Kevin Tancharoen directs his first episode of a Star Wars series but is no stranger to directing action scenes, helming episodes of Agents of SHIELD, Arrow, Iron Fist, and Warrior. “The Gathering Storm” gives some much-needed explanation of Boba Fett’s (and Fennec’s) motivations. After “The Streets of Mos Espa” where Boba loses his Tusken tribe, the ex-bounty hunter runs into a kindred spirit in Fennec Shand where we last left her for dead in The Mandalorian “The Gunslinger.”
The two create a bond, perform a heist, almost get eaten, kill some bikers, and gather more allies in a fun episode that has a little of everything. And we leave the bacta flashbacks behind as Boba is fully healed and ready for war:
The Practical and Special Effects Rise to the Occasion
Boba has a lot to celebrate in this episode, but Star Wars fans have even more reason to celebrate: From the very beginning with Boba’s journey on the bantha to Black Krrsantan, the combination of practical and CGI effects in this episode was some of the best so far in Star Wars streaming. We see more of a bantha puppet in action, including a tail wag and chewing as Boba bonds with another animal. Later we get three different droids in a kitchen scene, including the first live-action appearance of the LEP servant droid. The rat-catching droid was first introduced in Star Wars: The Clone Wars film, and it translated perfectly (from the way it walks to its antenna movements). We revisit the Sarlacc pit and get a view from inside of Boba’s ship, seeing the beak come out in a fantastic scene as Boba and Fennec drop a seismic charge into its mouth.
Then we get a well-lit Black Krrsantan fight when he sees Trandoshans having fun and gambling. For context, Trandoshans and Wookiees do not get along because Trandoshans have a history of hunting and terrorizing Wookiees. Krrsantan, as a former gladiator, would be familiar with the worst of the Trandoshans. The stare-down he gives these three poor Trandoshans before raining pain upon them is priceless. And the eyebrows (which are either CGI or animatronic) being so expressive really sell Krrsantan as a threat. I could see a world where Black Krrsantan, because of those expressions, becomes more popular than Chewie. But we still need to see more of him before that happens.
The entire special effects team delivered this episode to make this world feel as real as the Original Trilogy. Even the way Fennec’s probe droid moved through the palace felt real in that space. Hopefully, this quality will continue to the end of the series.
Cyber Mod Squad
Boba takes Fennec to a mod parlor in the middle of the Tatooine desert to save her life. It is probably the place where the Mod Squad got all their specifications, and here we get to see more (including a gentleman who had both his eyes replaced with cybernetic eyes). There are some interesting parallels with cybernetic, human hybrids, and droids in this show that will be fun to explore more when this season wraps. While the Mod Squad felt more jarring in Chapter Three, the group that occupies the mod parlor fits more into the environment, while still standing out as Tatooine Street Culture. But medical capabilities are confusing in Star Wars. How can someone perform surgery (removing the insides of a person and replacing them with cybernetics) out in the open with sand particles floating around? I hope the mod parlor owner (played by electronic-soul artist, Thundercat) also has security because his shop (and all the cyber parts inside) seems like one big target.
The whole Mod culture of Tatooine is probably Robert Rodriguez’s influence, but we will get a better understanding in a Disney Gallery episode. Overall, it is cool that Star Wars has progressed enough as a franchise to introduce elements like Tatooine’s youth culture (that would 100% exist in this universe). And it would make sense that young people stuck on a desert planet would be so attracted to the promise that technology brings that they would “improve” themselves with it. And it is not out of the realm of possibility for our world. After all, there is The LUKE Arm in honor of the human-cyber hybrid, Luke Skywalker.
The Cooks in the Kitchen
As we go back in time again, Boba reflects on the bounty hunting life that got him thrown in the Sarlacc pit and the life he could have had as a member of the Tusken tribe. After Boba rescues Fennec, he mentions killing Bib and taking the throne. When they recover his ship, he goes into more detail about his motivations:
“How many times have you been hired to do a job that was avoidable? If they only took the time to think. How much money could have been made? How many lives could have been saved?…
I’m tired of our kind dying because of the idiocy of others. We’re smarter than them. It’s time we took our shot.”– Boba Fett, The Book of Boba Fett Chapter 4: The Gathering Storm
So there we have it. The wrong cooks are in the kitchen. Boba Fett sees dysfunction in the criminal underworld and thinks he can improve it. Perhaps he will be proven right, but it has turned out to be harder than he thought. And now with the Pykes getting ready for war, Boba and Fennec must remove more “cooks” from getting involved by having a family dinner.
Boba invites the three families referenced in the last episode, the Trandoshans, the Aqualish, and the Klatoonians, to his palace to break bread and call a truce. Boba asks the three families to remain neutral if the Pykes approach them about betraying him. Of course, he uses intimidation tactics with his new rancor to emphasize his point. In the end, Boba tells Fennec that he believes they will act in their own self-interest, which is to help get the Pykes off Tatooine by remaining neutral. But they do, however, need more muscle to defeat the Pykes.
Something Mando This Way Comes
This brings us to the last shot of the episode as we hear the unmistakable theme of The Mandalorian. We already knew from previous reports that there will be a connecting event across shows. A Pyke threat might be part of that event, although this seems like this will be resolved by the end of the season. Perhaps this is a way to introduce the new world of Boba Fett to Mando who might run into the new crime boss again in The Mandalorian season three. Along with Mando, we could also see Bo Katan and Koska Reeves as he currently wields the Darksaber. We could also see other bounty hunters given his conversation with Fennec. Boba has already recruited Black Krrsantan so he could bring others to his side. Cad Bane is not out of the realm of possibility. Whoever appears along with Mando could have implications for other shows in the Mandalorian Streaming Universe (MSU).
And The Book of Boba Fett needs to draw upon the MSU (even though it is still only two shows). The Mandalorian brand is the signature brand not just of Star Wars, but of Disney Plus, so the more elements that can be brought in from The Mandalorian, the better.
Boba Fett, Fennec Shand, the Mod Squad, Black Krrsantan, the rancor, the Gamorreans, Mando, and unknown others are going to battle against the Pykes. Next week will likely set up those other allies, but we also need more time with Jennifer Beals’ Garsa Fwip. She had one scene this episode trying to talk Black Krrsantan out of ripping the arms off of a Trandoshan. I was expecting more from her, so I hope she plays a more significant role moving forward as war breaks out in Mos Espa.