While the first episode of The Mandalorian--the live-action Star Wars show on Disney+--showed a lot of potential, it was far from perfect. "Chapter One" could have done a better job of introducing the titular Mandalorian (Pedro Pascal) and so much ancillary information was packed into the 38-minute running time that it was difficult to tell what was important. Still, it was clear how much potential there was for the series.
Warning: The following contains spoilers for the second episode of The Mandalorian Season 1, titled "Chapter 2: The Child." If you haven't watched it yet, look away now or you will be spoiled.
With the second episode--"Chapter 2: The Child"--it's clear The Mandalorian is something special. The episode begins quickly after the climax of "Chapter One," which saw the introduction of an indescribably cute creature we're going to call Baby Yoda that is very valuable to The Client (Werner Herzog). As "Chapter One" ended, though, we were left wondering what Mando would do with the creature--and what kind of danger it would be in should it wind up in the hands of The Client.
Whereas "Chapter One" attempted to cover a lot of ground, skipping over certain details, "The Child" was an extremely focused episode. It followed one story from beginning to end, giving viewers more time to get to know Mando and his bounty, Baby Yoda.
Granted, the episode was essentially a sidequest mission. Jawas stripped Mando's ship of parts, leading him with the need to barter with the creatures--with the help of Kuiil (Nick Nolte)--to repair his vessel and head back to turn in his bounty. Along the way, he fought a giant monster, got his hands on a fuzzy egg, and learned Baby Yoda isn't just the "kid" Mando thinks him to be.
Like Yoda and Yaddle, the only other two members of this species we've met in Star Wars history, Baby Yoda is Force-sensitive. He shows that when helping Mando defeat the giant beast guarding the fuzzy egg by levitating it in the air. Mando looks beyond confused as Baby Yoda finally passes out after using all of his energy with the Force power.
That development opens up several questions for The Mandalorian to answer. What will Mando do when it's time to hand Baby Yoda over? Just how powerful is he and is he related to actual Yoda, somehow? And with his apparent connections to the Empire, what does The Client want with the tiny creature? Obviously, he and Dr. Pershing (Omid Abtahi) know exactly what they're they're getting when it comes to Baby Yoda. What is their plan?
The episode also allowed a new side of Mando to shine through. It was clear he cared about the safety of Baby Yoda. While, at first, it's mostly about collecting his bounty, it slowly transformed into feeling protective for what he thought was a helpless child that refused to stay put in its space crib.
The episode's humor is also worth noting. While the look of "Chapter One" was stunning, giving tonal nods to Samurai films and westerns, it was pretty dry. There were a couple of laughs thanks to IG-11 (Taika Waititi), but the rest of the episode felt flat. "The Child," however, used the Jawas perfectly, making them incredibly funny troublemakers messing up Mando's day. Whether it was Mando battling them on the Sandcrawler, the negotiation to get his ship parts back, or their pure joy over getting their hands on the egg, everything they did was hilarious.
The inclusion of the Jawas also allowed Mando to show a bit of his personality as he reacted to their antics. After how monotonous and borderline silent the character was in the first episode, this was a welcome change. Kuiil (Nick Nolte) was no slouch either, providing perfect deadpan humor throughout his scenes.
The only real downside of the episode is that it's essentially a filler episode. While the story of this installment was an entertaining one, everything involving the Jawas and rebuilding his ship didn't matter much to the show's overall plot. It was a fun distraction, but one that ultimately didn't move the plot forward until Baby Yoda revealed his Force powers. Revealing those abilities and showing Mando bonding with the little guy were essential to the character arcs playing out, but that's something that could have been done in a way that advanced the larger plot as well.
Still, this episode is a significant improvement over the first episode. That's not to say "Chapter One" was bad, because it wasn't. The tone and pacing of "The Child," however, was a big step forward.