The Book of Boba Fett continues to mix the past and present in a meandering second episode that will only satisfy those desperate to know the origin of the bounty hunter’s pointy stick. Picking up exactly where the first episode left off, ‘Chapter 2: The Tribes of Tatooine’ begins well enough with Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen) bringing one of Boba’s would-be assassins to Jabba’s old palace.
As you might expect, Boba Fett (Temuera Morrison) isn’t too happy about someone trying to put a hole in his chest (it’s where he keeps his favourite organs), and he demands the assassin reveal his master. Shock horror, it turns out to be the Mayor of Mos Eisley – who refused to pay him tribute last week – and who’s clearly being set up as one of the TV series’ big antagonists.
Just when you think things couldn’t get worse for Boba, Jabba’s cousins arrive to remind the self-proclaimed Daiymo of Tatooine that it’s easy to claim territory but keeping control of it is a lot harder. This politicking and intrigue made for a propulsive opening that blew away some of the cobwebs of concern I had with the first episode. Finally, I thought The Book of Boba was finding its feet and delivering what it promised Star Wars fans when we saw Fett put a sunroof in Bib Fortuna‘s throat.
Then Boba got in that damned Bacta tank, and the whole episode screamed to a halt like a train making an emergency stop – which I suppose is apt considering the rest of the plot. Once again, we see how Boba earned the trust of the Tusken Raiders, this time helping them stop a train that’s been riding ramshod through the Sand People’s territory.
It all culminates in Boba being bedecked in the black robes we saw in The Mandalorian season 2, as well as how he made his staff weapon. Were you particularly curious about Boba Fett’s sartorial choices? Were you chomping at the bit to know where he got his staff? I can’t speak for you, but I know I wasn’t; I came to this series to see Boba become Tatooine’s kingpin of crime, not see stuff I already knew.
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Now I know I should judge a show by what it is and not what I want it to be, but this whole thing is giving me Star Wars prequel vibes. It’s over-explaining everything by giving backstory over character, presuming that just because people like a character, they need to know everything about them, and that’s just not true.
I wrote this last week, but when Boba Fett appeared in The Mandalorian, we could surmise based on his clothes, weapons, and interactions what had happened to him since Return of the Jedi. Showing us his backstory just feels like filler designed to tick boxes for a small group of people who, for some reason, really needed to know where Boba got his natty new cloak.
Again I feel like I’m repeating myself, but I could cope with this if there were a point to it, but so far, it’s feeling a bit like a Hutt tail, pointless. Was I feeling charitable, I could argue the Tusken Raider stuff is supposed to show us how Boba became a softer, more reasonable person, but I don’t think the sci-fi series has done a particularly good job at showing us that.
I don’t know why Boba feels compelled to stay and help the Tusken Raiders, and I don’t understand what they’ve done for him that’s made him less of a scumbag? It feels like Boba Fett’s rough edges have been sanded off without anyone taking the time to explain why? Was it his time in the Sarlacc Pit? I honestly don’t know.
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It feels to me that when he burst free of the Pit and dragged himself across the desert dunes, he came out essentially the good guy we saw in The Mandalorian and not the ruthless bounty hunter we saw in Return of the Jedi; it’s all so unearned. I wish we’d get more of a focus on Boba’s character; explaining this switch would make his relative softness in the present more understandable.
I will say it’s not all bad. ‘The Tribes of Tatooine’ does have some great worldbuilding if you’re interested in the rights and customs of the Tusken Raiders. There’s also some fun, if slightly ordinary by the standards of Star Wars, action including a train heist that harkened back to the series’s western influences. Production-wise, The Book of Boba looks great, the sets are incredible, and the StageCraft videowall gives the whole thing real scale.
It’s actually infuriating how well made this show is because I can’t say it’s terrible; it’s not. The cast is great (although it would be nice if we could give Wen more to do), the world well developed, but the story’s just not there yet. Like I said last week, this show really pops when we see Boba and Fennec showing the scum of Mos Eisley, who’s really in charge. I just wish it could focus on that.
The Book of Boba Fett episode 2 review
The Book of Boba Fett’s second episode scrapes a three-star review by virtue f the fact we should have given the first episode 2 stars…