When playing a narrative video game, there is the “main story” and “side-quests.” These latter missions are fun, often deadly, but have relatively little impact on the main story. Many on social media characterized Chapter 10 of The Mandalorian, titled The Passenger, as a ‘side-quest’ episode. It’s not entirely incorrect, and it’s very much like the second episode last season. It picked up where the first left off, the Mando ran into some trouble, then found himself in a life-threatening situation he can’t get out of on his own. Yet, what’s most interesting about this episode to this Star Wars fan, is the representatives we meet of the New Republic. We know very little, outside of the canon novel Bloodline, about how the New Republic operates as a government.
To be fair, at the end of Chapter 10, The Passenger, we still don’t know much beyond what the Mandalorian does. Yet, as we’ve seen dozens of near-deadly encounters with low-level representatives of the Empire, we some similarities and major differences between the “good” government.
Also worth noting is that the main antagonists of this episode have appeared in Star Wars canon before, on Star Wars Rebels. However, they come straight from the pen of concept artist extraordinaire the late Ralph McQuarrie. These unique monsters are sure to creep out more than a few Star Wars fans, because spiders on their own are bad enough. But space-spiders with shark-like rows of teeth? They are the stuff of nightmares.
Finally, we also get a couple new animal-based alien species in the Star Wars universe. The unknown creature guest-starring this week is a mix of a frog and a gecko. She’s no Baby Yoda, but the unnamed mother is definitely a cutie.
Spoilers to follow.
Why Chapter 10, The Passenger, Is a Perfect Episode of The Mandalorian
Image via Disney+
While unique, Star Wars can get formulaic. For example, the second episode of both seasons of The Mandalorian involves the Razor Crest being trashed, meeting a new alien friend, and fighting some wild creature that would surely kill our heroes if not for some surprise assistance. It’s dismissive to write this episode off as just a side-quest, because these almost standalone stories of survival are just as entertaining as the lore-based episodes. Boba Fett, Katee Sackhoff as Bo Katan, and Rosario Dawson as Ahsoka Tano are all exciting prospects and legendary characters. Yet, this show is about the Mandalorian and the Child growing closer and surviving the perils of a harsh galactic life.
So, while this episode is light on Star Wars lore, it is a great episode of the series that shows that even the galactic Lone Wolf and Cub can’t make it alone. It speaks to the themes of this franchise of stories in major important ways. It celebrates the protection of life, while also underscoring that you can’t protect every life. The monsters that attack Mando and Frog Mama were just trying to eat, to survive, and protect their homes. Like Randall from Clerks, Mando wasn’t even supposed to be there that day. Instead, he ends up taking out an entire nest of creatures who posed no danger to anyone who hadn’t stumbled into their nursery. It’s something fans can think about, and argue about, for years to come.
So, both as a standalone adventure and part of the tapestry of the Star Wars universe at-large, The Mandalorian Chapter 10, The Passenger, is a perfect episode. One more reason? It shows that the New Republic is better than the Empire, if only slightly.
The New Republic: Still Kind of Dickish But No Empire (and Much Better Shots)
Image via Disney+
We’re all familiar with Han Solo’s and the crew of the Ghost using transponder beacon trickery to hide their identities from the Empire. Yet, in this episode, two New Republic X-Wings (piloted by producer Dave Filoni and Paul Sun-Hyung Lee) are the ones asking for the Mandalorian to turn on his tracking beacon so they can identify the ship. Essentially, these rebellion heroes are now traffic cops. However, there are some stark differences here between their response and the Empire’s.
Since Filoni’s character, Trapper Wolf, saw the Razor Crest last season, seeing the rare ship in space would make him curious. Once Mando flees, they chase him down to the icy planet where the rest of the episode takes place. Even though they give chase, they do not open fire. In fact, at one point, they plead with the Mandalorian not to “make them” take a shot at him. They use restraint. Later, they save the Mandalorian from certain death, and seem to understand exactly what happened on the New Republic prison transport he raided. Yet, they seem perfectly content to leave him without assistance on the frozen planet. Maybe they’d have come back, but we’ll never know.
We’ve talked about how Star Wars’ political message is that systems are inherently fallible. Despite being the good guys, the New Republic is out here shaking down ships minding their own business looking for “Imperial Holdouts.” (Which, to be fair, we know exist.) Still, these guys aren’t the Federation from Star Trek. If anything, they have a kind of detachment in their jobs. In the first season, Wolf very casually ordered his squad to destroy a space station because it had a tracking beacon from the prisoner ship, potential for innocents and all.
New episodes of The Mandalorian debut on Fridays after midnight Pacific Standard Time on Disney+
What did you think of The Mandalorian Chapter 10, The Passenger? Tell us your take on the New Republic, our new Frog-people cuties, and where The Mandalorian might go next.
Featured image via Disney+
Joshua M. Patton is a father, veteran, and writer living in Pittsburgh, PA. The first books he read on his own were comics, and he's loved the medium ever since. He is the greatest star-pilot in the galaxy, a cunning warrior, and a good friend. His book "What I Learned: Stories, Essays, and More" is available in print from Amazon and from all electronic booksellers.