The Book of Boba Fett is back today, with Chapter 4: “The Gathering Storm.”
The season is now over halfway done, and it appears that we’ll now be going in blind to the final three weeks, as we’ve seen everything from the trailers now. And considering this episode ended with one heck of a tease about what’s to come, I think it’s safe to say that next week’s episode will easily be the most anticipated of the season so far.
But that’s next week. What about this week? Let’s dive in to our review – and as always, full spoilers are ahead!
As Boba Fett is in the bacta tank, the flashbacks continue. We see him riding his bantha and approaching Jabba’s Palace, spying on the guards there. He tells his bantha that there are too many and they have to keep waiting. That night, he sees some flares in the Tatooine sky and goes to investigate, where he finds Fennec Shand left to die in the desert. He takes Fennec to some people on the outskirts of Mos Eisley who do enhanced modifications to their bodies, and they save Fennec’s life. When she awakes later, Boba talks with her and explains who he is. He wants her help recovering his ship from Jabba’s Palace, and then she’s free to go.
They approach the Palace together, and Fennec sends a small probe droid to scope out how many guards there are. Boba lets his bantha go free, and then he and Fennec sneak into the Palace. An LEP service droid gives Boba some trouble, but soon he and Fennec find the firespray-class ship in the hangar. The happy reunion with Boba and his ship is quickly interrupted by some of the guards rushing in and sounding an alarm. The duo begins fighting them off, and Fennec then tells Boba to get to the ship and make sure it can still fly. Meanwhile, Fennec takes out the guards. As the ship begins to take off, Fennec jumps on it and continues to fight from there, eventually getting the doors open so they can make their escape.
Boba asks Fennec where she would like him to drop her, but she chooses to stay with him for the ride as Boba goes to settle some scores. He first finds the Nikto bikers who killed the Tusken Raiders and bombards them from his ship, killing them. He then flies to the sarlacc pit, looking for his armor – but as he hovers over it, the sarlacc grabs the ship and begins pulling it in. Fennec manages to drop a seismic charge into the sarlacc’s mouth, freeing them. Then disembark from the ship and Boba goes back into the sarlacc, climbing into and out of it with a rope – with no success finding his armor. Fennec tells him that it served a purpose and protected him from the sarlacc’s acid, but now he can move on. Later that night, he explains his ambitions to Fennec, saying he wants to run a family and is tired of bounty hunters working for idiots who don’t care if they die. Fennec says she’ll work jobs for him but prefers to stay independent, while Boba counters with a better offer: he’ll make her a partner and will give his life to protect her. She says the desert has made him soft, but he says it’s made him strong, as the Tuskens showed him they all need a tribe.
As we flash back to the present day, we see brief glimpses of Boba killing Bib Fortuna and taking the throne, before Boba awakes and is told that the healing process is now finished and he’s totally healed. He heads into town and visits Garsa Fwip’s casino, where Black Krrsantan grows more and more restless watching the Trandoshans – and eventually begins assaulting them. Garsa tries to talk him down, but Krrsantan then rips one of the Trandoshan’s arms off and walks out. Before he can leave, however, Boba offers him a job. Later, at his Palace, Boba meets with several of the crime bosses, with Fennec by his side (and Krrsantan as one of his hired guards). He attempts to get an alliance together, but the others refuse. Boba accepts this and says he’ll fight for them alone, but asks them not to side with the Pykes and to remain neutral, an offer that is acceptable to the others. They leave and Boba tells Fennec that he trusts them to work in their own self-interest – which means accepting his deal. Fennec asks how much treasure he has, and Boba says he’s got credits but needs muscle. Fennec says that credits can buy muscle if you know where to look, and a very familiar musical theme begins to play.
This episode is told almost exclusively through flashback, making it the most flashback-intensive episode of the season yet. But as Boba wakes up, this time he’s told that he’s totally healed. I believe this is supposed to indicate that the flashback method of storytelling might be done with, but I’m not totally convinced. It does seem that way, and it would be an easy way for the showrunners to explain the change, but there’s a line from Fennec right after this where she alludes to the fact that though he might be healed physically, he might not be healed internally. So I’m going to venture a guess that we’ve not actually seen the final flashback in this show, and that there will be at least one more – but that it will be different; rather than telling us what happened, it will be helping Fett embrace his new identity (perhaps even showing us more of his days on Kamino).
What we have seen the end of, though, is the footage from the trailers. And while showrunner Robert Rodriguez was laughably wrong when he said we’d only seen footage from the opening minutes of the first episode (it actually took us four whole episodes to get there), it means we’re going into the final three episodes totally blind (except for an exciting tease we’ll get to in a moment). But the familiarity of this episode wasn’t primarily because of the trailers but because of The Mandalorian, as The Book of Boba Fett finally overlapped with the previous show via flashbacks. The episode really wastes no time jumping into it, taking us back to the season one episode where Din Djarin and Toro Calican hunt Fennec Shand. Boba is alerted to this encounter by the flares sent up into the night sky (the ones used by Djarin and Calican to disrupt Shand’s sensors), and he goes to investigate. This is what leads him to Fennec’s body, left for dead after being shot by Calican. Boba rescues Fennec and takes her to the Mods, where they save her life. I wasn’t even thinking about that happening, but when it did I thought “of course!” because it fits so well (even though the sequence of her being healed seemed like it dragged on far too long, which is becoming a bit of a recurring theme in this show). And it’s a nice tie-in to the Mods seen in the previous episode who were hired by Boba as well.
And from that point on, Boba and Fennec are a team – and for really the first true time in the series so far, Fennec really gets to shine. Boba wants to retrieve his ship but isn’t able to because of the guards, so Fennec helps him infiltrate Jabba’s Palace. This, in turn, led to some great moments in the kitchen of the palace, where the chef droid really stole the show and has now become an instant Star Wars icon. And it also saw the first live-action appearance of an LEP service droid, which first appeared in The Clone Wars and provide some great comedic relief. But as they attempt to retrieve Fett’s ship, Fennec really springs into action, taking on the pursuing guards all by herself while Fett gets the ship running. He’s rusty flying the thing, which is totally understandable given it’s been years, but they manage to retrieve it. And then, Boba settles the score with the Nikto bikers, getting revenge on them for killing the Tuskens… although I’m not sure we’ve seen the end of that. Fennec expresses surprise and skepticism that bikers could take out a group of Tuskens, and come to think of it, she’s right. Maybe this is what Jon Favreau was foreshadowing when he had the Tusken Chief and Boba have a conversation about how the Tuskens were actually warriors. But more likely, I think, is that the Pykes probably had something to do with it too – which would certainly add some emotional stakes to Boba’s coming fight with them.
After taking out the bikers, Boba heads to an even more dangerous enemy: the sarlacc pit. I was surprised to see him return there, but again, when it happened I found myself thinking “of course!” See, we know that as Boba got free of the sarlacc, Jawas took his armor away… but Boba doesn’t exactly know that, and what little he’d know happened in the wake of his torment in the beast, his exhaustion, and his being knocked unconscious by Jawas. Easy to see how he might not remember what happened exactly. Boba thinks the armor is still in the sarlacc pit! This makes sense, and it also addresses one of the biggest questions I wondered about coming into the series: why did it take him five years to retrieve his armor? Well, turns out he was with the Tuskens, and that he assumed his armor was still in the sarlacc pit! That would certainly help to explain it. And this sequence also addresses one of the changes made by George Lucas in the special edition of Return of the Jedi. Lucas added a beak to the sarlacc, which created some discrepancy at times. Well, here it is revealed that the sarlacc beak can be hidden or can emerge at different points, and it’s used as a jump scare in this episode. I thought the sequence of the sarlacc attacking the ship was great (and what exactly did you expect, Boba?), and Fennec dropping a seismic charge into it’s mouth to kill the beast was surely sweet revenge for Fett (though his deadpan, “don’t touch my buttons” was also perfect).
But that also all sets up what I think are the most important moments from the episode, which are the series of conversations that Boba and Fennec have that follow. First, as Boba climbs back out of the sarlacc after searching for his armor, Fennec basically tells him he doesn’t need it; she says it served a purpose, protected him from the acid of the beast, and is now not needed. But Boba goes on to say that he can’t take Jabba’s throne and overthrow Bib Fortuna without his armor, which helps explain why he’s so attached to it. In a sense, he’s probably right: his armor makes him recognizable and feared. But in another sense, Boba still hasn’t learned to embrace his new identity. He’s still looking to his armor to give him what he wants, rather than believing he’s already got what he needs. Fennec points out what we’ve all seen in the previous episodes. But Boba wants his armor and thinks he needs it to rule, which sheds a lot of light on him in the ‘present day’ of the story as well. As he’s trying to establish his throne, he thinks it’s his armor that’s going to do it.
The conversation between Boba and Fennec also leads to Boba explaining his ambitions, however, which is every bit as important. He’s done bounty hunting, and it’s because he’s tired of putting his life in danger working for scum who are simply idiots. Boba and Fennec were both about that life, and it led to them both being left for dead on the sands of Tatooine. He’s ready to quit bounty hunting and establish his family, ruling rather than taking jobs. And he wants Fennec to join him. She’s reluctant to get so wrapped up into it, and when Boba makes it clear that he wants her as his partner, she says the Tuskens have made him soft. Boba responds that it actually made him strong, as he realizes they all need a tribe. And therein, I think, is the best summary we’ve gotten to date about what this series is about. Everything Boba learned in the flashbacks and everything Boba is working toward in the present day is about establishing his tribe, his family. It’s the reason we keep seeing the flashbacks of a kid Boba on Kamino watching his dad leave – he’s never had this kind of family. And the Boba in the original trilogy was a loner, looking out only for himself, with any partnerships purely motivated by self-interest. Yet here Boba tells Fennec that if they partner up, he’ll give his life to protect her, should it come to that. This is a different Boba Fett than we’ve seen, and it’s precisely because Boba now sees the importance and value of belonging to a family. That’s his motivation. That’s what this series is about. And that’s what I think Boba’s continuing narrative arc will continue to be about.
So anyway, in the present day Boba continues to build his team. He hires Black Krrsantan, and then strikes a tenuous agreement with the other crime leaders to not ally themselves with the Pykes. I’m guessing the sequence with Krrsantan was more important than we realize now, because it very intentionally showed us the Wookiee’s disgust for Trandoshans. That’s been hinted at previously, but now it’s clear. He doesn’t like them, and he doesn’t listen to Garsa’s attempts to get him to stop either. Could this be setting the stage for the arrival of another Trandoshan, one whom Boba has worked with before, like, say, Bossk?
The reason I say that is because, at the end of the episode, Fennec mentions that money can buy them muscle if they know where to look. Which suggests that Boba is going to recruit some allies for the fight. But regardless of whether Bossk or others might show up, the episode basically tells us point blank that one bounty hunter in particular is coming: Din Djarin. As Fennec says this, Mando’s theme begins playing, and I think it’s such a testament to these showrunners that they’ve managed to make a character and a musical theme that are already so iconic that this tease feels as significant as any ‘legacy’ character appearing. I was genuinely thrilled when I heard it, and it basically confirms what has been rumored, that Din will be making an appearance in this series. And I’m also thinking that this helps us see how The Book of Boba Fett will tie-in to the connected stories to come. I expect Din Djarin to help Boba Fett defeat the Pykes and claim Tatooine, and in return I expect Boba Fett to help Din Djarin in his quest to liberate Mandalore. And going a bit further, I think that would really help continue the theme of this series too: in The Mandalorian, a big deal was made about Fett’s not being a Mandalorian. But I’m of the opinion that Din softened on that a bit as it went on, and there is much that unites Din and Boba: they both were facing death and were rescued by a tribe who took them in and made them one of their own. For Din it was the Mandalorians, and for Boba it was the Tuskens. They have more in common than one might think, even if Boba isn’t a true Mandalorian by blood or by creed.
But anyway, I’m getting ahead of myself. This was a strong episode, and one that I really enjoyed. Even though we knew much of what was going to happen, I think it gave us just enough action, some really fun and exciting sequences, and some vitally important dialogue – and one heck of a tease. I can’t wait for next week!