The hunger for a deeper episode is just as big as Baby Yoda’s.
This review contains potential spoilers for Season 2 Episode 2 of The Mandalorain. Check out my review for Season 2 Episode 1 of The Mandalorian.
With the slow pace but good story of the season opener for the second season of The Mandalorian, I was not entirely sure what to expect from episode 2, “The Passenger.” While I am pleased that we saw a well-paced, action-packed episode, it merely felt like a filler on the road to the overarching goal. While it did not raise many questions, it did not answer any either. Luckily, we had good writing, acting and some heartwarming interactions to help us through the episode.
With director Peyton Reed and writer and creator Jon Favreau working together, they paced the episode beautifully where each moment felt more impactful than the last. They were even able to work in some comedic relief following the first fight scene as we saw a tiny bounty hunter flying away after a poor trade for Mando’s jetpack and a disapproving look from Baby Yoda. The written dialogue for the episode was well done, and we should all be thankful that Pedro Pascal is an extraordinary actor because he spent a vast majority of the episode talking to puppet-esque characters that he did not understand.
Following the events of “The Marshall,” we get to see Peli Motto, who does a drastically better job at acting out the bulk of her scenes, help Mando find someone who knows where more Mandalorians are. However, there is a catch, well a few actually. Mando must transport the contact, the Frog Lady, to her husband on the Estuary moon of Trask to fertilize her eggs, and he cannot use hyperdrive, otherwise the Frog Lady’s eggs will not make it. The stipulations placed on the flight to Trask makes it fascinating, especially since Mando does not understand Frog Lady. The language barrier creates for a struggle of communication that is simply overcome, in most instances, by Mando completing an action.
Due to the inability to use hyperdrive, Mando and crew run into a pair of x-wing pilots who recognize the Razor Crest’s ping from the boarding of the prison transport during the “The Prisoner” episode in the first season. While this interaction with the x-wing pilots is unexpected, it does make “The Prisoner” feel more important, as it did not play a vital role in the main story line. The pilots recognizing the Razor Crest results in a stunning flight sequence and creates a unique experience for Star Wars fans. Mando’s ability to control the massive gun ship through close corners and caves of an ice planet and slow it down just enough to hide from New Republic fighters was exciting to see. However, through unforeseen circumstances, the ship still crashes, and they are momentarily stuck on an ice planet. Anyone who has taken biology knows that frogs do not do well when they are exposed to extreme temperatures. Luckily, the Frog Lady is able to find a wonderful hot spring to warm herself and her eggs.
Fair warning, if you are an arachnophobe I would be cautious about the end of this episode, as there are numerous spiders in the final action sequence. The bright side, we get to see a wide array of Mando’s weapons as he combats the onslaught of spiders and get to witness his sharp shooting abilities in full action as he manages to rapidly take out numerous spiders in quick succession. However, it is strange that Mando waits as long as he does to use the flamethrower; the director makes it clear that the flamethrower has a limited supply because Mando uses it sparingly.
Thankfully, the New Republic pilots do not stop searching for the Razor Crest because they are the saving grace at the end of it all. Due to Mando’s “kill only when needed” mentality, the pilots save Mando from certain death and allow him to go free because he spared the life of Davan, the New Republic soldier from “The Prisoner” episode.
Baby Yoda is a larger focus of this episode and is a catalyst for the final scene with the spiders. Between the never-ending appetite, which clearly has not shrunk, and wondering off habits, the Child creates a lot of work for Mando. Baby Yoda has a keen fascination for the Frog Lady’s eggs and makes it pretty clear from the start that not all the eggs are going to make it to Trask to be fertilized. Each time Baby Yoda has a moment to stare at the eggs, it feels just like a cheesy romance where the camera slowly zooms in on the two love interests. This appetite also manages to get the uncanny group into massive trouble when it decides to wonder off and have a small snack of spider egg on the frozen planet.
While the facial animation of the Baby Yoda puppet has been excellent throughout the series and are beyond phenomenal within this episode, between the looks of excitement and the mischievous smirks, the limitations of the puppet are clear as day when watching Baby Yoda walk throughout this episode. To simulate walking, the puppet is forced to turn itself in a seemingly unnatural way.
Baby Yoda’s relationship with Mando is also front and center in the episode and serves to note they are growing closer. The interactions between Mando and Baby Yoda are undeniably cute. Seeing Mando care for Baby Yoda is heartwarming, and you can sense the bond that has formed is truly a father-child connection as Mando protects and attempts to teach the Child right from wrong. The countless moments of Baby Yoda snuggling up with or running to Mando for protection is adorable and shows that the Child trusts Mando. When Mando finally finds the Jedi, will he be able to part ways with the Child or will the bond that forms be too much?
Season 2, Episode 2 of the Mandalorian finds the pacing that I was looking for in Episode 1 and provides heart racing excitement. We get to see how far the connection between Mando and Baby Yoda has come, and it is a beautiful sight to see. While Peyton Reed and Jon Favreau were able to delivery on action and heart pumping scenes, they struggle to make me feel that this episode was important to the overall story. The second half of this episode could be easily removed, and it would have little impact on the overarching story of The Mandalorian. I feel that this episode was used to tie up loose ends from the first season and show that there are unforeseen outcomes for every action that is taken in the vast galaxy.
“The Passenger” finds the pacing and action I was looking for but falls through the ice when trying to make it feel important.