(warning: spoilers ahead)
In this week’s adventures of Mando and Baby Yoda, the pair stop off to see some old friends, get their ship repaired, and hint at a much bigger mystery from the main Skywalker Saga movies.
In desperate need of real repairs on the Razor Crest, and after realizing that Baby Yoda may be a Force wielder, but he is not a ship’s mechanic, our titular hero and his little green companion stop by their old stomping grounds on Nevarro for some much-needed repairs. Like most of the “Star Wars” galaxy though, Nevarro is changing.
They land to find that Mando’s old boss Greef Karga and his friend Kara Dune have cleaned up the planet once dominated by bounty hunters and bars. It’s now a respectable little settlement, or at least is trying to be. Dune is the Marshall of the place, and Karga the administrator. They’ve even roped the first mark we ever saw Mando bring in, Mythrol, played here again by the great Horatio Sanz, to do some “creative accounting.” The most striking change, however, is that where a cantina once stood — the one where Mando did most of his business, and the very same that the Imperials shot to Hell in the season one finale — has become a school for the area’s children.
After going all Grandpa on Baby Yoda, Karga drops off The Child at the school while the adults head out on a short mission. Here we get one of the best gags of the series, as the ever-hungry Baby Yoda finds one of the school’s students is eating blue macaroon-like cookies — tasty treats the little green guy covets greatly. After cooing and looking cute in an unsuccessful effort to win one of these cookies, Baby Yoda just decides to use the Force to steal them from the desk next to him. I mean let’s be honest, if you could use the Force, you would totally steal cookies with it. Good one little guy!
Meanwhile, Mando, Dune, Karga, and Mythrol head to what they believe to be a mostly abandoned Imperial base on the far side of the planet to destroy it. Of course, this being a television episode, the base is far from abandoned, and this is where the adventure arrises. Instead of finding an empty forward operating base, as Karga assumed, the group discovers what appears to be a cloning facility, complete with creepy tanks filled with bodies. A hologram from last season’s Dr. Pershing, who was working with Werner Herzog’s “The Client,” says that their trials have hit a snag. They’ve run out of blood from The Child, and need further access to him to continue the experiments.
Our heroes set the place to sink into the planet’s lava flows, then hightail it out of there aboard a stolen Imperial Troop Transport, which we first saw in last season’s episode seven. While Dune and Mythrol try to steer clear of incoming blaster fire from Scout Troopers on Speederbikes, Karga mans the ITT’s main gun. The trio manages to deal with the Imperial Remnant just fine until the TIE Fighters show up. They prove too much for Karga’s aim and just as the group is about to be blasted into oblivion, Mando shows up in the newly repaired Razor Crest to destroy the TIE Fighters and save the day, complete with his cookie eating co-pilot.
Before the episode finishes, we’re given a glimpse aboard Moff Gideon’s command ship, an Arquitens-class Command Cruiser. We see a hologram of one of Karga’s repair technicians telling an Imperial officer that he placed a tracking beacon inside the Razor Crest. The officer walks into a room where Moff Gideon seems to be surrounded by Death Troopers in stasis and relays the news about their ability to track our titular hero. “We will be ready,” responds Gideon.
Now let’s talk some more about what exactly it is that Mando and company stumble upon in this episode. In the much-maligned “Star Wars” sequel trilogy, J.J. Abrams closed out the Skywalker Saga by bringing back the big bad guy from the previous two trilogies: Emperor Palpatine. The old Sith Lord seemed to have cloned himself, created Snoke as a puppet, and manipulated the entire events of the sequels. Many “Star Wars” fans have been wondering how Old Man Palps was able to do that, considering that the last time we saw him on screen was at the end of 1983’s “Return of the Jedi” where he was being flung down a long energy shaft in the Death Star just before it exploded.
The thing to remember is that “The Mandalorian” takes place just a few years after “ROTJ” in the “Star Wars” timeline. This is an area that has only been explored in supplemental media like books, comics, and video games, but not on screen before. It seems like one of the subplots going forward in Mando’s adventure will be the Imperial Remnant’s efforts to bring Emperor Palpatine back from the dead, and they need The Child to do it.
Now, why would Palpatine need the blood of a little Baby Yoda like creature? Well, in the “Star Wars” prequels we learned that Grand Master Yoda had the highest concentration of Midi-Chlorians in his bloodstream that had ever been seen, up until Anakin Skywalker came along. “What in the Hell is a Midi-Chlorian,” you ask? Well, it’s a very controversial explanation that George Lucas dreamt up in the Star Wars Prequels to explain how and why beings can use the Force. In the original Star Wars movies, we were told by Obi-Wan and Yoda that the Force was an energy field that “surrounds us”, and “binds us together.” That was good enough for everyone.
Everyone except Lucas.
In his later forays into the Galaxy Far, Far Away he tried to explain that further by saying that microscopic life forms are floating around in your bloodstream, and if you have a high enough concentration of them, then you can wield the power of the Force. As far as we know (with what little evidence we have on-screen so far), Yoda’s species seems to have an unusually high concentration of those Midi-Chlorians within them. So if Palpatine wanted to make a clone of himself, but be sure that it was imbued with enough power to wield the Force on a level as he did initially, he would have his evil minions collect Force-sensitive beings and drain their blood for use for his resurrection.
That is why The Child is so valuable to Moff Gideon and the rest of the Imperial forces working to bring back their old, dead boss. He literally has the tools within his bloodstream to bring life to The Emperor’s lifeless clone, or create a new Force-wielding being altogether: Snoke. As Mando seeks to bring The Child to Ahsoka Tano in upcoming episodes, it seems Moff Gideon will be hot on his tail trying to claim the ultimate little, green prize.