Thursday, January 27, 2022

The Book Of Boba Fett, Season 1, Episode 4: The Gathering Storm

OK now, that's more like it!

This week on The Book Of Boba Fett, we get an episode that's a major improvement over last week's embarrassment. Although to be fair, it would have been tough to come up with something worse than The Streets Of Mos Espa.

In this episode we see the origin story of Fett's partnership with Fennec Shand, and learn how he got his ship back as well. We even see a tiny glimpse of the old Boba Fett as he meets with the other crime lords of Mos Espa, and prepares for war with the Pyke Syndicate.

Best of all, there was no appearance from the Mods (Fett's gang of Dickensian street urchins). Although they did get a brief mention. Oy.

This episode also features numerous references to Attack Of The Clones. For some reason that film's become the dud of the series, as most fans consider it the worst of the Prequel Trilogy. I never understood that, as I found it the least objectionable of the three films. It's definitely better than the execrable The Phantom Menace!

There are also quite a few shoutouts to Return Of The Jedi this week as well. Eh, it wouldn't be Disney Star Wars without fan service callbacks!

Although I liked this episode quite a bit, I'm still questioning whether we actually NEED to see all this backstory. When Futt showed up over on The Mandalorian, he had Fennec Shand with him. At the time I thought, "Oh, he must have found her nearly dead body, took her to someone who installed plumbing in her gut and then she became his partner to pay off her debt." 

And lo and behold, that's EXACTLY what happened, as we saw here. Right down to the stage directions!

It doesn't exactly make for compelling viewing when a plot plays out PRECISELY as one predicted. I dunno, I just feel like big shot Hollywood writers should be able to come up with a more imaginative script than some schlub in Southern Indiana!


The Plot:
We kick right off with another flashback— the lengthiest one yet.

After the death of his Tusken tribe, Fett rides through the desert on his trusty Bantha. He sneaks up behind Jabba's Palace, which has now been taken over by the Hutt's former right hand man, Big Fortuna. He peers through his rifle scope, and sees dozens of guards milling around the rear entrance. Inside he can see his ship, the Slave-1, er, I mean Firespray. He decides there are too many guards to attempt taking it back.

That night Fett camps out under the stars. He sees a couple of flares in the distance, and rides off to investigate. He finds bounty hunter Fennec Shand lying in the sand, left for dead— an event we saw at the end of The Gunslinger episode of The Mandalorian.

Fett loads Fennec onto his Bantha and takes her to a mod parlor near Mos Eisley. He tosses the Modifier a bag of coins and tells him to fix her up. The Modifier goes to work, replacing Fennec's intestines with what appears to be galvanized plumbing. 

Later that night, Fett camps out again while Fennec recovers. She wakes, and he hands her a black melon to drink. She notices her shiny new cybernetic guts, and asks what the hell he did to her. He tells her he saved her life the best he could.

When she asks why, he says he recognized her as Fennec Shand of the Mid Rim. She assumes he saved her because she's worth more alive than dead, but Fett says he's not interested in money. She asks who he is, and when he tells her she says Boba Fett's dead. He says he was, but that the Tuskens rescued him and made them one of their own tribe— until he inadvertently got them all killed. 

Fett asks Fennec to help him get his ship from Bib Fortuna's Palace. She wonders why he doesn't just ask for it back (good question!), and he says he might not like the answer. She says she'll help him, but once she does her debt to him's paid.

The two check out the Palace, and Fennec asks how many guards there are. Fett says he can't tell for sure. Fennec sends a small drone inside the Palace to scope it out. While it's gone, Fett sends his Bantha away. Fennec asks if it's a good idea to get rid of his ride before he has his ship back. Fett says he'll either recover the ship or die trying.

Fennec asks what's next for Fett, and he says once he has his ship back he'll recover his armor, then go after the "bloated pig" who double-crossed him and take his throne. Not sure how Bib Fortuna betrayed him, but whatever. Fett says he's tired of working for others and wants to leave bounty hunting behind.

The drone returns and displays a holographic map of the Palace. Fett says there are too many guards, and Fennec says they'll just have to go in quietly then.

The two sneak in through a drainage culvert, and emerge through a grate in the kitchen. Two cooking droids hear them, assume it's vermin and alert the Rat Catcher Droid. Fett & Fennec disable the two droids, but just as they're about the exit, the Rat Catcher arrives. 

We then get a lengthy, over-the-top cartoony sequence as Fett tries to catch the tiny droid. He finally manages to grab it, and when it finds out who he is it commits electronic suicide by shutting itself off (!). 

Fett and Fennec eventually reach the hangar, where the Firespray's parked. Just then an alarm sounds. Fennec tells Fett to make sure the ship can still fly, so he rushes inside while she picks off a squad of guards that appear.

Fett powers up the ship and tries to take off, but thanks to its impractical design he can't see where he's going. He tells Fennec they need to open the hangar door. She jumps onto the ship's ramp and shoots the counterweight holding the door shut. It snaps open, and she closes the ramp just as Fett flies out of the hangar and into the sky.

Fennec joins Fett in the cockpit. He tells her she's repaid her debt, and asks where she wants to be dropped off. For some reason she tells him she'll go long for the ride.

Sometime later, the Nikto Biker Gang's zooming across the desert on their speeder bikes. The Firespray comes up from behind and Fett blasts them all into oblivion. So much for that story arc!

Fett then flies back to the Sarlacc pit, as he mistakenly thinks his armor's down inside it. For some reason he tries jamming the ship down the creature's throat, hoping to catch a glimpse of his armor.

To absolutely no one's surprise, the Sarlacc isn't dead yet, and lunges at the ship. It then grabs it with its tentacles and starts dragging it in even further. While Fett's trying to free the ship, Fennec launches a seismic charge, which falls into the creature's beak. A second later it detonates underground, finally killing the beast and releasing the ship.

Fett then lands the ship and lowers himself into the pit fo find his amor. After a while he climbs back out, reporting it's not inside (no surprise there!). Fennec says his armor served its purpose and saved him from being absorbed by the creature. 

That evening they camp out again, and Fett says he's tired of working for idiots and wants to form his own house. He tells Fennec she has both brains and muscle, and asks her to join him. She declines, saying she's an independent contractor. He says if she agrees, he'll share the wealth and power with her. She says living with the Tuskens has made him soft, and he replies that one can only get so far without a tribe.

Fett then wakes in the "present" and climbs out of his bacta tank. His droid servant congratulates him, and says he's now fully healed (even though his body is clearly still scarred). Fett asks Fennec how the Mayor's Majordomo is doing after they captured him last week. She says he's fully cooperating, but there's been no sign of the Mayor yet. She says the "Mods" (Fett's gang of Dickensian street youths) are out searching for him. 

Meanwhile at the Sancturay, a drunken Black Krrsantan seethes with anger as he watches a group of Trandoshans gambling and whooping it up. He takes it as long as he can and then attacks them. He grabs one and prepares to pull his arms out of their sockets, as Wookiees are known to do.

Just then Fett enters for no good reason. He watches as Garsa Fwip, owner of the Sanctuary, tries to calm Krrsantan and defuse the situation. In the end she's partly successful, as he only pulls off one of the Trandoshan's arms. Krrsantan pays Fwip and leaves. Fett follows him and offers him a job on his team.

Later at the Palace, Fett meets with the three local "families" that control Mos Espa— the Aqualish, the Trandoshans and the Klatoonians. Fennec reminds them that after Jabba died, Bib Fortuna took over his throne. He was a terrible leader, who tried to screw them over and take their wealth. She says with Fett now on the throne, they can once again be prosperous and powerful— IF they listen to him. 

Fett says the Pyke Syndicate is mustering troops in Mos Espa, and is planning on taking over the planet. The Trandoshan Leader says they're already making plenty of money buying and selling Spice from the Pykes. The Head Klatoonian wonders what's to stop them all from killing Fett.

With an amazing sense of timing, Fett's pet Rancor roars and sticks its claws through a grate in the floor. The visiting family heads realize they've been seated over the trapdoor to Fett's dungeon all along. This stops any talk about assassination.

The Aqualish Dignitary says so far the Pykes are only attacking Fett, and questions why they should get involved. Fett vows to rid the planet of the Pykes by himself, but asks that the other families remain neutral in the fight. They confer with one another and agree.

Later Fett & Fennec watch as the families leave. She asks if he trusts them, and he says of course not. He says his deal is better than what the Pykes are offering though, and they'll stick to their promise. Fett says they'll need more muscle if they're to defeat the Pykes in the coming war. Fennec says she knows just where to find it, as a snippet of The Mandalorian theme plays on the soundtrack.

• Jaysis, this was one of the darkest episodes of the series so far— and I don't mean in tone. The lighting was so dim I had to brighten most of the screencaps just so I could see what was going on.

• Appropos of nothing, "The Gathering Storm" may be one of the most generic titles I've ever heard. What is this, a Churchill documentary? And I thought "The Phantom Menace" was bland!

• As the episode opens, we see Fett scoping out the back of Jabba's/Bib's Palace, which apparently has a back door.

Although this is the first time we've seen this in live action, it's not without precedent. The door's featured in the Star Wars: Battlefront videogame, which I guess just became canon!

• Apparently Tatooine has three moons to go along with its two suns. Although this is news to me (and most people, I'd bet), it's been a part of the lore for years now. The three moons are called Ghomrassen, Guermessa and Chenini. Sure, why not.

• Pretty sure this episode marks the first time we've ever seen a Bantha's tongue too. Hopefully it'll be the last!

By the way, I brought this up last week, but it's worth a repeat. Why the hell would anyone ever bother riding a Bantha? They lumber along so slowly you could outpace one by lightly strolling along.

• While camping under the stars, Fett sees several flares off in the distance. These are the same lights seen in The Gunslinger episode in Season 1 of The Mandalorian. In it, Fennec Shand was trying to kill Manny and his new 
bounty hunting pal Toro Calican, and they set off the flares in an effort to blind her.

• Curious, Fett decides to check out the lights. He sees a body left for dead in the sand, which turns out to be Fennec Shand.

This shot is a repeat of the final scene of The Gunslinger, in which we saw a "Mystery Man" approach Fennec's motionless body. 

Note that this scene features a MAJOR and very obvious retcon. In the original version seen in The Gunslinger, there was a loud "jingling spur" sound effect every time the Mystery Man took a step— as if he was a cowboy who'd walked straight out of a Western.

The sound effect is noticeably absent when we see the scene again in this episode, as Fett most definitely isn't wearing spurs on his heels. What the hell?

Is it possible they really didn't know who the Mystery Man was when they shot The Gunslinger, and decided to figure it out later? Or did they know it was Fett, but hadn't nailed down his backstory yet, and inexplicably thought he'd be wearing spurs?

• For some reason, Fett picks up Fennec's body, throws her on the back of his Bantha and slowwwwwly takes her to a Mod Shop. Outside the shop we see an array of space millennials with very elaborate cybernetic enhancements.

This odd, voluntary Borgification is apparently a recent fad in the Star Wars Universe, because we've never seen it in any of the movies or other media till now. 

Even odder is the fact that these cyborg enthusiasts don't try to hide their new parts. That's definitely a new wrinkle, because in The Empire Strikes Back, Luke got a robot hand covered in artificial skin, indistinguishable from the real thing. 

Now just a few years later (in Star Wars time), there's a new wave of people who're deliberately altering themselves and proudly displaying their upgrades. I guess it's not impossible, but it's definitely strange. Changing tastes and all that, I guess!

• When Fett enters the Mod Shop, we hear techno music blaring in the background. So is this music playing in the actual shop, or is it just part of the show's soundtrack and only the audience can hear it? If it's being played "in universe," we've never heard anything remotely like it before in the Star Wars property.

• Based on the way he was filmed and the amount of screentime he got, it was obvious the Modifier here was a celebrity cameo. I'd never seen the guy before, so I had to look him up. Turns out he's played by "Thundercat," who I assume is some sort of rapper. That didn't help! I still don't know who the hell he is!

• The Modifier has a big clamp-like hand he can swap out for other models.

This grabby appendage appears to have come from a Super Battle Droid from the Attack Of The Clones era (one of this episode's many shoutouts to that film).

• The Modifier replaces Fennec's damaged guts with what appears to be an array of galvanized plumbing. I love how simplified surgery is in the Star Wars Universe. Huge chunks of skin & tissue can be removed without even a drop of blood, and there's no need for oxygen, plasma, sterile fields or even anesthesia! Convenient!

• After the operation, Fett takes Fennec back to his camp in the desert. She wakes sometime later, and he breaks open a black melon for her to drink. As he does so, some sort of gas or vapor pours out the top. Has that happened before? I don't remember seeing that in any previous episodes.

Fett tells her the liquid inside is bitter, which I don't think has been mentioned, and that after a while one starts to crave it. So black melon milk is addictive?

Nice Attention To Detail: All through this scene, Fett leans against his trusty Bantha, whose side is moving up and down as it breathes! Well done! It really does seem like a real creature!

• Fennec seems to accept the fact that she's now a cyborg verrrrry quickly. She looks down, gasps slightly at the pipes that've replaced her guts, and asks what the hell Fett did to her. He tells her he saved her life, and that's the end of it! That was easy! I guess she's not upset that she'll never be able to wear a bikini again.

• I was beginning to wonder just why Fett would give two hoots about Fennec and whether she lived or died, as well as why he'd go to so much trouble to save her life.

Apparently the script sensed my puzzlement, because it helpfully explained it in the campfire scene. Turns out Fett recognized Fennec, and realized she could help him recover his ship. OK, so that makes a certain amount of sense! It also proves there's still a bit of the old Fett in him, as he's not quite as altruistic as he first appeared!

• Fett tells Fennec how he was rescued by the Tuskens, and that they took him in and made him part of their tribe. He says, "I tried to help them. Instead I got them massacred by Nikto speed bikers." Fennec replies, "Speed bikers defeated Tuskens? That's highly unlikely."

So was that just a throwaway line to illustrate that the Niktos are a major threat? Or was it a setup for a future subplot? DID the Niktos really slaughter the Tuskens? Or did someone else do it to.... I dunno, punish Fett or something? The evidence definitely pointed to the Niktos, but it did happen offscreen after all. Stay tuned to find out.

• Fennec then asks Fett what's next for him. He replies, "I'm gonna find my armor. Then I'm gonna kill that bloated pig who double crossed me. Take his throne." A couple things here:

The "bloated pig" he's referring to here is Bib Fortuna, and Fett did indeed kill him and take his throne at the end of The Rescue over on The Mandalorian.

But how the heck did Fortuna betray him? As near as I can tell, Fett fell into the Sarlacc pit in the first act of Return Of The Jedi. Jabba's Sail Barge was then blowed up real good by Luke Skywalker, but Fortuna somehow survived the explosion. Fett managed to crawl out of the Sarlacc a couple hours later. He was then rescued by the Tuskens, and spent a couple years with them. In the meantime, Fortuna moved into Jabba's vacant Palace and took over his crime syndicate. 

I don't see any opportunity in all that for Fortuna to have betrayed Fett. The only way this line makes any sense is if there was an as-yet unseen incident before the events of Return Of The Jedi.

Oh, and by the way... in addition to rats, apparently there are now pigs in the Star Wars Universe as well! What the hell?

• Fennec asks Fett to help him recover his Firespray gunship. Sigh...

I brought this up last week, but it's worth a repeat. For decades now, Fett's trusty ship has been known as the Slave-1. I'm not sure if that name was ever uttered onscreen or not, but fans all knew it and it was used in all the toys, novels and comics.

But recently Disney announced that after forty plus years the name Slave-1 could not stand, because it has the troublesome "S" word in it. A word which gave SJWs icky bad feelings. So the name of the ship was changed to the Firespray.

Actually that's not quite true. According to Disney it's now a Firespray-31-Class Patrol And Attack Craft. Firespray is just the class of the ship. We actually don't know if it's still called Slave-1 or not. It's like Fett's calling the ship a Ford or Chevy.

Thing is, Firespray ain't any better than Slave-1, as it sounds like some sort of horrible space STD to me!

It would not surprise me if at some point in the season he re-christens the ship and gives it a new name— maybe even one that honors his late Tusken family.

As stupid as this all is, it's nothing new. Way back in the 1980s Kenner produced a Star Wars playset based on Darth Vader's ship The Executor. Company executives balked at using such a word as the name of a child's toy, and changed it to Darth Vader's Star Destroyer instead. So bullsh*t like this has been going on for over four decades now.

• Fennec then asks Fett the question that's on the audience's mind— Why he doesn't just march up to Fortuna's Palace, knock on the door and politely ask for his ship back? 

That's a damn good question! Fett tells her he considered it, but he might not like the answer, and without his armor he's not as persuasive as he once was.

Eh, nice try, writers, but we ain't buyin' it. We all know the real reason he doesn't just ask for the ship is so the episode can happen, and include an elaborate thirty minute heist sequence.

• In order to scope out the Palace, Fennec releases a little space drone that takes a peek inside. As my pal Ted Parsnips pointed out, it was nice of the designers of this piece of stealth tech to equip it with an array of bright red LEDs, to prevent it from being seen.

• When the drone returns to Fennec, it displays a holographic map of the Palace. Just as it should, it only shows the areas that it flew through! Well done!

• Hmm. It looks like the door to Jabba's Palace has grown again.

I covered this back in The Tribes Of Tatooine, but here goes again— when Return Of The Jedi came out in 1983, the door to Jabba's Palace was large, but not overly so. Maybe a hundred feet wide.

Then George Lucas began endlessly tinkering with the Original Trilogy, making pointless and baffling changes. In the 2011 blu ray release of Jedi, he inexplicably enlarged the door to truly ridiculous proportions, making it a good thousand feet wide.

In The Tribes Of Tatooine though, I noted that it looked like the door had shrunk back down to its 1983 proportions. Based on this scene, it looks like it's been embiggened again! Make up your mind, guys!

• Inside the Palace kitchen, we see a couple of familiar-looking droid models.

One's an EV unit, as seen in Return Of The Jedi. It's unclear if this is supposed to be EV-9D9 or not, as he (it?) was a torture droid. I guess he could have been reprogrammed for kitchen duty.

The other one's a cooking droid.

We saw this model back in Attack Of The Clones (one of this episode's many references to that film). It was on the transport ship when Anakin escorted Padme from Coruscant to Naboo.

By the way, I love that a lot of the droids in this series are actual practical robots, and not people in suits or CGI.

• Back in The Tribes Of Tatooine I said it straight up looked like an Earth rat in Fett's dungeon. This week that's confirmed, as one of the droids says he'll inform the Rat Catcher that the kitchen is infested.

Eh, I dunno guys... I don't think I like this sudden infestation of Earth animals in the Star Wars Universe. Up to now whenever they mentioned an animal it's always been "gundarks," "nerfs" and the like. Finding out they have terrestrial rats and pigs in this world makes it seem less alien and special.

• The Rat Catcher Droid chase went on far too long and was wayyyyy too cartoony for my tastes. In fact it strayed dangerously close to Looney Tunes territory. I get that little kids like Star Wars though, so... I'll allow it.

• Fett finally catches the Rat Catcher Droid, and when he tells it who he is, it's so terrified it reaches up and shuts itself off! Did... did that droid just kill itself rather than face his wrath? Jaysis! I think this is the first case of robot suicide we've ever seen in the franchise!

Note that this is a LEP Series Service Droid, a model which first appeared on The Clone Wars animated series. This is its first live action appearance.

• Fett & Fennec sneak into a hangar under the Palace, where the Firespray's being stored.

Note that this hangar, and much of the Palace interior, matches the version seen in the Star Wars: Battlefront videogame. Which again makes it canon!

• Once again we see that while the Slave-1, er, I mean the Firespray certainly looks cool, it's one of the most ridiculous and impractical spaceship designs in the Star Wars Universe. Since the ship flies vertically, it has to land in a horizontal position. This means the pilot has to awkwardly crawl into the cockpit and lie down on his back as well, till the thing takes off and is airborne.

In fact it's so impractical that once Fett's inside, he barks at Fennec to get the back gate open because he can't see a thing up in the cockpit! Who the hell designs a ship so that the pilot can only look straight up into the sky when it's in landing position?

• Fennec spots a "double wide" Gonk droid with four legs trundling through the hanger. She shoots it and it explodes, killing several Palace guards. This actually makes sense, since these models are also called Power Droids, and are basically walking batteries. Well done, guys!

• Fennec jumps onto the Firespray and shoots at several Palace guards. It's hard to tell due to the inky black cinematography, but it looks like the third guard gets hit by a non-existent blaster bolt to me!

• As Fett turns his ship around, he knocks over a desert skiff– the same kind we saw in the first act of Return Of The Jedi. I guess it makes sense that Jabba (and now Fortuna) would have had a few spares.

• Once he has his ship back, Fett tracks down the Nikto Biker Gang and blasts them all into oblivion.

I love this shot of the ship emerging from the clouds and coming up behind them!

Also, it struck me funny that one of the Nikto gang's "riding bitch" behind the driver. He's even got his hands on his shoulders! Not that there's anything wrong with that!

I wonder if Fett will feel bad about this incident if it turns out the Niktos are actually innocent, and someone else really did wipe out the Tuskens?

Annnnd then we come to the absolute dumbest part of this episode— one which almost rivals last week's Space Vespa chase. The whole scene's a goldmine of stupidity, poor choices and worse writing.

First of all, Fett approaches the Sarlacc pit in the Firespray. Once again we see what an impractical design this is, as he has to tilt the ship down onto its "stomach" in order to peer into the pit.

Second, for some reason Fett mistakenly thinks his Mandalorian armor is still down inside the Sarlacc's throat. We know that's not true though, as he was wearing it when he escaped the beast, and was stripped of it by a tribe of Jawas shortly after.

I can kind of understand Fett not remembering any of that, as he was likely a little groggy after his harrowing escape. But what does he think happened to the armor? Does he believe it fell off while he was inside the beast? Or that he slithered out of it by accident? I don't really get his reasoning here.

Then, unable to see anything, he tries jamming the entire ship down the creature's gullet. What the hell? Who would do such a thing?

Of course we then get the least-effective jump scare ever, as the Sarlaac's somehow still alive and its beak pops out at the ship wedged in its throat! Wow, who didn't see that coming? 

The creature then wraps its tentacles around the ship and drags it down into the pit. Fett throws the ship into reverse, but the creature holds fast. Seriously? The Sarlacc's really stronger than a goddamned spaceship?

While Fett's struggling with the controls, Fennec manages to climb out of her seat and smash a button that releases a seismic charge— the kind seen in Attack Of The Clones, that explode with a sound similar to a Pete Townshend power chord.

Not sure how Fennec knew the ship came armed with such weapons, but whatever. The charge falls into the Sarlacc's mouth and finally blows it up for good.

Luckily Fennec's improvised plan actually worked! Take a look at how slowly the charge is ejected, and the way it casually rolls off the bottom of the ship and drops into the creature's gullet. Good thing it didn't get stuck on a piece of machinery before it detonated!

And she's also lucky the charge didn't obliterate everything in a thousand foot radius. If you'll think back to Attack Of The Clones, a seismic charge destroyed several massive asteroids that were the size of office buildings! Here though it results in a muffled shockwave. I guess the Sarlacc absorbed most of the blast?

• OK, I ain't ashamed to admit it— I'm officially VERY confused about Fett's scars, and how he got them. 

When he first appeared in Season 2 of The Manadlorian, he sported an array of scars all over his bald head. Most fans— myself included— assumed they were caused by being swallowed up by the Sarlacc.

But then in Stranger In A Strange Land, we saw that his helmet was inexplicably airtight— meaning there's no way the creature's stomach acid could have seeped in and burned his head. So where'd he get the scars then?

In this episode, he lowers himself back down into the now-dead Sarlaac's throat, looking for his armor. When he climbs back out, he's covered in its digestive fluid. Fennec notes that it's burning him, and pours a bottle of water over his head to rinse it off. 

From this it seems clear that Fett didn't get his scars in glorious battle, but by sticking his head in a sand worm's mouth.

There's just one problem with all this. A few minutes before the Sarlacc reentry scene, Fett's tooling along in the Firespray, and we can clearly see his face and head are covered in a network of scars!

What the hell? 

So did he get the scars from the Sarlacc or not? Apparently not, since he had them BEFORE he went back into it.

Then to further confuse the matter, when Fett wakes from his lengthy flashback, his helper droid says, "Congratulations, Master Fett. You are completely healed." Guess what? He STILL has visible scars on his forehead and upper chest!

I give up trying to figure it out. I'm getting one of my sick headaches, and need to go lie down in a dark room.

• Back in the "present," Fett asks Fennec if the Mayor's Majordomo— who they apparently captured and imprisoned last week after the world's slowest and most ridiculous chase scene— is cooperating. She says he's "singing like a Yuzzum."

We've seen that race before, specifically in the Return Of The Jedi Special Edition. The cartoonish, Joe Cocker-esque alien who sang an unintelligible number in Jabba's Palace was a Yuzzum.

• Last week Fett recruited a team of teenagers with attitudes, er, I mean his very own gang of Dickensian street urchins to help him bring order to Mos Eisley. Definitely not the series' finest hour.

In this episode Fennec tells him the Mods are combing the city looking for the Mayor. Yeah! She actually called them "Mods"– just like the teen subculture in 1960s London!

Turns out that's a pretty apt name for 'em! Look at this shot of actual 1960s Mods. They're tooling around on bikes that are virtually identical to the Space Vespas seen in the previous episode! I had no idea the kids and vehicles on the show were so close to the real thing! Of all the things to draw inspiration from...

• Back in Garsa Fwip's Sanctuary, Black Krrsantan visibly seethes with hate as he watches a group of Trandoshans gambling.

This makes perfect sense, as the two races traditionally don't get along. In fact Trandoshans have even been known to hunt Wookiees for sport! If you'll recall, back in Stranger In A Strange Land we saw a Trandoshan dignitary offer a Wookiee pelt to Fett as a tribute!

Also, I never thought about it before, but the idea of a Wookiee who's a mean drunk is downright terrifying!

• Eventually Krrsantan's had enough and grabs one of the Transoshans and starts to pull his arms off— as Wookiees are wont to do. Fwip tries her best to talk Krrsantan out of it, appealing to his sense of pride and dignity. In the end it works— sort of— as he only pulls one arm off the Trandoshan.

Of course since this is Disney Star Wars, there's absolutely ZERO blood from this grievous injury. Oh, and don't feel too bad for the unlucky Trandoshan— as a lizard man, he'll no doubt be able to grow a new arm in a couple months.

• To absolutely no one's surprise, Fett asks Krrsantan if he's interested in working for him. Of course he did! Why else give this character so much screen time over the past two episodes if they weren't intending on making him a regular!

• Last week Skad (one of the Mods) called Fett "mate." In this episode, Fett says the same to Krrsantan. As I said last week, I don't care for that. People in the Star Wars Universe have traditionally spoken somewhat formally and tend to avoid Earthly slang— which makes sense, since these stories are taking place in another galaxy!

Using the term "mate" undermines that, making the series seem too contemporary and modern. Feh.

• Fett meets with the three "families" controlling Mos Espa, in a scene ripped straight out of a Mafia movie. To emphasize this, during this scene the musical score sounds very reminiscent of The Godfather theme.

• Among the three "Families" are the spider-like Aqualish...

Along with the Trandoshans and the dog-faced Klatoonians. 

Note that the Transdoshan sounds a lot like actor Peter Lorre, which is kind of funny. The Klatoonian dignitary's voiced by actor Phil Lamarr. Once you know it's him, it's easy to hear his voice in the character.

• Back in Stranger In A Strange Land, an Aqualish dignitary paid tribute to Fett, who couldn't understand a word it said. Fett even leaned over to Fennec and said they really needed to get an interpreter droid. 

At the time I asked why they couldn't just have 8D8 translate for them. Even if the droid wasn't built for that function, how hard would it be to upload a language app into his head?

Welp, it looks like Fett took my advice, because this week 8D8 does indeed translate for another Aqualish. Maybe they bought some sort of Space Rosetta Stone software.

• When the three families ask what's to prevent them from just killing Fett and moving on with their lives, his pet Rancor suddenly grabs at the grate they're all unknowingly sitting on, causing many garments to be soiled.

So not only do Rancors have "surpassingly complex emotions," they apparently possess perfect timing too! Its attack came at the exact right moment, perfectly punctuating the families' question.

• At the end of the episode, Fett says they're gonna need more muscle in the coming war with the Pykes. Fennec says credits can buy muscle, in you know where to look. We then hear a snippet of the reedy score of The Mandalorian series.

I'm assuming that means it's a sure bet we're gonna get a guest appearance from Pedro Pascal on the series. Or most likely a stunt double wearing his costume, while he records his lines in a soundstage miles away. Either way, his presence will be a welcome addition, and a shot in the arm to this show that's still trying to find its way.

The question is, just when will Manny show up? Most likely next week, but I could also see them waiting till the season finale. Time will tell!

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