For many of us, these past few weeks have tested our patience, intelligence, and to be honest sanity. We have a loser in the White House who is calling squatter rights; when it comes to rising COVID numbers, almost all of California looks like Barney the Dinosaur’s asshole; and people are still making Thanksgiving Day plans like it’s 2019. What’s been my saving grace during this time? Knowing that The Mandalorian is back for its second season.
For almost 45 blissful minutes, The Mandalorian allows me a brief respite from the real world and explore a galaxy far, far away. We’re only a quarter into the second season, and there’s been moments that have made me scream, raised goosebumps, and inspired me to infer that some really powerful weed made its way into the writers’ room.
Timothy Olyphant as “The Marshal”
Six degrees of separation time! Timothy Olyphant is from my hometown. Okay, so I have never met him but I’ve partied in the same orchards as he did, give or take a ten to fifteen year time difference. Still counts.
In the premiere episode of the second season, we’re back on Tatooine and joining Mando on his quest to find his people. He soon finds his way to an off-the-road settlement run by a beskar armored marshal, played by Timothy Olyphant. For each of his scenes, Olyphant steals your attention and holds his own, even against Baby Yoda. The Marshal is cool, calm, and makes me wish I could have partied with him in that orchard. Dammit.
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Bottom line: he’s throwing major Han Solo vibes more so than Ben Solo. I said what I said.
The Mandalorian has an interesting habit of introducing colorful, indelible characters for an episode only to be never seen again (see Ming-Na Wen’s Fennec Shand or Bill Burr’s Mayfeld). Let’s hope the same fate doesn’t happen to The Marshal.
Bryce Dallas Howard
Bryce Dallas Howard is no stranger to the Mandalorian world. Last season, she was tasked to bring “The Sanctuary” to life, an episode that has lived in infamy for gifting us the gif-able tea-sipping Baby Yoda. This season, she reminded all of us that her ability to tell a story goes beyond a simple gif.
“The Heiress” may have been the series’ shortest episode – clocking in at only 33 minutes – but each second served as a reminder of the vitality and stamina of this universe.
In a single episode, she (and screenwriter/producer Jon Favreau) brought us:
- Bo-Katan Kryze in celluloid flesh
- different sects of the Mandalores
- Mandalorians kicking Imperial troopers’ asses without break a sweat in their beskar armor
- Ahsoka fucking Tano. Okay, so this was just a mention. But still, just hearing Bo-Katan say her name brought literal chills down my spine in the best way possible.
The only thing missing so far from this episode was the mention of toddler Ben Solo, and I’m glad that didn’t happen because I would have lost my shit FOREVER.
“The Heiress” is quite possibly the most thrilling episode of the season, if not one of the best in the entire series. It also proves that Star Wars cannot continue to be just a man’s world. Directors such as Bryce Dallas Howard and Deborah Chow (who directed Chapter 3’s “The Sin) have proved that the female gaze makes for powerful and memorable storytelling. That female talent behind the camera are able to seamlessly enter into this fictional world and make us remember why we loved Star Wars in the first place.
Dear Lucasfilm and Disney, more of this. I have spoken.
Okay…Let’s Talk About the Frog Lady
Is this season entirely perfect? No. Mando’s quid pro quo – whether it’s helping a town kill a giant acid-vomitting worm or partaking in hijacking an imperial ship – has been now a running staple in each episode, making you wonder, “Wait, didn’t he already do this?” The answer is Yes.
But perhaps the biggest WTF has been the character the interweb has dubbed, The Frog Lady.
Before we begin, I don’t take any issues with a character that looks like a cross between Frogger and a picture of male genitalia you would find in chapter one of a sex ed textbook, in a section entitled, “Boy Parts.” This is the universe that brought us a yeti in a bandolier (Chewbacca), oversized Yorkies (ewoks), and Snokes in a jar. That last one still makes me cringe.
My issue is my conflicting feelings about The Frog Lady. She’s first introduced in the second episode “The Passenger,” where she hitches a ride with Mando and Baby Yoda to the planet of Trask in the hopes to be reunited with her mate. Why? She needs her Yeti cooler backpack filled with her eggs to be fertilized or bye bye to her species. Her eggs then become a running joke because this cute little bitch thinks they’re an afternoon snack:
It was funny the first time; it became trite by the end of the episode and proved to be a sensitive subject for some Star Wars fans who found Baby Yoda to be a baby murderer. Creators had to remind fans the eggs were unfertilized, and Baby Yoda is just a toddler who puts everything its mouth. Let us all just calm the force down.
The episode delved further into insanity when while stranded on a barren planet, the Frog Lady decided to relax in – get ready – a hot spring. Buck. Ass. Naked. Seeing a human sized frog skinny dipping in what is essentially a hot tub is on par with what I can only imagine seeing Chewbacca get a colonoscopy. In other words, I didn’t need to see it, but now that I did it’s FOREVER seared into my brain.
However, the character became more than just a superfluous side character, and eventually writer and producer Jon Favreau used the Frog Lady to remind audiences what lies at the heart of the Star Wars universe: family and love. She desperately tells Mando (via droid translator) that nothing, not a tiny green space toddler who looks at her eggs as Halloween candy or even a busted ship, will stop her from seeing her mate and starting their family. When she’s finally reunited with…Frog Man, it’s filled with such visceral love, you find yourself cheering and basking in their moment of happiness and bliss. The last image we see of the amphibious couple is one of connection and family.
Essentially, the Frog Lady is what we wanted for the Skywalker family. A happily ever after, where a family loves each other and over comes the odds, no matter what obstacle comes in their way. No one has to die (except a couple of unfertilized eggs), life is filled with hope and possibilities, and love conquers all. This was the Skywalker ending we all deserved.
They just happened to give it to a couple of frogs. I’ll take it.
New episodes of The Mandalorian are now streaming on Disney+.
Julie believes great books should be read more than once and prides herself on finding the "dirty part" in any romance novel under a minute. Loves red wine but loves it more when shared with friends. Has an (embarrassingly) extensive knowledge about all things Brooklyn Nine-Nine and New Girl. Is currently curating the perfect playlists that ALWAYS include a song from one of the Twilight soundtracks.