Spoilers for The Mandalorian season 2 episode 2, “Chapter 10: The Passenger,” below.
Halloween might’ve come and gone, but The Mandalorian managed to keep the horror spirit alive in season 2 episode 2, “The Passenger.” A far cry from the Spaghetti Western season opener, the 45-minute episode shivers into creature-feature territory as our eponymous hero and his ward find themselves caught up in a new web of danger while transporting a mother-to-be to a sector not so far, far away.
The episode begins in familiar fashion with Mando (Pedro Pascal) fighting off several goons still on his tail to collect the bounty on The Child. He makes short work of them and is soon on his way back to his ship, the Razor Crest, to plot a new course—he needs to find other Mandalorians who can help him return Baby Yoda to its homeworld.
Mechanic Peli (Amy Sedaris) knows a gal who knows a guy on a planet where Mandalorians have been spotted, but in order to get the information, “there’s one small skank in the skud pie,” for Mando to agree to. He needs to take the gal in question, a Frog Lady (Misty Rosas) carrying the precious cargo of her unfertilized eggs, with him. She needs to meet up with her husband, the aforementioned guy who knows where the bounty hunter’s brethren are. Mando reluctantly agrees and they set off, but as they’re unable to use hyperdrive (it would vaporize the eggs), the travelers soon become the target of two New Republic officers in X-Wings. Mando, The Child, and Frog Lady are forced to crash-land on the nearest planet and hide before they’re caught as fugitives.
It’s a cruel twist of fate that the Razor Crest suffers so much damage after just being fixed up. Even crueler that the icy planet they’ve landed on has all the chaotic horror energy of The Thing meets Eight Legged Freaks. While Mando is trying to fix the damage, Frog Lady finds a hot spring in the cavernous ice and decides to take a dip with her remaining eggs—the ones Baby Yoda hasn’t eaten, the cheeky little thing! Recognizing the danger of having a bath in an unknown, hostile environment, Mando persuades Frog Lady to collect her spawn and get out, but after stopping Baby Yoda from devouring yet another of her unborn children, its nose leads to another type of egg—hundreds, in fact. It’s like that scene from Alien where Kane discovers a sea of them. They even open like the Xenomorph eggs of the film, but this species is arachnid, and when Baby Yoda munches one, an avalanche of spiders great and small spring into attack mode.
Mando fends them off in a spine-tingling, anxiety-inducing chase scene and even takes out a gargantuan one with explosives, but as the trio attempt to fly away, another huge arachnid stops them from taking off. Luckily those two X-Wing pilots hadn’t stopped their search and arrive just in time to take out all the remaining spiders. They let Mando go because “these are trying times,” and they have more important adversaries to face in maintaining order in the new democratic galaxy. So the clan of two plus Frog Lady get back on course to find the Mandalorian covert and get those babies fertilized.
There are lots of things to love about this episode, directed by Peyton Reed. The horror homages are brilliantly delivered and enrich this installment with a B-movie freakiness and the extraterrestrial terror of late ‘70s and early ‘80s cinema. There seems to be a devouring theme as well, from the name of insectoid alien Dr. Mandible to the horrific gnashers of the monster spiders and Baby Yoda’s penchant for munching. However, the underlying message of this episode seems to be one of principles.
The Mandalorians are united by a common code. It is The Way™ their people live by and how they conduct themselves in the wider universe. Frog Lady reminds Mando of this when he says their deal is off because of the ice planet detour. “I thought honoring one’s word was a part of the Mandalorian code,” she says through the vocabulator of Zero the Droid (Richard Ayoade). “I guess those are just stories for children.”
Frog Lady herself exhibits some noble principles when she blasts spiders away from Baby Yoda; she’s a smart cookie and likely knows why her eggs are disappearing, but she saves The Child anyway. Baby Yoda is, after all, a kid, but a little more discipline wouldn’t hurt. (Yes, I said it.)
Then there’s the honor code followed by the X-Wing pilots, Captain Carson Teva (played by Kim’s Convenience actor and Star Wars superfan Paul Sun-Hyung Lee) and Trapper Wolf (Dave Filoni). Trapper was one of the pilots in season 1 episode 6, “The Prisoner,” who took out the space station harboring the escaped prisoner Qin, or as they call him in this episode, “Prisoner X-Six-Nine-Eleven.” Carson and Wolf could’ve arrested Mando for his involvement in that prison break—in fact, they could’ve left everyone to be eaten by those spiders. But they read the security records of the escape and knew the bounty hunter not only risked his life to try and save Lieutenant Davan, the sole human security officer on the prison ship, but also helped “apprehend three priority culprits from the Wanted Register.” So, they let him go.
Good and bad aren’t black and white in the Star Wars universe, and sometimes the heroes have to get their hands dirty in order to save someone’s day or life. Mando does that in the opening sequence of “The Passenger” to save Baby Yoda from bounty hunters. But in the gray of that moral haze, especially in the Outer Rim where lawlessness frequently goes unchecked, one can identify the true villains as those who have no principles, no code, no sense of honor whatsoever. For those that do, well, The Mandalorian makes it clear it’s the true hero’s way.
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