Rolling in to Episode Five of Book of Boba Fett the show veers away from everything that’s happened until now and rejoins The Mandalorian in a pretty good cold open. Mando’s got the beskar spear and the dark saber he picked up last season. He’s pretty badass and looking to outright kill people if they get in his way- like a real bounty hunter.
The open is pretty violent and Mando quickly racks up a few kills including one particularly brutal boss kill of the person he’s after. We hear that the dispute was all over money. After a lot of nothing for four episodes it was a nice change. We can also see Mando’s not wielding the darksaber all that well since he injures himself in the leg using it.
The action takes place on an interesting looking new world and Mando seems to have a severed head in a bag. He limps to meet the people who hired him for this job. Like most characters in this world he makes sure to say he doesn’t want any money, just some information- directions to an access shaft. This is something that seems kind of discoverable, but hey we got an action scene. He’s confident this will lead him to some characters we sort of know.
In short order he’s located our old friend the Armorer and some chungus from his former coven of Mandalorians. The three of them appear to be all that’s left.
They fix the wound Mando accidentally gave himself- which seems like something that he could have done off screen. We have to wonder why his self preservation instinct isn’t on par with a Terminator or Predator- who self repair first chance they get. They decide to scrap the beskar spear (that would seem to be worth a star destroyer based on what we’ve heard). Some of it will be made into a gift for Grogu (that we do not see).
The Armorer tells a pretty sad but only just so specific tale of the Fall of Mandalore and something called the Night of a Thousand Tears. We see a real cool montage of TIE Bombers just beating hard on the planet as she speaks. Then we see a bunch of KSO type droids gunning people down. I was under the impression they were designed for a more technical/ protocol kind of role. Its HARD to imagine the Empire using them as ground troops. It may be only to let us know this is happening early in the Original Timeline or it could be a mistake. The Empire is notoriously anti-droid, to the point it doesn’t have them on their fighters despite the obvious benefit.
In a real moment of dumb, The Armorer is able to assess Mando’s wound without ever turning her head to so much as look at him. In a training sequence that’s at least better than anything in the sequels we see the Armorer and Mando sort of work out why he’s so bad with this weapon. Seems he just a bit unfocused – which makes the weapon into an impediment of sorts. What this says about Moff Gideon using it so well is hard to know.
For no real reason there’s a non fatal fight between Mando and the Chungus to see if Mando gets to keep the Dark Saber. Mando wins this trial by combat, but since he’s taken off his helmet it means he has to go on another fetch-quest. He has to go to dead planet Mandalore and cleanse himself in a sacred pool that should no longer exist. Thats it for this interesting new world that seems to be an enormous, habitable ring in space. We’re now off to Tatooine where things really slow down, again.
We run into Amy Sedaris. Its nice she’s getting paid. She and her Strangers with Candy crew of droids help build Mando a familiar new ship from pre-Empire scrap. We spend the rest of the episode pimping mando’s ride. The result is a slightly modified Naboo fighter.Then he shakes it down in Beggars Canyon in a scene Star Wars video games and Phantom Menace fans will love. I found it pretty enjoyable.
Along the way we have some context and damage repair on the last episode of the Mandalorian- The Rescue. We don’t have Cara Dune around anymore to explain things- so Mando sort of just recounts to the other two remaining members of the coven that he’s had quite the adventure. In return they tell him a few things about the Dark Saber. The cutlass like blade is pretty old and made of better beskar than anyone’s seen. It has some relevance to the Jedi as well as the Mandalorians.
To get a better show we just stepped completely away from the events of Book of Boba Fett; we simply have an episode of the Mandalorian. It was at least interesting, if slow. Building the ship was pretty boring, but the shakedown cruise was fun.
In the world of lore we get a new way to travel… sort of. Mandos new ship- which still seems a one man fighter unsuitable to Bounty Hunters bringing anyone in alive- can do a sub hyperspace jump that can apparently evade an X-Wing. We also found out that the Dark Saber- which Moff Gus had no issues wielding- is progressively more useless when Mandalorians themselves use the weapon they made.
When Mando uses the Dark Saber theres a new aspect along the lines of Thors Hammer Mjolnir- some kind of component best described as “worthiness.” Mando can only sort of use it and it gets heavier and heavier as combat goes on. It’s hard to say if it’s a Force -related trait of the weapon.
We also find out that Mando had turned Moff Gideon over to the New Republic. We don’t get much more, but it seems Mando has some clue now that he gave Grogu to Luke. This isn’t directly said though. He just says the minimum.
According to Mando Moff Gideon is looking at a possible death sentence from the Republic. Mando also expresses he wants to see Grogu again and could care less about Jedi ways. This might not be a problem for Luke. If Luke’s like we saw in the old EU material he’s currently rethinking how Jedi should operate and be trained. One lingering mystery is why Mando overlooks money a couple of times but is too strapped for a better ship. We get a line that the ships “off the grid” since its pre-empire. It sure looks just like Anakins. Why no one would recognize a Naboo Fighter or have its specs on record isn’t addressed. They make sure to tell us its Hyperspace capable though.
We had a much better episode that was less dull despite little really happening. The show is still paced very slowly but this is the first sort of rewatchable, least cringe-y episode. This would be better news if it involved the title character. The only regular cast member in this episode is Fennec, briefly.
We also get a break from The Mods and other all too familiar factions that we’ve become quickly tired of. This is just an episode of the Mandalorian with a Book of Boba Fett epilogue. The things that make it better may not carry over to next episode, where it seems like we’re destined to play out the events that have been set in motion in Mos Espa.
We do get a good two very enjoyable sequences but there’s still some things that don’t add up.
The biggest issue to me was ‘why does Mando still want to be friends with the sect of Mandalorian’s he hangs with when he has been told they are extremist throwbacks and have issues with the idea he’s taken his helmet off? It would have been more satisfying if he had pulled off the Chungus’ helmet and then confronted the Armorer with just how backward and dumb other Mandalorians think their ideas are. Instead he just accepts the new fetch quest. He doesn’t really hang out with his friends much nor do they seem to really like each other. Mando just can’t make black-belt in this dojo even after prevailing in a fight. Most people would take their cool new saber, sell the beskar spear or make whatever he has them make for Grogu himself and ditch these judgmental losers.
There’s a couple of scenes we could have lost, because this wouldn’t be Book of Boba Fett without that- but less than any other week. There was no point at all in Mando checking his luggage for instance. As always people only want to shoot at his invulnerable armored areas. Leaving the scene of his bounty-kill Mando tells the rando’s who are no match for him to take all the money laying around in the office as a tip for just leaving him alone and turns down more money from the people he did the opening hit for. He really needed a ship more like his old one for his line of work, we’ll have to wait and see how long this ship sticks around for. This show developed and scrapped things already. Because of that we just have no idea what the ship creation sequence is for. This thing could be his new ship for a few seasons or get blown up next week. It may have all been just to fill time.
The line about how the astro droids slot has been refitted into something else sort of reminded me that Mando now has no sidekick of any kind and no one to talk to when he needs to make a verbal point for the audience. The idea Mando waits a few hours for First Aid he can and should be able to do himself shows he’s still not the smartest or most well equipped guy. I guess this is in character.
We end with a reminder that this show is about Boba Fett when Fennec shows up and recruits Mando to the cause in the last minute of the episode.
And with that we seem ready to jump back into Mos Espa for episode Six.
Til Next Time!