This weeks episode of ‘The Mandalorian’, titled “The Passenger”, is directed by Peyton Reed. And although it doesn’t have the massive scale and story implications of last weeks episode, it still brings a fun adventure to the Star Wars galaxy.
SPOILERS FOR THE MANDALORIAN
After aiding the town of Mos Pelgo in taking down a Krayt Dragon. Mando continues his search for his Mandalorian brethren. But the only way he can do it is if he takes a passenger with him. And that passenger is Frog creature, nursing multiple egg offspring. And the only way they can survive is if she can get transported to the moon of Trask and get her eggs fertilized. The moon of Trask is also conveniently where the Mandalorian covert is settled. And the only way to ensure safe travels for the eggs is to fly without going into hyperspace. This proves troublesome, causing Mando to encounter New Republic X-Wings on patrol. And once they figure out who he is a highspeed chase ensues causing Mando to crash land on a nearby “spider” infested ice planet.
SCUM AND VILLAINY
If you had any doubt that this episode was directed by the same man behind ‘Yes Man’ and ‘Ant-Man’, those doubts were washed away. As per ‘The Mandalorian’ tradition, this chapter opens up with a cold open before we begin the main narrative.
On the way back to the Razor Crest, Mando is involved in a speeder accident, thanks to some rotten Jawa esk aliens and other Tatooine natives. But unfortunately, it doesn’t end nicely for them when they threaten baby Yoda. With Baby Yoda at knifepoint, Mando gives up his jet pack to trade for Baby Yoda’s life, and when the “Jawa” grabs the jet pack he takes an involuntary joy ride up into the Tatooine skies, leaving him to plummet back down to his ultimate demise.
Utter perfection. This sets the tone for the rest of the episode and gears us up for comedic filled shenanigans. And that’s just what we expect from Peyton Reed. Although I don’t find Reed’s visual style to be his strong suit, there’s no denying his comedic sensibilities. And this episode is chock full of them. And most importantly it fits within the Star Wars universe and doesn’t feel out of place.
Once Mando and his “cargo” take off, they instantly run into some New Republic X-Wings. Which are being manned by Dave Filoni and Paul Sun-Hyung Lee. And once they find out he doesn’t have a transponder, a really cool chase sequence ensues. And I love how it plays out. One of the X-Wing pilots subtly asks his partner to switch over to a different communications channel. And after a few seconds of silence, we see their S-Foils on the X-Wing expand. And if you’re a Star Wars fan, you know that means that sh*t is about to go down.
This chase scene is as good as any aerial battle we’ve seen in modern Star Wars. And once again we’re seeing the immense budget and great VFX on display. It was cool how they we’re able to show the Razor Crest maneuvering in space and also above the planet in atmosphere. Which is an aspect of dogfighting Star Wars has been doing a lot as of late. And with Disney seemingly sparing no expenses, even on filler episodes like these, it allows even smaller episodes to have epic moments.
The bulk of this 42 minute episode is spent on an ice planet, where Mando crash landed after his chase with the X-Wings. He wants to wait it till morning before he makes any repairs on the Razor Crest. But his alien “cargo” urges him to something now or else her eggs will die. Which is kind of ironic considering Baby Yoda will have eaten at least 5 of them by the time the episode ends.
The issue is, the alien doesn’t speak basic, so Mando doesn’t really understand her. So instead, she powers up the destroyed Q9-0 droid from chapter 6 of The Mandalorian and uses the voice modulator. I like this moment a lot because it really conveys that motherly love that the alien has for her offspring and how she’s willing to do anything to ensure her eggs survival. There’s even a small moment where Mando gives her a blanket, but instead of using it she lays it on her eggs to warm them up. It was a sweet moment, and it’s obviously something Mando can relate to, given his relationship with “the child”.
I HATE THOSE THINGS
While Mando is fixing up the Razor Crest, his new Frog friend takes a stroll to a nearby cave. When he realizing she’s missing, he finds her in a hot tub with her eggs. It’s apparent that she really wants to keep her eggs warm, but since it’s almost nightfall, Mando wants to head back to the ship. But before she even gets a chance to put all the eggs back in the container, Baby Yoda awakens a colony of spider-like creatures. And what transpires after is something reminiscent of an ‘Aliens‘ or an ‘Indiana Jones‘ movie. It actually specifically reminded me of ‘Aliens vs Predator‘. And boy did this sequence make my skin crawl.
After Baby Yoda opens up a seemingly harmless egg and eats whatever creature is inside of it, the entire colony hatches and they all pursue after Mando and his crew. And each one that trails after them is bigger than the last. This entire sequence was filled with suspense. So much so, it literally sent shivers down my spine.
I know I mentioned Peyton Reed’s visual style isn’t what I admire about his filmmaking the most, but in this scene, he pulled off some really cool sequences. You could definitely see the influences he carried over from the Ant-Man films. I guess dealing with hundreds of small ants actually paid off. Either way, it was great and it scared the crap out of me. I’m not particularly a fan of horror, so I selfishly hope this is as far into the genre as this show will go.
This is not where I hoped this episode would go, especially after last weeks chapter. I was hoping for a direct continuation of the events that transpired at the end, with the return of Boba Fett. But I get that they don’t wanna show too much too soon. It was definitely consistent with the formula for season 1. But even if it was a bit “fillery”, it was a fun episode. The action was top-notch, the suspense was genuinely gripping, and comedic timing was on point. It was nice to see Peyton Reed tackle an episode of The Mandalorian as well. Being in the Disney family certainly has its perks.
Even though this episode took a “break” from the main narrative, it does seem to be going in the same direction that we thought it would. Mando still has to find a covert of Mandalorians, and he still needs to find the Jedi. So it seems like if there was to be any filler episode, it would be this one. And if I were to make any predictions for the next episode. It’s that we are almost definitely gonna see Bo Katan. And hopefully, its Katee Sackhoff in the role, who voiced her animated counterpart, and was rumored to appear this season. All signs indicate to her return and a potential Ahsoka Tano return as well. Exciting things are yet to come, and we’re just getting started…
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