by @holocronGeorge for @sw_holocron
WARNING: This review contains spoilers for Chapter 10
Following last week’s acclaimed season premiere, The Mandalorian returned with an entertaining, albeit lightweight follow-up episode. Continuing the season’s overarching narrative, Chapter 10: The Passenger sees Din Djarin attempt to transport a woman and her eggs to her husband, who has information regarding Mandalorians. Things don’t exactly go to planned, however, as Mando, The Child, and the cargo must withstand the New Republic, a difficult terrain, and a host of threatening creatures on a desolate ice planet.
The Passenger kicks off where the last installment left off, with Din Djarin and The Child on Tatooine. A brilliant little action sequence begins the episode, culminating in a humorous moment that fits perfectly with comedy fitting for a Star Wars project. Speaking of humor, Amy Sedaris’ Peli Motto returns with some great lines and an intriguing set up for the episode. Seeing Mos Eisley at night, including Chalmut’s Cantina again, was really cool and looked better than the somewhat dry depiction of the cantina from Chapter 5: The Gunslighter that lacked personality. Dee Bradley Baker’s impressive Star Wars career continues as the voice of the frog lady, the woman Djarin is tasked to transport in exchange for information about Mandalorians.
Once their adventure begins, the episode delves into interesting territory, but doesn’t quite reach the heights of other episodes in the series. Djarin and his cargo become derailed upon a confrontation with New Republic X-Wings. This sequence was beautifully constructed and followed Chapter 9 in similarly feeling grand and cinematic. The chase capped off with the Razor Crest crashed on Maldo Kreis, the ice planet from Chapter 1. Many speculated this planet would be Ilum, but this was clearly not the case, once again highlighting how we Star Wars fans may get a little ahead of ourselves on occasion. The production design of the episode, highlighting the icy landscape of the planet, is amazing and is especially evident during the climatic action sequence with the spiders. Director Peyton Reed evokes similar scenes from the Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter series in depicting an enthralling, intense chase sequence with spider-like creatures. With perhaps one of The Mandalorian’s best easter eggs yet, these spider creatures are clearly based off of Dagobah concept art by Ralph McQuarrie, evidencing one of the series’ greatest strengths in referencing or paying subtle tribute to other aspects of Star Wars. And the fun easter eggs continue with the return of Dave Filoni, who reprises his role as Trapper Wolf from Chapter 6 to save Din Djarin and the others.
As an entire episode, Chapter 10 is a fun, somewhat lackluster installment that falls short of Chapter 9’s brilliance, but still delivers some great moments and a thoroughly entertaining 40 minutes of Star Wars content. One of the main criticisms of The Mandalorian as a series so far has been its number of contained, one-off episodes. And, while this criticism may have some validity, we’ve never really bought into it as the more contained episodes have simply been so good. These one-off episodes follow an ‘adventure of the week’ style that still connects to the overarching plot in a way that makes them feel contained and yet consequential at the same time. Unfortunately, relative to the other contained episodes like Chapters 4, 5, 6, and 9, Chapter 10 comes across as a little lightweight. While the key side characters in the other one-off episodes, such as Cara Dune or Xian or Cobb Vanth, elevate the episode, the unnamed key side character in Chapter 10 is not as interesting or engaging, largely attributable to her limited dialogue. Despite several intense sequences in the episode, Chapter 10 isn’t as immersive or edge-of-the-seat entertaining as previous episodes. Aligned with the actual narrative of the episode, the whole episode feels like a detour of sorts, which, had it been more engaging, would be welcomed as other, more contained episodes of The Mandalorian have been.
Nonetheless, there is still plenty to love about this episode. After taking somewhat of a backseat in the last installment, The Child, a.k.a. Baby Yoda, plays a much greater role in Chapter 10, something that is sure to delight fans. The Child has so many cute, funny, endearing moments in the episode, including the hilarious running joke about wanting to eat the frog lady’s eggs. The intimacy The Child and Din Djarin showcased in this episode strengthens their already strong bond and really makes the audience buy into and care about their relationship. Beyond The Child, Chapter 10 excels in once again delivering an unpredictable narrative. With very limited footage of the season released prior to its premiere, fans are quite in the dark as to what will happen this season, making each episode feel really unseen and novel. Chapter 10 continues this trend. And, as Chapter 9 did, Chapter 10 leaves audiences clambering for more, teasing what is to come and making us speculate as to which Mandalorians Djarin is being led to.
Despite being a weaker episode of The Mandalorian overall, Jon Favreau, Peyton Reed, and company still delivered a fun adventure-of-the week style chapter. Great moments with The Child, some intense action sequences, and a good usage of humor throughout offset what is otherwise a less engaging installment of the acclaimed series.
Images courtesy of Lucasfilm & Disney+