‘The Mandalorian’ Review: Episode 2 entertains but leaves little impression

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Lucasfilm LTD

“The Passenger” continues to grow the father-son dynamic central to the series

Gabriel Farhadian, Staff Writer

The widely successful Disney+ show, “The Mandalorian,” aired a new episode entitled “The Passenger” on Nov. 6. While the episode is endearing and undoubtedly entertaining, it lacks a substantial, forward-moving plot.

Among the perils and high-strung chase sequences in the episode, “The Passenger” uniquely suggests The Mandalorian as The Child’s adoptive father. The passenger — referenced in the episode’s title — who travels with the Mandalorian and the Child, is a foreigner whose language the Mandalorian cannot understand. Even so, it is evident that the passenger is a loving and caring mother, whose presence softens the episode’s peril, accentuating the growing familial relationship between the Mandalorian and the Child. When “Baby Yoda” is frightened, it waddles back crying to the Mandalorian as a child would to their parents. Later, the Child misbehaves and the Mandalorian lightly disciplines it with a sort of time-out.

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Super fans may recognize the spider-creatures featured in the episode are based on concept artist Ralph McQuarrie original designs for ‘The Empire Strikes Back’. (Lucasfilm LTD)

While “The Passenger” suggests a growth in relationship between the Child and the Mandalorian with a remarkable subtlety and developed episodic tone, its plot has polarized fans. Viewers who desire “The Mandalorian” to be a drawn-out epic within expansive Star Wars lore, understand the episode’s lack of substantial plot as another page in what will be a long, brilliantly twisty epic narrative. Other fans see the work as a “filler episode” that contributes poorly to the overall narrative.

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Producer and ‘Star Wars’ veteran Dave Filoni cameos as New Republic pilot Trapper Wolf. (Lucasfilm LTD)

While second-year student Blake Labrie understands how some could criticize “The Passenger” for “lacking a continuous story,” he noted that “the seeming lack of a super obvious, concrete plot for the episode is indicative of the situation in which the Mandolorian himself is in.”

Sophomore Trevor English, while appreciating the “Star Wars” universe, values a succinct plot and forward-moving narrative. “It was more of a filler episode,” English observed. “It had potential,” but it “didn’t follow the path that the Mandalorian was going on; the story veered off from the show’s story-line.”

While English’s and Labrie’s representative stances on the lack of substantial plot in “The Passenger” are each arguable and valid, “The Mandalorian” franchise must work to continue to impress fans and gain the interest of classic Star Wars loyalists as a legitimate and clearly envisioned story in its own right that can contribute to the Star Wars canon.