The second episode of The Mandalorian has arrived, picking up the story from where we left off and bringing big action. Let’s break it all down!
Much like I did for the debut episode, this breakdown of The Mandalorian‘s second chapter, The Child, is going to be filled with all manner of SPOILERS. So if you haven’t checked it out yet, you may want to come back after…
All right let’s talk about the, surprisingly adorable, second chapter of this show. Perhaps the most surprising thing about The Child (yes, it looks like we’re actually getting episode titles for the series), is its length. Coming in at just half an hour, it’s several minutes shorter than the premiere. Even so, this seems to be where the show finds its groove and shows what it can be.
The focus of the episode is much more narrow, focusing almost entirely on the Mandalorian and the baby he found at the end of the first episode. It picks up roughly where we left off, as the Mandalorian is escorting his precious cargo back to his ship in order to complete his mission.
Upon getting to his ship (which isn’t easy to begin with), he discovers a group of Jawas have completely stripped the Razor Crest down to its bones. An outright attack on their Sandcrawler fortress fails, forcing him to once again enlist the aid of Kuiil. With the Ugnaught’s help, he manages to strike a bargain with scavengers to get back what he needs, involving stealing an egg from a very angry creature.
After a hard-won battle, Kuiil helps the Mandalorian rebuild his ship and get on his way, leaving us to wonder what the third episode will bring as he goes to claim the bounty.
Again, even though this episode was relatively short, it brought more minute-for-minute action than the previous episode. Seriously, there’s a LOT. From the Trandoshan (the same species as Bossk) ambush at the beginning, to the battle on the Jawa Sandcrawler, and the final battle with the rhino creature (closed captioning reveals it’s a Mudhorn), there’s barely a minute spared.
Rick Famuyiwa directed this episode and I’m hoping he decides to pick up more action movies/projects down the road. He did an excellent job with the action, from the way they’re shot, to the pacing, and “holy crap!” factor, he nails it. His skill is shown most clearly in the final showdown with the Mudhorn.
We’ve seen glimpses of this fight against the one-horned, rhino-esque creature, in trailers already, but I wasn’t expecting it to be so awesome. I think what impressed me most, was the sheer level of “realism” throughout. I know, it’s odd to think of considering he uses a flamethrower against a fantastical creature, but the way it was filmed brought a sense of weight and impact to every blow dished out.
We’ve seen monster attacks in Star Wars before (again the Attack of the Clones vibes are pretty strong), but not a fight on this level. There’s no Lightsaber that can cut through everything to win the day; it’s much more intimate and the tension brought from it is incredible. Despite seeing how badass the Mandalorian can be, there’s a real chance he might lose this battle. Hell, were it not for very specific intervention, he probably wouldn’t have survived.
I mentioned this in my previous recap, but if there was any doubt as to the Yoda-baby’s Force abilities, this episode puts it to rest. Throughout the show, we see the child wandering about quite a bit and interacting with the Mandalorian in ways that are absolutely the most adorable thing. Seriously, where’s my plush doll of this?!
At a handful of points, however, we see the child reach out to the Mandalorian in a gesture that should be instantly familiar to anyone who’s seen Star Wars and Jedi…The Mandalorian keeps brushing him off, though, never giving us the chance to see if the child can actually use the Force or just being a baby in general.
In the episode’s biggest “holy shit” moment, we see the child stop the Mudhorn in its tracks, preventing it from dealing a killing blow to the Mandalorian. It’s an impressive feat considering that they are only a child. I mean, that’s a MASSIVE creature and even some of the Jedi we’ve seen in the films would seemingly struggle to stop and lift the charging animal.
While doing so obviously taxed the Yoda-baby (putting it to sleep for the rest of the episode), it’s still not something you would expect from a youngling. I’m gonna go out on a limb and say this confirms that this specific species has some STRONG natural abilities in the Force.
Along these lines, I’m revising my previous theory about the Mandalorian possibly being Force sensitive himself. Instead, I’m going to go out on a limb and say this isn’t the first time he’s encountered a Force user. While he seems shocked at the baby’s ability, he does NOT seemed shocked at the powers themselves. Thanks to the previous episode’s flashbacks, we know he was orphaned during the Clone Wars, so there’s a good chance he’s seen Jedi in action before (possibly even rescued by one). Could be interesting to see how that could factor into his decisions down the road.
No doubt these Force powers are exactly why the Client, and Dr. Pershing, are so eager to get their hands on it. We still don’t know what their overall plans/hopes for the Yoda-baby are, but it’s probably not to make the galaxy a better place.
One interesting thing to note about the child, that may or may not have story implications down the road, is when it was born. We know that it’s 50 years old, and based on the timeframe of the series (roughly 5 years after Return of the Jedi), that would put his birth year almost exactly the same time Anakin Skywalker was born.
That means this baby was around during the Prequel era, hidden throughout the Jedi Purge and time of the galactic Empire, and hasn’t come to light until well after the New Republic has been established. This raises a number of questions: Who’s baby is this (we know Yoda and Yaddle were around during that time)? Where has the baby been hiding this whole time? Who has been keeping the baby in hiding?
Hopefully we’ll get some of these answers during the rest of the season, but I’m definitely intrigued by where the story can go with this. This element also clearly shows the potential of a live-action Star Wars show over a movie. Being able to spread things out gives the story time to explore these elements more than a two-hour movie.
Danger At Every Turn
As I mentioned in the previous recap, it was clear that at least two people had put bounties out on the child. Well, now we can say it’s probably a LOT more than that. The Trandoshans who ambush the Mandalorian at the beginning of the episode are also carrying one of those bounty-fob trackers.
Technically it could be the same person who hired IG-11 to find the child, but at this point it seems safe to assume there are a handful of ‘players’ on the board. The key difference, however, is that everyone else seems to want the child dead, while the Mandalorian was specifically tasked to bring it in alive.
IG-11 tried to kill it. One of the Trandoshans tried to kill it before being disintegrated…So yeah, someone wants this kid dead. Which sucks because the thing is ridiculously adorable. It’s a mystery for sure, but if the Imperial Remnant (who the Client and Dr. Pershing seem to be) want it alive, who wants it dead?
Could it be someone from the New Republic, the “good guys,” who wants the child eliminated to keep them out of the Empire’s hands? It’s a gruesome thought, but the filmmakers and actors have discussed many times how the show would explore the idea that the line between good and evil isn’t always clear.
The narrower focus in this episode means there weren’t really any Easter eggs to find (aside from Jawas and their big Sandcrawler), but I was thoroughly impressed by the second outing. It felt tighter in its direction and storytelling, and I’m continually impressed by how much we’re able to learn about the Mandalorian as a character through his actions.
He’s clearly more than the loner many expected, offering heartfelt gratitude and payment for Kuiil’s continued assistance. The small moments of dialog and character interactions speak volumes. Between that, the action, and the way the story is moving forward, it really feels like The Mandalorian has already found a groove and ready to blow us all away each week.