It’s Wednesday, which means we got a new episode of The Book of Boba Fett today!
The third chapter of the seven-part series, “The Streets of Mos Espa,” continues to give us a look at Boba Fett as he tries to establish rulership of the territory on Tatooine amidst rising threats. The episode was a bit of a mixed bag, with some great moments and some not so great moments, but overall it was another good installment in the series.
Let’s jump in to our review of the episode, and as always, full spoilers are ahead!
At Boba Fett’s Palace, the droid 8D8 gives Boba a rundown of what happened to Mos Espa in the time following Jabba the Hutt’s death: Bib Fortuna broke down the city into three sections, divided among the Trandoshans, the Aqualish, and the Klatoonians, with the Mayor governing them. This history lesson is interrupted by a merchant who has come to see Boba, complaining about an issue with some kids stealing his water supply. He asks Boba to deal with it, and so that night Boba, Fennec, and the Gamorreans head to the streets of Mos Espa. They find the gang, made up of teenagers who have enhanced themselves with cybernetic implants, but Boba realizes that they were stealing the water because of how overpriced it was. He demands that the merchant lower his prices, and then offers the teens work.
Later that night, in his bacta tank, Boba’s dreams continue. He flashes back to his time as a kid on Kamino, watching through the window as his father, Jango, flies away in his ship for another mission. He then flashes forward to his time with the Tuskens on Tatooine, and he says goodbye to them as he rides off on a bantha to Mos Eisley, where he meets with the Pykes. Boba wants to strike a deal with them, where the Tuskens provide protection for the Pykes’ operations in exchange for a fee. The head Pyke says they are willing to make such a deal but already have one with the Kinton Striders (the gang Boba stole the bikes from earlier) – and they are unwilling to pay two such deals. Boba says he’ll deal with the Kinton Striders, but upon returning to camp, he finds that the gang has already struck, destroying the camp, leaving it burning, and killing the Tuskens. In grief, Boba burns their bodies and mourns their deaths.
Boba is rudely and quickly interrupted from his dreams by Black Krrsantan, who rips him out of the bacta tank and begins throwing him around the room. Boba struggles to fight back, and first tries to grab his armor… which doesn’t work. So instead he grabs his gaffi stick, and this is how he is able to fend Krrsantan off just enough to survive. In the nick of time, the gang of teens rushes into the room and begins fighting Krrsantan, followed quickly by the Gamorreans. They get the wookiee out of Boba’s chambers, and Fennec then manages to trap him in the Rancor pit. Boba is furious and wants to respond, but before any plan is devised the twin Hutts arrive at his Palace. They apologize for sending Krrsantan to kill him and offer a gift: a baby Rancor. The Hutts also say they are leaving Tatooine, as it has already been promised to another syndicate by the mayor. The Hutts leave, and Boba lets Krrsantan go free, encouraging him not to work for scum like this any longer.
In the Rancor pit, Boba begins bonding with his new pet, and is told by the Rancor keeper that the Nightsisters of Dathomir used to ride them. Boba says he wants to learn how. Before he begins, though, he and Fennec head to pay the Mayor a visit, escorted by the teenage bikers. Fett demands to see the Mayor, but the majordomo instead tries to lock them out and then rushes away on his speeder. Boba orders his new allies to stop him, and the bikers pursue him through the streets of Mos Espa, eventually causing him to crash. Boba flies on his jetpack and the majordomo tells him the Mayor is gone, working with the Pykes.
Later, as a transport arrives carrying several Pykes, Boba and Fennec get word of what is happening. Fennec tells him that this is only the first wave and that they are preparing to go to war, to which Boba responds that they’ll be ready.
In this episode, Boba Fett is building his team. Having seen the threat of the Hutts and Black Krrsantan last week, and then with the reveal that the Pykes are getting ready to fight for the planet, it’s abundantly clear that Boba needs an army. Thus far it’s been him, Fennec, and the two Gamorreans, but in this episode he hires a new gang and is gifted a new Rancor. Slowly but surely his allies are starting to come together, and I think it’s worth thinking about how it’s happening.
It’s become a bit of a running joke now, because of how much the line featured in marketing (it was almost all we heard) that whereas Jabba ruled with fear, Boba intends to rule with respect. But maybe the fact hat it was used so much in the promos is because it really does capture what’s happening with Boba in this period. Think about his current allies and how he connected with them:
- Fennec Shand was left for dead on the sands of Tatooine until Boba showed up and saved her life.
- The Gamorreans were captured and 8D8 encouraged their torture, but Boba spared their lives.
- The biker gang was stealing water, but Boba recognized they were being taken advantage of by outrageous prices and offered them work instead of punishment.
- The Rancor is imprisoned and depressed, but Boba has compassion and works to befriend his pet rather than mistreat him.
I think it is quite noteworthy and incredibly significant to see the people who are surrounding Boba Fett right now, because it’s all a testament to how he’s begun treating people (which, by the way, is why I wouldn’t be shocked if Black Krrsantan eventually turns into an ally of sorts, based on how Boba treated him in this episode too). And while this certainly does represent a change in his character from what we’ve seen in the prequel and original trilogy time periods, that is what we call character development (contrary to those who are complaining that it’s different, much like happened with Luke Skywalker in The Last Jedi). Boba was literally raised from birth to be a bounty hunter, but then he falls into the sarlacc pit. I mean, that kind of thing would change most of us if it happened to us, wouldn’t it? But more significant than even that is his subsequent experience with the Tuskens. He’s imprisoned at first, but eventually becomes part of the tribe. Here Boba is forging his own identity apart from his armor, alongside beings typically assumed to be nothing more than savage animals. I’m sure we’ll learn more and more as the series goes on, but I think we’re seeing how Boba changed. The flashbacks are showing us how it happened, while the present day is showing us that it’s actually the reason people are falling in line with him.
Of course, not everyone is in support. In fact, most people aren’t. Last episode introduced the Hutts and Black Krrsantan as big threats, and this week we learned that there’s an even bigger one. That doesn’t happen until after Boba and Krrsantan face off, and that was fantastic. Krrsantan managed to sneak into the Palace and surprise Boba, who is left without his armor and can hardly fight back. We see the threat posed by the wookiee, as he tosses Boba around like a rag doll, but I think it’s also potentially significant that while Boba first reaches for his armor, it’s actually with his gaffi stick that he’s able to fight back. The influence of the Tuskens is still with him, and as Boba attempts to forge his new identity it’s important that he learn not to do away with who he has become and is becoming just because his armor is all he had known for so long. My expectation, as the others came to Boba’s aid, was that it would simply give him enough time to suit up (like Iron Man) so that he could step in and fight back – but that didn’t happen. He never put on his armor. And I wonder if that’s supposed to, even in some small and subtle way, hint at all of this.
But almost as soon as Krrsantan appears, we learn that the Hutts are pulling out and leaving Tatooine. I have mixed feelings about this, as it kinda has me wondering what the actual point of that reveal last week was. I think this can work, but if the show winds up pulling another reversal, and if the Pykes aren’t actually the big threat, then I think it’s going to really start getting old (plus, I’m a bit confused why the Hutts would just let the Pykes have the planet and don’t want a fight, but maybe these twins are somewhat cowardly). When the Hutts first said another syndicate was promised the territory I wondered if it could be Crimson Dawn, but it was not. Though I’d love it if they showed up, I’m a bit skeptical of it happening, though I think it could work really well. But it does certainly seem like the Pykes are the big threat to Boba’s reign, and I say that for three reasons: (1) they are the ones who the Mayor is working with; (2) they already are starting to arrive in big numbers; and (3) this parallels with the flashback accounts, where Boba has already dealt with the Pykes and Tatooine.
Speaking of flashbacks, this episode (unlike the prior two) is spent mostly in the present day, with only a few minutes of flashbacks. I was very happy with this, as though I’ve enjoyed the flashbacks I felt like we still weren’t getting much of the present story, so I’m glad to see that be evened out a bit here. But what we did get of the flashbacks was devastating, particularly the destruction of the Tusken camp. This was always a very real possibility, and sure enough the camp was wiped out. And Temuera Morrison really shines in those moments, as he conveys the grief so well without any words and simply with his movements and facial expressions. And the moment where he throws the Tusken kid’s stick into the fire was heartbreaking. Boba has now lost his newfound family, and I’m guessing this will lead to him eventually seeking out his armor and ship again.
There are two other moments I should mention, one of which was fantastic and the other disappointing. The one that was so great was Boba’s scene with the Rancor, as he befriends him and we learn a lot more about the species. Again, like the Tuskens, we mostly just view Rancors as evil villains because of their prior depiction in Star Wars, but here we come to care for them a bit more, learning that they have feelings just like other beings do. And there’s an obvious – and exciting – bit of foreshadowing as well, as it seems that Boba will learn to ride the Rancor, and I can’t wait for the moment where he (presumably) rides into battle atop such a creature! He also says that he’s ridden creatures ten times its size, and I couldn’t help but think of his appearance in the Star Wars Holiday Special! I’m guessing that was indeed the reference in mind, which is great.
The other moment wasn’t as great, and it was my least favorite from the series so far: the speeder bike chase. The chase just seemed so slow, predictable, and, well, boring. It really dragged on and didn’t really add much, besides some of the most familiar chase-through-the-streets tropes, some of which were actually done a few times (although the Ralph McQuarrie painting showing up was a fun easter egg). My first thought was that maybe the Volume isn’t really the best to do something like this in, but the speeder bike sequences in The Mandalorian season one and even in the last episode of The Book of Boba Fett work so much better. Which suggests to me that maybe this was an intentional choice, and if that’s the case, I really don’t get it. From the pacing to the visuals to the music, none of the chase really worked for me. If it had been much shorter I think it would have been fine, but it really dragged on. (And side thought… if these teens are poor enough to scavenge for water, how do they have such vibrant colorful bikes when literally no one else on Tatooine does, not to mention their cybernetic advancements! I think – and hope – that there’s more to the story there, because it seems very strange.) All around this whole thing just didn’t work for me, but I was glad to finally see Boba finally use his jetpack (something he hasn’t used much at all… but then again, after his mishap with the sarlacc pit I wouldn’t blame him for being a bit more hesistant).
All of this really serves as a good summary of my feelings of this episode: there were some great moments and there were some not so great moments. There were parts of it that worked really well and parts that didn’t work as well. There were parts that I enjoyed and parts I didn’t. This was definitely my least favorite of the three episodes so far, but at the same time I think it’s very clear how it’s setting up the conflict to come. We’re through three of seven episodes, which basically means we’re not even halfway through the story. There’s a lot more to come, and I’m incredibly excited and anxious to see where it all goes.