Last week’s episode of The Book of Boba Fett concluded with Fett and Fennec Shand in the crosshairs of Jabba’s twin cousins. Meanwhile, our journey through Fett’s past showed us how he became a fully initiated member of a Tusken Raider tribe. He also managed to completely humiliate the Pyke Syndicate by orchestrating a successful/awesome train heist.
This week, Fett gets to see just how complicated being a crime lord can be while also revisiting a devastating tragedy from his recent past.
As always, the recap portion of this review will contain plenty of spoilers along with some brief explorations of Star Wars lore.
After a cool shot of a B’omarr Order brain walker scuttling by Boba Fett’s palace, we head inside to find the new Daimyo neck deep in territorial disputes. According to 8D8, Bib Fortuna had previously divided Mos Espa among three families:
- The Trandoshans controlled the city’s center.
- The Aqualish controlled the Workers’ District.
- The Klatoonians controlled the starport along with Mos Espa’s upper sprawl.
Since Bib Fortuna didn’t inspire anywhere near the same level of fear/respect that Jabba did, he relied on these uneasy alliance to maintain order along with his position of power. He also made sure that Mayor Mok Shaiz was well taken care of financially.
Now, however, the three families are waiting to see what type of leader Boba Fett will be. Of course, that might end up being a moot point if Fett ends up getting assassinated first.
As Fett and Shand discuss their belief that the Hutt Twins are pulling the strings behind their opposition, a water-monger (Lortha Peel) arrives from the Workers’ District to petition the Daimyo.
Things get off to a rocky start when Peel opens by claiming that no one respects Fett, but he follows up by explaining that the streets of Mos Espa have been thrown into chaos since Fortuna’s death. In fact, it’s almost as if no one recognizes Fett’s claim to the throne. This sharp rise in petty crime has resulted in a gang of teenagers with cybernetic enhancements stealing his water inventory.
Peel promises Fett that if he handles the street gang, he’ll double his tribute to him. Despite the water-monger’s condescending tone, Fett agrees and heads into Mos Espra that evening with Shand and his two Gamorrean body guards.
Upon their arrival in the Workers’ District, they find the cybernetic street gang enjoying some pilfered H20 next to their brightly colored speeder bikes. When Fett asks where they got the water, the group’s leader (Drash) replies without a hint of concern that they stole it.
As Fett and Drash begin to verbally snipe at each, another member of the gang (Skad) reveals that Peel was charging exorbitant rates for his water. When Fett asks why they don’t simply get jobs to pay for it, Drash counters that there are no jobs to be had. Fett solves that problem by declaring that the biker gang will now be working for him
Before they can react to their unexpected (and possibly unwanted) employment, Peel comes running out from a nearby building to complain about the gang not being properly punished. Fett responds by asking what they owed for the stolen water. When Peel quotes an outrageously inflated price, Fett gives him less than half before demanding that he lower his prices if he wishes to continue operating in Mos Espa.
This is seemingly enough to win over the biker gang, who follow Fett & Co. back to the palace.
From there, we catch up to where things left off last week with Fett becoming a member of the Tusken Tribe. He departs their encampment on a bantha and heads into Mos Eisley to meet with the Pykes. Despite kicking their asses in the train heist, he still wants to make sure they know/accept that payment to the Tuskens is required to travel through their lands.
After arriving in the city (and a brief cameo from our old friend Peli Motto), Fett is given an audience with the Pyke leader on Tatooine. Things begin cordially enough, with the drug lord explaining that he understands how “protection arrangements” are part of doing business. Unfortunately, the Pykes have already been forced to pay protection money for the same area to the Kintan Striders (the Nikto group we saw tagging a building with their symbol in the first episode).
*Side Note: Although it’s not 100% confirmed, I think we can safely assume that the Niktos who Fett beat up and stole the bikes from at the Tosche Station were also Kintan Striders).
Because of this, the syndicate leaders on the Pyke’s home planet of Obi Diah are refusing to pay what they consider an unfair double tax. Fett assures the Pyke leader that he will take care of the Kintan Striders and departs.
He arrives back at the camp to find it decimated and all his fellow tribe members slaughtered — even the adorable Tusken Kid. While surveying the destruction of what had become his home, he notices the Kintan Striders symbol tagged on one of the smoldering tents.
That evening, Fett solemnly gathers up his friends (along with their weapons) and cremates their remains. After paying his final respects, he gets on his bantha and rides alone into the desert.
*Side Note: Ludwig Göransson’s score here is absolutely gorgeous.
Fett’s tragic dream into the past is interrupted by Black Krrsantan (the bounty hunter/gladiator employed by the twins), who yanks him out of the bacta tank and begins delivering a severe beatdown. Just when it appears that Fett is about to be killed, Drash, Skad, and two other members of the biker gang show up and begin fighting back.
The group is able to hold back the rampaging wookie long enough for the Gamorrean guards to arrive (who really should have gotten there before the bikers). Black Krrsantan manages to knock back one of them and grievously injure the other before Fennec Shand (who really should have shown up before anyone) arrives and drops the assassin into the rancor pit.
The next day, Fett attempts to enjoy a lavish meal, but is still troubled by the blatant attempt on his life by the Hutt Twins. Things get significantly more intense when 8D8 announces that the Twins have just arrived and are outside the palace. Instead of another attack, however, the Hutts admit to sending Krrsantan and apologize. They also present Fett with a rancor (along with his trainer/keeper) as a gift.
*Side Note: I thought this creature might be the adult version of Muchi, a female adolescent rancor who we saw in an episode of ‘The Bad Batch’ during the early days of the Empire. But in addition to the darker coloring, this rancor is later referred to as a “calf.” While there’s no definitive consensus about a rancor’s average lifespan, Muchi would likely be far too old by this point to earn that label. Fett also refers to this rancor as a boy, but that may just be him doing same thing almost everyone does with any dog they meet for the first time.
Despite the awesome gift, Fett is still understandably pissed. He tells the Hutts that a truce will be considered if they leave Tatooine. To his and Shand’s surprise, the Twins reply that they were planning to return to Nal Hutta anyway. Turns out they were deceived by Mayor Mok Shaiz, who’d already promised their territory to another criminal organization. Making a claim now would lead to an all out war, which would be very bad for business. They also advise the new Daimyo that he’d be wise leave Tatooine before the same trouble ends up at his doorstep.
Boba Fett has his guards bring out Black Krrsantan. He offers to return the assassin, but the Hutts tell him to keep the wookie as their tribute before departing.
After taking a moment to consider things, Fett decides to release the assassin who’d just tried to kill him the night before. He tells the wookiee that there’s no hard feelings, but advises him not to work for unsavory characters like the Twins from now on.
As Black Krrsantan runs off, Shand expresses her uneasiness about letting the wookiee assassin go. She also asks if Fett buys the Hutts’ story about wanting to avoid a turf war on Tatooine. He responds that it would benefit them to have their enemies fighting one another, thus making their pacifist position more than a little dubious.
Shand decides that their next step in figuring things out should taking another meeting with the mayor.
Pets and Power Wheels
Later, the rancor is put in Pateesa‘s old pit. Fett visits the creature and is surprised/concerned to find it acting extremely lethargic. The keeper explains that rancors are animals that have very complex emotions. This creature is depressed due to the recent move (something many dog and/or cat owners will understand).
He goes on to say that before being given as a pet, this particular rancor was bred for fighting. The keeper saved it to raise himself. He also placed blinders on the creature since rancors tend to imprint on the first human they see. When Fett asks if he can approach the beast, the keeper encourages him, assuring the Daimyo that rancors are very peaceful unless they’re threatened.
Sure enough, the beast pleasantly reacts to Boba Fett’s petting the same way my dog does to being scratched behind the ears. Clearly enamored with the rancor, Fett declares that he wants to learn to ride it. When the keeper warns him that doing so will take a great deal of discipline, Fett affirms that he’s up to the challenge. He also claims to have ridden creatures much bigger than this one.
*Side Note: While it’s not clear how much of the ‘Star Wars Holiday Special‘ is canon, this appears to be a reference to the animated sequence with Boba Fett (in his very first on screen appearance) riding a Paar’s ichthyodont.
The keeper then has Fett stand a few feet away from the rancor and takes off its blinders, allowing the beast to see its new master for the first time. Fett becomes even more smitten with the creature and resumes petting it, causing the bond between them to grow stronger.
The sweet moment is interrupted when 8D8 announces that Mayor Mok Shaiz said he cannot take any meetings for the next three weeks. Fett initially refuses to stop petting his new companion (something every dog and cat owner will understand), but eventually resigns himself to getting back to work.
After instructing the keeper to feed the rancor an entire ronto carcass, he and Shand suit up to pay the mayor a visit. As they leave, the keeper assures the beast that its new master will be back soon.
When Fett and Shand arrive with the biker gang at the mayor’s office, the majordomo attempts to give them the runaround. After appearing to relent, he goes into the mayor’s office and locks the door behind him. Shand gets it open again only to find the room empty and the majordomo fleeing in a landspeeder. Shand orders the biker gang to go after him, which leads to a chase scene so slow that it makes O.J. Simpson’s infamous Bronco chase look like a NASCAR race.
The bikers eventually run down the majordomo, who reveals that the mayor has been working with the Pykes and recently fled the area.
Later, Skad goes on a scouting mission and observes a large contingent of Pykes disembarking from a starliner into Mos Espa. Realizing that they’re about to go to war, Fett vows that they’ll be ready.
Up until the final act of this episode, everything on The Book of Boba Fett has looked incredible. Even if you still didn’t like the plot after the second episode, there was no denying that the production values were top notch.
Then the speeder bike chase happened.
In addition to being laughably slow, the CGI was more dodgy than we’ve ever seen. Nothing ever reached old school Syfy levels of bad, but it certainly wasn’t good. Someone with a lot more technical knowledge than me would have to explain why things didn’t look up to snuff, though. Perhaps it was how much the brightly colored bikes clashed against the earth tone setting.
Whatever the case, it was a definite SFX low point for a series that has thus far knocked that aspect of production out of park — even within the same episode. The Hutts were good, but the rancor was absolutely gorgeous. Also, the costuming/prosthetics department deserves a ton of credit for how fantastic Black Krrsantan looked.
On the story side of things, the Tusken massacre was absolutely heartbreaking. The moment was so impactful that it was difficult to focus on the present narrative — especially when it involved the biker kids. I hope they grow on me after getting more time to develop, but as of right now I don’t particularly enjoy their presence.
Someone whose presence I wish I could enjoy more was Fennec Shan. While it’s great to have her in this series, it would be even better if she didn’t just show up to make sardonic quips and look cool for a few seconds. I get that this is Boba Fett’s show, but Shand is a character who deserves lot more than she’s currently getting.
As for the episode’s ending, it might just be my bias from watching The Clone Wars, but I have a hard time thinking of the Pykes as much of a threat. While they certainly look more intimidating in live action, the revelation that a bunch more are coming doesn’t feel nearly as big as the episode appeared to think it was.
Of course, there’s always they chance that they’re still allied with Crimson Dawn, although it would be nice if the narrative could deliver on its own merits without needing to be bolstered by the potential appearance of Emilia Clarke as Qi’ra. Don’t get me wrong — I’d totally flip out if we got to see that. I’d just prefer that we also have a great story that leads us there.
All that being said, it’s hard not to like an episode featuring a beautifully rendered puppy dog rancor with Danny Trejo portraying its keeper. You also had to love that Black Krrsantan fight. It may have taken some weird arrival sequencing by Fett’s posse, but the end result was a lot of fun.
I also appreciate that the series still has us guessing on who is pulling the strings behind Boba Fett’s opposition. It would have been easy to stick with the Hutts, but we instead were thrown a curveball juiced with plenty of well-organized ambiguity.
Let’s hope that next week’s episode provides the same level of enjoyment along with a bit more development for Shand and the biker gang (and no slow speed neon chase scenes).
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