It’s Hard Out There for a Mandalorian

Caregiving in the time of Covid.

The year 2020 has exhausted us, and 2021 is just starting to reveal itself. As we grapple with the myriad inequities and broken systems made more awful by the pandemic, we are also facing an ever-growing need for care, comfort, and support. Just like Din Djarin, better known as Mando, The Mandalorian, we are separated from the support of IRL communities and have limited access to once faithful external coping strategies. We are charting a treacherous course trying to balance our personal needs with those of the Baby Yodas (aka Grogus) who depend on us all while keeping the metaphorical ship—well—flying.

It’s challenging for all of us to keep all the balls up in the air these days, and sometimes important things get missed. Many viewers were aghast as Baby Yoda ate “Frog Mom’s” unfertilized eggs—the last of her line. This led to internet murmurs that perhaps this child is strong with the Dark Side of The Force, but in reality, who among us hasn’t watched in dismay as a small child put everything in their mouths—be the thing alive, dead, or middling? We can’t help but empathize with Mando who is just trying to fulfill his sacred duty, keep Baby distracted with educational yet developmentally appropriate toys, protect Baby and himself from assassins, raiders, and thieves all while helping out each new civilian who happens to cross his path? This may be “The Way” but it sure would be more attainable with free intergalactic pre-school care, a functioning interplanetary peacekeeping tribunal, and healthcare for all.

Mando finds ways, in the absence of these systems, to get his and Baby’s needs met. He discovers that some of his companions are worthy babysitters—including Frog Mom—and finds safe spaces for Baby to spend time where they’re less likely to do any real damage to themself or others.

Yet, in each episode Mando and Baby press on doing their best to survive and helping others along the way. While we certainly don’t condone all of Baby’s eating habits, we recognize that theirs is a developmentally appropriate struggle. And Mando? Well, Mando is each of us each day doing our best to stay alive and mentally stable in an indifferent universe where we’re just as likely to be killed as we are saved by the very systems ostensibly designed to help us.

Like so many relationships, Mando began this journey with Baby Yoda out of a sense of obligation, which grew to a sense of purpose and of love. Spoilers ahead: Eventually Mando makes the ultimate sacrifice, passing Baby Grogu’s care to a Jedi master, Luke Skywalker. Mando seems to believe that this is the best way for Baby to get the care and support they need, while he continues on to destinations unknown.