Last week’s episode of The Book of Boba Fett started us on two narratives from different periods in Boba Fett’s life.
In the post-Return of the Jedi/pre-Force Awakens present, Fett’s efforts to establish himself as Tatooine‘s head crime lord hits a snag when he and Fennec Shand were attacked by a bunch of parkour ninjas. Thankfully, Shand was able to capture one of them alive before finishing off the rest.
In the not-too-distant past, Fett escaped the sarlacc pit only to be taken prisoner by a group of Tusken Raiders. When a Tusken Child forces him to dig for black melons, a monster attack allows Fett to save the youngling and earn the Tusken Chieftain‘s respect.
This week, Fett’s conflicts within his new territory start to ramp up considerably. We also take another deep dive into his time with the Tuskens and how it shaped the future Daimyo of Tatooine we see now.
As always, the recap portion of this review will contain plenty of spoilers along with some brief explorations of Star Wars lore.
Threats, Empty & Full Alike
Fennec Shand takes the assassin she captured back to the palace. Despite Fett threatening to cut off his head, the man refuses to reveal anything about himself. He also curses Fett in Huttese, which does little to improve his situation.
8D8 is able to identify the prisoner as someone who belongs to the Order of the Night Wind, a group of assassins-for-hire. The droid claims that their members “fear no man,” thus making any effort to extract information from him a fruitless endeavor. Upon hearing this, Shand decides to see if he might fear a monster instead and drops him into the rancor pit.
Even the most casual Star Wars fan knows that Jabba’s rancor is dead. At this point in time, however, news of the creature’s demise was not common knowledge — and certainly not known to the assassin, who completely freaks when the door to the rancor’s pen begins to open. He immediately calls out to his captors and declares that it was the mayor of Mos Espra who hired him.
Armed with this new information, Fett and Shand drag their prisoner back into town along with their two Gamorrean guards. After entering the town hall (and being greeted by a disinterested receptionist), the Twi’lek majordomo from last episode appears and apologizes for the lack of ceremony surrounding their unexpected visit. He also says that the mayor (an Ithorian named Mok Shaiz) is unavailable for any meetings that week.
Fett forces his way into the mayor’s chambers anyway and demands to know why he sent an assassin after him. Shaiz claims not to know who Fett is, prompting his majordomo to identify/announce him as the new Daimyo of Tatooine. In response to Fett’s question, the mayor calmly and correctly identifies the prisoner as a member of the Order of the Night Wind.
Fett implies this to be an admission of guilt — a theory that’s immediately tested when the mayor has one of his guards kill the assassin before languidly explaining that the group is not allowed to operate outside of Hutt Space.
*Side Note: Hutt Space is an area of the galaxy controlled by the Hutt Clan, a crime syndicate made up of Hutts like Jabba. Although Tatooine was part of Jabba’s territory, it is not technically part of Hutt Space.
The mayor thanks Boba Fett for turning the assassin in and instructs his majordomo to give him a reward. When Fett declares that he’s not a bounty hunter, the mayor replies that he’s “heard otherwise.”
Fett takes the payment, saying that he’ll consider it as the tribute that should have been given to him upon taking Jabba’s throne. He also reminds Mayor Shaiz that he holds power only if the Daimyo of Tatooine allows it.
The mayor responds by firmly stating that he did not hire anyone to assassinate Fett, nor would he have any reason to. He also offers some advice: “Running a family is more complicated than bounty hunting.” To understand what he means, the mayor encourages Fett to take another visit to Garasa Fwip‘s Sanctuary.
Fett & Co. arrive at the cantina, where Max Rebo and his band are still absolutely killin’ it. They’re greeted by Fwip, who Fett notices is incredibly nervous/twitchy. When he comments on her demeanor, Fwip reveals that the Twins (a pair of brother and sister Hutt crime lords) have laid claim to the territory formerly owned by their cousin Jabba.
Fett replies that the Twins would be far too busy indulging themselves on Nal Hutta (the Hutt homeworld) to concern themselves with what’s happening on Tatooine. His assertion is challenged a moment later by the sound of ceremonial drums playing nearby. Fett & Co. step outside to see the Twins heading toward them on a litter carried by a host of servants. The Hutts are also accompanied by an armed Wookie named Black Krrsantan.
*Side Note: That noise you heard was the sound of Star Wars comic fans squealing with glee at Black Krrsantan’s first onscreen (and live action) appearance. The deadly bounty hunter has an extensive history, but all you need to know right now is that he’s very good at his job, having worked for both Jabba the Hutt and Darth Vader.
It’s also worth noting that Fett and Krrsantan have definitely crossed paths before. In Krrsantan’s first comic appearance, he and Fett are hired by Vader for separate jobs via Jabba’s recommendation. Fett even comments on the wookie’s brutal yet efficient methods.
When the Twins attempt to claim ownership of their deceased cousin’s territory, Boba Fett predictably rebuffs them, declaring that they’ll have to kill him to take it. After a tense standoff, the Twins decide that such a public display of bloodshed would be bad for business.
Before departing, however, they vow to deal with the matter another time and warn Fett to “sleep lightly.” After they’re gone, Shand reminds her partner that they would have to get permission to kill their new rivals due to them being Hutts.
*Side Note: Huh?
Fett jokingly suggests that the matter might be settled, but both he and Shand are fully aware now that war is inevitable.
Sand & Fire
After arriving back at the palace, Boba Fett goes into the bacta tank and resumes his dream of the past.
We now see that he’s more integrated with the Tusken tribe, but still considered an outsider. During a training session to learn how to fight with a gaderffii stick, his Tusken Warrior trainer becomes frustrated with his progress and smacks the crap out of him. Fett remains undeterred and asks to continue being trained.
Later, the pair take a break to watch as some younglings and their pet massiffs chase down a creature after it’s shot by another Tusken. The moment is interrupted when a hovertrain filled with Pykes comes speeding through the area. Its occupants lean out of the vehicle’s windows and gun down several Tuskens along with one of their banthas before disappearing again. Boba Fett manages to get some of the children to safety, but is unable to do much else.
*Side Note: The Pykes are members of a crime syndicate/drug cartel that is the galaxy’s largest distributor of spice, an illicit and dangerous substance in the Star Wars universe. They have played major roles in expanded universe materials and ‘Star Wars: The Clone Wars‘, but this is their first live action appearance.
For those of you looking for potential clues to future storylines, it’s worth noting that the Pyke Syndicate is allied with Crimson Dawn.
That evening, Fett participates in a funeral for the murdered Tuskens. After the ceremony, he notices a pack of Nikto miners on speeder bikes passing the encampment. He gets an idea and approaches the Tusken Chieftain with a plan to avenge their fallen tribe members and stop the train. The Chieftain and the Warrior appear skeptical, but allow him to leave.
*Side Note: You likely remember Tosche Station as the place Luke Skywalker wanted to go to (and whined when he couldn’t) to pick up some power converters back in the original ‘Star Wars‘ (Episode IV) . What you (and I) likely didn’t know is that Camie and Laze were friends of Luke who were featured in a deleted scene from that movie.
In the novelization of ‘The Last Jedi‘ (Episode VIII), a much older Luke has a dream in which he married Camie and never joined the Rebellion.
Laze tries to stand up to the miners and promptly gets his ass kicked. Fortunately for him, Boba Fett shows up and and wipes the floor with all of them. He then steals their speeder bikes and takes them back to the Tusken encampment. Upon his arrival, Fett presents the bikes as a gift for the Chieftain. The other Tuskens begin breaking down the vehciles for parts, but Fett stops them, explaining that he will teach them to ride the bikes as part of his plan to stop the Pyke’s hovertrain.
Things start off a bit rough, but the Tuskens quickly get the hang of things. One of them even learns to master making the leap from one speeder bike to another.
During a break from their impromptu driving course, Fett calls Tusken Kid over and gives him a mirror, instructing the child to signal them from an advanced position when the train comes.
Later, Fett has another gaderffii stick training session with the Tusken Warrior that’s significantly more successful than the last one. When he’s defeated in a sparring match despite putting up an admirable fight, the Warrior offers him a hand up instead of a slap across the face.
Their session is interrupted when one of the Tuskens spots the Pyke’s train heading toward them. As everyone takes their position, Fett leads his biker crew toward the vehicle. Despite sustaining some casualties, they’re able to defeat the Pykes and overtake the train thanks to some great teamwork and a bit of badassery by Fett and the Tusken Warrior.
As the Tuskens guard the Pyke survivors and raid the train’s cargo, Fett asks the group’s leader if they’re carrying spice. The leader attempts to play dumb, but gets totally exposed when a pair of Tuskens find a container of spice and open it right in front of him. He then tries to explain the Pykes’ actions as defending their trade route from beings who they thought were “uncivilized raiders.”
Fett responds by announcing that the surrounding lands belong to the Tuskens by ancestral rights. As such, the Pykes will be required to pay a toll if they wish to continue passing through them. He also promises to repay any Tusken deaths caused by the crime syndicate tenfold. As a show of “civility,” he allows the surviving Pykes to be safely escorted back to Anchorhead.
Meanwhile, the Tuskens celebrate finding a cart filled with precious water.
That evening, the Tusken Chieftain tells Boba Fett how his people have been forced to hide ever since offworld forces began using machines of war. Fett assures him that his people’s battle prowess makes them formidable warriors against any opponent.
The Chieftain then presents Fett with a gift for all he’s done for them. When it turns out to be a lizard inside a basket, Fett struggles to contain his confusion while attempting to remain gracious. This becomes a moot point when the Chieftain blows something in Fett’s face that causes the lizard to crawl up his nose. As if that weren’t messed up enough, Fett almost immediately starts trippin’ out of mind.
His first hallucination is a tree surrounded by water. As he approaches it, the branches surround him, leading to a vision of his time inside the sarlacc. We then see a brief glimpse of him as child on Kamino watching his father fly away in Slave 1. His vision then abruptly cuts back to the branches. Fett takes one of them and snaps it in half, which seemingly frees him from the tree’s grasp.
The next morning, Tusken Kid sees Boba Fett returning to the encampment and excitedly alerts the others. He’s greeted by the Tusken Chieftain, who is able to get the lizard to climb back out of Fett’s nose. Fett then presents him with a large branch he brought with him (implying that the hallucination also had a bit of truth to it).
The Chieftain has the Warrior take the stick and lead Fett inside a tent, where the former bounty hunter is clothed in the cool looking robes we saw him wearing when he first showed up in The Mandalorian. He’s then led by Tusken Kid to a makeshift forge, where one of the tribe members guides him through the design and construction process of his very own gaderffii stick.
That evening, Fett presents his new weapon to the tribe along with his allegiance as one of their people. He and the Warrior then lead the rest of the Tuskens in a ceremonial dance around the fire.
Now we’re cooking with gas.
Yes, the Tusken plot/flashback is well worn narrative territory. But it’s also so well done that you can’t help but enjoy it. In addition to some fantastic action sequences (like the train heist), the series is giving us a wonderful perspective on a Star Wars race that isn’t one that’s normally depicted with a lot of layers. I still think they’re jerks for the most part, but they (or at least this tribe) have become characters that I’m rooting for and fully invested in — even more so than the Tuskens from their featured episode in The Mandalorian.
This certainly isn’t the first story where the Tuskens have been given some well-deserved depth (especially if you include expanded universe materials), but it’s shaping to be a strong contender for the best.
It would be easy to attribute much of the sympathy we feel toward them to Tusken Kid’s cuteness, but the Tusken Warrior was who really won me over — especially during that final training scene. It could have gone the cheesy route and had Fett predictably win the sparring match. Instead, the mentor still overpowered the student while also acknowledging and respecting his immense amount of progress.
On the fan service front, I can’t believe how excited I was to see the Pykes in this episode. I never cared much for them in the comics, books, or Clone Wars, but their live action debut made them appear far more menacing (at least to me).
Meanwhile, the present storyline moved forward in a way that was predictable, but still pretty interesting. There’s no way that two Hutt relatives of Jabba are going to quietly try and take back their territory from a usurper. Whatever their plan is, we’re likely in for some major fireworks.
The potential for beautifully choreographed action sequences is also buttressed by an intriguing political storyline. In addition to the Hutts’ machinations, the mayor’s sociopathic demeanor all but guarantees he’ll be making a play for Fett’s life, as well.
And for my fellow comic readers, how cool was it to see Black Krrsantan in the flesh? I wasn’t sure he could ever translate to live action without looking silly, but this episode proved the Wookie bounty hunter can be made to look just as scary as we’d hoped.
Do I wish we spent more time in the present storyline? Yes, especially now that it’s actually planted some seeds that can grow into a great narrative.
Was the hallucination sequence a bit over the top? Probably.
But overall, The Book of Boba Fett‘s second episode was a tantalizing glimpse at the series’ phenomenal potential. If it continues to build off what we saw this week, then Din Djarin might have some competition as everyone’s current favorite Mandalorian.
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