Last October, in a blissfully glorious pre-pandemic world, there was a cute character that took the internet by storm. Even those who had never seen an episode of The Mandalorian probably noticed a Baby Yoda meme or two pop up on their Facebook or Twitter timelines. I was one of those bystanders who didn’t watch the first full season in full until last month.
However, you can be sure I found myself falling deep down the Baby Yoda rabbit hole of cuteness.
Turns out, everyone wants Baby Yoda in The Mandalorian as well, but not exactly for well-intentioned reasons. The titular Mandalorian (Pedro Pascal) of the show (who we later find out is named Din Djarin) is initially hired to capture Baby Yoda for the Client (Warner Herzog.)
For reviewing purposes we’re going to refer to the Mandalorian by his nickname Mando and Baby Yoda as Baby Yoda, even though in the show Baby Yoda is called The Child.
With that being said, Mando forms a bond with Baby Yoda and ends up stealing him back from the Client. This sets off a galactic bounty hunter goose chase for Mando and his adorable unofficially adopted alien son. Turns out the man most determined to get his hands on Baby Yoda is the evil Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito.) Mando barely escaped the season one finale with Baby Yoda in tow after Gideon nearly succeeded in kidnapping Baby Yoda.
It’s safe to assume that Mando is under the impression that Gideon is dead after Gideon’s TIE fighter crashed during their scuffle. However, fans were treated to one last glimpse of Gideon in the season one finale, emerging from the wreckage of the TIE fighter by slicing through it with the legendary Darksaber. (There’s a lot of Star Wars lore behind the Darksaber, but long story short it was actually created by the first Mandalorian who became a Jedi, so the question is, how did Gideon get it?)
Episode one of the second season just premiered today on Disney Plus. It’s been a year. Does season two live up to season one so far?
The answer is yes. Personally, I think it’s even better. (So far anyway. We’re only one episode in.)
While season two continues with the episodic nature of season one, Mando has a clear mission from the start this time. He was “quested” with returning Baby Yoda back to his home. Season two doesn’t waste any time getting started with Mando’s mission. He’s told there’s another Mandalorian on Tatooine (yes, that Tatooine) so off Mando goes, with plenty of cute shots of Baby Yoda just being adorable and reacting to his surroundings.
Turns out the fellow Mandalorian isn’t a Mandalorian, but just some guy named Cobb Vanth who the locals of the Tatooine city Mos Pelgo call the Marshal (Timothy Olyphant.) In one of the best Star Wars Easter eggs of this episode, Vanth is notably wearing Boba Fett’s armor. The detail of who the armor belonged to isn’t mentioned in the episode, but Vanth tells Mando he bought it off some Jawas.)
One of the best parts of The Mandalorian is the fact that it certainly pays respect to the greater world of Star Wars without it just melting into a Skywalker nostalgia fest. This story stands on its own. It’s fun to see “normal” people just trying to survive five years after the fall of the Empire. Vanth tells Mando that the citizens of Mos Pelgo have been struggling to survive ever since the second Death Star blew up.
Vanth tells Mando he’ll give him the stolen armor back if Mando helps him kill a GIANT SAND DRAGON OF DEATH.
Or I guess the proper name for it is a Krayt dragon.
Vanth and Mando realize that they’re going to have to work with the Tusken Raiders in order to kill the sand kraken. The people of Mos Pelgo are just as thrilled at this notion as Anakin Skywalker would’ve been at the prospect. However, the two groups do end up working together, Mando ends up having to blow up the Krayt from the inside of the Krayt, and finally the sand demon of deathly doom is no more.
Vanth holds up his part of the deal and gives Mando the armor back. A mysterious new face emerges from the Tatooine sands as Mando and Baby Yoda ride off for episode two.
Overall, episode one of season two hit the ground running and I was enthralled for the entire episode. The beginning of season one felt a bit slow to me initially, but now that the main players have been introduced and Mando has a clear mission, I’m excited for what the rest of season two has in store.
You don’t necessarily have to be a huge Star Wars fan to enjoy The Mandalorian, although it certainly enhances the viewing experience. And that is this show’s greatest strength. Besides Baby Yoda of course.
Episode two, or chapter 10, premieres next Friday, November 6th, only on Disney Plus.