'The Mandalorian' recap: Protecting a baby Yoda isn't exactly child's play

Bill Keveney, USA TODAY

Spoiler alert: This recap contains details from the second episode of Disney+'s "The Mandalorian."

Get ready to add to your holiday gift lists, parents. Baby Yoda is coming to town.

The cute new addition to the “Star Wars” universe was introduced in the surprise ending of the premiere episode of “The Mandalorian.” Not surprisingly, the new character, the same species as Yoda of "Star Wars" movie fame, becomes a central story point in the second episode, appropriately titled “The Child,” of the Disney+ drama (new episodes streaming Fridays).

Before we get into the action, let’s stop to marvel at the green, pointy-eared tyke, who we’ll refer to by the wise, 900-year-old Jedi master’s name because the species has never been identified.

The youngster, identified as a 50-year-old fugitive to throw viewers off before the later reveal, is aw-shucks adorable, underlining “The Simpsons” theorem that bigger eyes and a smaller body equal greater cuteness. Yes, it’s a marketing ploy, but it’s so well done. 

The next-generation Yoda is causing quite a social-media stir, too. As @omgava, one of many elated fans on Twitter, put it: "Baby Yoda makes 2019 worth it."

After the Mandalorian (Pedro Pascal) rescued Yoda Jr. from a mercenary fort and a droid bounty hunter, the mission in Episode 2 is the safe transport of the captive back to the bounty hunter’s menacing client (Werner Herzog), a remnant of the fallen Empire. 

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A little, vulnerable relative of a brave Jedi knight versus an ominous remnant of an evil regime? You can already sense that the mercenary bounty hunter’s heart will be made of something softer than Beskar steel when it comes to this choice. It's impossible to tell from his facial expressions, however, because he never takes off his helmet.  

But first, the odd couple has to get back to the Mandalorian’s cargo spaceship, and it’s no walk in the park, even if the tot is transported in a levitating baby carrier. 

They’re immediately ambushed by a band of armored bounty hunters as they walk through a rocky, desert passage. The skilled Mandalorian vanquishes them but suffers an arm injury. When the curious Yoda child reaches for the wound, you get the sense that this isn’t your average child.

One challenge leads to the next, as the masked man with no name finds his cargo spaceship being stripped for parts by those familiar galaxy junk collectors, the Jawas – another hint that this desert planet is Luke Skywalker’s Tatooine.

As the small, hooded creatures flee in their ark-like Sandcrawler, the Mandalorian pursues them, scaling the rusty vehicle’s exterior in a cinematically impressive action scene before his foes deliver an electric shock that knocks him out. 

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With his ship grounded, the Mandalorian pays a return visit to Kuiil (Nick Nolte), the sagacious vapor farmer who helped him track down his quarry in the premiere.

Kuiil persuades the bounty hunter to reluctantly drop his weapons and cut a trade deal with the Jawas, During the negotiations, the Mandalorian speaks a sloppy version of his foes' language, earning this amusing taunt: "You sound like a Wookiee!" Finally, they agree to return his ship parts if he delivers "the egg."

Unfortunately, that egg, a large, hairy oval, is in a hole that's also the home of a large, hairy cross between a bull and a rhinoceros. The mud-covered, horned monster tosses the Mandalorian from its lair, then charges at him repeatedly.

The matador, er, Mandalorian, appears doomed until his young ward reveals the episode's biggest surprise, holding up a three-fingered paw to paralyze the behemoth in mid-air while the bounty hunter recovers to plunge a knife in its head. The Force is with Kid Yoda!

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As the Jawas crack open the egg and taste its yucky yellow yolk, the Mandalorian and Kuiil retrieve the parts and reconstruct the ship. After declining a job offer, Kuiil – who already has his own catchphrase, "I have spoken" – departs. Hope to see him again.

The Mandalorian guides the ship into space as young Yoda sleeps. The Force takes a lot out of a kid!

Episode 3 arrives on Disney+ Nov. 22. 

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: 'The Mandalorian' Episode 2 recap: 'The Child' showcases a baby Yoda