The Mandalorian Disappoints for once with a Filler Episode which Relies too much on The Child’s Cuteness
The Mandalorian came out swinging last episode with an excellent season premiere that captured what made the show so special. Chapter 9 had the difficult task of following up from last season and addressing the mysteries while still remaining true to the core of the show. It succeeded on all levels. By crafting a proper Western story centred around Mando’s mission, the show delivered a standalone adventure that put an emphasis on fan service and pushed the story forward.
Mando’s mission this season is to return Baby Yoda to his kind and hence he went searching for another Mandalorian on Tatooine. Fans were delighted to find out that the aforementioned Mandalorian was none other than Boba Fett. The bounty hunter featured in the latter two films of the Original Trilogy. Although he seemingly met his demise at the hands of the Sarlaac Pit, the character went on to become a fan favourite. Many even previously believed that he might still be alive. Boba Fett’s inclusion this season is both surprising and to be expected. This is as Season 2 seems to be truly embracing the shared Universe the show exists in. Greater emphasis is most likely going to be put on lore and pre-existing characters including Boba Fett, Ahsoka, and Bo-Katan (The latter two are rumoured).
Although Boba Fett is alive, Mando does not know that and believes him to be dead. Chapter 10 thus pivots away from Tatooine taking Mando on a journey as he ferries a Frog Lady to safety in order to find other Mandalorians.
The Search Continues
Mando’s search for other Mandalorians continues. However, this is a dangerous journey as Mando cannot use the hyperdrive since hyperspace travel will kill the Frog Lady’s eggs. Along the way, Mando encounters X-wings and is forced to flee. This leads to him crash landing on a deserted, icy planet. There is immediately sense that Mando lives in a time when X-wings enforce the law after the Empire was overthrown .
In many ways though, this episodes merely serves as a filler episode which detracts from the main story. This side adventure where Mando gets stranded on a planet does not serve the larger narrative in any significant way. Both Mando and viewers gain nothing from this adventure. While there was episodic storytelling last episode as well, there were many aspects of that story, notably Boba Fett’s surprise appearance, that pushed the story forward. The main impact this episode has is slowing down the pace when there are clearly many more surprises and fascinating storylines to come this season.
One good thing to come from this storyline though is Mando’s characterisation. He is in dire straits but ultimately he upholds the Mandalorian code and does not renege on his deal in spite of the circumstances.
The Child’s Antics
When The Mandalorian first premiered, what got everyone talking was The Child who is commonly referred to as “Baby Yoda”. Baby Yoda captured the hearts and minds of viewers. His appearance in every episode was a delight. However, this episode pushes that to the limit and ends up relying slightly too much on the popular character and his mischievous antics. By the end of the episode, Baby Yoda’s antics actually end up being less cute and more tiresome.
Chapter 10 also tries its hand at some light horror with alien spiders ranging from tiny to huge. Baby Yoda’s antics managed to set off spiders and the characters must run away and in Mando’s case, blast their way through the spiders to survive. These scenes, whilst not anything special, manage to keep the episode fun and suspenseful.
Following on from such an impressive season premiere, The Mandalorian cannot help but disappoint with filler content that outstays its welcome. The episode is a visual triumph like all others; however, it crucially makes no attempt to push the story forward and it relies too much on The Child’s mischievous antics. The episode just manages to keep above board with spider scares, some nods to the overall Star Wars universe, and Mando’s characterisation.
The show clearly has a lot left to explore this season and that is why this filler episode is so disappointing while not being bad in of itself. Hopefully, next week, the show can come out swinging once again and get back on track with a more focused episode that pushes the story forward and finally addresses some of the lingering questions and speculation.