It’s the mid point of the series and everything is starting to come together, the flashbacks have caught up to a time we know and in the present plans are being made for what is to come.
This week we jump straight into the bacta tank time machine and visit Boba (Temuera Morrison) as he is spying on Jabba’s palace looking for a way to get his ship back. He is lightly armed and the palace is heavily guarded so he decides that today is not the day. You get the felling that Boba has been regularly checking in on the palace and is just biding his time. That night, while Boba is sitting around a campfire with his bantha, we some flares in the distances, a familiar score kicks in, and we are crossing over with chapter five of ‘The Mandalorian’. Yes, we get confirmation that it was Boba who saved Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen) and if you hated the last episode’s introduction of the the Mod gang then, no, you are probably not going to like how he did it.
Fett takes Shand to a Mod parlour, the place where all the cool kids on Tatooine hang out and he is clearly out of place, and pays to have her guts replaced with cybernetic parts. The scene has an EDM score, which for me was a lot more jarring than the visuals, but it is only brief and doesn’t destroy Star Wars.
Once she is healed and conscious, Fett lays out their similarities and his new philosophy through a series of fireside chats. They were both left for dead on the sands of Tatooine and have experienced a rebirth. He is tired of working for idiots (Vader?) who get people like them killed and wants to head this own family that can do things the right way. Up until his time in the pit he had been a loner but following his time with the Tuskens he understands the importance of a tribe and belonging to something. An interesting fact here is that Fett recognises Shand and know she is a master assassin but Shand has to ask Fett who he is. Although he doesn’t follow the Mandalorian way, he has clearly kept his helmet on during his years as a bounty hunter. This was probably to create some mystery around him but also, as he said in ‘The Mandalorian’, he has a very recognisable face.
These chats are broken up by some great action scenes. The first is an assault of Jabba’s palace to retrieve his ship or, as Boba refers to it, his ‘Firespray Gunship’. Up until now his ship has always been called, although never spoken out loud, ‘Slave 1’ and a name change has been rumoured for sometime. Of course, the vocal minority are up in arms about this but no one is saying that fans can’t still refer to the ship by its original name. Firespray has always been the ship’s class and it makes sense that this how he would refer to it when talking to others. Fennec asks why he doesn’t just ask for it back and Fett says that he might not like the answer but also that he is less persuasive without his armour, underlining that it is still an important part of his identity even though he his trying to be something else.
Pointless controversy aside, this is a great action sequence that starts with good comedic beats as the raid begins in the palace kitchen where Fett has to defeat a series of droids to stop the alarm being raised. It then turns into thrilling action as they get to the Firespray and have to fight of hordes of palace guards to escape. This is followed by a scene that should shut up those who are worried that Fett has gone soft. He hunts down the speeder gang that he thinks killed his Tusken tribe, a fact that is questioned by Fennec, and casually blows them all away from behind the controls of his ship and he even overkills it by using missiles on the last biker.
The next bit of action sees Fett return to the Sarlacc pit. Again, this has upset the vocal minority as he’s there to search for his armour. The internet has cried out that his armour is not in the pit so why is he looking for it there but this is a case of people failing to understand that this is a fact that the audience know but the character doesn’t. Fett knows the last place he had the armour was in the pit, he was near death when the Jawas took it from him and then they knocked him unconscious. He can be forgiven for not knowing its exact whereabouts. Certain parts of the audience need to start watching the story that they are presented with rather than the one that is in their heads because in dismissing this scene they are missing out on a thrilling and beautifully shot piece of Star Wars that’s climax involving a seismic charge had me giggling like a child.
When Fett emerges from his bacta tank his droid tells him his scars are all healed so it looks like that is the end of the flashback, which would make sense as they have caught up to where we met him in ‘The Mandalorian’. Fennec questions about the scars on the inside, implying that he has still got to work through his issues, namely the question of who actually killed the Tuskens.
Fennec tells Boba that the mayor is still missing and the Pykes are gathering so he heads into town to show his face. This leads to the first scene on the show that I think won’t have any meaning to casual viewer. Krrsantan is drinking at the Sanctuary and getting more and more wound up buy the partying Trandoshans on the next table. He explodes in a fit of rage, throwing them all over the bar. Garsa Fwip (Jennifer Beals) tries to talk him down but he ends up ripping the last one’s arm off, something we have been aware that Wookiees do since the first film. To the casual this is just an angry Wookiee but for those with knowledge of deeper Star Wars lore this is a response to a centuries of the Wookiees being hunted by the Trandoshans for sport. Also, Trandoshans can grow they limbs back so the act of ripping was just for show. Outside the bar Boba continues to grow his tribe by giving Krrsantan a simplified version of the speech he gave Fennec.
We then finally get the meeting of the crime families of Mos Espa, which is the last thing from the trailers that we were yet to see, with the Trandoshan, Aqualish and Klatooinian crime family bosses gathered around a table over the Rancor pit. With the Pykes now clearly the enemy that needs to be taken down, Boba has a classic offer for them all – join him or stay out of his way. With a little help from the Rancor he gets an agreement from them all. Now all Boba needs is and army and ‘The Mandalorian’ theme kicks in to give us a clue as to what is coming next.
This episode pulls everything nicely together, setting us up for a more linear approach over the final few episodes. The theme of change has now been spelled out and shown to effect the characters differently. Boba has been enlightened by his time in the desert and has a desire to build a new tribe, Fennec understands the need for change but is weary of it, and then there is Krrsantan who can’t change his nature but will go where the money is. It will be interesting to see how these three will work as a team but three people does not make a army. We know Mando is coming but the question that will get people excited is who else might we see fight at Boba’s side.
After an uneven but enjoyable first four episodes, we are now set up for what will hopefully be a barnstorming final three. Fingers crossed for Boba riding a Rancor.