After being frustrated that Disney+’s The Mandalorian was becoming “Side Quests: The TV Show,” the last two episodes have really revved things up. Firstly, we learned that Baby Yoda’s real name is Grogu. And, that he’s actually pretty well trained for a baby Jedi who also miraculous dipped out when Anakin murdered all of his classmates. As Ahsoka Tano warned Mando (secretly a.k.a. Din Djarin) last week, though, the fear and anger inside of Grogu from that incident could lead to the dark side—something she obviously knows all about regarding Anakin’s turn.
What she also recognizes, which all of us have known for a long time, is that Grogu and Mando have bonded as an unlikely but super compelling father-son duo. Mando has a Grogu-inspired sigil on his armor, and Grogu only trusts him when it comes to revealing his Jedi abilities. That love from this found-family is essential for Grogu to not be consumed by his power and take it to a dark place (something we’ve seen hints of before, like when he Force-choked Cara in Season 1, and more recently ate the Frog Lady’s eggs without remorse until he was taught that they also turn into babies!)
Now, the main problem with this is that, essentially, all that is standing between little Grogu and the pull of limitless evil is Mando. God bless him, he’s not the brightest lightsaber in the box. He’s an incredible fighter and has been through a lot, and he’s been softened quite a bit through his journeys with his angry gremlin son. At the end of the day, he’s basically a big, dumb jock—but one who is, however, becoming a better dad. This was illustrated beautifully in the opening scene of “The Tragedy,” where he found great amusement at calling Baby Yoda “Grogu” to get his coos and attention. Instead of sending him to do, say, essential electrical engineering where he could (and did) get fried, Mando took a step back and got his space son to simply Force-call the shiny little ball he loves so much.
Adorable! Except that in his excitement at seeing Grogu able to do this “Jedi stuff” he immediately exclaims “dank farrik!”—which I guess is the Mandalorian version of “holy shit!”—and scares little Grogu. Of course, Mando was able to sort that out quickly and try and explain that he was happy with him, but … things are dicey. Also, how many times did Mando completely not understand that he couldn’t breach Grogu’s Force Wall of Meditation, or remember to try and call him “Grogu” instead of “kid,” which might have taken him out of his trance? It’s very sweet and kinda hilarious until, again, you realize this is the man holding back a potential supreme evil power.
Mando also seems to think that if the Jedi Order wants Grogu, Grogu’s going to have to go with them. Not without his dad he’s not! After all of this, Mando still doesn’t get that this is his son now and he can’t hand him off. You know that he doesn’t want to, but his Mandalorian training is overriding what little sense he has on the subject (still, him picking up and keeping the little metal ball from the rubble was, again, the sweetest thing. He’ll get there!)
Of course, the tragedy of “The Tragedy” is that Grogu did get separated from dad, and the results are clear. Without Mando, Grogu went full Sith, using the Force to not just choke but frankly play with some Stormtroopers like a cat with a half-dead mouse. He’s a baby and he’s scared but … he definitely would have killed them, surely, had he not gotten really sleepy and been subjected to tiny handcuffs. What Moff fails to see, right now, is that Grogu’s donor blood is not the most important thing regarding a potential army fueled by Force power. He is the weapon. And without dad, he’s very willing to turn dark if denied, say, macarons.
Thankfully, Mando is assembling a group to rescue Grogu from this potential fate before the end of the season, where he should then finally recognize that “wherever I go, he goes” means forever.
Allison Keene is the TV Editor of Paste Magazine. For more television talk, pop culture chat and general japery, you can follow her @keeneTV
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