Recap: Chapter Ten, The Passenger
The Star Wars franchise is no stranger to both praise and criticism alike, and The Mandalorian is no exception. Despite critical and commercial acclaim, for some fans, season one seemed to lack an overall story arc, focusing rather on storylines that otherwise seemed disconnected. In this way, The Mandalorian feels very much like an open world video game, wherein an overarching goal is constantly derailed by various side missions, epic boss fights, and fetch quests.
With the launch of season two, it is clear that the Jon Favreau led saga has clearly committed to a lane, leaving it up to the viewer to come to the table each week with properly managed expectations. That’s not to say that the series lacks any connective tissue. For that matter, Star Wars is nothing if not a story that unfolds episodically. With all this in mind, season two includes traces of story elements that feel as if there could be an underlying thread to appear later on while introducing new threats that arise on Mando’s quest to return the Child to his people.
If you haven’t yet watched the most current episode, be forewarned, the remainder of this recap will contain spoilers. For a quick refresher, check out Crooked Llama’s recap of season one.
“The Passenger” begins where the “The Marshal” ended with Mando (Pedro Pascal) returning to his search of other Mandalorians. Instantly, the titular character is placed within harm’s way when he’s surrounded by bandits on the hunt for the Child. Mando is outnumbered but not out skilled and manages to defeat all but one of the bandits. It’s wit, not brawn, that outmaneuvers this foe, leading to an unspoken comical moment between Mando and Child.
Back to Peli Motto (Amy Sedaris), who is engaged with what appears to be in the midst of a high stakes game with a giant ant-looking alien. The brash mechanic communicates with her competitor and learns of a possible lead for where Mando may find other Mandalorians. This information comes with a catch: Mando must transport special cargo, which turns out to be a Frog Woman carrying a cannister containing the last of her unfertilized eggs. She must return to the planet where the Mandalorians are hiding, which also happens to be where her husband has located a safe haven in order to nurture the eggs to full term and save her dying race.
The small crew embark on the trek, but alas, as often is the case, things do not go smoothly. In what essentially equates to the galaxy’s version of a routine traffic stop, Mando catches the attention of two Republic X-Wing pilots, who are evidently on patrol for remnants of the Empire. Mando attempts to maneuver away, which leads chase down onto an ice planet where the Razor Crest crash lands amidst the snowcapped-mountain terrain.
Things look bleak for the Frog Woman’s offspring and she implores Mando to not give up on his mission. She wanders deeper into the cavern with her cannister of eggs and enters a hot spring to keep the eggs warm. Mando implores the Frog Woman to return to the wrecked ship and the Child wanders off into a patch of suspicious egg-shaped pods in search of a snack.
It turns out the snack within the pod doesn’t take well to the idea of being eaten and within moments the pods begin to hatch an army of ice spiders. Soon the hatchlings are joined by a slew of their older and much larger relatives. Mando and crew flee the attack, firing back at the creatures who retaliate by projecting webs.
Backed into the cabin of the ship, it seems likely that the ice arachnids will overtake the crew when help arrives from unlikely allies. Outside the ship, the X-Wing pilots ward off the monstrous creatures leaving the small group unharmed.
Mando and the pilots call a truce due to past good behavior on Mando’s part. The ship is repaired and launched back into space where we close on Baby Yoda enjoying one last snack: another one of Frog Woman’s eggs.
The Mandalorian continues to prove, much like Pedro Pascal’s ability to emote through full metal armor, much can be accomplished with very little. This is especially prevalent in the way characters communicate, as well as how they are unable to communicate with each other. Despite having nearly no discernable dialogue, the Frog Woman’s simple plight to survive is both relatable and instantly endearing. This goes far in the way of allowing the viewer to understand what is at stake when something threatening happens, like say, a hungry Yoda-like child is on the prowl for a snack, whether that snack be an ice-spider or the egg of a dying race. In these moments you can actually feel equal amounts of humor and horror.
Speaking of horror: welcome to arachnophobe hell. In fact, it may be a good idea to simply brace yourself for several minutes of skin-crawling imagery of the Galaxy’s version of an eight-legged living nightmare. Worth mentioning here is the spectacular sound design for the various sounds the spider-like creatures made. It was easy to imagine the wet stickiness of their icy web while virtually feeling the tremor of a thousand tiny legs closing in behind you.
The Mandalorian serves up a healthy dose of action in this most recent installment, continuing to do so while utilizing an array of storytelling tools. Jon Favreau remains committed to season one’s healthy marriage of both practical and digital effects, resulting in a Star Wars IP that has never felt more at home since Return of the Jedi.
Be sure to check back here for Crooked Llama’s continuing coverage of all things Star Wars and The Mandalorian.
Austen Miles is a husband, father, and writer. He can be found on Twitter: @austen_miles, and on Instagram: austenmiles.