This review contains spoilers.
After last week’s epic episode, I was eagerly anticipating the return of The Book of Boba Fett and It was yet another impressive outing!
The episode starts with 8D8 filling in the gaps of what happened after the fallout of Jabba’s demise in Return of The Jedi. Essentially Mos Espa was divided into 3 families – Trandoshans, Aqualish, Klatooninians – due to Bib Fortuna being so weak, the only way he could hold onto power was by releasing some of it. This is reinforced very quickly when a local water broker, Lortha Peel (Stephen Root), arrives at the palace wanting justice for stolen water. Boba hits the streets and ends up recruiting the very gang he was sent to punish – which was desperately needed as he is rather light on manpower!
Our only real flashback this episode focuses on Boba trying to broker a deal with the Pyke Syndicate – in which sees a trip to Mos Eisley turn up some Easter Eggs from The Mandalorian in the form of the Stormtrooper helmets being placed on the spikes as well as Peli Motto and her three pit droids walking across the back of the frame. Boba is there to pick up protection money from the Pyke Syndicate, but they state that payment has already been paid to The Kintan Striders for protection within the Dune Sea. This can mean only one thing, Boba needs to remove the Nikto gang from the equation!
Upon his arrival back at the Tusken camp, Boba finds the tents ablaze, with the Tuskens, including the chief, dead and the logo of the Kintan Striders marked on a ruined hut. The music here was perfect throughout the entire scene and gave me goosebumps – kudos Joseph Shirley! I’m shocked we saw this so early in the series, but I always felt that this was going to be the catalyst to set Boba off onto his current path. Are all of the Tuskens dead? I didn’t spot the female warrior Tusken, only the chief, so she may have led some of the children to safety? We didn’t get long to contemplate this as soon Boba’s slumber in the Bacta Tank was interrupted…
Boba is pulled out of the Bacta Tank by the Wookie warrior we saw last week. This was a visceral attack and the sound and lighting were really well worked into the action. Boba’s new employees rush in for the save and the fight moves into the throne room where the Gamorian guards take a beating. Luckily Fennec is on hand, and they trap the Wookie in the Rancor pit. I mentioned last week that I believed the black-haired Wookie to be Black Krrsantan and this is confirmed by Fennec!
It’s not over for Boba just yet as they have more visitors as The Twins arrive at the palace offering a gift as repayment for the assassination attempt – a Rancor! The Twins then confirm they are abandoning their claim and returning to Hutta, as the Mayor has already promised rule to another syndicate. They also tell Boba that Black Krrsantan is his, but Boba releases him instead – I don’t think this will be the last we see of him!
So, let’s talk about Danny Trejo as a Rancor trainer! I love me some Trejo! And I am equally shocked but not shocked to see him turn up here – given Robert Rodriguez’ involvement. I loved the scene between the trainer and Boba here and we also got the Witches of Dathomir getting a namedrop as Trejo claims they used to ride Rancors! This sparks Boba’s interest and wants to learn to ride a Rancor too. He claims that he has ridden larger animals, and this can only be a subtle reference to the Boba Fett cartoon in the Star Wars Holiday Special, where Boba is first introduced riding a giant Mythosuar! I love that they are building on from what we witnessed a glimpse of in Return of the Jedi, between the Rancor Luke killed and its trainer Malakili. They’ve elevated Tuskens, now they are elevating Rancors by giving them a greater meaning and presence – this is fantastic! I love everything that they are doing here!
Boba and Fennec set off to confront the Mayor – only to find their way blocked by the Major’s majordomo – who makes a quick getaway in a speeder. Luckily for Boba, his new street gang have their own methods of transport and this results in a fantastic race through Mos Espa. I think some Star Wars fans will HATE the bikes and this gang, but personally, I enjoyed it!
As with any great ‘car chase’, we need fruit stalls to be crashed into and two guys carrying a large glass plane. While we didn’t get the glass plane, we did get two guys carrying a giant picture which one of the bikes runs through. In a blink and you’ll miss it moment, the picture was actually an original Ralph McQuarrie concept art featuring Jabba in his throne room which also featured Bib Fortuna, Salacious Crumb and Boba himself! As the chase reaches its climax, we learn that the major has offered up Jabba’s power to the Pykes, who we soon see at the spaceport, as a large squad of Pykes stroll off a Starliner. The Pykes are going to war over the territory and Boba needs to be ready!
Out of all the episodes so far, I think this was the weakest, yet it was still very enjoyable and a lot of fun. The tribal aspects of the Tusken arc have been so incredibly strong, that you just felt its absence this week. I do like the addition of the street gang and their colourful speeder bikes and Drash (Sophie Thatcher) and Skad (Jordan Bolger) look to be fun characters that I hope we get to explore in a little more detail. I like the idea that this gang has modified their bodies with tech and that each of them has a unique ability in this regard.
We’ve reached the halfway point, and everything is now falling into place ready for the final push onto Boba’s ascension on Tatooine. The music was the episode’s strongest aspect and how this show continues to bring new perspectives to established ideologies is truly astonishing.