In an already very episodic series, “The Passenger” is The Mandalorian’s most pointless tangent yet. Desperate to see Mando shoot at some spiders? Great, you’re going to love this one. Otherwise, this is a fun-enough format at its nadir, turning mission-to-mission advancement into some Snow Level DLC no one need bother to play through.
Following a season opener that spun its wheels in the sand far more successfully, episode two sees Mando back to square one—headed to Amy Sedaris in his slogging search for another Mandalorian. He finds her at the only cantina on Tattooine, where she’s playing cards with a giant, humanoid ant. (The episode was directed by Ant-Man’s Peyton Reed, so har-har.) She calls him Dr. Mandibles, and though this is almost certainly a cruel nickname, possibly even improvised, that this Kafkaesque freak will canonically be referred to as such is the best part of this 40 minutes.
Anyway, Dr. Mandibles says he knows someone who knows where a Mandalorian is, and it ends up being this salamander lady. She wants Mando to bring her and her eggs to her husband on this planet with a supposed Mandalorian. But there’s a catch: they can’t go into hyperspace, because that would apparently kill her babies. It sounds like some anti-vax shit, but he reluctantly agrees.
This amphibian freak’s eggs are kept in this big backpack tank that looks almost exactly like a pub’s vat of pickled eggs. Baby Yoda clearly notices this, and he is the drunk at the bar who won’t keep his hands out of the jar. The episode’s running gag is that he can’t stop helping himself to the unborn frog babies. Thankfully the eggs aren’t yet fertilized, so we can save the Star Wars abortion debate for later.
Soon enough, the consequences of sub-hyperspeed travel become apparent when a couple X-wing pilots (executive producer Dave Filoni, reprising his former turn under a helmet, and Paul Sun-Hyung Lee) basically pull Mando over for a driving violation. It seems that the vacuum of Imperial troopers has turned the Rebels into a lame highway patrol, which is kind of an interesting idea—the triumphant resistance inevitably becoming the establishment. Of course, we already know the sequels will in no way investigate that, instead just inexplicably setting up a new Empire analogue out of thin air, but it’s very briefly an interesting idea.
These guys run Mando’s tags or whatever and do the X-wing equivalent of cops pulling their guns out (putting their ships’ wings into X form). Mando flees the scene, and we get a spaceship chase scene we’ve seen a dozen times before—a cat-and-mouse through narrow passages that are JUST BARELY wide enough to roughly weave through. Mando manages to evade his pursuers by hitting the surface of this wintry planet, but ends up falling through the ice and screwing up his ride. In the meantime, Baby Yoda has again been going nuts on those delicious, delicious eggs.
So Mando is now stuck in this icy pit, his ship inoperational, and for some reason he’s just like, well, time to catch some shut-eye. While he naps, our froggy lady—unable to communicate with Mando—gets to work repairing Richard Ayoade-bot (see season one, episode six, dear reader!). Turning the droid into a translator, she wakes up Mando and tells him this can’t wait until morning. She’s gotta get those eggs to her hubby. She reminds him how honoring a bargain is part of the Mandalorian code. “Is that not the way, bro? Because I kinda heard that was the way.”
As is the well-worn tradition of Star Wars convenient destruction and repair, the ship is steaming, sparking, and spitting fluids, but it’s nothing that can’t be fixed with enough indiscriminate welding and switch flipping. Mando gets to work, unaware of how sexy things are about to get…
While he’s doing his vague repairs, the newt has gone nude. She’s snuck off, and by the time Mando finds her, she’s reclined in a hot spring, naked as the day she was hatched. Her eggs float around her, just begging to be fertilized but more likely being hard boiled.
Speaking of, those eggs she has must taste fucking great, because Baby Yoda is now absolutely obsessed with eating eggs. He soon notices that, around them in the snow are a bunch of little egg pods, an Alien Christmas diorama of sorts, and he takes that as a buffet. The rich tradition of wordless babies constantly eating shit during a fanciful adventure and mucking things up continues. (See: Lemony Snicket, City of Lost Children.)
His gobbling down one egg wakes the whole lot of them, hundreds of little spiders emerging. Kermette responds by getting dressed (booo), while Mando simply stands there taking in the scene. It takes the emergence of the massive momma spider for Mando to decide they should probably leave the cave filled with large spiders.
In the first episode, I mentioned Mando’s deliberate saunter, and here we see his “fleeing” is just as obnoxiously slow. Look, man, I know you’re wearing a bunch of metal and carrying a baby, but it’s like you’re barely even running here. Let’s pick it up.
As the three lightly jog out of the cave, Mando fires his blaster back at the arachnids, and it’s INFURIATING. Any time you get a big collection of spiders, everyone’s first thought is going to be to light them on fire, but here he is unwilling to give us that satisfaction. It needs to be addressed. He needs to say, “Man, sucks I ran out of flamethrower fluid, because it would be immensely satisfying to burn these fuckers.” In fairness, he FINALLY burns some once they get inside his ship, but at that point it’s too little too late. The moment for burning spiders had passed.
The ship non-functional, spiders of various larger-than-normal sizes clawing at every door and window, it’s looking bad for the team. But, abruptly, they find salvation in a deus X-wing machina.
Turns out, Filoni and Lee have conveniently located Mando just as the spiders were descending on them. They start blastin’, and the whole situation is resolved in like thirty seconds.
Lee gives a brief season one, episode six recap to remind us that Mando is wanted for breaking out a prisoner, but ends up letting him off with a warning since he also captured some other criminals during the escape. Weird they spent all night tracking him down just to say, “actually, never mind; you’re cool,” but alright!
Though the spiders were only inside the Razor Crest for a few minutes, they somehow already set up a haunted house in there. Wasted no time at all filling the place with cobwebs. But as spooky as they’ve made it, Mando is nonetheless able to repair his ship just enough to get it flying again. Off to see the frog lady’s frog husband. Should Mando accidentally land on him, and it makes a big, yucky splat, I guess that would make up for not burning enough spiders.