The Mandalorian is popular partially because of how cute Baby Yoda is, but this shouldn’t stop the creature from having gross moments in the series.
After becoming the talisman for both The Mandalorian and beloved TV creatures in general, Baby Yoda needs to have a series of disgusting moments in the Star Wars show, in order to establish him as more than just a perfect companion and adorable compatriot. The very idea of an infant character was chosen for The Mandalorian because of the audience’s inevitable attachment to him, and to sanitise that without the expected behavior of a child would be a betrayal of the choice in the first place. In fact, the Child should continue to have disgusting moments as The Mandalorian continues to fit with what Star Wars says about the capacity for growth, enlightenment and evil.
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Nobody is safe from the all-consuming charms of The Child – despite it being a 50-year-old baby – and this is arguably the crux of the plot for The Mandalorian, as his rescue is facilitated in no small part by how innocent and precious The Child appears. In fact, the show proves that large parts of the galaxy have surprisingly parental instincts, as it’s not just Din Djarin that ends up caring for the character. Barely an episode goes by without the bounty hunter requesting an assist from another character – often who he has only just met himself. And without fail, each one falls for The Child’s charms.
But suggesting moments like the already infamous egg-eating scene shouldn’t have happened because it makes Baby Yoda “gross” instead of cute is largely missing the point: The Child should be disgusting, and should be vaguely immoral – or at the very least amoral – or The Child isn’t really a child at all. This isn’t to suggest that all children secretly harbor a desire to consume the eggs of alien Frog women, but rather that the process of nurturing and raising any kind of infant is one that is notoriously both rewarding, and immensely challenging at the same time. Ask the majority of parents about their experience raising their kids, and the response will be a mixture of heartwarming anecdotes, and then some genuinely unsettling tales involving bodily fluids and behavior that would be unacceptable by adult standards. Although Baby Yoda is cute, having it be an angelic creature that knows every moral code and follows them, and never has any of the disgusting moments any other creature would in its infancy would ultimately be a waste, as it would make this character needlessly perfect. To do so would be to fundamentally challenge the very pillars of Star Wars lore.
The same can be said for Baby Yoda’s more immoral moments, such as stealing another child’s biscuits in The Mandalorian season 2 episode 4, “Chapter 12: The Siege”. This came after The Child supposedly matured in response to the Frog Lady incident, showing restraint in the follow-up episode by not devouring her infant. Because, fundamentally, the Child’s arc doesn’t end when the audience feels better about his behavior. It ends in the distant future beyond the show’s end when Baby Yoda is no longer a child. Although you can certainly argue for and against whether Baby Yoda’s macaron theft was totally unfair, there isn’t anything wrong with giving him some moments that seem frankly unkind. Unless viewers are expected to believe that the race that Yoda is from are born inherently adjusted to the complexities of the world, it makes sense to have Baby Yoda learn right and wrong by a series of mistakes.
That is, after all, what the entire Star Wars narrative leans into. To avoid that discourse would be to set an unnatural precedent. Not only would there be a suggestion that Yoda’s race is seemingly naturally very in tune with the Force, but they’re also naturally aware of all of the moral lessons people usually have to be taught – like not to steal macarons – which relegates Yoda from “wise Jedi teacher who has learned much over many years” to “character who was born perfect and never had to learn to be better”. The Mandalorian has no perfect characters, and the complexity of its cast is one of the best aspects of it – even if that means everyone has to see Baby Yoda do a series of vaguely disgusting things in exchange.
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