Major spoilers below for the latest episode of The Mandalorian, so be warned!
For a season and a half of The Mandalorian, fans have 100% embraced the show's shortest and quietest character, and with "The Child" being a rather stodgy moniker, the name "Baby Yoda" instantly became the character's universally accepted nickname. But at last, with "The Jedi," creator Jon Favreau finally gave the adorable little dude an official name, and it's absolutely as ridiculous and wonderful as anyone could have expected: Grogu. So everybody out there who had "Jeff" as their betting choice just lost big time.
"The Jedi" carried the major weight of introducing Rosario Dawson as the first live-action iteration of The Clone Wars' Force-wielding Ahsoka Tano, and it was through her that both Mando viewers finally learned some things about Baby Yoda. (Though unfortunately not why he is so obsessed with round things, both edible and otherwise.) And while I could spend the rest of this feature talking about how casually awesome Aliens and Terminator vet Michael Biehn is in this episode, our time would probably be better spent going over everything we learned about The Child.
Baby Yoda's Name Is...Grogu?
This is going to take a lot of "getting used to it" time. While "Baby Yoda" isn't exactly utter brilliance in and of itself, its descriptive nature and mental callback to the character Yoda give it utility. But the name Grogu is something else altogether. It's pretty goofy in a fun way, but thankfully not so goofy that it dips into absurdity. With two syllables, a hard "O" sound and a vowel at the end, Grogu is basically patterned like the name Yoda, which definitely helps. As well, the vibrant way Grogu reacted whenever Mando said his given name was peak cuteness, and that also aids in accepting it. I'll probably still use the names interchangeably, though, since I don't actually want to stop saying Baby Yoda.
Baby Yoda Is Actually Force-Trained
Ever since he first managed to stop that Mudhorn from pulverizing Mando back in Season 1, Baby Yoda has shown his skills with the Force, though largely in ways that have made it seem like he wasn't 100% sure what was happening. But it turns out that the character is way more versed in Force knowledge than many might have expected. Ahsoka Tano revealed to Mando that lil' Grogu was raised at the Jedi Temple located on the mega-planet Coruscant, and was trained by "many Jedi Masters," though she sadly doesn't reference any of them specifically. In any case, Baby Yoda definitely is not a novice when it comes to the Force.
Baby Yoda Has Some Memory Problems
The way Ahsoka Tano put it, Baby Yoda was initially hidden from the outside world at the end of the Clone Wars, once the Empire's power expanded, and he hid his powers as well. At some point, he was snatched from the Temple by an unnamed snatcher, which is when his memory gets "hazy," as it were, though it's unclear why. Was his memory purposefully shielded by someone? Did the tests being performed by Dr. Pershing remove memories as well as midi-chlorians? Either way, that mostly explains why Baby Yoda hasn't gone all-out with his Force powers so far, as well as possibly explains why he hasn't been able to share his story with anyone before Ahsoka made her deeper connection with him.
Baby Yoda's Emotional Connection To Mando Is Key
Though the whole reason Mando went to Corvus was to have Ahsoka Tano look after Baby Yoda (which was already a best-of-the-best case scenario), but it wasn't long before the Jedi had to refuse Mando's wishes. Her reasoning was that the Mando-Gorgu connection was already too strong for her to get in the way, and because The Child's abundant fears were also tied into his Mando bond, she had to back off. What made this refusal more interesting and powerful is that she specifically referenced the fearful fall-from grace by her former mentor Anakin Skywalker (though not by name). This is obviously a decent defense in the first place, but it also potentially foreshadows Baby Yoda embracing a darker side if his bond with Mando is ever severed or put in danger.
Yoda Got A Namecheck
After sharing Baby Yoda's backstory, Ahsoka Tano mentioned that she only knew one other being from his race, and then gloriously dropped Yoda's name out there into the Mando-verse. Corvus definitely had some Dagobah vibes going for it, too, so that was a proper location for the reference. Ahsoka later went the whole nine yards and echoed Yoda's "I sense much fear in you," line, as told to Anakin in Phantom Menace. I think this would have been an excellent time for Ahsoka to also share the name of Yoda and Grogu's species, but I guess that would be asking too much out of this info-packed episode.
Baby Yoda's Next Stop Is Tython
Since Ahsoka Tano didn't feel comfortable offering her Jedi-training service to Baby Yoda, she advised Mando to take the bitty creature to the planet Tython. (FYI: That Star Wars location was first created for the 2007 novel Darth Bane: Rule of Two, but its only canonical entries have come from a Force Awakens RPG game and a Doctor Aphra comic book.) Ahsoka spoke of Jedi Temple ruins that still maintained a strong connection to the Force, and told Mando to bring Grogu to the top of the mountain there, with the chance that another Jedi would sense his presence and go looking, even though there aren't that many Jedi left out there. Am I the only one who thinks that seems like a wildly random plan to enforce without any guarantees in place? I mean, it's a TV show, so of course someone will come looking, but still.
"The Jedi" has given us more to think about than just about any episode yet, so this should be a fun week leading into the next chapter. Such as "Is Mando just going to sit around on Tython waiting for other Jedi to show up?" and "Is there going to be enough food for Mando to eat while he's just sitting around on Tython waiting for other Jedi to show up?"
The Mandalorian airs new episodes on Disney+ every Friday, and there are somehow only three episodes left in Season 2. We can probably expect to see a lot more of Baby Yoda before everything wraps up, but before that happens, head to our Fall 2020 TV premiere schedule and our 2021 Winter and Spring TV guide to see what other big shows are on the way.
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Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.