Sunday, February 20, 2022

The Book Of Boba Fett Season 1, Episode 7: In The Name Of Honor

This week on The Book Of Boba Fett, it's the big Season 1 finale already!

For some reason this first season of the series consists of just seven episodes. Which is strange, as each season of The Mandalorian had eight. Why the difference? Was it a budgetary thing? Maybe by the time paid the endless parade of guest stars who appeared on the show, seven episodes was all they could afford!

For decades now I've hoped and dreamed that some day we'd get a Boba Fett TV series, starring the most deadly bounty hunter in all the galaxy. Welp, you know what they say— be careful what you wish for!

Overall I was extremely disappointed with this show. I thought it was incredibly uneven, with no apparent direction. It lurched from setpiece to setpiece with seemingly NO idea where it was heading, with no discernible purpose.

Why does this series even exist in the first place? We already have a top notch Boba Fett show— it's called The Mandalorian! Even with all its flaws it's a much better series, and is the Boba Fett show we should have gotten. 

The Mandalorian's premise would have worked perfectly for Fett— ruthless bounty hunter finds a mysterious alien child and sets aside his violent ways as he becomes its surrogate father. Why the hell didn't the creators go in that direction with Fett?

The biggest problem with this new series is that it gave us Boba Fett in name only— one who's definitely not the character I know. This Fett was wildly inconsistent, as he ranged from peace-loving tribesman to benevolent dictator to ruthless killer— often all in the same episode. This made it obvious that series creator Jon Favreau either didn't understand the character or had absolutely no idea what the hell to do with him.

They could have easily given us an older, world-weary Shane-like Fett, who just wanted to settle down and leave bounty hunting behind, but was hounded by his brutal past. That would have been an interesting take on the character, much more so than what we ended up with. There were brief hints of that idea in the show, but unfortunately it never quite gelled, as the writers either didn't have the talent or patience to adequately flesh out the concept.

It didn't help that Disney completely neutered Boba Fett here, as this alleged "deadliest bounty hunter in the galaxy" spent the entire first half of the series soaking in a tub and talked his enemies to death rather than gunning them down. They've turned him into an impotent leader who actually takes tactical advice from his teen minions!

The series also had a bizarre story structure, which was literally all over the place. It started out by giving us lengthy and unnecessary flashbacks showing how Fett escaped from the Sarlacc and was taken in by the Tuskens. After a few weeks of that it abruptly changed gears, giving us deadly dull scenes of Fett running his little crime empire. 

The series main plotline— aka the War Against The Pyke Syndicate— didn't kick in until the last third of the season! What the hell? They should have been a threat from the start! We didn't even see a Pyke till the third episode!

And if all that wasn't enough, Fett literally became a bystander in his own show! The Mandalorian completely hijacked the series for two entire episodes! And make no mistake, these are literally full-blown episodes of The MandalorianFett doesn't appear at all in The Return Of The Mandalorian, and is onscreen for less than a minute in From The Desert Comes A StrangerI honestly can't think of another example of that happening in the history of TV. It's very bizarre!

Ordinarily I wouldn't have minded this, as I enjoyed the Mandalorian episodes much, MUCH more than the Boba Fett ones. The problem though is they actually continued The Mandalorian's storyline, and made numerous fundamental changes to the character. Which means when Season 3 of his show finally rolls around, viewers who didn't watch The Book Of Boba Fett are gonna be mighty confused as to what the hell's going on.

Why completely change one character on another's show? 
Viewers shouldn't have to watch Series B to understand what's happening in Series A. Who the hell's in charge over at Lucasfilm?

As for The Book Of Boba Fett, so far there's been no mention of a Season 2. Even if there is, I'm honestly not sure where the series would go from here. I assume there'd be yet another threat to Tatooine that Fett and his little family would have to deal with? If this series wants to survive, it needs to get Old Man Fett out of his house and have him actually get the hell off Tatooine once in a while.


The Plot:
Boba Fett (hey, remember him?), Fennec Shand, the Mandalorian and the Mods (oy) stand in the ruins of the Sanctuary, which was bombed in the previous episode by the Pyke Syndicate. Everyone who was inside, including owner Garsa Fwip, was killed instantly. Fennc says the war with the Pykes is officially on (you think?). She worries they don't have enough forces to defeat them.

Manny assures her that Cobb Vanth and the people of Freetown will come to their aid. Fett wants to make his stand against the Pykes inside his Palace, as it's the most secure location. The Mods object (!), saying they're staying in the Sanctuary to show their support for the people of Mos Espa or some such hooey. For some reason their words actually sway Fett, and he agrees to stay there as well. What the hell?

Meanwhile in Mos Eisley, Cad Bane reports to Pyke Syndicate HQ. He tells the Head Pyke and the Mayor of Mos Espa (who's there for some reason) not to worry about Freetown getting involved, as he their marshall Cobb Vanth killed. The Mayor asks about Fett's Tusken tribe, and the Pyke says HIS people (not the Nikto Biker Gang) slaughtered them all as well.

The Pyke says Fett and his people have holed up in the ruins of the Sanctuary, and it'll be difficult to remove them. Bane says he has an idea how to draw them out.

Elsewhere, an X-Wing approaches Mos Eisley and lands in the hangar of Peli Motto. She assumes it's a New Republic Officer, and nervously begins hiding various illegal items in her place. Turns out the ship's being piloted by R2-D2, and has a single passenger— Baby Yoda!

Peli pulls the kid from the cockpit and feeds him, noticing he's wearing a little chainmail shirt beneath his robe. Apparently he must have chosen to go with Manny instead of staying with Luke Skywalker and learning the ways of the Force— an event which happened entirely offscreen. Eh, who needs to actually see an important moment like that?

Back in the Sanctuary, Fennec gives a PowerPoint presentation outlining the positions of their forces. The Gamorrean Guards are stationed at the local starport to handle any addition Pyke forces that land, while Black Krrsantan is outside City Hall, watching the Trandoshan sector. The Mods patrol the Worker's District, keeping their bionic eyes on the Aqualish.

Just then 8D8 arrives and announces someone's come to meet with Fett. He goes outside and sees it's Cad Bane, who claims he's there to negotiate on behalf of the Pykes. Fett says he'll only speak with the Head Pyke.

Bane then tells Fett that the Pykes were the ones who murdered his Tusken "family". Predictably this infuriates Fett, and he starts to draw his weapon. Bane advises him against it, as a dozen or so Pyke snipers appear on the surrounding rooftops. Fennec talks him down, saying he'll get his chance to kill Bane later. Fett reluctantly puts his blaster away. Bane says Fett's gone soft in his old age (and how!), and saunters off.

Just then Drash calls and says they've been betrayed, as the Aqualish are firing on them. Fett tries to contact Krrsantan and warn him, but he's being attacked by the Trandoshans. Elsewhere, the Gamorrean Guards are ambushed and killed by a Klatoonian gang.

Fett questions the Mayor's Majordomo (who's there in the Sanctuary for absolutely NO logical reason). He asks him where the Pyke Syndicate's base is located, and he replies it's in Mos Eisley. He sends Fennec there to deal with them, and she jumps on a speeder and flies off.

Along the way she roars past the Mods, and helps them out by wiping out the Aqualish who had them pinned down.

The Pykes begin moving in, surrounding the Sanctuary. Fett tells Manny to go, but he refuses, saying it would be against the Mandalorian creed (even though he's been drummed out of that particular club). The two agree to fight to the death then.

Suddenly the Majordomo pipes up and says he majored in Diplomacy at Coruscant University, and offers to try and diffuse the situation. Fett agrees, jotting down his terms for surrender on the Majordomo's iPad.

The Majordomo exits and delivers Fett's message to the Pykes. Unbeknownst to him, it turns out to be a threat, offering them nothing but death. The angry Pykes raise their weapons and prepare to shoot the Majordomo.

Just then Fett and Manny remember they have jetpacks, and fly out of the Sanctuary and start firing on the Pykes. They mow down dozens of them, but more keep coming. Eventually Fett and Manny are overwhelmed, and begin taking damage from the many Pyke sharpshooters.

The Cavalry then arrives, as a large armored speeder appears, carrying the people of Mos Pelgo, aka Freetown. Hurray! Somehow Manny knows what happened to Marshal Cobb Vanth, and offers his condolences to the Weequay bartender Taanti. He says they didn't have to come, but Taanti says they want the Pykes off their planet too.

Just then the surviving Mods return to the Sanctuary, as does a wounded Krrsantan (who apparently fought off his Transdoshan attackers while we weren't looking). Yay, the gang's all here! Together they all manage to force the Pykes to retreat.

Unfortunately Manny hears a strange noise, and tells them not to celebrate yet. Suddenly two deadly Scorpenek droids march down the street toward the Sanctuary, destroying everything in their path. Fett and Manny fire at the droids, but their weapons can't penetrate their powerful shields.

The Scorpeneks blow up the armored speeder, so the gang takes cover in an abandoned building at the end of a dead end street. Fett tells Manny to hold down the fort while he goes to get help, and flies off. Manny catches the attention of one of the Scorpeneks and gets it to follow him.

Suddenly Peli Motto arrives in a droid-powered rickshaw, heading right for the carnage. Manny tells her to turn around, and she shouts at the droid to retreat. Manny jumps on the back of the rickshaw and rides along. She reveals she has Baby Yoda with her, and Manny's shocked and delighted to see him again.

For reasons known only to the writers, Baby Yoda appears to use the Force to short out the rickshaw droid— causing the whole contraption to wreck and throwing everyone out of it. Manny & Co. pick themselves up, and see a Scorpenek heading right for them.

Just then everyone's distracted by a loud roar. They look up and see Boba Fett riding on the back of his pet Rancor, who's scrambling over a building! The Rancor battles the Scorpenek, severely damaging its shield. Manny sees his chance and slips through the weakened shield, activating the Darksaber and slicing up the droid.

The Scorpenek twists and knocks him on his back, then lifts a mechanical leg and prepares to stab him with it. Instead of simply rolling away from it, Manny braces himself for his inevitable death (?). Baby Yoda sees what's happening and uses the Force to pull the droid apart. The Rancor then finishes the job.

Fett then goes after the second Scorpenek, and after a lengthy battle it's destroyed as well. Fett's forces renew their attack on the Pykes, who are forced to retreat.

But the battle's not over yet, as Cad Bane returns. Fett, still riding his Rancor, sees Bane and attacks him. Bane fires his flamethrower at the Rancor, which spooks the creature and causes it to throw Fett off. It then runs amok through the city.

Fett & Bane then face off again. Bane says he doesn't understand why Fett's so interested in running Mos Espa. Fett says the townsfolk are his people, and he won't abandon them. Bane tries goading him by bringing up his dead Tusken tribe, and reveals the Pykes were the ones who killed them. Oddly enough this has little or no effect on Fett.

Bane says he's still the faster of the two, but Fett reminds him he has his armor. Bane fires, hitting Fett & knocking him on his back. He tears off Fett's helmet and says he'll always be a killer, just like his "father" Jango. Fett tries to reach his blaster, but Bane steps on his wrist. He aims his own blaster at Fett's head and prepares to fire.

Just then Fett somehow grabs the Gaderffii stick from his back and sweeps Bane off his feet. He stands over him and impales him in the chest, seemingly killing him once and for all.

Elsewhere, the Rancor continues its destructive rampage through the city. Manny climbs up its back and takes the reins, trying to control it. It grabs him and then pops his head in its mouth. Fortunately it can't bite through his Beskar helmet. It tosses Manny to the ground, stunning him.

Baby Yoda sees this, toddles out of hiding and raises a tiny hand. The Rancor comes at him, but the kid uses the Force to calm the creature and put to sleep. Exhausted, he then curls up next to its massive head.

Meanwhile in Mos Eisley, the Head Pyke says he's lost too many troops, and is pulling his forces from Mos Espa. The other faction leaders object, saying they had a deal with the Syndicate. Suddenly blaster fire erupts, killing several of the leaders.

A noose lowers from the ceiling and wraps around Mok Shaiz's neck, hoisting him up and killing him. The Head Pyke draws his blaster and looks around in terror. Out of nowhere he's stabbed from behind. As he falls over, we see Fennec Shand standing behind him. Her job finished, she slips out of the office.

Sometime later, Fett & Fennec walk through the now peaceful streets of Mos Espa. Grateful citizens stop and bow to Fett as he passes, while others offer him fresh fruit. He meets up with Krrsantan and the Mods for a sappy sitcom ending.

Cut to Manny & Baby Yoda blasting off from Tatooine. Baby Yoda sits in the rear bubble, and pounds on the glass. Manny ignores him, but eventually gives in and hits the ship's booster, causing it to zoom away at incredible speeds. Baby Yoda squeals with delight as he's thrown back against his seat.

In the post credits scene, Cobb Vanth recovers in Fett's bacta tank, while the Modifier prepares to work on him.

• First things first, an update and confirmation. In last week's review I quipped, 
"Props to Pedro Pacal (or more likely his stunt double) as well in this scene." I was being my usual wiseacre self here of course, pointing out the fact that there could be anyone under that helmet and we'd never know it.

As it turns out though, I was absolutely right! As you can see here in these behind the scenes from The Return Of The Mandalorian, that definitely was NOT Pedro Pascal wearing the costume in that episode. It appears to be actor/stuntman Brendan Wayne— grandson of John Wayne (!).

Back in Season 2 of The Mandalorian there were rumors that star Pedro Pascal was unhappy about having to constantly hide his head under a bucket (even though he knew that was part of the deal going in). 

Maybe in order to placate him, Disney decided to let his stuntmen play the character's body, and have Pascal come in for an hour a week to record his voice! Why not? It doesn't really matter who's under the helmet, as long as it's Pascal's voice on the soundtrack!

By the way, the redheaded woman in that montage is actress/director Bryce Dallas Howard (daughter some celebrity named Ron Howard). She directed The Return Of The Mandalorian a couple episodes back, as well as Sanctuary and The Heiress over on sister series The Mandalorian.

Supposedly when Howard directed Sanctuary, Pedro Pascal had some previous commitment (?), so the role of Manny's body was played by Brendan Wayne again. Howard said she never actually saw Pascal the entire time she worked on that episode. I'm starting to wonder if the two of them have ever met or even been in the same room before!

One last thing about this montage— check out the little girl playing the Rodian child. It looks like she's only wearing the back half of the Greedo head! Weird! I'd have bet anything it was just a full rubber Halloween type mask that they just pulled over her noggin. Apparently the front half is detachable for some reason, and probably is held in place by magnets.

Did her little antennas move in the episode? I can't remember right now. If they did, maybe that's the reason for the way the head is built. The back half could contain the servos and such that move the antenna.

There's also a shot there where they've got her dressed in a baggy dark gray robe. Did... did they have her play Baby Yoda in a scene? Like in a long shot where he needed to walk or something? Or maybe she was a little alien in the spaceport scene? I dunno.

OK, enough pondering about this image. On to the complaining!

• Apropos of nothing, it's The Case Of The Moving Dome! Most episodes of The Book Of Boba Fett feature at least one establishing shot of Mos Espa— a crowded city built inside a large crater with a tall tower in the center.

This is a shot of the city from Stranger In A Strange Land. As you can see here, there's a large domed building a couple blocks away from the central tower. So far so good.

Things take an odd turn one episode later though, in The Tribes Of Tatooine. For some reason the domed building has now scooched over just to the left of the tower!

Then in this episode the dome's still next to the tower, but it looks like it's moved over a smidge and is now behind it! What the hell?

I have no idea why this dome can't seem to make up its mind and stay in one place. This is obviously a complicated CGI model and not a practical miniature. Just one model like this would have taken hundreds of man hours to create. So why the hell would they go to the trouble of making three slightly different ones? It's a mystery!

• The episode begins as Fett and Fennec survey the ruins of Garsa Fwip's Sanctuary, which was bombed by the Pykes last week. 

At the time I said I was skeptical that they'd kill off Fwip. To quote a certain Dwarf, "I have never been so wrong in all my life." She dead.

By the way, virtually ALL of this episode takes place in the ruins of the Sanctuary and the streets surrounding it, rather than in Fett's Palace. Which seems weird, since his new digs have been a major presence in the show all season.

Was this another budget thing, or maybe a logistical one? They already had a Mos Espa Street set built and ready to go, but I don't think they had much of a Palace exterior. So it was probably cheaper and easier to just film on the street set, even if it didn't make any sense story-wise. 

• Fennec says the bombing was the work of the Pykes, who're pissed with Fett for disrupting their business. She tells Fett he should take over their Spice Trade, because there's a lot of money to be made in it (!). Fett refuses, saying the drug's killing his people. 

This is a reference to The Godfather (one of several in this episode), in which Don Vito Corleone refused to get involved in the drug business because it was too dirty and dangerous.

By the way, is it weird that Fennec's so gung ho to move in on the Pykes territory, while Fett wants nothing to do with it? Jaysis, she's got bigger balls than he does! Maybe his were dissolved when he was in the Sarlaac.

• Fett wants to return to his heavily fortified Palace to wait for the Pykes, since it offers more protection. The Mods refuse to leave the ruins of the bombed out Sanctuary though, saying the people in the neighborhood need their protection. Somehow they manage to talk Fett into staying and making his stand in the rickety structure as well. 

Are you freakin' kidding me? He's taking tactical advice from the Mods now? I thought he was supposed to be the most feared bounty hunter in the galaxy? So why's he listening to some punk teenager who rides around on a Space Vespa? What kind of military training could she possibly have? What is even happening on this show right now?

I was amazed that Fennec didn't say her catchphrase "This is a really bad idea" when Fett decided to stay. In fact I'm honestly surprised she's still hanging around him after all the stunningly stupid decisions he's made all season.

• Cad Bane saunters through the streets of Mos Eisley, and at one point passes a couple of Jawas who're stripping parts off a parked speeder. No doubt these are the same two who supplied Peli Motto and Manny with parts back in The Return Of The Mandalorian.

• Bane visits the Head Pyke, who says Fett & Company are holed up in the Sanctuary in Mos Espa. How the heck does he know THAT? I assume he probably has spies reporting to him, but he seems to get the info awfully quick! Like literally ten seconds after Fett agreed to stay in the place. 

Also, the Head Pyke reveals that HE'S the one who had Fett's Tusken family murdered, and it wasn't the Nikto Biker Gang after all. I kind of brought up that possibility a few episodes back. More on this revelation in a bit.

• Mok Shaiz, the cowardly Mayor of Mos Espa, asks how long till the Pyke war's over. Bane says, "That all depends on how much your two stomachs can bear."

I guess it makes sense that Ithorians would have two stomachs, since they have a gash-like mouth on each side of their head. What doesn't make sense though is the fact that they supposedly have four throats (as was revealed in The Clone Wars cartoon). How's that work? is each mouth connected to two throats for some reason?

• Elsewhere in Mos Eisley, Peli Motto's in her hangar when a lone X-Wing lands, piloted by R2-D2!

(Insert sound effect of a phonograph needle scratching across a record)

Wait, what? So droids can fly ships on their own? With no help from a pilot? Even when they're sitting in those little sockets in the back? And they've always been able to do that?

This particular revelation opens up a HUGE can of Plot Hole Brand Worms. If droids can fly ships, 
why the hell do they use flesh & blood pilots? Why send men (and women— gotta be inclusive!) into space battles where they'll almost certainly die, when they could dispatch a fleet of ships piloted by expendable robots who aren't really alive?

Even if you want to argue that the droids in this world are sentient, you could just back up their memories before you sent them into battle, and if they got blown up their brains could be downloaded into a new body. Problem solved! Let the droids fight it out while the pilots sit in the bar.

• Peli peeks into the cockpit and sees a single passenger— Baby Yoda! Several things here:

The previous episode ended on a cliffhanger, as Luke Skywalker gave Baby Yoda a choice between two objects— a lightsaber or a Beskar chainmail shirt. If he picked Yoda's old lightsaber, he'd stay on the planet, learn the ways of the Force and never see Manny again. If he chose the Beskar shirt, then he'd be reunited with his surrogate father.

Obviously the fact that he's here on Tatooine means he chose to Manny. Which is no surprise, as I knew he'd end up with him eventually. Baby Yoda's the biggest thing that's happened to Disney in years, and there's no way they'd ever jeopardize their gravy train by writing him off the show.

Thing is though, the way it was staged last week it felt like his decision was gonna be a major plot point in this episode— one which we'd certainly get to see. I assumed the kid would stare at both objects for a suspenseful minute or two of screentime, then finally toddle over to the shirt. A look of disappointment would then cross Luke's face as he'd say something like, "So be it."

Instead we got nothing! How odd that this momentous choice was made completely offscreen and not even acknowledged in this episode! What the hell?

Secondly, Luke was apparently so pissed with the kid's choice that he couldn't even be arsed to take him back to Manny himself. Instead he literally tossed a freakin' BABY into the cockpit of his ship and ordered his pet robot to take him back home!

Whether intentional or not, this action made Luke look like quite the asshole!

• R2 tells Peli that Baby Yoda's name is actually "Grogu." She reacts with disdain, saying, "Whoa! That's a terrible name. Sorry about that, pal. No way am I calling you that."

I know how she feels! I think it's an awful name too, and still call him Baby Yoda.

• When Peli's reunited with Baby Yoda, she says he must be starving and orders her droids to bring him some "dung worms." A few seconds later they bring him a plate crawling with writhing worms, which he begins sucking down.

So... why did she have a handy supply of fresh dung worms in her hangar, that are accessible at a second's notice? Does SHE eat 'em too?

• Back at the Sanctuary, Fennec delivers a lengthy expository speech, explaining where their forces are located:

"The Gamorrean guards are posted in the Klatooinian territory at the starport and will alert us if any of the Pyke Syndicate forces arrive. Krrsantan is in Trandoshan territory, keeping tabs on the streets of the municipality in front of City Hall. Drash and Skad are with the other Mods keeping an eye on the Worker's District and the Aqualish Quarter. As you can see, all our flanks are covered. Nobody is sneaking up on us. When the people of Freetown arrive, we will have the forces required to pivot our strength to whatever region the Pykes choose to attack from."

Um... why the hell is she telling all this to Fett & Manny? They already know the goddamn plan! In fact the two of them probably came up with it! 

Clearly she's doing this for the audience's benefit, so we'll all know where everyone is. That doesn't change the fact that this is the clumsiest, most obvious and worst-written bit of exposition I've ever seen.

They could have easily fixed this scene (or at the very least made it less ridiculous) by displaying a holographic map of the city that showed where their forces were stationed, and have her ask if they've forgotten anything.

• When Fennec goes over their strategy, we see that Fett's forces are pitifully small. He's got three people in the Sanctuary, ONE in the Transdoshan section, two at the spaceport, and a handful of teenagers in the Aqualish quarter. Yet he seems stunningly confident that this literal handful of fighters can take on and even DEFEAT an entire ARMY. Seriously?

• Oh boy, the Mods are back this week, still tooling around on their incredibly slow Space Vespas. I'd almost managed to forget about those.

• I just noticed Mos Espa's riddled with visible power lines that are threaded between various buildings. Why in the name of sanity would a world with sentient droids and hyperspace travel still distribute electricity with wires like we do?

• Cad Bane saunters up to the Sanctuary and tries to talk Fett into surrendering. Fett says, "I don't negotiate with gutless murderers." Bane replies, "If that's not the quacta calling the stifling slimy."

We've heard that apparently provocative adage before— in fact Fett himself said it to Koska Reeves in The Rescue over on The Mandalorian. It's apparently the Star Wars version of "the pot calling the kettle black."

According to The Clone Wars animated series and other media, Cad Bane mentored Young Boba Fett after Jango was killed, which I guess explains why they both use the same phrase.

• As in hundreds of classic Westerns, when Bane's threatened he reveals he has backup stationed on the rooftops of nearby buildings behind him.

• Bane tries goading Fett into a shootout (which he would surely win), but Fennec manages to talk him down. Bane then tells Fett, "You're going soft in your old age."

Brother, you got that right! As I've said numerous times in my reviews of this series, this is NOT the Boba Fett I know, who appeared in The Empire Strikes Back and Return Of The Jedi. This is Borba Futt, his kinder, gentler and doughier cousin. Which of course is the main problem with this show's core concept.

• After Bane saunters off, Mayor Mok Shaiz' former Majordomo scurries out of the Sanctuary and congratulates Fett on his restraint. Wait, what? Why is HE there? I thought he was locked in a cell inside Fett's Palace? What could have possessed Fett to let him out and bring him here? What possible help would he be against the Pykes? Is he going to genuflect them to death?

It's obvious he's the Designated Comic Relief, and is there for maximum yuks. But it's still incredibly poor writing to try and shoehorn him into a deadly situation like this. There's not even a scene that shows him arriving— he's just suddenly there! Sloppy!

• Once Fett refuses to surrender, the Pykes strike. The Mods are attacked by the Aqualish, while Krrsantan's overwhelmed by the Trandoshans he's monitoring.

And then there're the Gamorrean Guards. They're at the spaceport when a hovertrain takes off, revealing 
a gang of Klatoonians behind it.

The whole "Departing Train Reveals A Deadly Gang" shot is another Western reference, and was lifted directly from Once Upon A Time In The West.

The Klatoonians then begin shooting at the two Guards, backing them closer and closer to the cliff wall. Eventually they push them off it to their deaths. Their very lame deaths, I might add.

So why don't the Gamorreans have blasters? The second they see the Klatoonians, they pull out their little camping axes & start swinging them ineffectively at 'em. Did Fett not have enough weapons to go around? That seems unlikely. Do Gamorreans have some kind of code that prohibits them from using blasters? Whatever the reason, it seemed way too easy (and eye rolling) to knock them off the cliff.

• By the way, this montage in which the various groups all turn on Fett's forces is yet another reference to The Godfather. In that film the other crime families lured Vito Corleone's men into numerous traps and began attacking.

• A couple weeks ago I noticed that characters were seemingly coming and going between Mos Espa and Mos Eisley in what seemed like minutes. I wondered if the two cities were much closer together than any of us realized.

Apparently they are! This week Fennec hops on a speeder bike in Mos Espa and arrives in Mos Eisley a few minutes later. And Peli Motto does the opposite, riding a droid rickshaw from Mos Eisley to Mos Espa in a similarly short period of time. I'm guessing the two cities must be within spitting distance from one another!

There's nothing wrong with this per se, but for some reason, I (and I think most fans) always assumed the two towns were hundreds of miles apart.

• Fennec hops on a conveniently parked speeder bike and zooms off toward Mos Eisley. WOW, look at that! A speeder that goes more than five miles an hour! Are you taking notes here, Mods?

• At one point the Mods are hopelessly pinned down by the Aqualish. Suddenly Fennec appears and wipes out the attacking aliens. She even shoots one out of a second story window, who naturally falls out and crashes through numerous wooden boxes before landing on the ground. This is another movie reference, as the Falling Bad Guy's been seen in hundreds of Western films over the years.

Nice Moment: After Fennec saves the Mods' collective asses, Drash makes a point to actually thank her. Fennec replies, "Manners? I like it!"

• Scores of Pyke soldiers then arrive and fire on the Sanctuary, trapping Fett & Manny inside. The two discuss the impossible odds stacked against them, and eventually decide to exit with their guns a'firing, going out in a blaze of glory.

Their conversation is a lifted directly from a similar scene at the end of Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid. Yeah, there are a lot of movie references in this episode.

• The Majordomo talks Fett into trying a diplomatic solution against the Pykes. Fett agrees, and writes (!) a message for the Majordomo to deliver to them. Several things here:

First of all, as far as I know this is the first time in the history of the Star Wars frnchise that we've ever seen a character actually write something down! Maybe Fett doesn't know how to type on a keyboard?

Secondly, when the Majordomo slithers out of the Sanctuary, one of the Pykes calls the Twi'lek "tail head." Racist!

Lastly, get a load of the high tech "tablet" the Majordomo's holding. Yeah, that's actually a 1981 Coleco Bowlatronic handheld videogame from 1981.

You can even see the battery compartment on the back of it in this shot! It looks like they glued a stylus and holder to the side, gave it a paint job and called it a day.

Although I'm being snarky here, there's really nothing wrong with this. Star Wars has a long history of using everyday items as sci-fi props. Heck, Luke's original lightsaber— arguably the series' most recognizable object— is nothing more than a Graflex camera flash tube with windshield wiper strips glued to the bottom of it. 

This particular tablet prop is particularly apropos, as they used a product that came out around the time of the Original Trilogy, so it matches the retro futuristic aesthetic.

• The Majordomo reads Fett's offer to the Pykes: "I, Boba Fett, speaking as Daimyo of the Tatooine territories formerly held by Jabba the Hutt, do present the following offer... Nothing."

This is yet another movie reference, taken directly from The Godfather: Part II, in which Michael Corleone tells a Senator who's trying to shake him down for a gambling license, "My offer is this. Nothing."

• Fett then surprises the Pykes by flying out of the Sanctuary and attacking. Hey look, everyone! Boba Fett finally remembered he has a jet pack, and actually used it for once.

• Manny gets into the act and battles the Pykes as well. At one point he's overwhelmed by blaster fire, but Fett saves him by launching his knee rockets at the Pykes.

OK, I know this was meant to be a cool moment for Fett, but seeing him daintily kick up his leg like a Rockette in a chorus line made me do a spit take!

• It's always a good time whenever Manny uses the Whistling Birds! Too bad they're a one & done weapon.

• OK, I enjoyed the shot where Fett & Manny both fire at a Pyke, and continue to blast away at him the entire time he falls off the building.

• The Weequay Bartender from Mos Pelgo, er, I mean Freetown, finally gets a name this week— "Taanti."

• Krrsantan shows up, having somehow escaped from his Trandoshan attackers. He's then bonbarded by the Pykes as he makes his way to Fett & the others.

So is Krrsantan immune to blaster fire? Everyone else drops dead after just one hit. But he's shot dozens of times, and only suffers a slight limp and he shuffles toward the Sanctuary.

Supposedly Krrsantan's electrified brass knuckles are built into his hands. Does he have other cybernetic enhancements we don't know about that protect him from blasters?

• The Pykes then send out two nearly indestructible Scorpenek Annihilator Droids to deal with Fett and his army. As near as I can tell this is the first time this model has appeared in any Star Wars property. They appear to be based on unused design sketches made for Attack Of The Clones.

The Scorpeneks also have powerful shields to protect them, just like the Droidekas in The Phantom Menace.

• Manny attacks the Scorpenek's shield with the Darksaber. To be honest I forgot he still had that! Why DOES he still have it? Shouldn't the Armorer have taken it away from him when she threw him out of the Mandalorian club back in The Return Of The Mandalorian?

Anyway, it turns out the Darksaber can't penetrate the shield either. So this blade can't cut Beskar, and now it can't penetrate an energy shield. Is there anything it CAN do?

By the way, Manny comments on the Scorpenek shields, saying, "Our energy weapons can't get through, and our kinetic weapons have too much velocity." Meaning only something slow moving can penetrate their energy barrier.

This is yet another thing Star Wars cribbed from Dune. In the book and movies, characters wore personal shields that were impervious to blaster fire, but were vulnerable to slower weapons like knives and swords.

• Hoo, boy! I'm sure I won't be the first to say this, but here goes: "I'll try spinning. That's a good trick!"

I shouldn't be too hard on Skrad here, as a few minutes earlier Manny did the exact same move!

• For some reason, Peli Motto shows up in a space rickshaw— along with several of her droids and Baby Yoda.

Keep in mind Peli lives in Mos Eisley, and this battle's happening in Mos Espa. Even more evidence that the two cities must be extremely close, if she rode this rickety, cockamamie thing across the desert between them!

• Manny jumps on the back of the rickshaw to escape a pursuing Scorpenek. Peli screams to the rickshaw droid, "Go faster, you bucket of bolts!" Unfortunately actress Amy Sedaris garbles the line, making it sound very much like she says, "Go faster, you f*ck itta bolts!" I listened to the line over and over, and it sounds that way every time.

• Manny's finally reunited with Baby Yoda! This should have been an epic and emotional moment for the two of them. Unfortunately any sentiment the scene may have had is instantly undercut by the fact it takes place during a high speed chase scene. Clumsy!

• OK, I'm really puzzled by this scene, in which the group tries to outrun the Scorpenek. It looks for all the world like Baby Yoda raises his hand and uses the Force to short out the rickshaw droid, causing the vehicle to wreck and throw everyone into the air.

Why the frak would he do this, when they're being chased by a deadly droid that's trying to kill them? It doesn't make any sense. 

On the other hand, the droid was being pushed pretty hard here, so I suppose it's possible it overheated and exploded. If that's the case though, then why include a closeup of the kid waving his hand at it?

Fun With Freeze Frame: I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say that's NOT actress Amy Sedaris playing Peli in this shot.

• Peli lands face down after being launched out of the rickshaw. She then raises up and spits out a tooth— which she's missing for the rest of the episode. 

I wonder... Is Amy Sedaris actually missing a tooth, and it was her idea to take out her partial for comedic effect?

Annnnd then the third act turns into a kaiju movie, as loud, booming footsteps approach, a blood-curdling roar fills the air and we see a row of spines appear behind a rooftop. What could it be? What kind of massive creature's coming?

To absolutely no one's surprise, it turns out to be the Rancor— ridden by Boba Fett!

Of course this scene was heavily foreshadowed back in The Streets Of Mos Espa, when Fett was gifted with a young Rancor and told his pal Danny Trejo he wanted to learn to ride it. 

I even predicted this in my review of that episode, saying:

"I GUARANTEE that at some point— most likely in the season finale— we'll see Fett riding his Rancor into battle against the Pykes."

And whaddya know, that's EXACTLY what happened. Don't make me out to be some sort of prophet or seer though— you'd have to be blind not to see it was inevitable.

As unsurprising as it is, it was still pretty cool to see Fett riding a freakin' Rancor into battle! For one brief shining moment it gave us a look at what this series could have been.

And I assume the whole "Boba Fett Riding A Massive Creature" thing was inspired by The Star Wars Holiday Special. That classic piece of television history gave us an animated Fett riding some kind of space dinosaur.

By the way, I have to point out the timeline here. Somehow Fett used his backpack to fly back to his Palace (which is miles outside of town), saddle up his Rancor, then ride it back— all in less than five minutes (four minutes, fifty seconds to be exact). And it had to take that long too, as there were no cutaways while he was gone to indicate a lengthier passage of time. I'll leave it to the reader to determine if any of that was possible in that time frame or not.

Nice touch: After the Rancor attacks the Scorpenek, the back of its shield turns red to indicate it's malfunctioning. This allows Manny to slowly penetrate the red area (heh) and finally start slicing up the droid with the Darksaber. 

• The Scorpenek manages to stun Manny, then prepares to impale him with one of its mechanical legs. Even though there's abundant time for Manny to simply roll out of the droid's way, he lies helplessly under it and shields his face as he waits for his death. What the hell?

Luckily for him, Baby Yoda toddles out at the last second, sees what's happening and uses the Force to incapacitate the droid.

• At one point Peli runs into the cowering Majordomo, and from that point on the two of them stick together like glue. 

I was wondering why the producers paired these two characters, when they seemingly have nothing whatsoever in common. Turns out they do, sort of.

David Pasquesi, who plays the Majordomo, is good friends with actress Amy Sedaris in real life. The two of them have worked together on numerous projects, including At Home With Amy Sedaris and Strangers With Candy. They're both big improv performers as well.

• As Fett rides the Rancor into the fray, it picks up a Pyke soldier and tosses him over its shoulder. Naturally the poor Pyke utters the Wilhelm Scream as he tumbles through the air.


I've said it many times before, but I'll keep doing it till someone listens— it's high time to retire this particular sound effect. It was a fun little Easter Egg the first 17,931 times it was used, but it's definitely worn out its welcome. Every time I hear it now it takes me right out of whatever I'm watching for a few seconds. Time to let it die.

• Of course it's State Law that any scene featuring a Rancor has to show it biting the head off someone.

• When the Scorpeneks first appeared, Fett bent over and fired his rocket launcher— which is a one & done weapon— at one. All well and good. But then a few minutes later when Cad Bane returns, we see he's magically grown another rocket! WHOOPS!

I suppose we could cut the producers some slack here and say that when Fett flew back to his Palace to get the Rancor, he grabbed another rocket while he was there. I suppose we could say that, but I don't see why we should.

By the way, much like last week, this scene is a reference to hundreds of shootout scenes in classic Western films.

• During their standoff, Bane tells Fett that the Pykes were the ones who really killed the Tuskens, and not the Niktos as he thought. Several things here:

First of all, this new info should have been a startling revelation to Fett, as he discovered who was responsible for slaughtering his surrogate family. Instead he reacts with all the emotion of someone who just burned the toast at breakfast.

He should have also been wracked with guilt by the knowledge that he murdered the entire Nikto gang for no good reason. Sure, they were a gang of destructive, asshole bikers, but in this particular cade they were innocent of said crime. For some reason the episode completely glosses over this disturbing fact, as if the writers had neither the talent nor the desire to deal with it. In fact it's completely ignored, to make room for more thrilling Scorpenek and Rancor action scenes.

I'm also a bit puzzled as to why the writers made the Pykes responsible for the Tusken murders in the first place. Story-wise it would have made MUCH more sense if Bane was the one who killed them. After all, he obviously has a history with Fett, and killing his newfound family would have been the perfect way for him to twist the knife in his side.

It would have also given Fett more than enough motivation to kill Bane, and made their final confrontation more satisfying. Again, it's very sloppy writing, that was easily fixable.

• As they face one another, Bane goads Fett:

Bane: "I've known you a long time, Boba. One thing I can't figure. What's your angle?"
Fett: "This is my city. These are my people. I will not abandon them."
Bane: "Like the Tuskens."
Fett: "Don't toy with me. I'm not a little boy any longer, and you are an old man."
Bane: "I'm still faster than you."
Fett: "That may be, but I have armor."
Bane: "Let's find out."

This exchange between between the two references an abandoned episode of The Clone Wars, in which we'd have learned that Bane mentored Fett shortly after his father Jango was killed.

• Bane shoots Fett a couple times, knocking him on his back. Just as he's about to finish him off for good, Fett somehow sweeps him off his feet and stabs him in the chest with his gaderffii stick.

I guess Bane wasn't expecting to be beaten by something as primitive and low-tech as a stick?

Also, I gotta say I wasn't expecting them to kill off the show's most interesting character so quickly and easily! Damn! I wanted to see more of Cad Bane.

I wouldn't fret too awfully much though. He's too good a villain to leave dead for long. Some fans have noted there's some piece of tech on Bane's chest that blinks even after he's seemingly dead, and are speculating it's some sort of space pacemaker. I guess it's possible. Look for him to get better and return— provided there's a Season 2.

• Spooked by Bane's flamethrower, the Rancor goes nuts and starts rampaging through the city. He even climbs up this tower at one point. 

If this shot doesn't immediately make you think King Kong, well, then you're just not trying. All that's missing are the biplanes shooting at him.

• Before Manny flies off to fight the Rancor, he hands Baby Yoda the gearshift knob from the late, lamented Razor Crest. If you'll recall, this metal ball was the kid's favorite toy, and the only thing left of the ship after it was blown up real good in The Tragedy over on The Mandalorian.

• Well there's something i didn't expect to see in this episode— a Rancor trying to eat Manny's head. 

Was there any good reason for the entire "Rancor Runs Amok" sequence, other than to pad out the runtime for a few more minutes? No? I thought not.

• Baby Yoda uses the Force to calm the Rancor and make it sleep. Just like the audience! Comedy Ahoy!

Note that this is now the second time the kid has used his powers to sedate a giant rampaging animal. He first did it back in The Child, when he levitated a stampeding Mudhorn. 

• Once the Rancor lies down for his nap, we get this wide shot of the city. Note that you can clearly see the tall central tower of Mos Espa standing majestically in the distance. So why didn't the Rancor climb THAT edifice to properly, er, ape the whole Kong schtick? After all, that tower's the Tatooine equivalent of the Empire State Building. Puzzling!

• Over in Mos Eisley, Fennec finally gets a chance to strut her stuff and takes out the Head Pyke and all his cronies (including Mayor Mok Shaiz) in about fifteen seconds. Nice to actually see her in action for a change, instead of standing next to Fett and tell him, "This is a really bad idea."

Of course the implication here is that with the Head Pyke out of the way, the threat to Tatooine is over. 
Seriously? That's a VERY simplistic view of the situation. 

Just because she killed one high ranking official doesn't mean the entire Pyke Syndicate is gone for good! For frak's sake, the word "syndicate" even means "a GROUP of individuals or ORGANIZATIONS combined for a common interest." Their freaking name itself suggests there's more of them out there in space somewhere! All she did was wipe out the local chapter.

• We then get one of the sappiest endings I've ever seen, as everything in Mos Espa's all happiness and light now that the Pyke threat's been eliminated. Fett & Fennec stroll through downtown, as the grateful populace bow, salute and offer tribute. Jaysis. I've no words for this scene. Well, that's not true— embarrassing, maudlin and downright ridiculous come to mind! Disney Star Wars, ladies and gentlemen!

Note that we also hear a fluty, Ren Faire variation of the theme song during this scene. There's no reason for any of you to know this, but this version of the tune sounded almost identical to the end credits music from Da Jang Geum, a Korean soap opera from the 2000s that was all the rage when I visited China.

Not sure if composer Joseph Shirley is aware of that series, or if it's just a coincidence.

• We then get this preposterous shot of the entire Boba Fett extended family, awkwardly standing around in the middle of town. Note that the goddamned Mods are still part of the team. Holy crap, there're still FIVE of them left! How the hell? I was hoping they'd all been taken out by the Pykes.

And is... is that the rabbit droid from Jabba's Palace? The one who was so terrified of Fett in The Gathering Storm that he shut himself off and committed robot suicide? What the frak is HE doing there?

They stand around bantering for a bit, then all laugh wayyyy too hard at a mildly amusing comment. It's like the end of every mediocre 1980s sitcom ever made. I'm honestly surprised the shot didn't end on a freeze frame as they all jumped in the air!

• We then cut to Manny & Baby Yoda tooling along in the Naboo Starfighter. As I predicted, Baby Yoda's sitting in the domed compartment that was originally the astromech droid socket.

Nice Touch: As Baby Yoda looks out into space, his breath fogs up the dome! Cool!

 Also note he's banging on the glass with the gear shift knob to get Manny's attention! Jesus Christ! Probably not a good idea, when a thin layer of glass is all that's separating him from the deadly blackness of space!

• For six episodes now, the end theme song has consisted of a male choir vocalizing "Hum de-hum dum dum" or some such syllables in time to the music. For some reason, this week they replace the hum-dums with the main character's name, singing, "Bo-ba ba-bo-bo-bo-b-bo-fett. Fett, fett fett fett fett bo-bo-ba." Weird.

• In the post credits scene, we see Cobb Vanth recuperating in Fett's bacta tank, as the Modifier (last seen in The Gathering Storm) prepares to operate on him.

Wait, what? So Vanth is still alive?

Last week in From The Desert Comes A Stranger, Vanth faced Cad Bane in an old fashioned Western shootout. Unfortunately he lost, as Bane was quicker and shot him down in the street. At the time I said:

"I wouldn't mourn for Vanth just yet though, as Bane very obviously shot him in the shoulder. Plus he's a fan-favorite character played by a popular actor, so there's no doubt in my mind he'll be fine when he joins Fett's army next week."

But then in this episode, Vanth is nowhere to be seen (well, except here at the very end). And during the battle against the Pykes, Manny expresses his condolences to Taanti, saying, "I'm sorry about the Marshal." The Weequay replies, "They gunned him down in cold blood!"

From that I gathered that I was wrong, and that Vanth must have died from his superficial shoulder injury. Taanti's statement certainly implies that's what happened. "Gunned down in cold blood" means "MURDERED." No one ever says "WOUNDED in cold blood!"

But apparently he really did survive after all, and Fett hired the Modifier to install some of his patented galvanized plumbing in the Marshall (like he did with Fennec).

There's actually another slight possibility, but it's a long shot. Maybe Vanth really was killed, and when Fett found out he arranged for him to be brought to his palace and tossed into his bacta tank. 

Eh, I dunno. I don't have a problem believing the tank can heal wounds and cure diseases, but bringing the dead back to life after several days? That's too stupid even for this show!

So there you have it— Season 1 of The Book Of Boba Fett. One of the weirdest, most baffling and completely directionless series I've ever seen in my life. Will there be a Season 2? It's hard to say. So far the ratings have ranged from mediocre to downright dismal. But this is a streaming series, which makes it tough to compare to a broadcast one. It's entirely possible its minute audience share is more than adequate for a streaming show, and earn it a sophomore outing. Time will tell!

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