The Mandalorian returned this week and already, we’re noticing some differences from season one already. Breaking away from the convention of Netflix, Disney+ has opted to release this show once a week, which has built up rampant anticipation, at least in theory. But with the unusual and unorthodox way of storytelling, some may feel a little let down by this week’s episode.
Directed by Peyton Reed, best known for directing Ant-Man and Ant-Man and the Wasp in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, we open up the episode pretty much right where we left off, with Mando on the swoop bike with The Child and Boba Fett’s armour. It’s not long before he’s ambushed by bounty hunters (or scavengers?) and Din is left to walk back to town, where he picks up a lead on a potential Mandalorian on another system. But in exchange for this information, Mando has to take on a passenger and deliver her to her destination-without using the hyperdrive.
In a nutshell, the Razercrest is intercepted by the New Republic, who recognize the ship’s ID from the prison break episode in season one. They give chase, which forces Mando to crash land on an icy, snowy planet inhabited by some variation of Krykna spider, last seen on Rebels and based on the art of Ralph McQuarrie. With the ship damaged, Mando must protect his passenger, her cargo, which is a vat of her eggs-the last, and Baby Yoda, who is growing up to be a real troublemaker, despite his cuteness. The puppeteering on the child is top-notch, but man, this little guy needs to be watched 24/7 doesn’t he?
If you thought last week’s episode was lacking in the baby Yoda department (yes, I’m still calling him that, deal with it), then this week has you covered. He’s the real star this week, with his inquisitive nature resulting in a running gag of him eating the passenger’s eggs without her knowing. His hunger leads him to discover the Krykna eggs, which hatch and unleash a tidal wave of creepy, crawly terror. Depending on how you look at it, this episode feels a lot like a filler episode of Rebels, but like that series, the filler episodes usually influence what comes later in the show, so we’ll have to see if this will be the case with this episode, but for now, it feels like a detour.
So this week’s episode didn’t move the main narrative forward at all. We know DIn is en route to a location where there might be another Mandalorian on-site, which should likely push the narrative forward a bit, but after the sidequest western opener with the Krayt dragon last week, I think a lot of us thought we’d get a Boba Fett payoff, or see the plot move forward a bit more, either in terms of learning about the Mandos or discovering a clue about the Jedi. Will Boba even show up again, now that Din has left Tatooine? But the sidequest feeling episode offered none of this, which may have let some fans down after the hype reveal last week. Then there’s some like me, who are itching to see more of Moff Gideon and wondering where he is all this.
There are some subtle characterizations for Din, who upon looking at his frog-like passenger do everything possible to protect her eggs, might have learned that he can’t let the child wander around on his own unsupervised often, as he’s prone to danger and getting into harm’s way. I wonder if this will be a bit of a wake-up call for Din, as the Child continued to eat the passenger’s egg throughout; a rather humorous ongoing gag, despite the monstrous nature of the gag as he is eating this person’s spawn. That’s messed up. The spiders bring us into the horror genre as well, as they’re straight-up terrifying and relentless. When they’re swarming the Razercrest and bursting through the door, things honestly didn’t look good.
Despite the opening tying to The Marshal and this week ending in a cliffhanger, the greater narrative feels oddly detatched, despite the attempt of blurring the episodes together at the beginning. But due to the lack of plot developments, the divide actually seems more prevalent. But this episode implies more development next week, as Mando will land on the planet Trask, where another Mandalorian is supposed to be hiding. Considering the amphibian nature of the passenger (who is nameless), I believe Trask will be that water planet from the trailer. Here’s hoping this is where we learn something new and have a clear objective for the rest of the season, as while this horror-inspired was certainly fun, with great effects, action and such, it didn’t do much and we have to wonder why Mando couldn’t have just gone from point A to point B without the detour. Time will tell, but for now, this feels like a fun ride that lacks much impact.