The second episode of The Mandalorian takes a long detour from the plot threads that were set up in the first. Instead of blasting off to take The Child back to the Client, Mando (Pedro Pascal) spends the whole episode trying to figure out how to leave Tatooine. So hang on to all of your questions from the previous episode for later, except one: What's up with the baby Yoda?
Here's what we now know: The 50-year-old Child is apparently not an adult mind in a child's body -- it's a baby mind, body, and soul. In terms of human development, its wobbly walking would peg it at about one year old. Its stomach can handle solid foods and meat (like live frogs) just fine, which must be a relief for mothers of its species -- can you imagine breastfeeding this thing for 50 years? It's extremely cute -- far and beyond more profoundly cute than any of us deserved.
Oh, and The Child can use the Force. This is not at all surprising given how obsessed this show is with cookie-cutter clones (not literally clones... or...?) of characters from the films and their defining traits and professions. Anyone looking like Bossk, Boba Fett, or IG-88 is a bounty hunter. The Ugnaught is a mechanic from a servile past. The Jawas are scavengers. Four-legged beasts try to trample you to death. What about, you ask, a Jawa pilot, or an Ugnaught Jedi, or a Yoda that murders Jawas? Shut up, this isn't YOUR Action Figure TV Show! This is Jon Favreau's Action Figure TV Show! This is his due!
And don't you dare question what makes Mando different from Boba Fett. Yes, they have the same forked gun and riding ability from the Star Wars Holiday Special, they disintegrate people, are bounty hunters, have cool armor, transport people in carbonite, never take their helmet off, use a flamethrower and cable gun, and have no distinct personality other than looking cool. And yes, you'll have to buy two distinct action figures to complete your collection. TWO. DISTINCT. ACTION. FIGURES.
Anyway, so The Child uses The Force to save The Mandalorian by lifting The Beast right off of The Muddy Ground. This gives The Mandalorian just the opening he needs to stab The Beast one time with a tiny knife, killing it immediately (as one does). This moment justifies this entire story tangent -- now Mando knows that this very cute and lovable child is also a very weird child with supernatural powers. Is he really going to turn it over to creepy imperial Dr. Pershing now? Dramatic tension!
Among the looted items that Mando recovers from the Jawas is The Razor Crest's toilet -- er, vac tube. Keep an eye out for that shiny beskar toilet seat on your next watch. Everything gets put back together and Mando jets before we remember to ask -- wait, why are we on Tatooine again?
In the original Star Wars, Luke established Tatooine's remote geography: "If there's a bright center to the universe, you're on the planet that it's farthest from." Now Tatooine is more like an airport, the kind of place where sometimes you just you randomly run into your 3rd grade teacher. So was there something special happening on Tatooine that brought the Child's late Nikto babysitters there in the first place? Never mind, moving on.
As both of our unnamed protagonists zip off into space, presumably back to the also unnamed volcanic planet that Werner Herzog's Client and his assistant Dr. Pershing (Omid Abtahi) occupy, we're left with a host of new questions that are begging to be answered. Most immediately for the two, how are all these opposing bounty hunters tracking the baby?
We know that the bounty pucks show a visual of the target, but they weren't provided to the Mandalorian. Instead, he received the last four digits of a chain code, a sort of social security number indicating someone's age. Apparently creatures in Star Wars can live longer than Yoda and into four digits.
But neither of these details would necessarily allow bounty hunters to track the The Child after it left the mercenary-guarded compound, unless of course the floating carrier it seems to have borrowed from Yoda circa Revenge of the Sith is embedded with a tracking device. It's hard to believe Mando would be stupid enough to keep that thing around if it was drawing so much heat. So does that mean that there might be some sort of biological control/inhibitor chip implanted in The Child?
It wouldn't be the first time this kind of technology was utilized. In showrunner Dave Filoni's Star Wars: The Clone Wars, in an episode entitled "Conspiracy," inhibitor chips are discovered within the bodies of the clone troopers. Placed there by Kaminoan cloners, they were used to control the Grand Army of the Republic and ultimately to execute Order 66: the eradication of the Jedi. Is it possible that The Child also has a tracking/control/inhibitor chip inside its head?
It seems increasingly likely, considering some recent discoveries made about Dr. Pershing. Twitter user @NumidianPrime made the connection that an emblem on his sleeve was the same emblem worn by all the clones on Kamino all the way back in Star Wars: Attack of the Clones. Is it possible that The Child was manufactured in a Kamino lab in the first place? And is Dr. Pershing is trying to create more clones of the Yoda-baby as some sort of superweapon or to bring back the Jedi? And could this be part of contingency plans Palpatine laid for the event of his defeat -- paving the way for his return in The Rise Of Skywalker?
All of these connections could end up being quite tenuous. Despite the fact that we are returning to Tatooine for the umpteenth time, The Mandalorian makes a point to reestablish the Star Wars universe as vast and disconnected. Both Mando and the Ugnaught named Kuiil (Nick Nolte) seem to have never heard of the Jedi or The Force. It's easy to assume that knowledge of Luke Skywalker and his deeds, including killing Jabba, had spread throughout the galaxy, but on a backwater planet Tatooine the news seems slow to arrive, unless you happen upon a Jedi Master hermit who claims to have once known your father.
And yet, Kuiil seems to know all about the Mandalorians. Did he pick up a pamphlet somewhere: "Have you heard of our savior Bo-Katan Kryze, the Mand'alor?" And The Mandalorian's erudition knows no bounds -- where exactly did he pick up Jawaese?
Let's hope that erudition also includes the knowledge of how to take care of a baby. The Child is going to need some lovin', diaper changin', feedin', and spankin' before this whole road trip is through and the cold, beskar-armored hugs of the Mando just aren't going to cut it. The Child isn't vac tube trained, and this men's room (slash gun room) doesn't have a diaper changing station.
Many of the same questions from the previous episode remain: Who exactly wants The Child dead? What does the Client want with The Child? How does he breathe with that helmet on all the time?
Previously on The Mandalorian...
New episodes of The Mandalorian are available Fridays on Disney+.