Season 2 continues to lay the groundwork for its broader story, as the Mandalorian takes another detour to a snowy creature feature in “The Passenger”.
Previously on The Mandalorian: Timothy Olyphant. Oh and Boba Fett (Temuera Morrison). Boba Fett was also there. Well, at least we can all assume that it’s Boba Fett for now. Mando (Pedro Pascal) and The Child are back on the road for another segment of their quest to find other Mandalorians, with a nice hunk of krayt dragon meat for the ride.
Written by Jon Favreau and directed by Ant-Man’s Peyton Reed, “The Passenger” is another stepping stone episode, sturdy and fun to stand on, but still nowhere near where the story is going to be. Let’s go see what our family is up to this week!
Up front: The Child is not a very good boy this week. I know he’s a baby, but he is fifty years old and he knows how to behave.
Mando and The Child are ambushed on the way back to Mos Eisley by a trio of ne’er-do-wells utilizing the old “rope pulled across their path” method. The speeder and its contents (including The Child) get flung across the desert. Mando dispatches two of the bandits pretty handily, but the third, a Jawa, grabs up The Child and holds him at knifepoint. Mando offers the Jawa their pick of the assorted gear in exchange, and the Jawa chooses Mando’s jetpack. Mando hands it over, but whoops, he didn’t hand over the controls, so he sends the Jawa flying (and falling) and collects his jetpack once more.
He fully murders that Jawa in front of The Child’s wide little eyes, by the way. Mando, you have to stop killing quite so many people in front of your baby. Mando bundles up their stuff and hands back to Mos Eisley on foot. They meet with Peli Motto (Amy Sedaris) playing sabacc against a cameo appearance from the Giant Pet Ant from Ant-Man and The Wasp (okay, not really). But she is playing against a giant ant-like creature and tells Mando that the ant has a contact who knows where some Mandalorians can be found.
Mando pays for the ant’s current hand (though Peli Motto wins it immediately) in exchange for the information. The contact meets them later at Motto’s, and the titular passenger is a friendly-looking Frog Lady (Misty Rosas), carrying a large tank containing her spawn. She tells Mando (via Motto) that she needs passage to Trask, the moon where her husband has set up a homestead. See, her tank of spawn is her last chance to reproduce, and her husband needs to fertilize the eggs. The passage is her payment for the information that there are Mandalorians on Trask.
There’s one other issue with the upcoming journey: Mando cannot use hyperdrive, no matter what happens, since hyperdrive will kill the spawn. Well then, let’s hope it doesn’t become an issue, right? (It will become an issue).
The Child is fascinated by the tank of spawn, his curious gaze accompanied by musical cues that would have you believe that his interest is adorable. Get ready. Mando and Frog Lady start their journey, and Mando heads down below to check on the (completely untied-down) tank of spawn. Ooops, The Child is in the tank. And…he’s eating the eggs. Mando is rightly both horrified and that very specific kind of parentally embarrassed that you get when your kid screams a curse word or eats another sentient species’ offspring in public.
Mando bundles them both into their bunks for a nap but he’s woken an unspecified amount of time later by alarms. Back to the cockpit he goes, in time to get pulled over by a pair of New Republic space cops in X-wings. Mando is told the space equivalent of “your tail light is out” when he can’t make transponder contact with them, but once he allows them to get a look at the Razor Crest’s log, the pair find his outstanding warrant from last season’s “The Prisoner” and Mando nose-dives into the atmosphere of the nearest planet to escape.
The pilots, Captain Carson Teva (Paul Sun-Hyung Lee) and Trapper Wolf (Dave Filoni), are less than impressed by Mando’s little show, but after a bit of a chase, Mando manages to lose them by landing in an ice cave. And then the Razor Crest crashes through the floor of the cave, knocking Mando out when it lands. He wakes to find Frog Lady freezing to death (being a reptile and all) and he rushes to the hold to look for The Child and the eggs. Well, the hold has a huge tear in the side and the cold is getting in, but The Child is fine and is eating more eggs.
Mando is a real pill this week. I like that.
How are we supposed to react to The Child consistently eating this woman’s children?! Mando, I don’t know, maybe it’s time for a time out. To be told over and again how important the eggs are, and then to cut to The Child just slurping them down whole, is a lot to process.
Mando gathers everyone in the cockpit all “Well, this is the end of this mission, I guess”, which is crystal clear to Frog Lady even with their language barrier. Mando proceeds to take another nap from which he is loudly awakened by the voice of Richard Ayoade. Turns out that Frog Lady has had enough of Mando and his attitude and did some fiddling with the remnants of Zero (the droid from the gang in the aforementioned prison break), allowing her to use his vocabulator to speak with Mando.
Frog Lady calls Mando to task about the Mandalorian code, namely the part about staying true to his word. They had an agreement, and he had better honor it. Mando begrudgingly goes outside to start repairs on the ship. After a bit, The Child waddles outside to try to get Mando’s attention: turns out that Frog Lady has taken off.
They track her deeper into the ice caverns and find her soaking in a hot spring with the eggs. The Child is all about this soup course, but Mando firmly tells him no (for once) and gets to work helping Frog Lady gather the eggs back into the tank. While they’re busy, The Child wanders further into the cave and discovers a field covered in snowy mystery eggs, one of which he promptly peels open and crunches on the insect inside.
This isn’t good. As he eats, the rest of the eggs around him begin to quiver and hatch, revealing a large new crop of…space spiders. The Child hustles back to Mando and Frog Lady as more and more spiders head for them, including an extremely giant mother. The trio races back to the ship, fighting spiders as they go, but the ship has a massive hole in the side, so it too is rapidly filling up with spiders. The group manages to close themselves inside the cockpit, but an attempt to fly out of the cavern is blocked by an even more giant spider. Things seem pretty bleak, but then the giant spider is shot off of the front of the ship, and the shooting continues around them, blasting through the spiders outside.
It’s the X-wings! As Mando creeps out of the ship, he has to walk through a little mini hellscape of webs and dead spiders and, honestly, Mando, this is going to take forever to clean. He leaves the Razor Crest and the pilots inform him that they looked him up, and while he does technically have a warrant out for his arrest, he also captured the rest of the gang from the prison break, so they’re going to let this one slide. They’re not going to help him with his ship, though.
Mando makes enough repairs to inch their way to Trask, and the group hunkers down in the cockpit for a long, hyperdrive-less trip. And The Child snuck another egg. Those. Are. Her. Children.
Mando is a real pill this week. I like that, I like that he hasn’t suddenly become a sunny friend to all just because The Child came into his life. He has his code, he has his jobs, but he doesn’t have to like them, or you, just because they happen to coincide. I do wish he would keep a closer eye on The Child, my stars. It’s starting to become a real issue.
Again, a “monster of the week” type feel to this episode, even as it ties into the overarching “Find some Mandalorians” quest of the season. Still nothing more from Moff Gideon yet. The bandits on Tatooine did specifically yell out to “Grab the child!” but it’s unclear if that was a directive from on high, or just a “hey maybe we can ransom it or something” deal. “The Passenger” was a solid, almost spooky episode (who doesn’t love a giant spider? Wait, the answer is me.) though the egg-eating wasn’t the lasting gag that I think they thought it was going to be. It’s weird! It’s weird to eat someone’s eggs while they’re essentially in the other room! The Child, you have to learn boundaries.
Good though it was, “The Passenger” does leave me hoping that next week they make it to Trask and meet some other Mandalorians at last, because it’s time for something new to happen. Having repercussions from “The Prisoner” was a smart move, reminding the audience about previous adventures while showing that hey, things like prison breaks do have consequences, even in Star Wars. But let’s create some new consequences and keep this quest moving, and shake up the narrative a little.
- Name-dropped this episode: Peli Motto tells her droid not to overcook the krayt dragon meat. After all, she’s not some “Rodian”. Rodians are Greedo’s species. Rodians, eating overcooked meat, saying “Maclunkey!” across the galaxy.
- Why are so many liquids in the Star Wars universe blue? This week it’s the fuel/wiper fluid leaking from the Razor Crest, last week it was Cobb Vanth’s bright blue liquor. And we all know the original.
- The Child might be more reckless in a strange world than David from Prometheus. And that is saying something.
- I will hear the tippy tapping of space spider feet in my nightmares forever.