Well, I bet you didn’t expect to see that today! Or that, or that, or that. You probably also didn’t expect to hear that, or be freaked out by that.
Chapter 10 of The Mandalorian was released on Disney+ this morning, and though there’s plenty of weirdness going on in Star Wars, this episode really (really) took it to the next level. I mean that as a compliment, because as delightfully weird as it all was, it worked.
That’s a tricky balance that not all Star Wars has managed to accomplish, but episode director Peyton Reed (Ant-Man, Ant-Man and the Wasp, Bring It On), writer Jon Favreau, and some brilliant actors made it work in a tremendous way.
**SPOILER WARNING: From this point forward, there will be spoilers aplenty for Chapter 10 of The Mandalorian. If you haven’t watched it yet, you can get out of here warm, or you can get out of here cold.**
Fairly early in the episode, we catch up with Peli Motto (Amy Sedaris) in Chalmun’s Cantina. She’s playing sabacc with a giant insect that we saw there last season, but this time we get a name. The subtitles dubbed this giant insect “Dr. Mandible.” If you thought that the subtitles were just having a laugh, that wasn’t the case. The name came out of Sedaris’ mouth seconds after. The giant card-playing insect called Dr. Mandible is officially Star Wars canon. I can't wait for the action figure.
Perhaps Reed watched last season, saw the giant insect, and decided to lean into it so as to play to his MCU strengths? The weird didn’t stop here, either. Far from it. One scene later, Motto was introducing Mando (Pedro Pascal) to a contact who will also be his passenger. The contact is a frog lady. Her name, according to the subtitles, is “Frog Lady.”
She may end up having a real, GFFA-style name, but Mando never bothers to learn it. He can’t communicate with Frog Lady because he doesn’t speak “frog” (something he actually says), and also it is worth mentioning that she literally is a frog lady — the episode features her grab
bing her clothing with a spitfire tongue (she’s naked at that point, btw), before hopping like a frog while the gang is being chased by a horde of spiders (which bear a striking resemblance to the Krykna).
Both Dr. Mandible and Frog Lady would be right at home in a fairly normal episode of Doctor Who, and theoretically, neither character should work here. They do work, however, partially because Sedaris plays things credibly (as much as one can) with Dr. Mandible, and Mando is consistently having to stoically deal with Frog Lady. They may not work for everybody, but both choices were unashamedly bonkers nuts. Star Wars can afford to be so, especially when the backbone of the story it’s telling is so solid. Such is the case on The Mandalorian.
You’d think that such odd additions would overshadow the main star of the series, Baby Yoda. Worry not! Throughout the episode, Baby is on an adorable and unending quest for food, leading him to a container of precious eggs being carried by Frog Lady. They aren’t just eggs, they are her offspring, and the whole reason that Mando has to take her along on this journey is so she can secure her frog family line using these eggs. Like you do.
There are significantly fewer eggs (children?) in her jar when the episode is over because Baby gorges on them. He's ready to binge on these things like a new season of Lucifer. Mando keeps catching him and telling him to stop, but it gets to the point where Baby hides one of them in his sack outfit so he can slurp it down in what may be murderous freedom.
Put Baby’s buffet of the damned alongside his glee at watching Mando use a jetpack to kill a thief toward the episode’s beginning, and you’re seeing the darker side of Baby. It was weird, as was the scene where two X-Wings shift into attack position, and you feel dread instead of joy.
It bears repeating: None of this, not a single part of it, should work. Someone wrote “Dr. Mandible” and then Amy Sedaris said it while a camera filmed her. A huge corporation put that on a streaming service. Dr. Mandible and Frog Lady exist in the same storytelling universe as Emperor Palpatine and the Mortis Gods. How is that possible? Perhaps every now and then, two suns really do shine on a womp rat's tail.
No other franchise could manage this, and Favreau and his team are to be applauded for once again taking a risk and just going insane for a week. Sedaris and Pascal are to be commended also, as is surprise guest Paul Sun-Hyung Lee (Kim’s Convenience), a major Star Wars fan in real life who now appears alongside Dave Filoni as an X-Wing pilot. As if all of that weren't enough, Richard Ayoade returned to the series this week. Frog Lady was able to use his droid character to communicate.
All of this comes one week after Cobb Vanth happened and Krayt Dragon pearls became fetch. There were no big reveals or revelations, but who cares. I’m quite sure we’ll get to all that. Instead of looking at this episode and asking "why?" a better question may be, “why not?” Be it Cobb Vanth or Frog Lady, you will never know what to expect from this series.
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