'The Mandalorian' drops new episode, reveals surprising new force in the 'Star Wars' universe

Ethan Alter
Senior Writer, Yahoo Entertainment
The Mandalorian (Pedro Pascal) and Kuiil (Nick Nolte) go on a mission in the second episode of the Disney+ 'Star Wars' series (Photo: Lucasfilm Ltd.)

Warning: This story contains massive spoilers for The Mandorian; proceed at you own risk.

The title of The Mandalorian’s second episode is “The Child,” but it could just as easily have been christened “The Force Awakens.” That’s because we see said child — the scene-stealing “Baby Yoda” who set fans’ hearts racing in the series premiere — wield the Force to protect his armored protector. Not that the Mandalorian (Pedro Pascal) seems to recognize that particular F-word; all he knows is that something his 50-year-old kid sidekick did prevented the bounty hunter from being squashed flat by a rampaging Mudhorn. Just as the horned behemoth is about to stomp him to smithereens, the creature suddenly rises into the air against its will. Glancing over, the Mandalorian notices the child intently concentrating, with one hand extended in the classic Jedi tradition. When the beast crashes back to earth, the Mando is able to drive his knife home, while the kid takes a well-deserved nap.

It’s the kind of improbable occurrence that defies easy explanation... or really any explanation. That’s why the Mandalorian struggles to recount exactly what happened to his new Ugnaught pal Kuiil (Nick Nolte). “Explain it to me again — I still don’t understand what happened,” the moisture farmer says. “Neither do I,” Mando replies, suggesting that he’s far, far removed from any information about the Force and the role it played in toppling the Empire just five short years ago.

Twitter, on the other hand, totally understood the significance of what just transpired.

Even as some fans freaked out at the sight of a pint-sized Force user, others questioned whether this revelation upset the balance of Star Wars mythology as we’ve known it, specifically in regards to who can access the Force and how.

It’s no secret that there’s something of a disturbance among fandom in the way the Force has been depicted in the sequel trilogy versus the original and prequel trilogies. And since The Mandalorian takes place in the three-decade gap separating Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens, it can potentially showcase how the larger understanding of the Force changes from midichlorian counts and rigorous Jedi training to Force-sensitive broom sweepers on Canto Bight.

Here’s what we know, what we want to know and what warmed our geek hearts after watching “The Child.”

What we know

The Mandolorian (Pedro Pascal) walks a lonely road in 'The Child' (Photo: Lucasfilm Ltd.)

—The Mandalorian is one of the best there is at what he does... but he’s definitely not a superman. After showing off his fighting prowess in the series premiere, the poor guy has a rougher go of it in “The Child,” taken down by diminutive Jawas and an oversized furry space rhino. To be fair, he did have to fight a whole army of those tiny scavengers, who had the added benefit of hiding inside one of their mobile fortresses. Meanwhile, the Mudhorn had a good 2,000 pounds on the bounty hunter, plus the extra motivation of keeping its egg out of his clutches. If we’re being honest, it was nice to see our (anti) hero humbled in this second episode; turns out that getting beaten up repeatedly makes you seem more human. And there’s more humanizing to come: Pascal recently revealed the character’s actual name, which reportedly sounds like “Dyn Jarren.”

—Besides being able to use the Force to levitate things, Baby Yoda seems aware that this mystical energy has healing powers as well. He doesn’t get the chance to demonstrate them for Dyn, though. The Mandalorian is attending to his injuries by a campfire when the child approaches apparently hoping to heal him E.T.-style. Instead, the bounty hunter picks the kid up, and places him right back in his metal “stroller.”

What we want to know

'Baby Yoda' takes a nap after using the Force in 'The Child' (Photo: Disney+)

—When the Client (Werner Herzog) told the Mandalorian in the previous episode that evidence of termination would be an acceptable alternative to bringing his target back alive, Dr. Pershing (Omid Abtahi) spoke up to object. Now we know why: the not-so-good doctor is likely aware that this child has special abilities that he could exploit. As some fans noted on Twitter, Pershing’s outfit sports a symbol from the planet Kamino on his shoulder — the same planet where Chancellor Palpatine, a.k.a. Darth Sidious, once made a whole bunch of clones.

But let’s say that Pershing succeeds in cloning Baby Yoda: would those clones also have Force powers? That’s a question that Star Wars fans have debated in the past with no definitive answers. The Mandalorian has the potential to answer whether Force sensitivity has to be inherited... or whether it can be copied.

—We already know that Palpatine will be back in The Rise of Skywalker. The burning question now is: How? Some have speculated that the supposedly deceased Emperor has kept his spirit alive via Force-sensitive children. And one of those kids could be Baby Yoda, should the Mandalorian fail to keep the child safe.

What we loved to see

The Jawa mobile fortress is on the move in 'The Child' (Photo: Disney+)

—The Mandalorian may not have enjoyed his run-in with the Jawas, but boy did we love seeing one of those Sandcrawlers again. And while we didn’t get to go inside like we did in A New Hope, “The Child” did a great job showing off the fortress’s exterior security systems — i.e., moving panels where the Jawas could just throw stuff at anyone foolish enough to climb up the side. Mando’s doomed assault on the Sandcrawler was like Star Wars meets Monty Python and the Holy Grail, right down to the obvious Jawa taunting.

The Mandalorian is currently streaming on Disney+.

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