode. He maneuvers with wit to avoid the X-Wing fighters, but his crash-landing avoidance becomes wrought when his ship plummets during an icy surface into a cavern of tunnels. Now the hull is shattered, and the circumstances are becoming for more chilling. Before carrying on, it must be said the voice acting of Misty Rosas as the Frog was on point during the aerial chase. Her screaming was comical and something that stuck out amongst the whooshing.
Upon landing the, the Frog is naturally worried about her eggs and where they may be. Mando goes on a search from the wreckage and finds The Child just wolfing down the Frog’s possible children. Baby Yoda is popping these legs like they are Mentos. Mando puts an end to it, but how does The Frog NOT NOTICE THAT SOME OF HER EGGS ARE MISSING? This seems wild to me, specially is they are the last chance to have her species survive?
When Mando returns to the cockpit, he gets alarmed when he hears the voice of Richard Ayoade as Zero, the pilot droid from “The Prisoner” episode. This was some clever work by the writer on this episode. The “In Case You Missed It” summary before the episode featured Zero and footage from “The Prisoner”, then we have the X-Wing fighters bringing attention to it, and there was a short shot of Zero’s head piled among junk during a brief interaction in the cockpit. Strong, subtle audience manipulation by Jon Favreau.
Now how does Mando hear Zero’s voice? The Frog was able to hack her way into Zero’s hardwire and the vocabulator translator to talk to Mando. It is the first time they can actually truly understand one another since Mando doesn’t speak Frog. He should have brought Peli for the ride.
The frosty environment of planet is finally explored when The Mandalorian is notified by Baby Yoda’s coos that the Frog has left the ship with her eggs. Now the tandem traverses through the tunnels and follow the infrared footsteps of the desperate mother left in the snow. Everyone is reunited by a warm spring, which is surrounded by round objects that are emblematic of the eggs from Ridley Scott’s Alien. Mando is talking with the Frog and helping her gather her eggs, which she had spread out in the hot spring water to keep them vital. Baby Yoda is denied eating one with a classic “No” finger wag from its protector, and like a petulant child, there is a disappointed storm off.
While Mando’s back is turned, Baby Yoda props open an egg, and promptly eats something that looks very much like baby spider. Hmmm, that can’t be good right? If you guessed that a queen/mama spider is going to be pissed that one of her THOUSAND children got eaten, then you are a winner!
The Mandalorian quickly picks up the rest of the eggs and the Frog gets dressed as the small eggs all begin hatching around them. Baby Yoda SCOOTED (very quickly, like surprisingly so) to Mando as the danger is surrounding them. The doom around them doesn’t seem all to bad until the big mama jama arrives from her dwelling.
So begins the chase.
The Frog reverts to her base instincts and is pouncing from wall-to-wall while Mando is blasting away the nearest danger. The trio are all trying to get back to the safety of the Razor Crest, and the dire situation seems survivable when the queen spider is crushed by heavy ice falling upon it courtesy of the charges placed by Mando. There is an incredibly cool shot of most deadly babysitter in the galaxy slowly charging his flame thrower to fry the spiders chasing him into the hull of the wrecked metal.
Mando, Baby Yoda and the Frog are all trapped in the cockpit when the engines start, and the ship begins to rise. (It should be noted that there were a series of shots earlier in the episode of Mando trying to fix the ship before the Frog left the ship, so this is not just lazy writing of “oh we are lucky!”) As the Razor Crest is attempting to get altitude, the queen spider emerges again. WHO WHOULD HAVE GUESSED SUCH AS EASY KILL WAS A DECOY??
The creature is pinning down the ship and scratching its teeth on the cockpits viewpoint. It does not look good for the trio…until blaster sounds from outside the ship start emerging. The X-Wing fighters that were looking to take in the Razor Crest found their way into the cavern where our hero is trapped (very timely right?) just in time to keep the ship and its characters alive. The duo of rebel alliance pilots are just sniping away all the spiders as Mando walks outside slowly in acknowledgment of this scenario that is unfolding. What would the interaction be like between these patrolmen and this man they were trying to apprehend?
The next bit of dialogue is lesson to be learned from this show and for its titular character. Character matters. There is such thing as good karma.
Captain Carson Teva is the elder of the patrolmen, and he is reading Mando the riot act about what went down aboard the special prison. But after noting all the illegal things done, he notes how Mando apprehended three of the more wanted criminals in the sector, and most importantly, Teva made sure to point out how Mando attempted to save the life of the one human aboard the ship. In case you don’t remember, Mando got in a classic western standoff with members of his gambit who wanted to kill the human before Xi’an just broke through the tension by letting her knives make the final deadly decision. Didn’t leave a good taste in Mando’s mouth and he got his revenge, muahahaha.
So now is season two, we are getting some queues of what comes around, goes around. Mercy shown may lead to mercy being given. The rebels leave the Razor Crest in the dust, noting how in these trying times, it doesn’t make sense to take in a bounty hunter whose moral compass isn’t as compromised as the deed he was associated with.
Overall, “The Passenger” was a middle of the road Mandalorian episode. Nothing sensational, but still far more enjoyable than almost anything else right now. Biggest takeaways from it are that Baby Yoda is a growing child who wants to each everything, and the Mandalorian is learning that character and actions of the past may affect your future in more bright ways that one would have thought.