Friday, November 6, 2020

REVIEW: 'The Mandalorian' - Threats Grow as Mando Is Forced to Travel Through Space Slowly in 'Chapter 10: The Passenger'

Disney+'s The Mandalorian - Episode 2.02 "Chapter 10: The Passenger"

The Mandalorian must ferry a passenger with precious cargo on a risky journey.

In 2019, the television industry aired 532 scripted shows across numerous outlets. The way people consume content now is different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, it's less necessary to provide ample coverage of each episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site provides shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of Disney+'s The Mandalorian.

"Chapter 10: The Passenger" was written by Jon Favreau and directed by Peyton Reed

The show has introduced a number of delightful side characters so far. They are often played by actors having a blast with what they get to do. It only takes an episode for some new addition to this world to pop as well. The show is very episodic with its adventures. That means it can be fairly hit or miss with them too. It has operated on such a high level that can pull off incredible special effects. That means the audience is frequently dazzled by what all is happening in this world as Mando tries his best to protect the Child. And yet, it's also abundantly clear when the show is just padding time and not really offering anything of true substance. It's not long into this episode until Mando leaves Tatooine in search for his fellow Mandalorians elsewhere. He receives a clue and immediately gets pulled in that direction. That means there is no follow up to Temuera Morrison's mysterious stranger. Instead, it's all about the hope that this frog lady is telling the truth when she says her husband has seen other Mandalorians on the moon Trask. It's then a hassle when Mando has to travel slowly in order to protect the eggs she needs fertilized at the end of this journey. It all feels like the show is stalling. That isn't necessarily a bad thing. The show did that plenty in its first season. When the show is operating at its best, it has a bunch of characters coming together for a brief moment and recognizing the talents involved with their new allies. Here, the drama comes entirely from Mando having to fly too slowly and getting caught by representatives of the New Republic with his arrest warrant. Again, that action is exciting. It's thrilling to see Mando fly the Razor Crest through clouds in order to lose these pilots right on his tail. It leads to the ship crash landing on this frozen planet. It makes the situation look incredibly dire. And Mando isn't treating the need to repair his ship with as much urgency as the situation may require. That's a little odd. But again, the story is really just needling things along in order to create these big and exciting moments. Mando's passenger has to leave the ship on foot only in order for the protagonists to disrupt the nest of spiders ready to pounce. That too creates such a thrilling and dramatic action sequence. Peyton Reed handles it all incredibly well too. The threat from the monstrous parent looms large. However, the terror from all the little spiders adds up effectively too. It's a moment where it seems as if Mando won't make it out of this thanks to his own ingenuity. He has always been reliable in that regard. He took on a group of bounty hunters easily at the start of this episode. He has a bunch of tricks at his disposal. And then, the action limits the ability of the Razor Crest to fly while presenting a threat that is simply too daunting. It takes the pilots from before showing up to defeat this threat. That is a suitable ending. One where a compromise can be made once they learn more about Mando and the actions he has taken in the past. But again, it all feels like filler without a whole lot of emotional attachment to anything happening. Of course, it's also a whole lot of fun to watch Baby Yoda consistently trying to eat the eggs aboard the ship. That is such a simple objective on his part. And he succeeds numerous times. The audience can laugh every time it happens too despite how dire the future of this species may be. That takes a delicate control over tone in order to work. The action and comedy are compelling to watch. The emotional investment is lacking because Mando doesn't really interact with anyone of value. He can make jokes and grow frustrated with his passengers. And yet, the episode needs to increase the stakes with threats outside his control in order to entertain. That can be a winning formula as well. But it remains unclear if all of this was worth it. This could still be building to another dead end in his search for other Mandalorians after all.