The second episode of The Mandalorian owes a lot to two directors. Firstly, to Dope‘s Rick Famuyiwa for making this thing look both hugely authentic to the original trilogy and gorgeous beyond that—providing the sunset-backed shot that is basically the iconic image of the series. Secondly, to George Lucas, for having the glory years of his that provided all the groundwork that created this episode in far more than just, you know, creating Star Wars.
If the first chapter of The Mandalorian was the best Star Wars since Lucas’s original trilogy—and yeah, it was—then chapter two is the best Indiana Jones since Lucas’s original trilogy of that, too. (Nick Nolte’s Kuiil is also the best George Lucas Willow character since Billy Barty’s High Aldwin, but that’s another story.)
The episode opens on Mandalorian doing his almost obnoxiously cautious walk through a canyon you’d swear was harvested from Alec Guinness’s angry memories of 1976. It also sets up the absolute video game dynamic of this entire chapter. It’s all “defend the passenger from attackers,” “stop the looters from destroying your ship,” and “retrieve the egg!” But, honestly, it’s kind of the better for it.
Anyway, Mandalorian completes stage one (Defend the passenger from attackers!), and has a cute little cut-scene moment with his charge, a very small Yoda thing. Lil’ Yoda stars to allude to doing some Force stuff, but Mandalorian shuts a little hatch on the pram, making us all wonder why we still don’t have floating strollers that you can seal the baby in to shut them up.
The next morning, Mandalorian finds that a band of Jawas are in the process of ransacking his ship for parts. It’s classic Jawa. But so begins a completely Last Crusade-indebted action scene that is nonetheless pretty cool. It also gives the lead something he lacked that Indiana Jones had (beyond a sequence dodging an incoming cliff face): a shift from infallible cool-guy to constantly beat-up treasure-seeker encountering problem after problem.
Across that aforementioned, absolutely beautiful sunset, the Mandalorian strolls as nonchalantly as possible to return to Lil’ Nolte. After taking hours longer than necessary being casual in that process, Lil’ Nolte takes Mandalorian to the Jawas to negotiate the return of the ship parts. Those little idiots give Mandalorian his final quest of the mission: RETRIEVE THE HAIRY EGG!
The quest sends Mandalorian into what looks like the planet’s literal asshole, this puckered brown cave that apparently holds the gross little turd our hero seeks. Instead, he finds the turd’s mother, some awful rhinoceros thing.
Mandalorian is getting tossed all over the goddamn place, and it seems the alien rhino may strike a final blow. But! Then Lil’ Yoda properly shows his Force powers, holding back the beast. It’s a horrifying revelation: Yoda probably came in some Yoda lady to create this dude. Yuck.
Nonetheless, Mandalorian gets the furry testicle of an egg, delivering it to the Jawas. They immediately dive into it, going completely nuts on the raw yolk. Such awful little fools.
But fools as they may be, they abide by their promise to give Mandalorian his shit back. After a brief, kind of ridiculous montage of reassembling everything, Mandy offers Little Nicky a place in his crew. The tiny Nolte refuses—admirable for both his character and the series, which, after destroying Taika Waititi’s robot last episode, has again proven to be dutifully episodic for our single dad hero.
It’s a fantastic follow-up to an already solid pilot, Famuyiwa delivering a sophomore chapter that makes John Williams’ score feel painfully absent with how hard his shots fit with the original canon.
Still, though, couldn’t the Jawas have at least have made an omelette or something? Such dolts.