Sometimes you must take one step back to leap forward.
While last week’s episode spent most of the time in the past with the Tuskens, this week Boba Fett has his feet firmly planted in the present. It is an odd episode in many ways, but it does set the stage for interesting conflicts to unfold in the third act of the series:
The Exposition Dump
The episode starts with a briefing on the state of Mos Espa since Jabba the Hutt’s demise. We learn that Bib Fortuna divided the Mos Espa amongst three families: the Trandoshans, the Aqualish, and the Klatoonians. Spoiler alert: none of these families factor into the episode. We have already seen Trandoshans peppered throughout the first two episodes but have not had any scenes with the Aqualish (of Ponda Baba fame) and the Klatoonians (of The Mandalorian episode “Sanctuary” fame). It is hard to believe this information would drop without a payoff in the latter half of this show so we will put a pin in it for now.
Because we get more exposition in the form of Stephen Root (of Office Space fame). He plays a water broker named Lortha Peel who tries to backhand insult Boba Fett into dealing with another street gang that has replaced specific human parts with cybernetics. My ears perked up when I heard this as cybernetics in Star Wars is a fascinating topic that should be explored more (I go into this further in my post about General Grievous). But this exposition dump does pay off in this episode.
Losing One Family
In a brief flashback and the only one in this episode, the Tuskens send Fett to Mos Eisley to collect payment from the Pykes. However, the lead Pyke on Mos Eisley gives Fett the runaround and tells him they are not paying two parties for protection and that the Kintan Striders (the gang from the first two episodes) have already collected payment. Boba heads back to the Tusken camp, vowing to deal with the Kintans, only to find the camp, Tuskens, and Banthas wiped out. The Kintans tagged a charred tent so Boba can wreck them, but it all feels too convenient for the Pykes. As we see later in the episode they are willing to play dirty in complete contrast to Boba’s philosophy. This event might also be the catalyst for him seeking out his armor from Mando and taking out Bib and laying claim to Mos Espa. He could be planning to take out the Pykes.
The Tuskens’ murder to further Boba’s development seems unnecessary. However, while we see the body of the Tusken Chief, we do not see the Tusker Warrior, who could still be alive. I hope some of them escaped and we see them again in Boba Fett’s present. Otherwise, that might be it for them in flashbacks.
If that is the last we see of them, they deserved better.
But Gaining an Army
But in business (and crime), it is a game of losses and gains. The street gang, who Peel refers to as “insolent youths” turn out to be kids, out of work, who only stole the water because Peel overcharges. Like Peel, they do not seem to respect Fett either until he pays off the broker and offers them work. Boba is slowly gathering his forces.
This is the second biker gang we have seen in this show and, while the Kintan fit the world of Tatooine, this street gang is jarringly out of place. Everything from their costume design to their colorful bikes feels off, and in some cases (like certain cybernetics and the bikes), feel cheap. I will give points for attempting a British mod and youth culture/ Star Wars fusion, but it needs more fine-tuning. I remain cautiously optimistic about them and look forward to learning more.
And, like the Gamorrean guards, the gang appears to be loyal, helping Boba out with a tete a tete with Black Krrsantan (we’ll get to that later) and alerting him to the Pykes arrival to Mos Espa. They just need a crime syndicate uniform change and they are good to go.
And that was not the only thing Boba gained this episode. The Twins visit Boba, admit to sending Krrsantan after her (but not the Order of the Night Wind), and tell him they are leaving Tatooine (and he should too). The territory has been promised to another Syndicate by Mok Shiaz. As a parting gift, the Hutts gift to Boba Danny Trejo…and a rancor. While it would have been nice to see a war with the Hutts play out, the CGI for the Hutts (which is the best yet) is probably more expensive than a war with the Pykes. But a rancor is even better. Like the Hutts, it looks more CGI than the practical effects from Return of the Jedi, but we are also getting a more sympathetic portrayal of the rancor than the one Luke killed (with Boba Fett watching by the way). And we will see Boba ride the calf before all is said and done. The only thing missing from Boba Fett’s arsenal is a Wookie gladiator.
Black Krrsantan Gets to Shine…In the Dark
Amid his bacta tank rest/flashback, he gets yanked out of the tank and tossed around by the massive Wookie and a great battle scene where Santy faces down Boba, the Gamorrean guards, and the entire gang until Fennec shows up and traps him in the rancor pit. What took everyone so long to come to Boba Fett’s aid should be addressed, but it is not (a crime boss should not be that vulnerable at night without security). Still, it opened the door for this showdown which was the best thing in the episode. The only thing better would be if the fight was during the day so the action could be seen better. I hope this is not the only action scene involving Santy and that he returns for one last battle on team Boba. And Black Krrsantan does officially get named dropped by Fennec over a delicious looking buffet of food.
Even though I enjoyed the action scenes in Rodriguez’s The Mandalorian episode “Chapter 14: The Tragedy” (and even more impressive that he was brought in on short notice), the action during his episodes has been lacking. Watching a thrilling train sequence and then following up with a weird go-cart race through Mos Espa killed some momentum from this show because we are probably not going to see another train scene, but we will see those absurdly colorful bikes again.
Danny Trejo is always a joy to watch, and he fits right in with Star Wars. It was not a matter of if, but when we would see him but happy that he is Boba Fett’s Malakili. He even dropped some canon knowledge with the Nightsisters of Dathomir (where the rancors are from).
Other than Black Krrstantan, Danny Trejo, and the wonderful score by composer Joseph Shirley, this episode was a step back in action and character design. But story progression, it does look like we have the main conflict set in motion with the Pykes and the shifty Mayor Mok Shiaz. Let us see what Chapter Four takes us.