Last week’s episode of The Book of Boba Fett ended up feeling more like the Season 3 premiere of The Mandalorian. That being said, it did tie into things by having Din Djarin agree to help Fett and Shand in their upcoming war with the Pyke Syndicate.
This week, we get to see Din Djarin’s quest to visit Grogu before the impending carnage. A ton of major Star Wars characters from multiple eras in the franchise show up, leading to one heck of a penultimate chapter for the series.
As always, the recap portion of this review will contain plenty of spoilers along with some brief explorations of Star Wars lore.
The episode opens in Mos Pelgo, the town where our old friend Cobb Vanth acts as marshal. His day becomes infinitely more interesting/deadly when he happens across a quartet of Pykes in the middle of a spice deal. Vanth offers to pretend he didn’t see anything and allow them to leave. Instead of cutting their losses, the Pykes reach for their blasters, forcing him to gun down three of them.
While holding the remaining Pyke a gunpoint, Vanth tells him to send a message back to the Syndicate: Mos Pelgo will not is be used as a route or dealing area for their drug trade. He then tells him to give up his spice chest as a “fine for trespassing” and depart. When the Pyke points out that the amount of spice inside is worth more than his town, the marshal jokingly suggest he might retire.
As the sole surviving Syndicate member rides away in his landspeeder, Vanth tips the chest over, allowing its illicit contents to be carried away by the wind.
Running Toward the Past
Back in outer space, Din Djarin flies in his souped-up N1-Starfighter toward a very green looking planet. He soars over its lush surface, finds a landing spot, and is greeted by none other than R2-D2. After informing the droid that he’s there to see Grogu, R2 leads him through the forest to a clearing filled with ant droids building what will eventually become Luke Skywalker’s Jedi Temple.
R2 then shuts off, leaving Din Djarin to wait on a makeshift bench that’s quickly built for him by the androids.
Elsewhere, Grogu is in the middle of a training/meditation session with Luke Skywalker (!) when he decides to use his budding force powers to pull a frog from a nearby pond into his mouth. Luke notices this and tells his tiny pupil to let the creature go. He then uses his own force powers to make a whole horde of frogs float up into the air…which seems like a contradictory message, right?
Anyway, Grogu appears both impressed and slightly overwhelmed at how much there still is for him to learn. He then follows his master on a walk into the woods. Luke tells his student about Yoda, which he uses as a segue to ask Grogu if he remembers where he came from. When the little guy seems unable to answer, Luke offers to help and places a hand on his student’s head.
This leads to Grogu having an awesome/horrifying flashback of the night Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader led an assault by the 501st Legion on the Jedi Temple on Coruscant (as seen in part of arguably the best sequence from Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith). In this revisiting of that tragic event, Grogu looks on in abject terror as clone troopers gun down three Jedi before setting their sights on him.
Before we can see how he survived or who might’ve saved him, Grogu awakens to find himself sitting with his master beside a lake. Luke warns his student that the galaxy is a dangerous place, but also promises to teach his young padawan to protect himself.
Back at the temple construction site, Din Djarin ends up waiting so long that he falls asleep. He’s eventually awakened by the unexpected appearance of Ahsoka Tano, who explains that she’s “an old friend of the family.”
*Side Note: We already covered Ahsoka’s backstory in the review for her episode of ‘The Mandalorian‘, but it’s worth noting again that she and Anakin Skywalker were extremely close before he turned to the dark side.
Ahsoka explains what the temple is and tells Djarin that Grogu will be Luke’s first student. She also reveals that R2 led him to her after he asked to see his former traveling companion. As the pair walk through the woods, Ahsoka reminds Djarin of her warning that their attachment would impede Grogu’s training to become a Jedi. Djarin remains dead set on seeing him, though — especially after catching a distant glimpse of him and Luke training.
He begins to walk toward Grogu, but reconsiders when Ahsoka points out that Djarin would be doing this mostly for himself rather than the foundling whose well-being he claims to cares for so much. She also reveals that Grogu misses him a great deal, which would make their reunion followed by another separation even more difficult.
*Side Note: This exchange is one of many reasons that even though the Jedi Order are technically the good guys, their rules where often incredibly heartless and dumb.
Before leaving, Djarin gives Ahsoka the Beskar armor he had the Armorer forge for Grogu, which she promises to give to him. As his starfighter departs the planet, Grogu senses the Mandalorian’s presence and reaches out toward the ship, causing all of our hearts to break at once.
Thankfully, this emotionally crushing moment is interrupted when Luke puts Grogu down to begin the most adorable training sequence ever put to film.
At one point, Luke has Grogu interact with a training remote like the one we saw him use in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. It’s worth noting that when Grogu failed to force jump via Luke’s instruction/encouragement, he succeeds after experiencing (and subsequently avoiding) the reflexive pain caused by the remote. When you combine that with the whole “no attachment” thing, it’s hard not to notice some of the basic flaws of the Jedi Order.
But I digress…Ahsoka joins Luke, watching as his pupil leaps between rocks before using the force to disable the training remote. Luke then admits to her that he knows the Mandalorian was on the planet nearby. Ahsoka reminds him of Djarin and Grogu’s strong bond and presents the gift that the Mandalorian left for him.
Luke looks at his student and wonders aloud if Grogu’s heart is truly dedicated to becoming a Jedi. Ahsoka responds by wistfully observing how he’s so much like his father (before things went dark, anyway). She then advises Luke to trust his instincts and departs, leaving him alone as he watches his exhausted pupil fall asleep on a rock.
Din Djarin flies back to Tatooine and enters Boba Fett’s palace, where he finds his fellow Mandalorian along with Fennec Shand leading a war prep meeting. He appears just as Shand is explaining their lack of foot soldiers, declaring that the issue is something he might be able to help with.
We then head back to Mos Pelgo, where Djarin is greeted by Cobb Vanth’s overeager deputy. Thankfully, Vanth shows up in time to diffuse things and greet his former ally. After making some small talk, the pair head inside the town’s bar to discuss more serious matters.
Despite already having a run-in with the Pykes, Vanth doesn’t see why he and his people should get involved in Fett’s war. Djarin astutely counters that if the Pykes take Mos Espa, Mos Pelgo could be next. At this point, the bartender loudly corrects Djarin that Mos Pelgo has been renamed to Freetown.
*Side Note: I’m not going to dive into things too deeply here, but renaming Mos Pelgo to Freetown somehow manages to make things more in line with expanded universe continuity while potentially contradicting it.
According to the timeline established in the novel ‘Star Wars: Aftermath,’ Mos Pelgo should have already been named Freetown before Din Djarin even showed up in the Season 2 premiere of ‘The Mandalorian.’ Otherwise, it means that the town started off as Mos Pelgo, was renamed to Freetown, then went back to Mos Pelgo before being renamed once Freetown again.
Vanth remains hesitant to make any commitments, but tells Djarin that he’ll see what he can do. After the Mandalorian leaves, he instructs the bartender to gather all men and women capable of fighting for a meeting. Moments later, he notices a dark clothed figure sauntering toward Freetown. He tells everyone to go inside and steps up to meet the man, who turns out to the be notorious bounty hunter Cad Bane.
*Side Note: That sound you heard was millions of ‘Star Wars: The Clone Wars‘ fans screaming in delight at seeing one of its best characters in live action for the first time. We’ll dive into his backstory after the recap, but here’s all you need to know right now:
- His allegiance always goes to the highest bidder.
- He’s really good at killing.
- He has a complicated history with Bob Fett.
When Bane finally reaches a good standoff distance from Vanth, he tells the marshal that his employers (the Pyke Syndicate) will match whatever Fett & Co. are offering to pay him. All he’d have to do is promise to sit out the upcoming war. He also refuses to identify himself and warns Vanth to be careful where he sticks his nose, which doesn’t help reduce the tension.
Things get even more lethally awkward when the overeager deputy steps outside (despite Vanth ordering him not to) and declares that the marshal is not for sale.
Bane makes one more attempt to sway Vanth by explaining that Boba Fett is a killer who used to work the Empire. The marshal sees right through the ploy, however, demanding that the hired gun return to the Pykes and tell them that they won’t be dealing spice on the planet any longer.
Bane replies that Vanth should’ve never given up his armor and begins to reach for his weapon. After a brief standoff, the overeager deputy attempts to draw first. Bane turns out to be much faster than him, blasting Vanth in the shoulder before repeatedly shooting the deputy in the chest. He then tells the people of Freetown that Tatooine belongs to the Pyke Syndicates.
As the gunslinger saunters away, the townspeople pour out of their homes to tend to the wounded marshal.
Meanwhile, a couple of Pykes show up to Garsa Fwip‘s Sanctuary. The pair sit down, refuse to order anything, and quickly depart. They also leave a camtono behind, which turns out to be a bomb and blows up the cantina.
Back at the new Jedi Temple (which is much further along than we last saw it), Luke presents Grogu with Din Djarin’s gift: A tiny little piece of Beskar chainmail.
*Side Note: D’AWWW!
He then presents Grogu with Yoda’s old lightsaber before offering his student a choice. He can choose the lightsaber and continue on the path to becoming a Jedi, or choose the armor (along with his attachment to the Mandalorian) and join Djarin.
The episode closes with a distraught look on Grogu’s cute little face as he weighs his monumental decision.
Before we dig into who Cad Bane is, I’ve gotta mention how disappointed I am in Luke Skywalker right now — not in a narrative sense, though. It’s all types of cool getting to see him during this time period, especially when the digital process they used to portray him at this age looks even better than the last time we saw it.
But it’s also frustrating to see Luke clinging so harshly to the rigid dogma that helped bring about the downfall of the Jedi Order in the first place. I was hoping we’d get to see a hint of him “modernizing” things, but I guess that’ll have come later.
Now let’s talk a bit about Bane.
Hailing from the planet Duros, Cad Bane’s skills and reputation as a bounty hunter are legendary. He’s also a stone cold sociopath. The dude has no qualms about doing whatever’s needed to get the job done (even kidnapping children) as long as the pay’s good.
In addition to his multiple appearances in the Clone Wars, Bane has crossed paths with a number of Star Wars characters across many different eras — including a confrontation against a much younger Fennec Shand. But it was during the Clone Wars that Bane worked with a young Boba Fett, often acting as his mentor in the bounty hunter world.
This is where things start to get a little murky.
There are some unproduced episodes of Star Wars: The Clone Wars that Dave Filoni & Co. have said are still considered canon. One of them is a story arc centered around a group of bounty hunters led by Fett and Bane. At some point, the pair run afoul of each other, with Fett on the side of some innocent people who Bane casually regarded as collateral damage. This resulted in a duel between the two that gave Fett’s helmet its trademark scar/dent.
The unfinished animatic for this scene is embedded below:
Whether that untold/unfinished story is canon or not, it’s clear that we’re headed for a big showdown between Bane and Fett next week. For us longtime Star Wars fans, it’s great. Heck, you could probably hear our squeals of joy from twelve parsecs over when Cad Bane looked up and directly into our souls.
For those who don’t know Star Wars, though, Bane’s appearance was likely more than a bit confusing. The writers can be forgiven for (correctly) assuming virtually everyone knows who Luke Skywalker is, but even a huge Cad Bane fan like myself doesn’t expect his existence to be common knowledge for most casual viewers.
That being said, it’s hard to get stuck on the narrative nitpicks of this episode when there was so much enjoy. This one went beyond simple fan service, giving us a complicated look at Grogu’s new life along with how he and Din Djarin’s destinies continue to be intertwined.
Also, how freaking cool was that flashback with the 501st laying siege to the Jedi Temple? Let’s hope that gets expanded upon a lot more in The Mandalorian‘s third season.
Before that can happen, though, we’ve got an upcoming war with the Pykes, which is a much more exciting prospect than initially anticipated. It certainly helped to finally see them succeed at doing something destructive, although I hate that it might have killed Max Reebo and Garsa Fwhip (I’m still not sure the Bith playing in the band is Figrin D’an).
In addition to the Pyke Syndicate, Boba Fett is going to need to fight to get his show back. I hate to admit it, but seeing him standing there with the Jolly Rancher Biker Gang made me want to get right back to Din Djarin’s adventures.
I’m still extremely optimistic that The Book of Boba Fett finale will be good. I just hope it sticks the landing because of a good narrative instead of great cameos and nostalgic moments.
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