You can get away with almost anything, so long as you’re cute. Cuteness is a Get Out of Jail Free card for any rude behavior—just ask my cat, since I can’t stay mad at her for more than five seconds once she stares at me with her giant, dumb eyes. (“It’s alright Lizzie, I can just get a new laptop charger since you’ve chewed through this one.”) The ability to weaponize one’s own cuteness is a lot like being tuned into the Force—throw both of these things together, and you have Baby Yoda.
Make no mistake, Baby Yoda is irresistibly adorable; there’s a science to it and everything. As far as Disney is concerned, though, he’s less of a character than a merchandising gold mine. I’m sure the company is also thrilled that fans and critics alike have enjoyed The Mandalorian, but first and foremost, the most important thing is that the Mouse House can sell you all things Baby Yoda. Take your pick: a hoodie, a travel mug, socks, [Holds back vomit.] Crocs, backpacks, phone cases, vape pens (just kidding, but I’m sure there’s some on Etsy). But perhaps because the character itself isn’t a top priority for Disney, and he’s just so damn cute, The Mandalorian is sneaking something sinister under all of our noses: Baby Yoda is actually kind of fucked up.
Before you sharpen the digital pitchforks, let’s consider the evidence. While we don’t know what Baby Yoda was up to for the first 50 years of his life, the fact that Mando found him for a pricey bounty on the order of mysterious Empire client Werner Herzog, hidden away on a desert planet surrounded by armed guards, suggests that things have never been easy for the little fella. Young minds are quite impressionable, and even under Mando’s well-intentioned care, Baby Yoda has seen his fair share of violence. It’s clearly rubbed off on Baby Yoda—remember when he Force-choked Cara Dune for the crime of arm-wrestling Mando on the Razor Crest? (In retrospect, maybe he was just responding to Gina Carano’s terrible politics.) In his quest to return a half-century-old baby to his own kind, Mando might be doing more harm than good.
But just because Baby Yoda has seen some horrible things doesn’t absolve him of some disturbing behavior. At this point, we can confirm that our guy is a tiny, ravenous carnivore. There’s nothing inherently wrong with Baby Yoda being a meat eater, and I don’t expect Mando to grill him some Beyond Burgers in the future, but maybe we should be concerned at the ease with which he slurps up innocent creatures. There was the alien frog he swallowed whole in Season 1—and now, with the second episode of The Mandalorian’s second season, Baby Yoda tried to commit the cutest-looking massacre put to film.
In the latest part of Mando’s quest, he’s tasked with ferrying an alien creature listed in the show’s credits as “Frog Lady”—the disrespect of not even giving her an actual name!—to the estuary moon of Trask that’s one sector away. (A Mandalorian has apparently been spotted there.) The catch is that Frog Lady is bringing a container of her eggs—the last of her brood, so that they can be fertilized by her husband who’s already waiting there—which can’t survive hyperspace travel. The non-hyperspace detour that takes up most of the episode sees the Razor Crest cross paths with a couple of patrolling X-wings from the New Republic; a chase ensues that temporarily leaves the trio stranded on a frozen planet.
But for Frog Lady, the dangers of crash-landing on an unknown world aren’t as much of a threat as Baby Yoda, who spends most of the episode sticking his tiny hands into her container to slurp up the eggs like they’re tapioca balls in bubble tea. The tone with which Mando responds to his surrogate child’s behavior is less “Why the fuck are you devouring unborn children?!” and more “Hey, you little rascal, get away from that.” I know showrunner Jon Favreau promised that The Mandalorian would show the darker and freakier side of Star Wars, but I didn’t expect that to include the near eradication of an innocent frog-refugee’s family tree, and for it to be played like a punch line. Clearly it was a mistake to let Taika Waititi direct an episode of the series.
Poor Frog Lady, who just wanted to reunite with her frog husband and raise her frog brood in peace. The entire trip with Mando is traumatic as hell for her—if a little green sociopath devouring her eggs wasn’t enough of a stress inducer, Baby Yoda’s uncontrollable appetite causes him to disturb a dormant chamber of space spiders that cause trouble for our crew. (Ridley Scott should sue for copyright infringement.) All Frog Lady wanted to do was take a warm bath at a hot spring with her remaining children that weren’t eaten like jalapeño poppers, but her tiny tormentor couldn’t even let her have that moment of respite. Even the way Baby Yoda watches her before the space spider stampede feels like a deleted scene from Child’s Play:
Nobody should be taking this Baby Yoda takedown too seriously—welcome to pop culture blogging—but with the way Frog Lady and her brood were treated, there’s no denying that the Star Wars franchise has an ongoing history of being speciesist. (Meesa think yousa have some issues with non-humanoid aliens, Lucasfilm!) I hope, for the perfectly wholesome Frog Lady’s sake, that the rest of her journey is a safe one, and Baby Yoda doesn’t finish what he started and googoo gaagaa his way through a genocide in the following episode. Even though Mando hasn’t been encouraging this behavior, Mouse House has quietly given Baby Yoda its stamp of approval—namely because the company realized that it can merchandise his killing spree.
Since Disney isn’t going to stop Baby Yoda from being a stone-cold killer as long as his likeness is turning a profit, let’s at least acknowledge that, while he may be the single cutest creature in the galaxy, it doesn’t mean that his misdeeds should go unchecked. I stand with Frog Lady, and all her innocent offspring that survived Baby Yoda’s trail of hangry carnage. If this little dude doesn’t shape up soon, and if Mando doesn’t do a better job packing along some Lunchables for their galactic journey, Baby Yoda could eventually find himself dealing with a Republican’s worst nightmare: cancel culture. Fewer genocides, you must commit.