Warning: This is the Way to our The Mandalorian season 2, episode 2 review which contains major spoilers – turn around to avoid having the new episode ruined!
It's hard not to be distracted by world news right now. Waking up this morning, my notifications were full of pings about the state of the White House and the ongoing lockdown in the UK. Whichever side of the political spectrum you side with, it's a worrying time. But at least, every week until Christmas, we can find a few minutes of solace in a galaxy far, far away.
This week's Mandalorian was 40 minutes of blissful escapism, sweeping us into a far off adventure that's entertaining and, for the most part, risk-free. The story of Din Djarin and Baby Yoda edged forward in minuscule fashion, the pair first being attacked by a rogue group of bandits before meeting with Amy Sedaris' Peli Motto, who reveals a new lead on where some Mandalorians are.
Sedaris' character has been something of a weak link beforehand, her appearance in the season 2 premiere affecting the pace of the otherwise-excellent episode. Here, she has a fleeting enough cameo and the giant ant-like alien she plays cards with steals the spotlight, while Sedaris commitment to speaking a strange croaky language is perhaps her funniest moment yet.
She sets Djarin and Bebe Yoda on their way with a new acquaintance, the eponymous toady passenger of Chapter 10, titled "The Passenger". It's a testament to Jon Favreau's show and Peyton Reed's direction that this episode can hold our attention despite all three leads being unable to communicate properly for the most part. When a robot is re-tuned to translate a few sentences (get paid, Richard Ayoade!), the words have more impact because of the silence around them – we care about this frog lady, even though, once she inevitably reunites with her husband, we'll never see her again.
To keep us engaged during the quieter moments, Reed gives us a whole lot of Baby Yoda. Where the premiere only featured a few shots of the green fella, episode 2 gifts the world with enough GIFs to last at least another year. The Child's the highlight of "The Passenger" and I definitely laughed and shouted at the television every time he/she/they ate another of those eggs. (Does Baby Yoda not chew?)
Elsewhere in the episode, there was a cameo from the Resistance. It's strange to see the "good guys" acting as the antagonists. Obviously, these X-Wings are just doing their job and serve as a reminder that, not only has Mando not always been on the right side of the law, but that this show takes part post-Return of the Jedi, in a galaxy where the Empire are on the outs.
Come the last few minutes and the Resistance fliers save the day as Mando escapes space spiders. The whole chase sequence is basically Shelob's lair in space, with echoes of the Empire Strikes Back when Luke is trapped in the Wampa's cave. When it's over, Mando, Baby Yoda, and froggy all get on their merry way to the next planet.
"The Passenger" is a fun detour. It's great to see a live-action Star Wars show luxuriate in the corners of the galaxy, whether that's simply having Mando take on a group of Bandits that do nothing to serve the story other than show he's still badass, or Resistance fighters dropping in for a quick cameo. The stakes may never be high in The Mandalorian – and those of us chomping at the bit to see Boba Fett again may be disappointed – but that's never been Favreua's style. Hopefully, the next episode will push on the series a little more. For now, though, this was a welcome reprieve from our turbulent world.