The Book of Boba Fett: Episode 2 Review

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2 years ago

The second episode of Star Wars' The Book of Boba Fett, finds us crawling deeper into the sands of Tatooine. We knew we were getting a Western genre Star Wars with this series, just like it's forerunner The Mandalorian, and this week finds us exploring space western tropes even more.

There is a great train robbery. There are more scenes fleshing out the native culture of the long-maligned Sandpeople. There is also a very weird desert vision quest sequence.

Two episodes in, it's starting to feel like The Book of Boba Fett is turning into a love letter to George Lucas and Tatooine. We know that series creators Jon Favreau and Robert Rodriguez both worship at the temple of George Lucas' Star Wars, and the resulting series feels like they are trying to pay homage to that gritty, visual and atmospheric version of Star Wars.

The episode is again split into two storytelling tracks. The present day and flashbacks. Only the flashbacks are feeling more like "longbacks" as they dominate their share of screen time. The present day bits fill out the familiar set pieces and environments from the old Star Wars films. We see aliens we recognize. Jabba the Hutt's cousins crash the party and confront Boba about his assuming of Jabba's throne. The flashbacks are where we get the fresh goods. Like a nuanced exploration of the Sandpeople's traditions and culture.

The drama of the flashbacks in the episode center on a train heist. After outlaw spice traders race through the sands, blasting the Tusken Raiders they come across, Boba devises a plan to stop the train. Some light-hearted training with speeder bikes ensues, and soon the mission begins. The heist itself gives us some big screen action, like we've come to expect in The Mandalorian. Here Fett leads the charge and manages to stop the train in its hover tracks. Confronting the spice traders and demanding at blaster point that they pay a toll every time they rampage across the Tusken sands. Reluctantly, they agree.

As a reward for his leadership, Boba then participates in a ceremony to make him a full member of the tribe. But first, things get weird. The tribal chief gifts Fett a small lizard who will "show him the way." After an inquisitive look from Fett, the lizard proceeds to leap up Boba's nostril and disappear. Hallucinogenic dreams ensue. Boba wanders through a mindscape that combines his past on the watery cloning planet of Kamino with his escape from the snarly tentacles of the Sarlacc. In the end, he comes to a tree in the middle of the desert. The tree tries to strangle him, and then, it's over.

It is a short sequence, but one that feels exciting and maybe important for Star Wars. Ever since The Empire Strikes Back dropped a galaxy shaking plot twist, it feels like Star Wars has been shackled to a template of needing to repeat similar surprising twists. While it's important to keep the audience guessing, exclusively chasing culture shaking ah-ha moments feels like a losing proposition. What I like about Boba Fett's dream sequence is it feels like a zone of Star Wars we haven't explored much before. Getting poetic and weird with the visuals. Like something David Lynch might pull in one of his films. Seeing a desert suddenly filled with water. Having a trip inducing lizard crawl up someone's nose. Sign me up.

It's still early, but the second episode feels like it's starting to turn into its own thing and move away from the Star Wars template and Skywalker family tree.

One gripe would be that the second episode feels like another introduction. Here's to hoping that the third episode brings some clarity around the threats that will challenge Fett in his attempt to rule over Tatooine. Where is the menacing villain? Where is the ruthless crime lord without a conscience? So far all we have seen are idle threats, and quick retreats from these standoffs with Boba.

I'd like to see The Book of Boba Fett take a page out of the storytelling drama of a show like Breaking Bad, where every choice becomes a matter of life and death for the central character or someone he cares about. Think about how menacing the villains in Breaking Bad were. Where are the Tuco Salamancas and Gus Frings of Tatooine?

We get it, Boba Fett is in the midst of an identity crisis and is no longer the ruthless, cold-blooded bounty hunter we know and love. He aims to rule with respect, for some reason. Fair enough, but where is his shadow that will show no remorse in ruling with fear? The show would benefit from the arrival of a character who felt truly dangerous.

The Book of Boba Fett: Episode 2, The Tribes of Tatooine is streaming now on Disney Plus.

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Avatar for oyl
Written by
2 years ago