Each week, Dom from @movienerdreviews will be recapping The Book of Boba Fett, now streaming on Disney+.
Episode 6: From the Desert comes a Stranger
Things are finally in motion. This miniseries truly has done the impossible, in that it realized its initial premise was so flimsy and weak that it just went away from it to bring in the other cooler storylines. Last week, we were re-introduced to Din Djarin aka the much beloved Mandalorian and everything he had been up to since giving Grogu to Luke Skywalker. This week, not only do we get the continuation of that, but we also get, crazy enough to say, an actual story. Things are heating up on Tatooine as we get a few returning faces and a huge surprise to give multiple meanings to the title, but the biggest surprise? Not only do we check in on Grogu, but we also get to see what always proves to be one of the most surprisingly compelling parts of the entire Star Wars saga: Jedi training.
It comes down to something that us Star Wars fans of the last 15 years have been saying over and over again: in Dave Filoni we trust. Given that he was such a tremendous part of the first 2 seasons of the Mandalorian and helping give an identity to the Disney+ version of Star Wars, it stands to reason that when he makes his return to this episode, helping to co-write it with Favreau and direct, we get easily the best episode yet. This episode was everything the first four episodes weren’t: it’s engaging, it’s emotionally moving, it’s compelling, it feels like it has a forward momentum, it feels like a story. Not a stop off point. We need to break this down right here and right now: Disney+ has a story problem when it comes to their shows. Primarily it comes down to a content curation standpoint, in that they stick to this week to week released strategy like any of these characters stick to their weapons of choice, when it really does not serve for a satisfying experience until the last couple of episodes usually. It speaks to a larger problem that these streaming services have in all of their attempts to figure out a consistent release strategy that works for them.
But for once, we finally have something to talk about, because for once, we have other characters with really interesting conflicts besides Boba Fett being a terrible daimo. The pykes have made their move on Tatooine, running into the ill fated Cobb Vanth, who makes his return from Mandalorian Season 2. Din Djarin makes his way to the planet where Grogu is training with Luke Skywalker to give him the gift he made with the Armorer last episode. He even runs into Ahsoka, another unexpected surprise, who brings up some interesting questions as to whether Mando is attempting to reunite with Grogu for the child’s safety or his own satisfaction. Luke also pushes the idea that Grogu could be Yoda resurrected, training him the exact same way that Yoda taught him, and even offering him Yoda’s lightsaber at the end. But Luke is still stuck in the old ways of the Jedi, with some potential foreshadowing to the disaster that will come to his school down the line when he begins training his nephew Ben Solo, as he tells Grogu that he must choose between the lightsaber and being a Jedi, or the Mithril-esque Beskar chain mail that Mando has made for him (sneaking in a Lord of the Rings reference there, I see you Filoni). It makes me think of the origins of the dark saber and how it was the result of the joining of the Mandalorians and the Jedi, something that Filoni seems to have been wanting to explore since he started his Star Wars journey back in 2005.
Filoni proves that he has such an incredible grasp of this world and these characters that he even manages to make Tatooine interesting by bringing back yet another beloved character he introduced into his animated shows who has now also made the jump into live action: the menacing bounty hunter Cad Bane. He strolls onto the scene like a bat out of hell, emerging from the desert as a mirage at first, before proving himself to be very much real when he enforces his new employer’s will by shooting Cobb in cold blood. It’s a terrifying scene that truly does bring in all the western elements that Favreau was attempting to convey with the first four episodes, and it’s done masterfully here. The conclusion before next week’s finale? Just let Filoni have the steering wheel. He’s proved himself too many times at this point.