We’re past the mid-point in The Book of Boba Fett now, and we’re getting ready for the end game. What is going on with Boba and his war on the Pyke Syndicate? Will the Crimson Dawn be involved? Where is Qi’ra? All these questions, and more!
The fourth episode tells the story of how Fett saved Fennec Shand from the sands, taking her to a mod-parlor in Mos Eisley to have her life saved with cybernetics in something of a call-back to last time and the cyborg street gang. In return for saving her life, Fett requests her help in reclaiming his ship from Jabba’s palace, so they sneak past the guards and manage to blast their way out. Shand decides to stay with Fett, whereupon they attack the Nikto speeder bike gang who killed the Tuskens, and then attempt to recover his armour from the sarlacc pit, but to no avail. When the sarlacc attempts to draw Slave I into its maw, Shand saves them by firing a seismic charge into it, killing the beast. One of the best sequences in the show so far, I loved it!
In the present, Fett recruits Black Krrsantan to his cause, then holds a meeting of the other crime lords on Tatooine asking for an alliance against the Pykes. They all refuse, although do agree to remain neutral in the upcoming conflict. Shand recommends they hire out for additional muscle – cue the Mandalorian theme!
This was a good episode. Unlike some of the previous episodes, I think the flashback here was entirely justified, and I look forward to more Fett and Shand in the upcoming episodes. They’re both pragmatic, and I think they find a level of trust through that shared worldview. I hope they don’t decide to pull some kind of cheap twist by having her turn on him! The mod-parlor was interesting, as it’s a bit of a staple of dystopian sci-fi after all, but we’ve never really seen a great deal of that stuff in Star Wars, outside of Lobot. That it exists on Tatooine means surely there are much more upscale premises elsewhere in the galaxy – unless the idea is that it’s more of a deviant practice best kept on the Rim? Interesting, all the same.
In a move that will surprise nobody, then, episode five is the Return of the Mandalorian, and we catch up with Din Djarin as he collects on a bounty, before heading to rejoin other members of his covert on the ringworld of Glavis. There, he learns something of the darksaber’s history, and attempts to train with it, but finds it difficult, as he is fighting the will of the weapon. After giving the Armourer the beskar spear to re-forge into something for the Child, he is challenged by Paz Vizla, the only other Mandalorian to survive the massacre on Navarro, for the ownership of the darksaber. Din bests him, but when he admits that he has removed his helmet previously, he is told that he must atone by travelling to the mines of Mandalore, a world ravaged by the Empire. His first stop is to Tatooine, where he meets with Peli Motto who has found him a ship: an N1 starfighter from the Republic era. Together, they restore the vessel before Fennec Shand arrives, requesting his help for Boba’s upcoming war against the Pykes.
The internet has been going crazy about this episode, and with good reason. Is it the best episode of the series? There’s plenty to be said about this, I know, although I’m not sure I’d agree with many of the articles that I’ve read, which seem to be praising it for not featuring the eponymous bounty hunter. There has been plenty to enjoy so far in this series, even if it’s running at a much slower pace than we were treated to with The Mandalorian, and I think the fifth episode kinda shows that up, as so much happens in the same space as previous episodes, where the story just slides along somehow. You could definitely watch this episode as a stand-alone thing following the last season. It has so many call-backs and just fits right back in to that world that we all came to know and love.
The first half of the episode is almost like some kind of huge info-dump on the Mandalorians and the covert, even getting some flashbacks to the bombing of Mandalore and so on. We get a lot of lore here, which I’m hoping is something they really delve into when Mando season three kicks off, whenever that might be. The ringworld is a fascinating sci-fi trope brought to life as well, and I love the fact that we’re getting this kind of thing in these TV shows. It gives me so much hope for subsequent shows that we have due!
Then we have the Tatooine half, where we have the odd jokes about Peli dating Jawas, and stuff, but the nostalgia for The Phantom Menace is just off the charts, as Mando repairs the starfighter before taking it for a spin around Beggar’s Canyon. Awesome stuff! I thought it was just amazing to see how Jon Favreau is able to give us not only nostalgia for the original trilogy, but also Prequel era nostalgia – TPM is 23 years old, now, after all. The episode is loaded with all kinds of interesting bits and bobs, including naming that metal rod Han tries to brace the trash compactor with in A New Hope. Totally unnecessary, but wonderful all the same.
We end with Mando recruited by Shand, so I guess he’ll be joining Krrsantan in the last couple of episodes, which Ming-Na Wen has said will provide us with a new lens through which we view the series. Interesting. I’m sure it’ll be worth another watch, and I look forward to seeing how it all gets tied up in the end. Like I said last time, I don’t think it’s as bad as I had been thinking.