If you hoped things were going to get better for episode 2 of Book of Boba Fett I’ve got some mixed news for you. It’s not as bad as last week, but it was super slow. It seems to have course corrected a little and is no longer on as much of a LOKI-like Trajectory (for the moment) but- its still just not that good. It’s even a bit dull and self important here and there. This episode was consumable and mostly inoffensive- which is pretty uncommon for Star Wars stories these days. That’s the most positive way I can think of to say it.
It seems we’re not going to be doing any planet hopping in this show and Boba Fett again just acts like a dumber Batman. Episode 2 is about 70% flashback. Most of that is Boba talking to the nonverbal Sand People like they’re Scooby-Doo or Lassie. It still beats last week’s episode as far as entertainment, though. It has some fun in the middle but its not the smartest story. It had a couple of ok moments, but maybe the best ones come courtesy of Attack of the Clones.
Boba Fett’s successes in this episode are because his opponents aren’t what we’re told and also very stupid. The ‘fearless assassin’ Fennec captured breaks in seconds due to the threat of the Rancor- a creature that’s dead about 6 years this point.
For context on how dumb people are in this galaxy- the infamous Rancor was killed by Luke Skywalker, destroyer of the Death Star and the most notable person from this planet in the last half century. We’ve found out in the Mandalorian that some people who saw it, like Bib Fortuna, survived for years. Since 1997’s theatrical re-release we’ve all known the people of Tatooine celebrated the Fall of The Empire when it happened. In Mandalorian we see the moment they find out via mass broadcast of video showing the end of the Battle of Endor.
We can be pretty sure everyone knows that Luke, one of the founders of the New Republic, killed Jabba’s Rancor and a lot of other people like a week before this.
This was just dumb. Beating on him until he talks was the sensible move, he commands no respect. He looks like a bad Mortal Kombat cosplayer. His faction name is forgettable and he’s just not tough. If he was what they said? We got some Enhanced Interrogation to do- but this is a Disney show. I can’t tell if they were trying to make this funny or if they considered showing us the rancor cave cool fan service. Who was happy to see a cave again? It was awkward and weird, not cool.
We meet some new characters. Two Hutts who are potential rivals to Boba show up with their enforcer- a Wookie. Hes dark with some gray hair and sports the stupidest WWE style Star Wars gear ever topped off with a forgettable Boss Gun. He could be Chewies sidekick from Revenge of the Sith for all I know.
I hate to admit this; but all wookies who aren’t Chewie look the same to me. Den of Geek says the scene is an Easter Egg and this is actually a character from comics – ‘The Hutt twins’ Wookiee bounty hunter is Black Krrsantan, key character in Marvel’s Doctor Aphra series’. I dont know if I’d call that an Easter Egg. Sounds like ‘a Reveal’ to me, but I guess we’ll see. He seems a legit threat, sort of. He has perhaps 20 seconds of screen time he spends sort of posing. This would have been cool going forward if they hadn’t all immediately committed to talking things out later. I really would have preferred a preliminary brawl here, but they just work it out – for now.
The assassin quickly and easily gives up the identity of the assassin’s employer because he’s stupid. The mayor was behind last week’s near fatal attack. Our hero heads to the Mayor’s place for a talk but he’s acting more like a cop then a criminal. He first makes sure to state he is not going to retaliate in anger or be violent. He’s more like a tough, confrontational shrink when he’s dealing with people these days. He’s never meaner than the professional drug addiction therapist from The Intervention when he talks to people.
The Mayor was at least a pretty cool looking well done alien. He’s of the same species as Hammerhead and its been a while since we’ve seen any creatures of his type.
He definitely seems to have sent the assassins. He also seems to have gained a measure of respect for Boba- for no real reason. Last week Boba was nearly killed in the street by weak minded wimps. It was Fennec who fended them off. The Mayor could have just wasted Boba outright when his boys kill the guy who ratted them out. Boba Fett doesn’t have Beskar armor. Just kill him! Also, the lobby of the Mayor’s office looked super cheap. It has a feel similar to Star Trek The Next Generation as far as sets and costumes. It looks like TV. It’s just not cinematic.
Then we go into the past via the the Bacta Pod for the rest of this very slow vaguely Batman-like episode. In Episode 2 we really just check in on the current timeframe and then focus on events that seem to start right after the death of Jabba. The timeframe flips between the end of Attack of the Clones, the opening of Return of the Jedi and the current Mandalorian Timeframe. It’s not confusing so much as mildly disconcerting knowing could segue to any of these moments at any time.
In the bacta pod flashback we see Boba training with his new Sand People pals. Then we see a cantina where the Lizard-y Biker faction are just being Road Warrior-style baddies and messing with people. Boba beats them all up easily in a random act of kindness, has a quick drink and splits. Its slightly out of context, but it sets up this week’s episode as he now has several cool speeder-bikes.
This week is mostly about daily life for the Sand people and they’re different now. Republic Era Sand People seem to have taken an evolutionary leap in their mental capacity. It expands on the changes we first saw in The Mandalorian and we’ll need to ponder just how human they are from now on.
They had seemed to have about an iron tech level, a vaguely tribal culture and were called inhuman by even the good guys. They tortured Shmi Skywalker to death for no real reason. Not even Padme is all that put off by just killing them. We’ve had implications for the OT and the Prequels in each of the two episodes of this show. This one is less bad, but does change a lot of characters in both trilogies into true cynics.
That the Sand People just live with the threat of the train and never figured out how to strike back or avoid it until Boba Fett shows them is a little weird. Some Sand People were game to fight a Krayt Dragon last year in the Mandalorian. They even helped organize a successful plan. Fight or flight is basic. If they can figure out tactical engagements and speeders; wouldn’t they know something even squirrels would know? Specifically – run away? While Boba does give them new tech, its so quick it’s like they just have enough points to level up and immediately master it. I wouldn’t mind if they’d cut some of the 8 or 9 minute ‘becoming a sand person’ montage we end with for more of this.
They didn’t give this training sequence near enough time. They blow off showing them learning and having various degrees of success leading to some mastery. Seems our hero is now just a natural mentor. They get it right away. It could have been charming. We’ve spent a few minutes just observing our hero semi-comatose immersed in water, so you just wish they’d gone with this longer. They used their time terribly.
For no clear reason this tribe sticks close to some kind of a pathway for a hover train. This leaves them perpetually in danger. The randos who guard the train use them for target practice, rather impressively too. The train hovers maybe a half meter above the desert and looks sort of bland. They call it a train, so I will too. It moves at maybe 30 miles an hour and seems to tops out around 60.
The Sand People/ Tuskens accepted Boba Fett last week. In Episode 2 he’s already gameplanning an innovative defense from a clear but avoidable threat by teaching the Sand People to use the Speeder-Bikes, tech that’s stymied them for at least 50 years.
Our hero’s finally found some people dumber than him and he’s ready to lead! Boba’s plan is an old western-y style train robbery. He gives the Sand People the old Head Coach style Half-Time Talk and all too quickly teaches them how a speeder-bike works.
The train robbery is nearly as dumb as the one in SOLO, but a little bit more fun because it’s just Bat Fett. While there’s just no reason for people with their kind of flight tech to use this train to haul stuff around. There’s many guards and it seems pretty costly. The episode simply needed a threat, so they basically recycled some stuff from season two of the Mandalorian. Fans will realize what episode it’s from fast.
They attack and disable the train with their new capacities. The randos on board are now terrible shots and the biggest problem is the persistent droid controlling this thing. In due time they disable and capture the train with most of the alien baddies on board at only the cost of a few speeder-bikes.
Then comes an all too expected move. The now deeply altruistic ex-bounty hunter opts to give the guards a good stern talking to. He also supplies them before orienting them and sending them home. It’s way out character for Sand People to accept this. They try to kill people who are just walking around. The defender’s of the train should have all gone out like Custer! They’re fundamentally changed now, they’re not vengeful in this victory and take their cues from Boba. They don’t even beat anyone up.
The Sand People have suffered from this thing seemingly for years, but they allowed their weird new friend the Sarlacc puked out days ago let the killers who guard it and shot them just go? They’ve surely killed a LOT of Sand People over the years. I guess unlike in this Galaxy, in Star Wars being a biker brings out all your best qualities, but ok. This recontextualization is still a little hard to assess.
Boba also sells the train guards “Protection” from his band of sand people for any future journeys. So these bad guys will probably be back. At least Boba Fett is now something of a racketeer. This is the first vaguely criminal thing the aspiring crime lord has done in his own show about being a crime lord. The prisoners never seemed in danger after last week either. At least we had some fun for a while.
Turns out the train is full of Drugs from Kessel, which they wisely keep and use. The Tuscen’s love having captured so much water too. They promptly waste this like idiots, but hey, its the first shower ever for these guys. Everyone is very happy despite the death and misery this train had caused them caused for countless months if not years. They could have had the Sand People burn their dead and seem sad if they wanted to develop them. Watching a small funeral pyre would have beat this bad ending.
For nearly 10 minutes its like ironic Douglas Addams meets ironic Oliver Stone in a weird sequence where Boba becomes an equal in the tribe. So at least he’s not their leader (yet?). These particular sand people also like Drugs. In a brief moment of actual comedy they lend our hero a pet lizard (which looked like a common anole). Then they blow some space pixie dust in Boba’s face and the lizard jumps up his nose chasing the drugs. I guess it’s kind of like a Trippy Babble Fish. For a while he’s sort of reverse ‘chasing the dragon’ here and he “trips.” I just want to know how sand people figured this out since they keep their faces perpetually wrapped, but he sure trips hard. All the way back to Attack of the Clones at one point and this sequence wasn’t bad. Some of its appropriated right from movies and cut scenes.
The Tripping Sequence is (accidentally?) reminiscent of The Doors movie peyote trip sequence, but with Boba alone. There’s a tree and some other stuff. Later he returns to his pals… wiser I suppose. In a nice piece of continuity the lizard jumps out of his nose back into its little cage again. It was cute. I hope the lizard tripped too.
Then the episode really slows down. For about 9 minutes we listen to droning music and see a Tuscen Makeover. We end with Boba and the sandpeople ritually dancing to music only the audience can hear in a half yoga- half jumping around drunk dance scene. It was bad.
Some scenes were superficially touching the edge of Prequel level quality, but that’s just because they were in or cut from Attack of the Clones. Its the work of George Lucas re-edited.
Everything in town that actually looks like Star Wars LOOKS very Prequels. This boring episode is only ok. Maybe. Once again the droid voiced by Toast of London actor Matt Berry is featured, glad he got paid.
I’ll be pondering this weeks installment and updating- feel free to comment if I missed something or if you just have a question or point.
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