'The Mandalorian' Has Fully Become The Baby Yoda Show. That's Exactly What We Need.

Brady Langmann
·4-min read
Photo credit: Lucasfilm
Photo credit: Lucasfilm

From Esquire

Our week, in review: We stayed up, every night, until 1, 2, 3, (probably 4) a.m., watching khaki-pantsed men boop touchscreens, living and dying by every hundredth of a percentage point. Somewhere, the founding fathers rolling, tolling, damn near climbing out of their musty graves, as this very American democracy itself is threatened, the fate of our prolonged existential nightmare falling, somehow, on Nevada.

Since we’re all in this together, we’d like to warn those of you hoping to turn to The Mandalorian for 40-some minutes of Twitterless reprieve: It gets worse before it gets (wonderfully, beautifully, tearfully) better. Season Two, Episode Two of The Mandalorian, “The Passenger,” begins with Baby Yoda in stranger danger, knife to his wee neck, calm as a puppet who knows that a billion-dollar franchise would crumble should anything happen to him. After this week, it’s one of the last things you’d want to see. Don’t fear. The Peyton Reed-directed episode quickly turns into the Raising Baby Yoda spinoff you’ve always wanted, no big twists, just the child and the child alone, and his cuddles, burps, coos, snorts, and snuggles.

After last week’s season premiere, which admirably stuck to The Mandalorian’s hyper-focused plot (for the most part), Episode Two doubles down with a story that has little bearing, if any, on the show’s future. Mando is still on the hunt for Mando people, a group he thinks will lead him to the Baby Yoda people. Amy Sedaris’s Peli Motto links Mando and Baby Yoda up with Frog Lady (hat-tip, subtitles), who offers to help out with the Mandalorian networking as long as Mando drives her and her bloodline-continuing eggs to safety. The posse of the week runs into Republic X-wings (the space police) who pull Mando over for not having a working beacon (a busted taillight). He speeds away, crashes into an ice planet, fights off a bunch of spiders in what looks like a deleted scene for Eight Legged Freaks, fixes the ship, and whirls away. That’s about it. Which is okay! It’s still a blast, doing what The Mandalorian does best: Holding off the urge to dig some pastel-colored lightsaber from under a rock just to make you go ooo at the end.

One small takeaway, though. The credits will tell you otherwise, but “The Passenger” was likely penned by the same person who wrote the “Baby Yoda Chicken Nuggets” song. Or the artist who stitched this Love You, I Do pillow. Maybe even this hour-long loop of best Baby Yoda moments! It’s hard to tell. (Plus Amy Sedaris speaks frog! How could you not love an episode where Amy Sedaris speaks frog.) If anything, we’ll remember “The Passenger” as one thing, and one thing alone: The Baby Yoda Episode. After giving us hardly a coo, or a dramatic blink in Episode One, The Mandalorian channeled the full 12 months of the Baby Yoda hype train into one massive payload of heart-emojied moments that’ll sustain Etsy’s economy for about the next five years.

“The Passenger” plays out like a parenting book—all the warnings, good and bad—come to life. If this was Full House, Mando is the Danny Tanner to Baby Yoda’s Michelle. Baby Yoda’s hungry in this episode. Very hungry! He goes bobbing for frog eggs about five times. (Mando: “Don’t do that!”) He’s trying very, very hard to talk. But it's still all gibberish. He waddles. Sprints. (Which just looks like an accelerated waddle.) He cuddles Mando, his right ear getting stuck on his chest plate for a moment before gloriously returning to maximum pointiness. According to the subtitles, Baby Yoda goes mmmmmm, snort, coo, and burp. Just about the only thing he doesn’t do is poop his little robe.

Honestly, we're at the point where there's little that could offer some sort of reprieve from this week, but Baby Yoda staring wide-eyed into a vat of fish eggs gets you pretty damn close, if even for a half hour.

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