This week The Book of Boba Fett devotes more time to its present narrative, and ends with a tantalising tease of what’s in store later down the line.
There are few flashbacks that inform the present narrative and completes the story which was started in the first flashbacks right in episode one. However, the episode features a greatly disappointing fight and another, goofier sequence, which drags it down.
This week switches the heavy use of flashbacks for smaller time spent in the past, but they are effective. The Pykes are shown to have a small outpost on Tatooine, which is greatly reinforced in the modern day. While the Pykes were introduced in last week’s episode, their role this episode solidifies their inclusion in the show.
Using characters with pre established lore is much more compelling than simply creating another new set of characters, as they can feel shallow. This rewards longtime fans, whilst still being understandable for newcomers. The name drop of Oba Diah is a neat reference to the Pyke planet, and hints at a potential chance to see the world in live action. This careful use of legacy material and references is indicative of many of the other Star Wars references in the series, and shows that the creators care about longtime fans.
The other part of the flashback, reveals that the Tusken Raider have died, killed by the swoop gang shown in episode one. This is a bit of a trope within film and TV, the group that the main character gets close to is killed informs their future actions. It sets up the inevitable revenge that will be taken against the swoop gang.
Nonetheless, Temuera Morrison effectively conveyed the emotion of this scene using strong, facial expressions. The Tusken Raiders gave him a chance for redemption, accepting him as one of their own and teaching him the ways of the desert. It also adds a sad conclusion to the saga of the Tuskens, showing that they are truly victims of colonisation.
Fett continues the mantra of rule through respect in this episode, exposing a water seller for vastly inflating the price of water and exploiting the local youth cyborgs. This inclusion expands Tatooine’s economic elite, as in a desert water is incredibly valuable. It is also a natural inclusion to the story, providing a situation unique to Tatooine.
Contrary to this, is how the politics play a part in the first scene, with 8D8 explaining the different factions in Mos Espa. Politics is tied deep to Star Wars, and is often done well, but this scene provides nothing other than an exposition dump, and not woven into the narrative.
There are two action pieces in this episode, and it is unfortunate that they are both disappointing. Black Krrsantan attacks Boba Fett in his palace, and this sounds like a strong, brutal fight sequence but it does not play off this way.
Firstly, is the fact even made it to Fett. Krrsantan is not a stealthy character, so him not being spotted doesn’t make a lot of sense.
Secondly, the set piece itself is disappointing. Fett is in nothing by underwear, which is not how the audience wants to see him. Despite the fight’s intense nature, Krrsantan also doesn’t make use of the famous Wookie ability to rip people’s arms off, something that has been hinted at in A New Hope. Krrsantan is captured but then immediately released, and the Hutts are forgiven for trying an assassination attempt.
This continues the humiliation of Boba Fett, something that episode one showed off too. The character seems inconsistent with the narrative shown in The Mandalorian, as a feared bounty hunter who was in touch with his armour and fighting skills, however hopefully there is a narrative reason for this.
The second action set piece is a chase of majordomo and the biker gang. The whole thing is very goofy, with the obvious design intention of the bikes being inspired by Vespa Scooters, and even the majordomo’s speeder is very car-esque, having a steering wheel and a bonnet style front. The Vespa speeders look completely out of place, with the vibrant colours not fitting with the aesthetic of Tatooine.
The Majordomo’s car speeder fits in aesthetically, and works with the entire chase following the formulaic approach of so many car chases, with splitting up, falling objects, pedestrians running back and a crash at the end. Fett is ignored until right at the end. A better way to integrate Fett into this chase is for the camera to snap on him jetting after the majordomo, shooting stunning bolts at his speeder, while the chase unfolds below.
Overall, while this episode was disappointing with its action, the deepening of the political structure of Mos Espa and the introduction of the Pykes into the main narrative, sets the stage for what is bound to be an explosive set of episodes, teasing the audience with a gang war and a political reckoning.
By Kieran Burt
Feature image: Lucasfilm/Disney