With Season 2, Episode 3 of “The Mandalorian” set to release this Friday, let’s briefly talk about those uncomfortable Baby Yoda scenes from Episode 2. Light spoilers ahead.
Episode 2 focused on Mando (Pedro Pascal) transporting a frog lady alien without the use of hyperspace travel, because her unfertilized eggs she is trying to deliver to her mate would be ruined if they use it. She is one of the last of her kind, so transporting her eggs intact is crucial. Yet despite how important their mission is, the showrunners saw fit to inappropriately sprinkle in some comedy in the episode, as it has a running gag in which Baby Yoda devours her eggs one by one when no one is looking.
Reactions have ranged from utter disgust to not really caring about it, as she still had most of her eggs by the episode’s end, and Baby Yoda most likely innocently mistook them for snacks. But I think everyone can agree that these scenes weren’t particularly funny, and took away from the episode more than they added to it. I can’t particularly blame the showrunners for trying to find something for Baby Yoda to do, as it pretty much sits useless by Mando’s side most episodes, but it wasn’t a great idea for him to whittle down an almost-extinct species further for some cheap comic relief.
“Star Wars” hasn’t had a whole lot of success in the area of comedy lately, and I think it’s time for the franchise to take the hint and stop trying so hard to force it into official releases. So far in Disney Star Wars projects, it’s been used in poor taste (i.e. these Baby Yoda scenes; General Hux getting killed off comedically in “Rise of Skywalker”), it has been used to ruin dramatic tension and de-rail the story (i.e. Luke Skywalker discarding his lightsaber in the beginning of “The Last Jedi.”), and it’s been used to neutral effect (i.e. the “THEY FLY NOW!” gag in “Rise of Skywalker”), and there aren’t a lot of examples in which Disney has used it appropriately to elevate a story.
While I do think Season 2, Episode 2’s Baby Yoda gag was a creative mistake, it doesn’t necessarily break Baby Yoda’s character — it’s basically a toddler, and toddlers will try to eat anything — and it does highlight how Mando has a hard time keeping an eye on him. But there are better ways the show could have portrayed this.
I don’t think this bad gag should be cause for alarm for the show, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it falls from its ridiculously high pedestal this season. While its first season was a breath of fresh air and was revolutionary for what it was able to pull off on the small screen, it was by no means a dramatic masterpiece, and we need to recognize that its rise was in part fueled by how horrendously bad “The Rise of Skywalker” was, as when you compare it to that, it’s very easy to overlook the flaws of the show.
Nevertheless, the show still has my confidence, and I hope the rest of Season 2 is fantastic.