The Book of Boba Fett crosses the mid-season mark at a snail’s pace. The show has superb visual effects, great action, and solid character development… but moves like molasses dripping backward. Showrunner and writer Jon Favreau is clearly building an arc that extends beyond the initial seven-episode run. We see Boba Fett (Temuera Morrison) and the bad-assed Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen) consolidate power on Tatooine, while flashing back to his escape from the Sarlacc Pit and the events immediately after.
The problem resides in a leisurely doling out of the narrative. The Mandalorian hit like a freight train with crisp and rapid storytelling. We didn’t learn Grogu’s name until season two, but the characters were always advancing. The Book of Bob Fett uses a specific flashback mechanism. As Boba sleeps and heals in his bacta tank, he remembers his childhood on Kamino and rescue by the Tusken Raiders. This was interesting at first, but then took over entire episodes where the present situation took a backseat. Obviously, we need to find out how Boba got to this point in time, but forward progress became stagnated.
The scenes with Boba and Fennec asserting control over Tatooine are the highlights. Chapter Three: The Streets of Mos Espa introduces his gang of cyborg, speeder-racing youths, and the savage Krrsantan. The Wookie attacks Boba in his bacta tank. Then is captured by a team effort from the cyborgs, gamorrean guards, and Fennec. Boba ends up releasing Krrsantan before a visit from the Hutt twins. They give him a pet rancor that Boba plans to ride. These developments show Boba gaining legitimate muscle. Krrsantan, an ass-kicking beast, now owes him a favor.
Chapter Four: The Gathering Storm shows how Boba rescued and saved Fennec. She was shot in the stomach and left for dead on the Dune Sea. He gets her modified by a tech who replaces her guts with machinery. This is critical exposition, but handled too easily. Also, Fennec doesn’t have much dialogue. She’s a lethal enforcer, but says very little. Her monologue to the crime families of Mos Espa at the episode’s conclusion was great. It was the first time she spoke more than a handful of lines. I honestly expected more from Fennec. Anyone watching The Bad Batch and The Mandalorian knows she’s freaking awesome. I’m hoping her presence is significantly ramped up for the remaining three episodes.
There has to be a degree of fan service to please the legion of Star Wars worshippers. Chapter One: Stranger in a Strange Land faced this criticism. I liked the premiere. No one expected scenes from Kamino and Boba as a young clone. But that excitement is somewhat deflated by the long flashback storyline with the Tuskens in Chapter Two: The Tribes of Tatooine. The deep dive in Tusken Raider life was interesting but dragged on. There needed to be a more balanced approach with the past and present.
The Book of Boba Fett ends Chapter Four with the distinct musical theme from The Mandalorian. Could Din Djarin and Bo-Katan aid Boba in the coming battle with the cunning Pykes? In Star Wars lore the Pykes are a ruthless alien syndicate that controls the spice trade. We learn they are the big baddies trying to take over Tatooine. Boba will need heavy hitters to take them down. Jetpack and Beskar armored warriors would certainly be helpful.
I hope the concluding episodes are action-packed and swift. There’s no reason to backpedal. Put the bacta tank in storage. The Book of Boba Fett should be full throttle with all characters on deck. Boba is healed and gearing up for an epic showdown. Jon Favreau should unleash him with a more talkative Fennec by his side. The Book of Boba Fett is a production of Lucasfilm. Episodes premiere every Wednesday on Disney+ until February 9th.
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