'The Mandalorian' Season 1 Episode 2 Review: 'The Child' draws on fantasy tropes that heavily influenced early 'Star Wars'
The Mandalorian's ship is stripped for parts by Jawas and he must make a deal with them in order to leave the planet
‘The Mandalorian’ has made no secret of its Western and Samurai influences, painting the Mandalorian (Pedro Pascal) as a lone warrior with a single purpose. With Episode 2, the show leads us into classic fantasy tropes that influenced early ‘Star Wars,’ and proves once again that you do not have to be original for a riveting cinematic experience.
The trope of a warrior traveling through fantastical lands while protecting a defenseless charge who is sought after by a host of other warriors is a trope that’s as old as storytelling itself.
‘The Mandalorian’ does not pretend that its story is breaking new ground here, focusing instead on what does make it unique. The score, the landscapes, the general aesthetics are ‘Star Wars’ at its finest. Futuristic tech looks banged up and lived in. Dust, rust, and general wear and tear are over everything.
‘The Mandalorian’ excels at making futuristic technology look old fashioned, and a little cheap, and it sells the story better than a shiny, mint-condition spaceship ever could.
This is a shorter episode, and the plot is even more straightforward than the last. Accompanying “the child” in its floating crib, the Mandalorian needs to get off the planet as soon as possible, as other bounty hunters continue to seek the child out. This proves difficult as Jawas have stripped his ship for parts. With the help of Kuiil (Nick Nolte), the Mandalorian negotiates the return of his parts in return for retrieving an egg, requiring him to battle a large beast—your classic D&D sidequest.
The Jawas feature big in this episode as the shameless, headache-inducing but mostly harmless scavengers we know them for.
‘The Mandalorian’ is obviously going for nostalgia points here, as Jawas were a strong presence in ‘A New Hope.’ The Mandalorian, however, has a harder time with them than Luke Skywalker ever did, in an extended battle scene that ends, hilariously enough, with a group of Jawas clustered together to blast the Mandalorian off the ship.
The episode surrounds the Mandalorian with adorable short people—the Jawas, Kuiil, and the child. The Mandalorian seems at ease with the long-eared baby, it appears obvious he’s no stranger to dealing with children. Kuiil gets a little more screen time here, but he’s mostly around for flavor, and to move the Mandalorian’s story along. Even for a character thrown in mostly for flavor, he leaves a strong impression, and “I have spoken” is a catchphrase that definitely sticks.
We learn in the episode that the child wields the Force with impressive ability when they rescue the Mandalorian from being gored. It baffles the Mandalorian, and it’s a sharp reminder that for the time frame that this story is set in as the Jedi have been largely wiped out. The Force, and how it works, isn’t common knowledge. The Mandalorian’s world just got a whole lot bigger.
The Mandalorian’s second episode cements its concept: it is less of a five- to six-hour ‘Star Wars’ movie, and more a collection of tales, each of a very different flavor, with only the lightest of threads running through it to tie it all together. The Mandalorian is best enjoyed one piece at a time. Each piece, so far, has proven satisfying enough to make it work.
The next episode of ‘The Mandalorian’ airs November 15 on Disney+.