Last week’s season premiere gave us giant sand dragons, Timothy Olyphant playing a space cowboy and a glimpse of Boba Fett back from the dead. This week (The Mandalorian season 2 episode 2) we get a sad pink gecko and a jarful of pickled eggs.
If you watched the first season of The Mandalorian, you already know how this works. After an episode setting up the bigger story arc we’re straight back into stand-alone territory. Big bad Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito) is somewhere out there brandishing a cool-looking Darksaber, Baby Yoda is still a long way from home, and we now know that Boba Fett is alive – but all that will have to wait while Mando runs a few errands.
Director Peyton Reed (Ant-Man And The Wasp) picks things up right where showrunner Jon Favreau left them last week – Mando (Pedro Pascal) heading back to scavenger Peli Motto’s (Amy Sedaris) junk shop in Mos Eisley to try and pick up the trail of other Mandalorians who might know how to get Baby Yoda back to his home planet. Things get hairy on the trip back when a gang of pirates ambush Mando in the desert, giving him a decent fist fight and forcing him to walk back to town without his bike. It’s also nice to see episodes starting to bleed into each other a bit more seamlessly, making the series feel more like one big story even as it heads straight into another detour.
Motto gives Mando his next clue: other Mandalorians have been spotted on a nearby planet and she knows someone who can make the introductions in return for safe passage. Enter “Frog Lady”, as she’s listed in the credits – a big pink lizard that gives off strong Barney The Dinosaur vibes. She needs Mando to taxi her to the estuary moon of Trask along with a jar of her frog eggs (something to do with getting them fertilised by an absentee husband) and she needs him to drive slow. If Mando uses the hyperdrive, the eggs will die, so it means flying manually through a sketchy bit of space. Frog Lady only speaks in sticky croaks, Baby Yoda decides that he wants to eat all the eggs, and the whole thing gets very weird, very fast, until a couple of X-wings show up.
Now acting like traffic cops since they haven’t got an Empire to fight, the rebel pilots do a stop and search on Mando’s ship and force him into a space chase – easily the coolest bit of dogfight action in the series so far. Crash landing in a snowy cave, Mando starts trying to patch up his ship before Baby Yoda accidentally stirs up a nest of giant ice spiders – turning the rest of the episode into a neat B-movie mix of Star Wars and Arachnophobia.
You gotta love the creature design on The Mandalorian. Last week’s Dune-esque Krayt dragon ranked as one of the best monsters in the Star Wars universe, but this episode’s spider queen (looking like a 40ft white tarantula with the face of a Demogorgon) will likely work its way into more nightmares. Baby Yoda and Frog Lady get to do most of their own visual effects with old-fashioned muppet work, but the big spider shootout somehow manages to avoid CG-overkill even when a thousand bugs start invading Mando’s ship – saving a decidedly odd episode from slipping too far into frogspawn jokes. Not that it isn’t hilarious every time Baby Yoda pops another pickled egg in his mouth.
The credits roll before Mando and Frog Lady get where they’re going, meaning we’ll have to tune in next week to find out whether or not they get there in one piece. More importantly, we’ll also have to wait to see which other Mandalorian has been spotted on Trask. Could it be the rumoured live-action debut of Bo Katan (watch Star Wars: The Clone Wars if you want to brush up on backstory)? Sabine (from Star Wars: Rebels)? Someone new? As ever with The Mandalorian, we’ll have to take the long way around before we know for sure…
- Look out for the Marvel/Star Wars crossover joke when Motto plays poker with “Dr Mandible” – a big puppet ant that nods and winks to director Peyton Reed’s previous work on Ant-Man and Ant-Man And The Wasp.
- Richard Ayoade gets a few lines when Frog Lady plugs in the severed head of Q9-0, suggesting we might not have heard the last of his sarcastic security droid.
- One of the X-Wing pilots is played by series co-creator (and showrunner on The Clone Wars and Rebels) Dave Filoni – reprising his role as Trapper Wolf that he first took on in ‘Episode 6: The Prisoner’.
- Frog Lady is played by motion capture artist Misty Rosas – the same actress who was inside Kuiil throughout season one.
- Frog Lady’s voice was provided by veteran voiceover artist Dee Bradley Baker – better known as Captain Rex in Star Wars Rebels (and as Daffy Duck in Space Jam).