Many fans were left baffled after that major cliffhanger at the end of the first chapter of The Mandalorian – myself included.
Was that baby Yoda? Surely, it couldn’t be.
The series is confirmed to take place after the events of Return of the Jedi, and as well all know, by that time Yoda is gone; he’s a Force ghost. So with all that considered, who could the mysterious child be?
The second chapter, fittingly called The Child, may not answer that question just yet, but it does follow our equally mysterious protagonist as he attempts to leave the planet after securing his bounty. Along the way he also runs into several mishaps.
At first, he’s attacked by other bounty hunters, and later his ship is stripped for parts by local Jawas. In one of the most entertaining sequences of the series so far, the Mandalorian attempts to scale a moving Jawa ship to try and recapture his parts. He obliterates some of the creatures in the process, but ultimately and hilariously gets bested and stunned.
Down on his luck and seemingly stranded, he eventually goes back to the only other life-form he knows on the planet, the local Ugnaught farmer we meet in chapter one, Kuiil (played by Academy Award nominee Nick Nolte). He convinces the Mandalorian to bargain with the Jawas in exchange for his parts back. The Mandalorian reluctantly meets with the Jawas, and they eventually agree to give him back the parts they stole if he agrees to recover an egg from a nearby nest.
What they don’t tell him is that there’s a fairly large beast guarding the egg. The Mandalorian enters the nest, encounters the beast, and faces it in hand-to-hand combat. In the climax of the episode, just as the beast nearly defeats the Mandalorian, the child intervenes. It is then revealed that the child is Force-sensitive. Actually, it appears that the child has a pretty good handle on the Force as he hoists the beast in the air long enough for the Mandalorian to grab a knife and kill it.
After this, the Mandalorian takes the egg to the Jawas, retrieves his parts, fixes his ship with Kuiil’s help, and finally sets off to meet his buyer.
Of the two episodes that have aired, this one is definitely the weakest – not to say that it’s bad, but it doesn’t really move the overall story along. Between the appearance of the Jawas, the great action, and especially the use of the Force, it felt a lot more like an attempt to service fans. Even as a fan myself, I still wanted more.
The only other issue I had with the episode was the way in which the child travels alongside the Mandalorian. The Mandalorian brings him everywhere he goes via a floating pod which, in all honesty, is just a “space stroller”. Despite being designed to protect the asset, several times throughout the episode the Mandalorian gets separated from it and, as a result, the child is nearly killed. In future chapters I’m interested to see if and how the child will continue its journey with the Mandalorian, especially now that we know what it can do.
Just now, the series feels like it’s finally starting to pick up, but with several major mysteries looming, such as the child’s true purpose and several still yet-to-be introduced characters, I wouldn’t quite expect to hit lightspeed just yet.