'The Mandalorian' Gets Even More Exciting (and Confusing) in Its Second Episode
This story contains spoilers for the first two episodes of The Mandalorian.
The Mandalorian, the first live-action Star Wars series that is currently airing on Disney+ dropped its second episode on November 15, making it two episodes in one week to push people to sign up for the brand-new streaming service.
This week’s episode, unlike last week's, gets a subtitle: “Chapter 2: The Child,” and hopefully you’ve already caught up with the first episode, because that title alone is more than we knew about The Mandalorian just a week ago. In this episode, we finally get a status update on The Force, one of the key “Star Wars” elements that was seemingly absent from the premiere. Let’s dive in!
Tracked by Trandoshans
This week's adventure finds our Mandalorian stranded on the same desert planet he was on last week when he returns from picking up his bounty (a small alien "child" who is nevertheless 50-years old, and whom we've been calling Kid Green). As we rejoin him, he gets attacked by three Trandoshan bounty hunters who also have a tracker leading to Kid Green, reinforcing last week's idea, represented by the IG-11 droid, that multiple factions are after the little Kid. So far, we've seen our Mando, IG-11, the Niktos that originally had Kid Green, and now these three Trandoshans: All have been sent on different missions to retrieve or kill the contents of the floating crib.
Star Wars fans will recognize the Trandoshans from the bounty hunter Bossk in Empire Strikes Back. Their species are traditionally hunters, so it makes sense that Bossk wasn't the only one tied up in the profession. However, it is interesting to get the Trandoshans a mere couple of days after we saw an IG unit assassin droid. It looks like the Mandalorian production started with that scene in Empire Strikes Back when Darth Vader hires the bounty hunters and decided, "Let's get to all these guys as fast as possible."
We've seen a human (Dengar, far left), the droid, a guy in Mandalorian armor, and a Trandosian as if we're working down the line. Keep an eye out for 4-LOM (a bounty hunting protocol droid) and Zukuss, an insectoid species called Gand. Surely we'll get allusions to all the Empire bounty hunters, if not those characters specifically (remember, Boba Fett is dead).
Most of "Chapter 2: The Child" doesn't revolve around The Mandalorian or Kid Green, but tells the story of an encounter with Jawas! Those tiny scavengers, first seen in the original Star Wars, completely strip Mando's ship, Razor Crest, while he's been away. He returns to catch the Jawas wrapping up a "junk" haul trip and manages to blast a couple of Jawas into nothing with his rifle (Mando says "disintegrate" later, so they must be just particles now) before giving chase to their Sandcrawler.
Kuiil the Ugnaught (Nick Nolte) makes a return to help Mando trade to get his parts back. Kuiil loads Mando on a Blurrg-drawn pallet-truck like device and pulls him right up to the Sandcrawler to cut a deal and…
Wait... I see a droid back there... no, it can't be.
Can it be that R5-D4 was cursed to end up back in a Jawa Sandcrawler post-Rebellion?
For those of you unfamiliar with how much has been attributed to the red droid that "has a bad motivator" and blows his top outside the Lars Homestead in A New Hope, let me update you: The droid was at least somewhat Force-sensitive, because it caused its own malfunction in order to get Luke and Uncle Owen to choose R2-D2, thereby successfully getting Princess Leia's message to Obi-Wan Kenobi on Tatooine. R5-D4 technically sacrificed himself, though the book Ultimate Star Wars (which is technically still canon) says that he eventually "found his way" to the Rebellion. That doesn't really explain why R5 is back here, among the Jawa junk that's been scavenged.
The dangerous assumption here would be that we're on Tatooine, which can't be disproven at the moment, but also can't be definitively locked down. Kuiil's home does include a moisture farm and appears to have doors leading to underground rooms like the Lars Homestead, but also has Jakku-like tarps, as mentioned last week. We've only seen Jawas on Tatooine in Star Wars up to now, and most official sources list Tattooine as the planet of origin for the species. However, it's a Star Wars Black Series action figure from Hasbro that clears up the Jawas in this part of the galactic timeline:
The Jawa action figure for The Mandalorian is called the "Offworld Jawa" and its box explains: "Ships traveling to and from Tatooine have resulted in some Jawas leaving their Desert home-world." That means for now, we're not supposed to assume we just spent two episodes on Tatooine without seeing a Hutt or going to Mos Eisley.
These Jawas do speak Jawa like their homeworld Jawa counterparts, and use ion canons just like the Jawas we've seen. If you don't play Star Wars video games, blasters and ion canons are probably interchangeable to you, but blasters shoot bolts of energy while ion canons shoot that blue lighting that spreads all over the exterior of the subject, neutralizing them and any electronics they're wearing -- the Jawas usually use this to capture droids for scrap.
… and apparently Jawas are carnivores. Which... that's kind of a nightmare. A surprising amount of young are eaten for an episode called "The Child," including a sequence of the Jawas breaking open and immediately starting to feast on a giant hairy egg. That egg comes from a cave where the egg's hairy, muddy, and horny (rimshot!) mother used to be protecting it, before the Mandalorian stabbed her in the jugular with a knife.
If you're looking for lore on the creature, welcome to the club! It appears to be somewhat related to the Reek, a species of animal that we saw in the Geonosian coliseum fighting Anakin Skywalker in Attack of the Clones:
But the Reek's main horn (of three) comes out of his head, not the nose like it does for the Mandalorian monster. Mando's creature looks like a cross between a rhino and an ancient sloth diorama sculpture you'd see at the La Brea Tar Pits (you know the one, it's being attacked by a saber-toothed tiger). When the Jawas are talking about an egg (SUE-KAH!), I'm guessing no one was picturing such a massive mammal-looking thing to come out of that hole, but such is the magic of Star Wars: Of course this warm-blooded creature with body hair lays eggs.
Kid Green and The Force
The biggest reveal of the episode is teased throughout, but makes itself known definitively at end of the Mudhorn fight: Kid Green's got The Force!
For the last post, there was some question in my mind if I should have made a bigger deal about the floating crib at the end of Chapter 1. Surely, thought the internet, that was a sign that the baby was Force-sensitive. But we also saw the carbonite-frozen bounties of Mando's unloaded off the Razor Crest with some floating tech, so who was to say that it wasn't just a Space Crib? Turns out everyone gets to be right this time: Kid Green has The Force and Mando has some sort of tech-based connection to the crib. It's especially obvious during the Sandcrawler chase and the Mudhorn fight when the crib follows Mando or he can control it with his armband.
Back to The Force, though. There's actually a big reveal in this episode, and it has to do with an implied Force Power. In the Mudhorn fight, when Kid Green holds up its hand to make the creature float in mid-air, we're without question seeing The Force at work. We also saw the Kid making that motion earlier in the episode when Mando was healing himself: the baby kept crawling out of the crib and reaching a hand towards Mando's wounds. The baby was trying to Force Heal.
Force Healing is what it sounds like, using The Force to heal a physical wound. It's not something that has existed in canon up until Kid Green looks like he's trying to do it. The power existed in Legends (the former Expanded Universe now rendered non-canon), but hasn't popped up in mainstream Star Wars.
What exactly is Kid Green?
Practically, this character is an absolutely adorable hybrid of CGI and puppet effects. Sure, it owes just as much to the Mogwai of Gremlins or the expressiveness of Stich from Lilo and Stitch, but the big-eyes-big-ears formula works and is cute. As to what the child actually is in the world of Star Wars, that's still a mystery.
We know for sure now that the baby is Force-sensitive, and since the other two members of its species that we've seen on screen (Yoda and Yaddle) both sat on the Jedi Council in the time of the Republic, it seems like a safe assumption that this species has an innate connection to The Force. It might be the only existing species to be connected to the Force in this way. There have been Force creatures, like the Force family on the planet Mortis in The Clone Wars (The Force given physical form and personalities), or the Bendu in Star Wars: Rebels (a Force being that was not light or dark), but the live-action series of movies got a little derailed in 1999 with midi-chlorians, and the films stopped trying to explain The Force in any detail.
The "Kid Green Clone" theory that was outlined last week still stands thanks to a lore shoutout I initially missed. In "Chapter 1," the white-suited gentleman played by Omid Abtahi is named Doctor Pershing. Thanks to some promotional photos, we can make out a patch on the good doctor's arm:
Sharp-eyed prequel fans were quick to recognize the Kaminoan Clone insignia from Attack of the Clones.
Does that mean Dr. Pershing is a clone? Previously that patch was worn by Jango-Fett-spawned members of the Clone Army. Or does the doctor want the baby so he can make clones Force=sensitive with a species that has a naturally high amount of midi-chlorians? Does he want this baby because the baby can live to be 900 and he needs to extend the life of a clone? IS THE BABY ALREADY A CLONE?!?!
This is going to drive everyone crazy, now that we're at the level of patch-spotting in promotional photos, but here we are.
Other details to consider:
- We finally got off the desert planet this week and all we had to do was kill, what, two dozen beings?
- Kid Green swallowed a whole duck-lizard after Mando told him to get that out of his mouth. That entire scene implies a lot, like Yoda on Degobah eating a bunch of different creatures who are dumb enough to judge him by his size.
- The puppet is so cute, I can't help but hear Gizmo's song from Gremlins whenever it tilts its head and changes the angle of its ears.
- Mando has a real Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade moment on the Sandcrawler this week when the Jawas try to scrape him off the side using a rock cliff. Which also got me thinking about how Ludwig Göransson's main theme for The Mandalorian sounds like a riff on John Williams' "March of the Slave Children" from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. I wonder if it's intentional?
- Yes, I did say "Ooooooouuuuch" when Kid Green reached towards Mando's wound. There's a long history of E.T. (the Steven Spielberg creature) and Yoda bouncing in and out of each other's universe, like in E.T. when the alien sees a kid in a Yoda costume at Halloween and says "home" like he recognizes Yoda's species. Was E.T. just Force-healing all along?