The Mandalorian

"Chapter 2: The Child"

3 stars

Air date: 11/15/2019
Written by Jon Favreau
Directed by Rick Famuyiwa

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

Trying to return to Nevarro with his tiny green bounty, the Mandalorian returns to his ship to find it has been completely stripped by Jawas, who roll away in their tank-like traveling warehouse. He chases after them, engages them in a mighty struggle, but is repelled. Stuck on the planet, he returns to Kuiil, who helps him broker an arrangement with the Jawas: They'll give him back the parts to his ship in exchange for retrieving the Egg. Why do they want the Egg? That's their business — although when Mando finally finds out why, he can only (rightly) shake his head.

The egg belongs to a massive rhino-like creature that lives in a cave. The creature, justifiably, does not want to part with its egg without a fight. A fight between the massive beast and the Mandalorian, with his mostly ineffective weapons, ensues.

"The Child" reminds me of those episodes of Lost where a trivial problem that would normally be passed right over with an ellipses by a show not interested in biding its time — in this case, the trivialities of getting off the planet — becomes procedural fodder for an entire episode's run time documenting the details of the solution. Take, for example, the opening 10 minutes with Mando chasing the Jawas and trying to get into their rolling fortress. It's purely visual/action storytelling; there's not a single line of dialogue in the episode before we get to the 10-minute mark.

The battle with the animal is notable for its competence and impressive scale (although Mando's kill shot with such a small knife seems unlikely to bring down such a mammoth). But more notable from the story perspective is how it brings to light the abilities of Baby Yoda, who sees Mando in trouble and intervenes with the Force, levitating the massive beast in the air to stop it from trampling Mando to death. Mando — unaware what the Force actually does — gets a surprising lesson from the Child who unexpectedly saves his life. (And afterward, the toll this takes on Baby Yoda prompts him to take a very long nap.)

"The Child" is a lean, simple, brisk story that doesn't try to be anything more than a fun, well-executed adventure yarn. And that it is.

Previous episode: Chapter 1: The Mandalorian
Next episode: Chapter 3: The Sin

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3 comments on this post

CaptainMercer
Mon, Mar 1, 2021, 7:24pm (UTC -5)
I love this episode. I expected to like this series because.. it's Star Wars.. but I did not expect it to have the sense of whimsy it had. I remember when it aired, I didn't have high expectations.. but I was so taken by how well that opening action sequence with the jawas was. It was certainly a gift for me, because Jawas were always a favorite of mine. Jawas exemplify the kind of humor Star Wars excels at.. just humor from the funny sounds they make of the way they behave.

But the best thing about this episode is what we learn about Mando. I'm NOT talking about his background and history and all of that that most people want to know now now now. But this episode tells us about the Mandalorian himself, his skills (taking out a few guys at once in the cold open) and his limitations.. he can't take down the jawas. We learn about his patience, and his ability to learn and work together with others.
Latex Zebra
Tue, Mar 2, 2021, 5:09am (UTC -5)
My son was rolling up with the whole Jawa thing. It was brilliant. Just a bit of mindless fun.
The battle with the creature doesn't quite live up to that but the dismay when they get the egg was brilliant. Also a chance to see Grogu flex his mental muscles was cool.
Tim C
Fri, May 14, 2021, 7:07pm (UTC -5)
I enjoyed the first episode of the show and was hooked by the Baby Yoda reveal, but the opening sandcrawler chase scene in this one was what made me sit up and pay attention. It was the most exciting action scene I'd witnessed in Star Wars since that first Millenium Falcon chase scene* in The Force Awakens, and it was being done on TV!

I have really, really enjoyed the show's back-to-basics episodic approach to storytelling in the era of streaming epics with plodding, convoluted plots and juggling multiple character arcs through overlong runtimes.

*A scene so fun they tried to duplicate it in each subsequent sequel to *severely* diminishing returns

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