I have really enjoyed the opening two Chapter to this series, for just shy of 90 minutes of television, there has been a whole lot of storytelling so far. We have learned how Boba Fett both survived and escaped the Sarlac pit from ‘Return of the Jedi’ and we have also started to see the events from that point to the time Boba makes his appearance in ‘The Mandalorian’ thanks to the Arrowverse style flashback story telling. We also have seen what is happening in the present-day side with Boba having claimed the former territory of Jabba the Hut with Fennec by his side and how he wants to rule with respect not fear but is already being challenged by the Mayor and the twin cousins of Jabba who arrived in Chapter 2 also claiming the territory, saying it is theirs by right. Boba clearly has his hands full back in the past and in the modern day and I was eager to get to Chapter 3 to find out what happens next.
I have to say I am thankful that Disney Plus do not do weekly trailers for each Chapter so you can go into the story with only the recap of what has happened before, keeping surprises and spoilers to a minimum which is something I do appreciate as not a big fan of the “Next Week on….” Style tease for the next episode in a series. I must admit, I was hoping that the almost “middle” chapter in this seven-episode series would focus more on the present-day story with a good amount, and for good reason, of the first two focusing on the flashback story whenever Boba goes into his Bacta Tank to heal.
I got my wish, for the first time this series, there is a real focus on the current dangers facing Boba as the self-proclaimed Daimyo of Tatooine as begin to learn far more about the criminal empire and how it changed from being under the rule of Jabba before Boba claimed it for himself. We now know that under the previous leader, Bib Fortuna, his rule was too weak to have a dominant presence like Jabba had, instead the empire was split into three territories, each run by a different crime syndicate and had alliances with each one to ensure their tribute. Now Boba is in charge, he will have to each Syndicate that he is worthy of their respect and loyalty. It is a nice reminder that Boba has only been Daimyo for a short time, too short to have make a mark yet on Mos Espa.
A Water Trader comes to the palace, complaining that a local street gang of kids who modify themselves with droid parts, have been stealing his inventory, something the trader wants to make sure Boba understands had never happened under any of the previous Daimyos as well as implying that the assassination attempt on Boba has made him look weak to those who should at the very least, respect him as the new Daimyo. Boba heads off with Fennec to see this gang for himself and for me, this is the part that sadly falls flat.
For this Street Gang is indeed a bunch of teenagers, living in the work district but do not actually have jobs so are forced to steal water, also revealing that the trader has been overcharging for it making it unaffordable to many in the district. Confronted by Boba, one stands her ground and talks back to Boba who then reminds her of his position, which serves as another sign that his name alone does not yet bring the instant fear or respect a Daimyo requires. Boba almost admires her tenacity, and others the entire gang a job working for him, which angers the trader but Boba, to the surprise of the gang, offers to pay him what they owe but on hearing the amount, it angers Boba who gives him less than half of what they owe, tells the trader to accept it and to also lower his prices or choose to move elsewhere if he does not want to do business in Boba’s territory.
For me this scene is showing that Boba wants to rule according to his own moral code, he has already said he wants to rule with respect and not fear but so far that approach has only inspired the contenders to his throne rather than having them afraid to step up. The mayor has already tried to have Boba assassinated, the Hutt Twins have already advised him to “sleep lightly” and yet Boba still tries to apply his code when dealing with challenges, whilst this street gang appear to appreciate it, it might not be the best style of rule unless Boba stamps his authority down. Another visit to see the mayor has his underling make a run for it with Boba ordering the gang to chase him down leading to a very bizarrely placed in the story chase sequence. The street gang all riding a cross between a speeder bike and a moped, do just that and I have to be honest and say that this broke the immersion for me as it was just a little too much on the nose and out of the Star Wars Universe for me. The gang’s bikes are very much a nod to the British Mods of the 60s who rode mopeds all customised, some with far too many wing mirrors, something that the show also uses and just looks horrible. This entire sequence just did nothing for me and was quite cringey to watch.
Thankfully the rest of the chapter makes up for it as we do get a very short Flashback sequence that sees Boba venturing into town to collect the protection payment that he arranged for the Tusken tribe from those who were running the train operation across their land. Discovering that they had also paid another syndicate who also demanded protection payment has Boba return to the tribe empty handed but only to discover that in his absence, they had been attacked with the leader killed among others with some of the tribe missing. It was rather touching to see Boba burn the bodies, much like the tribe had done following the first train attack in Chapter 2.
Boba is snapped out of his Bacta Tank dream as finally see Krrsantan, the monster of a Wookie that accompanied the Hutt Twins, attacked Boba, pulling him out of the tank and we see Boba without his armour and weapons barely manage to survive the encounter as this Wookie Gladiator not only manhandles Boba but also the street gang who ran in to save Fett. I really liked this scene as it has only really been Chewbecca as the Wookie we have seen in live action before, and a little in the prequel films but to see this fully trained and deadly Gladiator warrior Wookie in Krrsantan just standing his ground as multiple armed opponents was something to be seen.
We do get to see the Rancor pit trap used once again as Fennec managed to capture Krrsantan as the only way to stop the attack and ending the assassination attempt. Fennec as a character is still underused for my liking, she is clearly street smart and fully aware of the dangers facing her as Boba’s number one but also to Boba himself, I do get the sense that we may see Fennec do what she does best far more before the end of this series. But this sequence, unlike the chase sequence, feels more Star Wars and along with some other wonderful nods to the wider fanbase of the show, delivers far more in terms of story building. Boba knows he must send a message, this has been two failed assassination attempts on him, and though he survived, he knows it wont end unless he does something.
As the third Chapter, much of the present-day story has been to introduce to us the audience all the players on the board. With Krrsantan failing, the Hutt Twins come with an offering to Boba as an apology, this gift is a new Rancor calf for him alongside his trainer, Danny Trejo which Im sure is playing a character but for me, I am just as happy to know that Danny Trejo is now canon in Star Wars. The Hutt Twins claim they are giving up their rights to Jabba’s territory and are in fact leaving the planet as they do not want to get into a war, which is a strong hint that for Boba, war for his claim is coming. The trainer explains that the Rancor is a calf who will bond with the first human he sees after his blindfold is removed, no doubt setting up something quite impressive perhaps in the later episodes. Krrsantan is also offered to Boba as tribute, and he simply releases him but giving him some advice not to work for others but to go into business for himself, I sense that this will not be the last we see of this monstrous Wookie.
This chapter has been the slowest so far for me, I am grateful that the present-day story has been given more time whilst the short flashback look does play into the now focus on Boba working to cement his reign as Daimyo with the Criminal Syndicates now his focus as he has become the focus of one especially, The Pikes. This is the kind of middle of the series chapter I expected, a slow one to allow the latter ones to have more action, it was great to see a Rancor and have Danny Trejo starring as “Danny Trejo in Star Wars” but the whole street gang with the moped speeders was eye rolling cringe content for me.
I am hoping the pace quickens up in Chapter 4 and possibly Boba going on the offensive finally both in the present and flashback story arcs.