Jawas. Why did it have to be Jawas?
What They Say:
Target in-hand, the Mandalorian must now contend with scavengers.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With the second episode of The Mandalorian dropping just a few days after the first, which is definitely a good move, we now have a whole lot of people who have done their research on the child. That we’ve seen just one other of this species outside of Yoda before says a lot and that Lucas himself ensured that nothing was none for all these years means that Favreau and Filoni have plenty of open space to play with. Toss out your conventional thoughts on species and their growth, anything goes here when you’ve got a child like this that’s tossing around some pretty natural Force skills. The Star Wars comics from Marvel did some engaging Yoda stories in the last few years but even there all the things you wanted to know where left unsaid, much as it is here. And I like that kind of tease.
This episode can basically be called episode one part b when you get down to it. Because of cost and overall shortness of the run, I’m not surprised that this was broken out, plus the reveal of the child was a fantastic way to get people wanting more. Here, the episode moves along in a fairly standard way as the Mandalorian heads back to his ship with the child in tow in its little egg. It’s tied wirelessly to him so it follows at a nice pace and keeps things comfortable for the youngling. Their journey is definitely fun to watch, such as one of the night sequences where he does repairs on the armor and the child keeps climbing out of its egg to get closer, mostly to try and help with the wound that he has. The allusions to Lone Wolf & Cub are plentiful and that’s not unexpected or unplanned, though I hope and suspect Favreau has more in mind than that. But it figures nicely with how Lucas was inspired and borrowed from many a Japanese tale. You know, the poetry of echoes and rhyming and all that.
The general fun with this installment is that upon returning to his ship he discovers that the Jawas have stripped it. Prior to this, we knew Jawas as native to Tatooine but I like that they’re here on Arvala 7 and may be the kind of race that engages in this kind of work on many outer rim worlds. This has the Mandalorian spending the episode trying to get the parts back, which isn’t easy since he disintegrated a few Jawas along the way. The initial chase is great with the right kind of pacing while also reinforcing that the Mandalorian does a lot of things in the moment. Winging it isn’t a bad skill in his trade. The show takes a few amusing turns with this, having him turn to Nikto for help in dealing with the Jawas, but the Jawas have a significant price they want to be paid in order to trade back the parts and he has little to offer otherwise. It’s kind of standard fare but it works well.
The episode has plenty of callbacks to the films but they’re thankfully not things that get everyone repeating them out loud. The use of disintegrators, grappling hooks, flame throwers, and so forth are part and parcel of a bounty hunters trade. I wasn’t exactly keen on something as familiar as Jawas and Sandcrawlers but they made it work here because we got to see a new side to how Jawas act while also getting to see some new interior aspects for the rolling fortress itself. And time negotiating on how to get the parts, which is utterly delightful. I’m also glad that we had a number of really good moments with the child where you got to see the hints of what it’s capable of and to actually do something. It’s likely that this is a few and far between kind of race with strong bonds to the force so they – as adults – keep their population low and spread out. Definitely some curiosities there.
Trandoshans, Ugnaughts, Jawas, plenty of familiar creatures to be had here and a nod toward Wookies as well that definitely made me laugh. Rick Famuyiwa was a strong hand for this second installment as the director as he had some great pacing to it and just the way it all leaned into the spaghetti western material in a way that the franchise hasn’t since A New Hope just makes me grin stupidly. While I continue to get excited about meeting more new characters and being off this planet, the opening chapter was a strong one between these two episodes that established a lot of things and opens some fascinating avenues not just for the series but the associated media in comics and novels going forward. And that’s a big reason I continue to be drawn to this property.