Following The Mandalorian’s action-packed and lore-heavy premiere, its second episode, “The Child,” takes a slower, more quiet pace to explore its title character and supporting cast without the burden of setting up its premise. The result is a deeper look into its characters’ flaws and quirks while delivering a wholesome serving of laughs and squeals at its clumsy and cute creatures.
Still on the planet Arvala-7 after successfully capturing his live bounty, the Mandalorian returns to his starship to find it stripped of parts by mischievous scavengers Jawas. After making a failed attempt to steal the parts back, our stoic protagonist strikes up a deal with the Jawas — with the help of the selfless native Kuiil (Nick Nolte) — to retrieve “The Egg” in exchange for his parts back.
Although this setup does little to progress The Mandalorian’s main story, it gives much-needed time to explore its characters, including the bounty itself. Not a single line of dialogue is uttered for the episode’s first 10 minutes, and it’s kept sparse throughout. Writer Jon Favreau and guest director Rick Famuyiwa make use of this silence for meaningful character interactions, tense fight sequences and loads of visual humor.
The undeniable star of chapter 2 is in the subtitle. “The Child” has been dubbed by the internet as “baby Yoda,” and despite the timeline’s placement making it virtually impossible for that title to be accurate, the name has stuck. It’s not hard to see why audiences have taken such a liking to the 50-year-old infant, as its awkward, puppet-like movement, cute nose and huge eyes are expertly designed to endear even the cold-blooded Mandalorian himself.
Adding to the cuteness are the Jawas, who are hard not to love even when committing theft. Whether fighting, chattering or dancing, these clumsy scrappers are just as lovable as they were in their 1977 debut. Kuiil, who supplies the majority of the episode’s dialogue, also makes himself endearing to viewers through his unqualified kindness and charisma, undriven by greed or personal gain.
Viewers also gain insight into more of the Mandalorian’s flaws, compared to his seeming invincibility of the previous chapter. The bounty hunter takes more than one beating during the episode due to foolhardiness and doesn’t serve as an effective negotiator when forced to talk, rather than fight, with the Jawas. Not only does this lend the unnamed protagonist more opportunity for growth, but it also makes him more relatable than his initial impression of the infallible badass.
The Mandalorian’s second chapter serves as a refreshing respite to its premiere’s stronger emphasis on narrative, taking time to flesh out its characters and many worlds. The stellar authenticity and attention to detail remain intact as a treat for fans, while its lighter story might appeal more to children and those less familiar with Star Wars’ dense history. Its story shouldn’t linger too much longer without making substantial progress, but the series’ first two episodes have shown a masterful balance of the franchise’s serious and silly elements.
New episodes of The Mandalorian normally release Fridays on Disney+.