This went from badass to adorable real quick. I’m spoiling the first two episodes here so just know that I enjoyed it. If you don’t want to know more just kick back and watch before reading.
So The Mandalorian took a bit of a turn this week. I get it, that little bugger is adorable, but the incorporation of the baby was surprising to me after the brutality of the character in the first episode. See, this week combined the grey morality of the first episode with something more akin to a single father story from a sitcom and it made no bones about having fun with it. I genuinely enjoyed it despite feeling like it could have been cut completely from the season with no consequences.
A buddy of mine compared this to an episode of Samurai Jack and he’s not wrong (shoutout to James Chadwick for that!). That show takes the brutality and over-the-top stylization and pairs it with humor and adorable characters that play a lot more simply than our lead. This week we’re graced with more Nick Nolte, which should bring a smile to all of our faces, and also the bundle of joy from our previous finale. The result is indeed an episode of Samurai Jack but it’s also all of Mad Max: Fury Road and a Clint Eastwood Western.
Let’s start with Baby Yoda. I don’t know what else to call him because we’ve never named the species, so I’m adopting the populist internet lingo. Look, let’s not crack wise here – that little thing is absolutely adorable. Who wouldn’t want a cute baby that tries to heal you and can lift anything dangerous into the air while you kill it? That’s the best sidekick ever! Western references aside, this baby gives the whole film the vibe of the Lone Wolf and Cub Samurai films. There’s an adorable baby carriage that needs to be kept out of danger, a lone gunman that wanders the wasteland in search of fortune, and side-players that give us an atmosphere of lawlessness and freedom in the desert. I mean…c’mon, this is magic here people. Baby Yoda doesn’t have a lot of ability when it comes to movement, but the puppet manages to waddle in a way that tugs the heartstrings and make us worry at the same time we think “d’aw, he cute doh.”
The lead character remains badass, but this episode lends a sentimental value to him. Few in Star Wars have wielded a rifle that disintegrated beings. He loads it with slugs, one at a time, and it feels like a musket in the hands of an otherworldly lone gunman. These scenes encapsulate what a beast he’s supposed to be, killing those that are his equal in combative abilities while still dealing with them on a personal level.
Look, this show is a mixed bag in the first two episodes. That should not dissuade you from trying new things. From scaling a Jawa Sandcrawler to Baby Yoda lifting a wooly rhino with his mind, this show is giving us badassery mixed with Star Wars lore on a meditative scale. All of it is thought-out, meticulous, and fun in a way that I honestly haven’t had from Disney so far. This thing is a blast and I hope you are using your Disney+ subscription to the best of its ability.