Tag Archives: the child

TV Review: The Mandalorian S2E6 “Chapter 14: The Tragedy”


After staging a cold open that is entirely Mando and Grogu being adorable and exuding father/son vibes as they descend upon the mysterious planet of Tython, you know that director Robert Rodriguez and writer Jon Favreau are ready to tear viewers apart in “Chapter 14: The Tragedy“. But, before getting to the super emotional bits, they tug on a plot thread from “The Marshal” with our old buddy, Slave I, careening through space as Grogu starts to commune with the force. Emerging from the Lego set I never got as a child is Boba Fett (Temuera Morrison) and Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen), the assassin from last season, who is back from the dead with the help of some cybernetics. In true Rodriguez style, this leads to a Mexican standoff with Fett wanting his Beskar armor back in return for helping Mando protect The Child from the other folks in the galaxy, who are out to get them.

And speaking of these folks, two shiploads of stormtroopers land on Tython, and the episode turns into a shoot ’em up. Mando is incapacitated for most of the fight as he keeps trying to run into the capital-F force field to nab Grogu so Fennec and Boba Fett do the lion’s share of the fighting. Robert Rodriguez digs into the oldest of action/Western tropes with two outlaws firing away against a neverending legion of feds as the stormtroopers bring in space-Gatling guns and rocket launchers to take them out so they can get to Grogu. Boba Fett wields a Fijian totokia in a series of brutal close combat sequences where he takes out all the pain that the Republic, Empire, Rebellion, and basically, the world has brought him on some hapless stormtroopers. Morrison plays the anguish-filled badass really well and his big return with his father’s Mandalorian armor is a true stand up and clap moment and guaranteed that Boba Fett will be venerated by yet another generation of Star Wars fans. I mean, his knee pads are a lethal weapon.

However, in this moment of triumph, Rodriguez and Jon Favreau pull an Empire Strikes Back and bring back Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito) and his Darktroopers to snatch up Grogu, who is passed out after communing with the Force. They destroy the Razor Crest so Mando ends up hitching a ride with Fennec and Boba Fett, who have promised to keep Grogu safe, to Nevaro where he gets information from Cara Dune about the whereabouts of Season 1 character, Mayfeld, a former Imperial sharpshooter, who can help them find Moff Gideon and Grogu. A prison break could be on its way. (Or not because of the truncated, killer, no filler length of some of these episodes.)

I geeked out on Robert Rodriguez’s action filmmaking as his fights are more brutal and violent than anything seen in The Mandalorian this season thanks to Fennec’s dead eye accuracy and Boba Fett taking things real personal. However, he builds a real connection between Mando and Fett as family men, who adhere to a code of honor and make every word count. In another brilliant moment of intertextuality, Fett nearly quotes his father Jango’s famous line from Attack of the Clones, “I’m just a simple man trying to make my way in the universe.” There’s a little more weariness in his delivery than in the 2002 film, and when Mando and Boba Fett drop the weapons and actually communicate, they find common ground as a foundling and son/clone of a foundling. Mando immediately allows Fett to keep the Beskar and reminisces about Jango’s service during the Mandalorian Civil War. They have a lot of similarities, and Pedro Pascal and Temuera Morrison imbue their characters with a dry sense of humor that will fit nicely as they continue to travel together. I’m glad that Boba Fett’s appearance won’t just be a cameo and a one-off because Morrison explores different sides of the character like his utter look of fear when he flies the Slave I close to Gideon’s ship and realizes that his old employers, the Empire, are very much still in play years after the destruction of the second Death Star.


Visually, The Mandalorian is always a show that looks good and seamlessly feels like a part of the Star Wars universe even as Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni follow the rhythms of Golden Age of Television genre storytelling (Big Bad, monster/planet of the week) while paying homage and adding to a memorable piece of 20th and 21st century American mythmaking. Robert Rodriguez takes thing up a notch by blending his Mariachi-style filmmaking with Star Wars iconography like ships in flight, stormtroopers being bad shots, and even the Force. He sets most of the action on a rocky stretch of land perfect for big time heroics like Fennec shooting her cover so that it can wreak havoc on the legion of stormtroopers Raiders of the Lost Ark style, and then having Mando use his Beskar armor to take blaster bolts that would be the end of her. Obviously, the shoot outs look cool, especially when Boba Fett finally gets to do his thing, but it also creates a brothers and sister in arm kind of bond between Mando, Fennec, and Fett that makes their decision to travel together more organic.

Even though he still doesn’t get a lot of screen time, Giancarlo Esposito gets to show a little more range as Gideon in this episode as he plays a darker version of the doting dad and shows Grogu the Darksaber after he observes him Force-choking his stormtrooper guards. However, they have no real relationship even in master/apprentice way, and Grogu is instantly clapped into irons so he can be used in Dr. Pershing’s experiments. Favreau and Rodriguez aren’t afraid to tap into the darker side of Grogu and show that the trauma that Ahsoka Tano mentioned in the previous episode and lack of proper training has him using the Force in ways that no Jedi would. Through expressive puppetry and the physical acting and dialogue timing of Pedro Pascal as Mando plus those snatches of backstory last episode, Grogu has transformed from a MacGuffin into a fully fleshed out character. It’s a wise move for Jon Favreau to make him the emotional crux of The Mandalorian’s ongoing plot as goes into its final two episodes because Grogu’s relationship with Mando, not Favreau and Dave Filoni’s lore-welding and building is this show’s biggest strength and hook.

Full disclosure: I decided to do weekly reviews of The Mandalorian once it was announced that Robert Rodriguez would be directing an episode because I have a soft spot for auteur directors going into big shared universes/mythologies and putting their own visual stamp on it. He, Jon Favreau, and Temuera Morrison show once and for all that Boba Fett is an incredibly cool and compelling character while also nailing a big moment in the relationship between Mando and Grogu. Throw in some menacing baddies and gun battles with bite, and “Chapter 14: The Tragedy” continues The Mandalorian’s momentum as it reaches the conclusion of its second season.

Overall Verdict: 9.0

TV Review: The Mandalorian S2E5 “Chapter 13: The Jedi”

Writer/director Dave Filoni begins “The Jedi,” the fifth episode of the second season of The Mandalorian on a dark, bare landscape with trees and walled city. Dystopia is in the air, for sure. And, then, instead of holding her back for a teaser at the end of the episode, Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson) emerges from the darkness dual-wielding lightsabers and takes down the goons of the magistrate Morgan Elsbeth (Diana Lee Inosanto). It’s one of many beautifully choreographed action sequences in “The Jedi” and a worthy live-action introduction for this popular character from Star Wars: The Clone Wars. The scene also sets the episode’s stakes: either Ahsoka Tano leaves Corvus, or Elsbeth will start executing her own people that she tortures in front of her own bonsai tree/koi pond sanctuary.

Of course, Mando and The Child are utterly unaware of the situation on Corvus when they land in the middle of the aforementioned woods with giant creatures idly grazing around them. They get some tense questions at the city gate (Mando smartly conceals The Child/treats him like a pet.), don’t get any answers or conversation at all from the inhabitants of Corvus, and are finally brought before Elsbeth, who offers Mando a staff of pure Beskar to kill Ahsoka Tano and gives him her coordinates. Mando and Ahsoka Tano have a short fight, but she immediately knows that The Child is Force-sensitive and communicates with him telepathically in a touching silent sequence. She also learns his real name, Grogu, and a bit of backstory, including that he was trained on the Jedi Temple on Coruscant, escaped after the Great Purge, and has been wandering the galaxy and suppressing his true origins ever since.

The next day, Ahsoka Tano tests Grogu in his Force abilities, but he is held back by his anger, pain, and attachment to Mando, who uses a part of his ship to coax him to use his telekinesis. Because of all these factors, Ahsoka Tano refuses to train Grogu, but ever the deal-maker, Mando gets her to change her mind if he helps her liberate Corvus from Morgan Elsbeth and her hired gun, Lang (Michael Biehn). This leads to some great stealth action, a heavy dose of anti-fascism, and a thrilling duel between a Beskar staff-wielding Elsbeth and Ahsoka Tano. Inosanto is a highly-skilled martial artist and Bruce Lee’s granddaughter so her stances and moves are fluid and realistic.

"The Jedi"

Because she is his own co-creation and also integral to the overarching plot of The Mandalorian, Dave Filoni spends a lot of time with Ahsoka Tano, and she even gets her own mini-storyline apart from Mando and The Child that features yet another a nerdy Easter Egg and makes it seem like “The Jedi” is a backdoor pilot for a show with her as protagonist. Dawson plays Ahsoka Tano with a fierceness and also a sense of sad nobility as she is one of the last Jedi in the universe and had to watch her mentor, Anakin Skywalker, go to the Dark Side. Anakin’s name is never mentioned in the episode, but every time she mentions “anger” and “attachment” in the context of Grogu, you can tell that it’s not the usual Jedi line. She wants Grogu to have a good, long life and not follow the road down to the Dark Side. Maybe, he just wants to be a cute kid and not the next hope of the Jedi as one of only three members of Yoda’s (He finally gets a name drop.) species that have appeared in Star Wars canon.

Even though Ahsoka Tano (and honestly Morgan Elsbeth) steal the show, I love the character work that Filoni does with Mando in “The Jedi”. Every named character thinks that he will act according to traditional ways/factions, but he surprises them. Morgan Elsbeth gives him a little speech about the traditional rivalry between Mandalore and the Jedi and thinks that will sway him to work for her, but in actuality, he’s smuggling a little Jedi under his cloak. Later, in the episode, Lang sees him as a fellow gunslinger, appeals to his pragmatism to abandon a lost cause, and go home. However, this doesn’t work on Mando, who as we’ve seen throughout The Mandalorian, is an altruistic person, especially in regards to his relationship with Grogu. Filoni takes time to show Mando free the prisoners with the help of the old magistrate and make sure that they’re safe inside before he begins his fight with Lang while Ahsoka Tano duels with Elsbeth.

Mando isn’t a traditional hero, but he helps those who he feels are exploited by the very complicated post-fall of the Second Death Star society. However, with the torture and executions, Elsbeth is a pretty obvious baddie and a total fascist and war profiteer, who was able to afford her pure Beskar staff thanks to exploiting planets to make ships for the Imperial fleet. Seeing Ahsoka Tano kick her ass is quite satisfying, and there is real tension in the fight scene as Elsbeth disarms her and even gets a staff to her throat. Tano and Mando really have to use tactics to retake the city like the old faking his death so he sneak in and occupy the assassin droids and other goons while she quickly infiltrates Elsbeth’s sanctuary.

“The Jedi” really feels a lot like classic Star Wars with a plot about resistance against an authoritarian government with a side dish of fate, destiny, free will, and all that other stuff. But, maybe, Grogu has (silently) experienced so much trauma in his life that he doesn’t want to follow the traditional, Joseph Campbell monomythic path. Thankfully, Ahsoka Tano has experienced similar trauma over the years, and because of this and the bond she can see between Grogu and Mando, she reneges on her promise while giving them intel on a planet where Grogu can choose his fate once and for all. On the surface, it seems like a cop out to have Ahsoka Tano show up, be cool, and not end up training Grogu, but it’s grounded in her character and her experiences even if it continues The Mandalorian‘s RPG plot structure.

Finally, it would be a big omission to not praise the visuals and shot choices of director Dave Filoni and cinematographer Baz Idoine (He did second unit work on Rogue One.), who make Corvus an utterly hopeless and closed off place with its light brown, smoky color palette. Whenever Ahsoka Tano’s lightsabers ignite, it’s like just a glimpse of hope, and Filoni and Idoine linger on the post-liberation celebration like it’s a mini-version of the big one at the end of The Return of Jedi. The mist combined with the training that Ahsoka Tano does with Grogu also create shades of Dagobah and Empire Strikes Back where Luke Skywalker faced his own doubts and didn’t respond to Yoda’s teaching very well. These little visual and sound cues have been a fun part of The Mandalorian Season 2 as the different writers and directors have used them to comment on Mando and Grogu’s journey, not just as fanboy Easter Eggs.

With its insights into Grogu’s emotions and backstory, a fierce, yet vulnerable performance from Rosario Dawson as Ahsoka Tano, and operatic storytelling from writer/director Dave Filoni, “The Jedi” is the strongest hour of The Mandalorian Season 2 yet even with an ending that’s a little rocky. It puts the to-this-point self-contained relationship between Mando and Grogu in the context of the larger Star Wars mythos as well as being a crowd-pleasing good versus evil story with unlikely heroes, who traditionally would hate each other’s guts.

Overall Verdict: 8.8

TV Review: The Mandalorian S2E4 “Chapter 12: The Siege”


Mando checks in with some old friends, The Child heads to (pre) school, there’s a couple twists on some old Star Wars set pieces, and honestly, everyone ends up in worse trouble in The Mandalorian Season 2, Episode 4 ” Chapter 12: The Siege“, written by Jon Favreau and directed by Carl Weathers. With its planet/adventure of the week plot structure, The Mandalorian doesn’t have an ensemble cast, but it does have a couple of interesting recurring guest actors. Weathers and Favreau use them nicely in this episode and also provide more commentary on the post-fall of the Empire universe as the New Republic struggles to connect with the Outer Rim (Even though its greatest hero is from there!) and the remnants of the Empire engage in a very Star Wars form of eugenics to try to get back in power.

In this episode, Mando goes to the planet Navaro (Where the pilot and a bit of the previous season took place.) to finally get the Razor Crest repaired and travel to Corvus to meet the last scion of the Jedi, Ahsoka Tano. These days, Navaro is pretty law abiding thanks to Marshal Cara Dune (Notable transphobe, anti-masker and general conspiracy theorist Gina Carano) and Magistrate Greef Karga (Weathers). There’s a school, commerce, and Karga has even employed former Mando bounty, Mythrol (Horatio Sanz) as his accountant to work of his debts. (Think Suicide Squad, but number crunching.) However, on the other side of the planet, there’s an Imperial base with a lot of heavy weaponry, and while Mando is waiting for his ship to be fixed, Dune and Karga rope him into blowing its reactor and bringing peace to the planet with Mythrol acting as hacker, lockpick, and getaway driver.

Mythrol’s getaway driver status is short lived when the team discovers that the base isn’t your run of a mill, but a lab where Imperial scientists are running very unethical tests and experiments on subjects using The Child’s blood. However, they’ve run out and need to recapture him again so this episode becomes a lot more complicated than blowing up a base over a lava pit and going home. As soon as Mando hears The Child is in danger, he jets off to protect him while Dune, Karga, and Mythrol end up in a speeder chase in the Star Wars equivalent of a Ford F-150. You can feel Weathers and cinematographer Matthew Jensen‘s glee in this sequence, which goes full Grand Theft Auto and escalates to TIE fighters and wraps up in a very A New Hope way.

My favorite part of “The Siege” was the adrenaline-filled third act where Imperial scout troopers actually behaved cleverly for once and may have actually gotten the upper hand if they weren’t so fanatical. (See last episode’s cyanide pill popping.) However, Carl Weathers and Jon Favreau spend the first bit of the episode showing the change and growth that Mando, Dune, Karga, and even Mythrol have gone through since last season. Dune has gone from a mercenary and prize fighter to a sheriff, who can keep the peace with her blaster and physical combat skills while Karga is back to his old respected government job ways instead of running numbers and bounties. However, he’s got a little bit of edge as evidenced by making Mythrol take all the big risks during the Imperial Base caper. Mythrol is still cowardly and wants to make an extra buck, but his new job keeps him in line. Dune and Karga’s goals have gone from trying to make a buck and forget about their more traditionally noble or heroic pasts to helping others and creating a safe “green zone” on where folks can live a life free from New Republic policing and bureaucracy and Imperial fascism.

And Mando has changed the most. He’s gone from treating the Child like a bundle, nuisance, or McGuffin to straight up treating him like a son. For example, in the beginning of “The Siege”, Mando tries to walk The Child through fixing something on Razor Crest because the little cutie can fit in tight spaces. However, this is a little advanced for him, and honestly, Mando should have just let him do the sci-fi western equivalent of holding the flashlight. Weathers and Favreau even riff on the dread “first day of school” when Karga tells Mando to drop him off at the classroom while they go on their mission. Weathers inserts a lingering shot of him looking away as The Child immediately gets into mischief and uses The Force to steal a classmate’s snack. Mando’s motivation is keeping The Child safe, happy, and hopefully one day, reconnected with others like him. This is a hell of a thing to build a TV show around and demonstrates why so many folks have emotionally connected with The Mandalorian.


The Mandalorian Season 2 continues to be in conversation with previous iterations of Star Wars, and after last week’s detour to Clone Wars and Rebels, we’re back to the original trilogy. Carl Weathers and Jon Favreau go full fanboy (But not in a toxic way.) and insert in all kinds of goodies like the aforementioned speeder bike chase, blowing up a reactor a la Endor, the classic gunner heads up display used in Vader’s TIE fighter and the Millennium Falcon, and in a touching moment even though Carano doesn’t quite sell the emotion, Alderaan. The inclusion of these elements create a nostalgic reaction in viewers that helps some of the themes that Favreau is exploring go down easier like the Rebels transformation into New Republic beat cops. I mean, we go from Han Solo and Wedge Antilles to some protocol spouting guy in an orange jacket using the death of all of Dune’s friends and relatives on Alderaan to recruit to “join the force”. I find the politics and tension of this era of Star Wars history really fascinating, especially when Favreau gives us this boots on the ground view although the information about Mandalorians is interesting too and places Mando in a larger context beyond “lone badass with a soft spot for a cute, occasionally bratty kid.”

“Chapter 12: The Siege” has a tense chase scene, a pleasant performance from Carl Weathers as Greef Karga and continues to show the bond between Mando and The Child in a sweet, occasionally funny way as it’s interesting to see Pedro Pascal change his body language and movements from sharing some soup with him to gunning down stormtroopers and pulling off crazy maneuvers in good-as-new Razor Crest. However, Jon Favreau undercuts this fancy flying and uses the last moments of the episode to have Giancarlo Esposito’s Moff Gideon raise this season’s stakes with a slight eyebrow movement. He’s a great villain, Mando knows he’s alive now, and I can’t wait for their rematch down the road.

Overall Verdict: 8.4

TV Review: The Mandalorian S2E3 “Chapter 11: The Heiress”


Like the previous installment of The Mandalorian, “Chapter 11: The Heiress” features The Child being gluttonous, yet adorable and eating every weird alien tentacle thing in sight. However, it also further the quest for the Jedi plotline while placing Mando and The Child’s journey in the context of a much bigger world as they finally encounter some Mandalorians, but they’re not the most, shall we say, sympathetic to his quest and have designs on ruling Mandalore. Step one in their plan involves lots of piracy and stealing imperial weapons.

Bryce Dallas Howard immediately flexes her directorial chops with a gorgeous shot of Mando, Frog Lady, and The Child’s ship sputtering towards the water planet of Trask. (If you like Mon Calamari, this is the episode for you.) Everything that could go wrong goes wrong as the ship ends up covered in kelp and badly in need of repairs so it’s out of commission for the whole episode. But hope can be found even in the most bleak situations, and Howard and writer Jon Favreau give us some payoff for Frog Lady as she reunites with Frog Man and their kids while Ludwig Goransson channels his inner John Williams for a sweet, stirring score. The relationship that Mando formed with them in the previous episode ends up being important as they babysit The Child while he goes on the dangerous mission part of the story and also teach him that frogs are friends, not food.

For the rest of the episode, there aren’t really as many tender human moments except for Mando jumping into the belly of a mamacore when he gets double-crossed by some Quarren (Aka the squid looking guys) fishermen, who want his beskar armor, and have no intentions of leading him to other Mandalorians. But he ends up being found by three Mandalorians: Bo-Katan (A charismatic Katee Sackhoff), Koska Reeves (Sasha Banks), and Axe Woves (Simon Kassianides). They take out Mando’s captors with precision and ease and rescue the child too. Howard captures their dynamic, fluid sense of movement compared to their opponents, and then shows they’re a little different when they remove their helmets, which is something completely against Mando’s belief system.

Speaking of belief system, the helmet removing and initial conversation between Bo-Katan and Mando sets up “The Heiress'” main theme, which is religious fanaticism. Apparently, Bo-Katan and her crew see Mando as a “zealot” and his views and mission to reunite The Child with the Jedi as restrictive. There’s a coldness between them even though Mando does agree to have a drink with them, mostly, because they’re his only lead as he isn’t super impressed by Bo-Katan’s aspiration to re-take Mandalore. He does show a grudging respect for her when she talks about being present at The Great Purge and having an armor passed down from generations. He is cool with helping them get weapons off an imperial freighter in exchange for information about the Jedi.

Except Bo-Katan doesn’t want to just steal weapons, she wants to steal the whole damn ship. Bryce Dallas Howard and Jon Favreau create some interesting parallels between her group of Mandalorians and the freighter’s crew led by the Imperial Captain (A stone-faced, yet really fun Titus Welliver). First of all, there’s this obsession with a return to a supposed Golden Age, which is the Galactic Empire for the Imperials and Mandalore for Bo-Katan. The Captain and his crew sign off with “Long live the Empire” when Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito) refuses to send them reinforcements and would rather die than give the ship up to the Mandalorians.

Their sense of self-preservation has been overridden by their fanaticism. This extends to Bo-Katan and her crew, but they are much better fighters with Bo-Katan getting a thrilling sequence where she basically stabs a bunch of stormtroopers in close quarters combat. They have a single-minded cause and the skill to back it up, not unlike Gideon with his Darksaber at the end of last season.

Howard gets some bits of dark comedy from the reaction of basically the Imperial middle management to the report that the Mandalorians are onboard. She lingers on them sweating bullets as they realize that stormtroopers who “couldn’t hit the broad side of a Bantha” are the only thing standing between them and the Galaxy’s most ferocious warriors. The Stormtroopers do have fancy repeating blasters that even the odds for a little bit, but they’re no match for Mando, who is willing to put his body and Beskar on the line for a group of people he was duped by and strongly disagrees with.

The Mandalorian' Season 2, Episode 3 Review: 'The Heiress' Brings Back A  Fan Favorite

However, his real motivation comes into focus at the end of the episode where he warmly looks at The Child playing with Frog Man, Frog Lady, and their new baby and has an actual destination even if his ship is still on its last legs and crawling with some weird critters. (Hey, more food for The Child.) Jon Favreau never loses sight of heart of The Mandalorian, which is the bond between The Child and Mando, and they use the connection to the bigger Star Wars lore (Clone Wars and Rebels in this instance.) to add richness and stakes to their journey and explore themes like extremism and tradition with the help of cool armor and jet packs.

Finally, I have to give kudos to Favreau for being able to succinctly introduce Bo-Katan, her motivation, and the additions to the Mandalorian lore in a way that’s easy to follow for viewers who didn’t see those episodes of Clone Wars and Rebels while keeping the episode moving and not getting bogged down in exposition. I mean, that unyielding eye contact from Katee Sackhoff works all by itself.

“The Heiress” is a welcome return to form for The Mandalorian with versatile direction from Bryce Dallas Howard, who ably handles the big wide shots of planets as well as the intimate violence of hand-to-hand combat and a magnetic and storyline deepening guest performance from Katee Sackhoff as Bo-Katan. This episode is just a good time with plenty of action, adorable moments with Mando and The Child, and reminders of the complex world outside their quest.

Overall Verdict: 8.5

TV Review: The Mandalorian S2E2 “Chapter 10: The Passenger”


After “Chapter 9: The Marshal’s” cinematic scope, memorable guest performance from Timothy Olyphant, surprise reveal, and overall epicness, a sophomore slump seemed inevitable. In The Mandalorian Season 2, Episode 2 “The Passenger”, writer Jon Favreau and director Peyton Reed (Ant-Man) take a break from the space Western and instead go for a lower stakes creature feature with plenty of The Child and a new character with the very Star Wars (1977) design and name of Frog Lady (Misty Rosas). “The Passenger” is cute, occasionally funny (Pedro Pascal has dry comedic timing as Mando.) , and has charming practical effects. However, it comes across as middling “monster of the week” episode, albeit, with an effects budget that can support mid-atmosphere X-Wing chases.

With the “Mandalorian” that Peli Motto (A feisty Amy Sedaris) turning out to be Timothy Olyphant in Boba Fett’s armor, Mando is already out of leads and has all kinds of randos on his tail trying to capture The Child. However, Motto and her insectoid buddy Dr. Mandible know someone that knows a Mandalorian on the nearby Trask system. But to meet this contact, Mando must play intergalactic taxi driver to his wife, Frog Lady and her eggs, who need to reach Trask because it’s the only place the children can survive. Unfortunately, this simple transport mission is derailed by overeager New Republic X-Wing patrols, a planet with an unstable surface, a colony of giant spiders, and The Child’s appetite for frog eggs even though that is mostly played for laughs.

Even though this episode had a real “filler before the good stuff” vibe, Jon Favreau and Peyton Reed do an excellent job showing the heartwarming relationship between The Child and Mando. This starts with Mando’s willingness to give up his jetpack (But not the buttons that remotely pilot it.) in exchange for The Child in the episode’s opening action sequence and extends to his good-natured scolding when The Child starts gobbling down frog eggs and finally to the little hammock that he has for him in his sleeping quarters on the ship. It might be the sheer ridiculousness of the episode premise or his inability to communicate with Frog Lady (Except when she hacks the voice box of his deactivated killer droid Zero.), but Mando has a lot of heart and humanity this episode from his sarcastic jokes about everything falling apart to his miming and pretending his communication systems don’t work when he’s pulled over by some cops, er, New Republic X-Wing fighters.

You either die a Rebel, or you live long enough to see yourself become a space cop.

Reed’s comedy background definitely comes in handy in “The Passenger” from stray shots of The Child greedily eyeing various types of eggs to Mando’s stoic exasperation at everything from losing a bet with Peli Motto to his entire ship breaking down. He and Favreau even do some bits in the episode, which are honestly its best parts, like Motto arguing with her pit droids over the way she likes her krayt dragon steak cooked and then plopping it in her mouth. Sedaris’ performance as Motto is always a delight, and I’d love to see her in every episode even if her role really boils down to plot facilitator and fetch quest giver.

Speaking of fetch quests, the bits with the spiders on the ice planet really do seem like that annoying level of grinding, hacking, and slashing (Or in this case: blasting and flambeeing) before you get to the main storyline. The designs are suitably creepy, and they really do leave a mark on Mando’s ship as the final shot of the episode is it limping and spluttering in space like something out of Firefly, not Star Wars. However, they end up being a diversion and a chance for Peyton Reed to indulge his creep insect fetish unlike the krayt dragon, which seem more baked into the episode’s storyline, Mando’s arc, and the Star Wars mythos as a whole. The New Republic-ex machina is also mishandled after a pretty fun chase sequence with the pilots basically reading off plot points from last season to left Mando off the hook. They’re just super boring cops with cool ships, which shows that revolutionaries eventually become the establishment in the end the end although Favreau and Reed aren’t interested in unpacking this.

After a spectacular season premiere, The Mandalorian takes a bit of a dip in quality in “The Passenger”, which features some toothless adversaries and a storyline that doesn’t conclude as much as spin out across the end of the episode’s finish line. However, Peyton Reed and Jon Favreau’s quirky and occasionally disgusting sense of humor, some The Child adorableness, and Misty Rosas’ warm and physicality as Frog Lady keeping it from being a total snooze, especially if you’re into Amblin creature features.

Overall Verdict: 7.6

Super-Articulate: Emerging from Quarantine, Oh Wait, We’re Not Edition

I suppose we could also call this the “best-laid plans” edition. A few months back, I had plans for a particular series of articles under the Super-Articulate banner. And then . . . well . . . you know: things got weird. I was working from home, and that was busy. My wife and teenage sons were in the house, and that was busier. I landed a really big freelance gig (more when I can tell you) and had other freelance stuff happening. And stuff slid.

On the other hand, we’re entering a really big period of new product either the actual shelves are being set up for pre-order. In that bit of a lull, I’m going to look at a new item that started arriving from pre-orders in the past couple of weeks, and a slightly older item that’s still making its way around. They’re both from the Star Wars Black Series. Up first . . .

THE CHILD: The amazing character find of 2019 is . . . tiny. Like, really tiny. Yes, he’s to scale, but holy crap, he’s tiny. It’s kind of insane that the figure is as detailed as it is because, well, did I mention that he’s tiny? The little creature is a shocking 1.1” tall. And yet, the craftsmanship here is crazy. How did they sculpt this? A 2-up would still be less than 2.5”. Was it a 4-up? Regardless, look at the tiny wrinkles on his clothes.

And yet, even with the small size, there’s still some poseability of the head and arms. To be fair, we don’t see the little guy move much beyond that in the show, anyway. Still, I’m struck by how good the Child looks standing next to the Mandalorian. It would have been cool to get the floating pram, but I wouldn’t be shocked to see that made in the future.

Packing in a slide-open plastic case for the three accessories is a genius idea, but it would be insanely easy to lose these. Frankly, I opted to keep them in the case for exactly that reason. The accessories include the ball/control knob from the Razor Crest, the famous bowl from which to sip, and the frog-like creature, suitable for eating.

My overall verdict is that I think it’s great. Yes, I was shocked at the smallness, but it’s scale-appropriate and it’s very well-rendered. It’s also half the cost of a regular Black Series figure, which feels about right. Good on Hasbro to put so much thought into what’s already a hit figure.

General Grievous: Speaking of putting in some thought . . . damn. Grievous is awesome. The entire body and head has to be proprietary tooling, because no one else in the Star Wars Galaxy has body parts like this. The four arms are impressively articulated, given their thinness, and the hands hold the four enclosed lightsabers with ease. I also found the face detail to be well-done and accurate.

Possibly the best part about the Grievous figure is its versatility. The four arms and multiple points of articulation allow for a number of poses. It’s hard to pick one that doesn’t make this guy look good on a shelf. I also find that the cloth cape enhances the look of the figure, as it falls in interesting ways depending on how the arms are posed.

I’ve heard some complaints that the figure is hard to stand, but I had good luck with that. I find that favoring a hunch, as the character generally appears, makes it an easier proposition. I think it’s appropriate that this is a deluxe figure in a larger package and slightly higher price point, given the work that had to go into the unique parts. I also like that it came out just ahead of the new run of prequel figures, particularly that Obi-Wan Kenobi. I think this one’s really solid overall.

That’s all for the moment, everyone. I plan to be back soon to catch up on some Marvel Legends, including the Retro Gray Beast, Rage, Mach-1, and a deep look at the most recent FF assortment (which I only just got myself). Thanks for reading; glad to have you back.

The Child, aka Baby Yoda, Gets New Star Wars Toys from Hasbro in 2020

Hasbro has announced a new line of Star Wars products featuring The Child will be available for preorder today and shipping beginning in May 2020. From the live-action Disney+ series, The Mandalorian, Hasbro is bringing unique expressions ofthe popular character to Star Wars fans around the globe.

With The Child’s adorable aesthetic capturing the hearts of many, Hasbro is pleased to offer new products for fans of all ages, including:


(HASBRO/Ages 4 years & up/Approx. Retail Price: $9.99/Available: Spring 2020)

Fans can add the pint-sized galactic sensation from the live-action series, The Mandalorian, to their STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES collections! The 1.12-inch figure is styled to look like The Child, with premium detail and multiple points of articulation. Includes figure, bone broth toy, ball toy, and Sorgan frog.



(HASBRO/Ages 3 years & up/Approx. Retail Price: $24.99/Available: Spring 2020)

Become the protector of The Child with this cuddly plush toy inspired by the live-action series, The Mandalorian, from HASBRO STAR WARS, dressed in the cutest little robe ever seen this side of Mos Eisley. Posable arms let kids pretend the Force is within their reach, while a squeeze of the toy’s soft plush body activates character sounds! Includes talking plush toy, bone broth bowl, and Sorgan frog.


(HASBRO/Ages 4 years & up/Approx. Retail Price: $7.99/Available: Spring 2020)

Fans can start their own collection of this adorable character in poses inspired by iconic scenes from the live-action series, The Mandalorian! With 6 figures to choose from, kids and fans can collect figures featuring fun poses such as sipping soup and blanket wrapped, hold me and ball toy, and froggy snack and force moment. These 2.2-inch collectible figures are an awesome way to start a collection, swap with friends, give as gifts, or display in any STAR WARS collection! For pre-sale these items will be offered as 2 packs for $15.99.


(HASBRO/Ages 4 years & up/Approx. Retail Price: $19.99/Available: Spring 2020)

Add huge fun to any STAR WARS collection with this big The Child 6.5-inch figure! Featuring design inspired by the live-action series, The Mandalorian, and several points of articulation for big posable fun, kids and fans of all ages will love imagining favorite moments from the Star Wars galaxy!  

Products are available for pre-order now at major retailers in North America and in select countries globally starting next week.