November 10, 2020

Streamin' Meemies: The Mandalorian Season 2 Ep 2, "The Passenger"


(Before we begin, a content warning: if you have a spider phobia, you might want to think twice about watching this. Seriously.)

Mando's quest this season is simple: Find the Child's (Baby Yoda's) people. He thinks his best way of doing this is to locate another Mandalorian covert after his home one was destroyed. His first attempt on Tatooine didn't play out, even though he managed to pick up some old (unknown to him, Boba Fett's) armor. This episode picks up right on the heels of the first, with Mando speeding across the sands of Tatooine after killing the Krayt Dragon. He's roaring right along when he runs across a rope strung across the path, which upends everybody ass over teakettle and smashes the landspeeder (and probably would have cut Mando in half if it weren't for the beskar armor). Whoever these beings are, they're after the Child. One of them picks Baby Yoda up and holds a knife to his throat, and Mando quickly goes into bargaining mode, appealing to the fellow's greed to take his jetpack and let the baby go. Of course, once the being takes off with the jetpack, Mando presses the remote controls and shoots the alien up in the air, letting him drop to the sand and bringing the jet pack back to him. Then Mando has to gather up the armor and the baby, and hoof it back to Mos Eisley. 

In the cantina, the mechanic Peri Motto is playing cards with a giant ant, Dr Mandible (in an apparent in-joke hat tip to the director, who also directed Marvel's Ant-Man). Peri demands Mando back her stake in exchange for a tip from Dr. Mandible, who claims there is another Mandalorian on a moon of the gas giant Trask, one system over. Only catch is, he must transport a passenger to said moon. (And at sublight speeds, which is ludicrous. Now, I know no one watches Star Wars for any sort of scientific accuracy, and hasn't ever since Han Solo made the Kessel run in twelve parsecs. But really? Sublight to another star system, in an ancient Imperial cargo hauler? Even if it's only a few light-years away, and say they managed to get up to half lightspeed....argghhh. Everybody would have starved to death before they were a quarter of the way there. I'm sorry, but hopping around in space isn't the same as driving down the block. This is one thing about The Expanse: they at least try to depict how big space is, and how huge the distances we're talking about are.) The passenger, a giant Frog Lady, has to take her clutch of eggs there to be fertilized. Mando says he's not a taxi service, but grudgingly agrees. (Baby Yoda, upon seeing the container with all the floating eggs, coos and gurgles.)

They take off, with Frog Lady in the cockpit and her egg container strapped in back. Which is also a plot hole...why wouldn't she keep it up front with her? We soon find out why, when Mando sets the ship on autopilot and climbs down into the lower compartment to get some sleep....and Baby Yoda is there with the container's lid flung open, snacking away. (He doesn't know what he's doing, of course. He's just a hungry toddler, sticking everything within reach in his mouth.) Mando snatches him up, yelling "No no no no!" and sticks him in the sleeping compartment, where he has a sling rigged up above the bed.

But there's shortly another interruption, when the Razor Crest is tracked by two New Republic ships patrolling the Rim. Mando tries to bullshit his way out of this situation, but it doesn't work, so he dives into the atmosphere of a very conveniently located ice planet nearby. The ships follow, and there's a merry chase down into an ice canyon. Mando dives the Razor Crest into a crack in the glacier, damaging the ship as it comes to rest on the floor. The two patrol ships go on by--but the floor suddenly gives way and the Razor Crest falls into a subterranean cave, smashing up a goodly portion of the ship before it comes to rest. 

(Truthfully, he should not have been able to fix it. But, you know, the show still has a season and a half, at least, to run, so we're just going to ignore the fact that the hull has ruptured in several places and the lower compartment isn't remotely vacuum-worthy...)

After a lecture from Frog Lady, who hijacks the vocal apparatus of a killer droid's head in storage to speak to Mando, the hapless Mandalorian goes outside to begin repairs. After a while Baby Yoda comes out and begins babbling and waving his little arms at Daddy, trying to show him something. This is adorable--in fact, Baby Yoda is adorable throughout, even though he manages to eat several of an intelligent species' eggs. Mando realizes Frog Lady has gone off further into the cave and follows her, to find her bathing in a warm pool, evidently a hot spring. (Maybe she's also squirted out some eggs to replace the ones Baby Yoda ate, as there suddenly seems to be quite a few more of them.)

Mando puts Baby Yoda down to gather up the eggs, and of course our hungry little Child wanders off. He comes upon a snowfield with dotted with a great many humps nearly as tall as he is, and tears one of them open. Inside is a spider embryo, which he promptly pops into his mouth! (His species must have a cast-iron gut, as he eats everything he runs across no matter what planet he's on, and doesn't seem to be bothered by alien DNA, proteins or amino acids.) But the ground starts rumbling, he looks around...and the humps start hatching out white spiders. More and more of them. Baby runs screaming back to Daddy, who looks to see the snow burst open with an avalanche of spiders, bigger and bigger, culminating in a monster taller than the Razor Crest

Mando grabs the eggs and baby, and he and Frog Lady run like hell back to the Razor Crest. But of course that busted-open hull isn't much of an impediment, and the spiders swarm the lower compartment after them. They climb into the cockpit, and Mando activates the flamethrower on his arm, crisping the critters. (But a few make it through, one climbing on top of Baby Yoda's head, who incinerates it using the Force. Frog Lady witnesses this, and one wonders if this will come back to bite Mando later.) Mando fires the Razor Crest up (I hadn't thought he'd gotten nearly that far in fixing it, but you know, the demands of the plot) and starts to lift off, but Mama Arachnid slams down on top of them, pinning the ship to the floor of the cave. At that point, this is pretty much the end of the line...until the sounds of laser fire come from outside. 

Mando goes out to check, and lo and behold, there are the two patrol ships, who have tracked him down. After they've destroyed the spider horde, he asks if they're going to arrest him. They're not. They ran the "tabs" on the Razor Crest, and there is a warrant out for him...but he also saved a New Republic officer back in episode 5 of season 1, so they let the warrant slide. (And then they get in their ships and go off and leave him there, which...for crying out loud. For all they knew, they were leaving him to die. With "friends" like those, the Mandalorian sure as hell doesn't need any enemies.)

Mando gets back to fixing the ship (which more or less looks like he's spot-welding it...surrrre), and manages to get it back together enough to limp on to Trask, with only one pressurized compartment, the cockpit. That's where the episode ends, with the Razor Crest staggering through space, with its two lower hatches hanging open. 

As you may have gathered, despite the cuteness of Baby Yoda and the fact that he actually had something to do with the plot, this episode did not do much for me. It's my least favorite of all The Mandalorian episodes to date. It certainly didn't seem to move the story forward. One only hopes when they get to Trask in the next episode, it will be a little better. 

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