Spoiler alert: this blog is published after The Mandalorian airs on Disney+. Do not read unless you have watched season two, episode three
There is something I need if I am to rule Mandalore … something that was once mine” – Bo-Katan
Happy days for the amphibian community! A little baby has been born to Mr and Mrs Frog-features and he or she has not been eaten by Baby Yoda. A great occasion. One that, in these troubled times of Imperial gun-running and Mandalorian splinter groups, we should take a moment to appreciate.
OK, that’ll do.
For me, the best bits of this week’s episode were the descents. Two separate scenes of ships hurtling towards the ground looking very much like they were going to go splat – those were some high-octane TV thrills right there. Reminiscent of a Mission Impossible stunt or the opening of The Dark Knight Rises, they were a reminder that this show, while concentrating on the small world of one man and his quest, can do big moments of spectacle, too.
The first descent sees Din Djarin and hairy green package arrive on Trask, once again seeking urgent repairs for the Razor Crest. But this planet is also home to the Family Frog, where they promised to steer our hero in the direction of other Mandalorians. Before Mando can find his mates, however, he has to be kidnapped by some Quarren. After taking him on their ship, they attempt to feed him to a monstrous creature in the hull, a plan that looks very likely to succeed until a trio of jet-packed individuals in blue armour descend from the sky and shoot everyone up.
The leader of the trio is Bo-Katan, who one day hopes to rule Mandalore. She has to take control of the planet first, however, and for that she requires some hardcore weaponry, which, luckily enough, can be found on a nearby Imperial Gozanti-class freighter. That’s all she wants, just the weapons, and once Mando helps her get them she will then point him in the direction of a Jedi, one of the mysterious creatures to whom Baby Yoda must eventually be returned.
Quite how much Bo-Katan should be trusted is a moot point. She doesn’t like The Watch much, calling Mando’s clan “a cult of religious zealots” (if you are familiar with Bo-Katan’s work from The Clone Wars, you will know that she was a member of the Mandalorian Death Watch, a bunch of terrorists). She also lies about the mission, which was about more than just seizing a weapons cache, a fact she chooses to reveal only halfway through a gunfight.
The ultimate aim of Bo-Katan’s raid is to find the Darksaber, a legendary weapon created by the first Mandalorian ever to be made a Jedi. Among other things, the Darksaber has a crystal that can channel the force and is responsive to its user’s thought patterns. Sounds great, but the challenge with the Darksaber lies in keeping hold of it, and Bo-Katan has already lost the blade once. She now suspects our old pal Moff Fring Gideon of having recently acquired it (he pretty much fesses up to it, too, in a brief holo-call to the freighter’s deck).
As the freighter plummets from the sky in the second of our nerve-racking descents, Bo-Katan tries to shake the Darksaber’s location out of the Imperial captain. No information is forthcoming though, and, instead, the skipper activates an electric cyanide pill in his jaw. With that issue unresolved, the ship lands safely and Mando’s quest continues. Bo-Katan says he will find the Jedi he seeks on the forest planet of Corvis. Their name? Ahsoka Tano.
The moral of the story
Don’t judge a book by its cover. See that helpful Mon Calamari mechanic? Terrible at his job. Those friendly and knowledgable Quarren? Actually murderous pirates. Heiress to the Mandalorian throne? Just another warlord with a power base to build. Thank goodness, then, for the Family Frog, who can be trusted to look after a Baby Yoda. And a Baby Yoda, too, who is capable of learning enough to keep his hands (and mouth) off Frog eggs. As a reward, he gets to eat a nice, vicious octopus/facehugger before the final credits roll.
It’s all about the seafood this week, in the grey, watery world of Trask (I loved the colour scheme of this week’s episode, directed by Bryce Dallas-Howard, and felt at home in the drizzle). It’s home to hordes of amphibious creatures, with squid-like Quarren and prawn-looking Mon Calamari to the fore.
The long-running animated series The Clone Wars is, I have just checked, official canon. It tells the story of the rise of the Empire and the resistance from Jedi such as Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi. Bo-Katan is a recurring character in the show, but Ahsoka Tano is a lead character, a padawan of Anakin who ultimately rejects him, and the Jedi more broadly, before fighting for the republic in the Clone Wars. Rumours suggest that she will be played by Rosario Dawson in her live action debut later this series.
Baby Yoda watch
He basically spends the entire episode either playing with Frog children or fending off murderous face-hugging squid. Does it all with aplomb. Also refrains from eating Frog eggs, which shows BY is listening to Mando’s attempts to instil some discipline. Laughs after almost having his face chewed off by a beastly surprise in his chowder.