We’re running a recap of The Book of Boba Fett on Disney+. There are spoilers, duh! You’ve been warned.
We start these episodes after some street thugs rob a sniveling water broker named Lortha Peel. The broker beseeches Boba Fett and complains that Mos Espa is in disarray. Worse yet, “No one respects you,” he tells his new Daimyo.
Fett is perplexed. You mean I can’t just walk around with my mean face and expect people to fall in line? So the former bounty hunter saunters into Mos Espa and is surprised to learn these thugs are actually NPCs plucked out of Cyberpunk 2077. “Scram! Get out of my Star War!” he yells. “You’re thematically inconsistent with my vibe!”
But the Cyberpunks tell him the water broker is actually a greedy son of a gun. This is a desert planet, they say, but this jerk keeps gouging the price of water!
Fett turns to the broker. “What’s this? You’re the bad guy?”
Then Lortha Peel, played by Dave Ramsey, says, “I didn’t raise the price of water. The market did.”
Naturally, Fett’s not going to let this nationally-syndicated Christian-ish business guru get away with denying his own agency, let alone blame uncontrollable market forces for the lack of affordable housing, er, I mean water. So he sets Peel straight by paying back a fraction of Peel’s asking price. Then he hires the Cyberpunks to come work for him, because the Jabba palace is still pretty much empty right now.
And while we’re talking about the Cyberpunks, it turns out that just because some Power Ranger speeders looked cool in the concept art doesn’t mean they make any sense riding through the streets of Mos Espa. Even if this was probably some insider homage to the hot rods in American Graffiti, this is one of those moments when showrunner Jon Favreau forgot his target audience probably isn’t well versed George Lucas’s back catalog from half a century ago.
Meanwhile, in the flashback timeline, Fett returns from a business trip only to find his adopted Tusken tribe slaughtered and burned, seemingly at the hands of a rival desert gang, the Kintan Striders.
More on that later.
We talked last time about how The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett both made some effort to humanize the Sand People. So it comes as some shock—but not surprise—the natives were unceremoniously murdered by episode 3 for the purpose of setting off our hero’s journey. Is it too much to ask Disney for a plot with indigenous people that doesn’t involve a native’s tragic death to serve the protagonist’s character arc?
Fett leaves his tribe and finds Fennec Shand left for dead in the desert, and he takes her to a Ripperdoc to stitch up her fatal wounds. Then, upon her recovery, we finally learn something of Fett’s aspirations as the new Daimyo of Mos Espa.
If you recall, Werner Herzog once told Mando, “Bounty hunting is a complicated profession.” They pay you to kill and maim and disintegrate, and in return, you get some meager hazard pay under the constant threat of your own killing and maiming and disintegrating. Fett is sick of it, so he gives Shand his elevator pitch: Help me steal my ship back from Bib Fortuna and build a new collective. We’re the real muscle and brains of these dumb, lazy syndicates, so it’s about time we seize the means of production and ran one of our own.
Or in the words of Our Mother: Cast down the mighty. Send the rich away.
So there it is. Four episodes in, we’ve got our plot now.
With that, the show strongly implies the flashback scenes are over because Fett’s time in the bacta tank has healed his wounds. That means Fett can finally sell the tank on Craigslist and use the money to kick-start his workers’ revolution.
The short-lived dispute with the Hutts is resolved, which appears to be less about the twins having any fear of Fett and his little militia, and more about their disinclination for any entanglements Fett’s presence has invited to Mos Espa. Also, pragmatically speaking, it’s hard to cover the cost of entirely CG characters when you’re on a television budget.
As a parting tribute to the new Daimyo, the twins gift Boba Fett with a baby rancor, and we learn for the first time that riding a rancor is not only something that people can do, but it’s necessary for salvaging whatever fan service is left for a show that’s gotten a tepid reception thus far. And if I’m being honest, The Book of Boba Fett feels like fan fiction more than the real thing, so why not. Yes, let’s ride that rancor.
Fett has brokered some uneasy alliances with the remaining crime families, which is basically an agreement that they’ll all leave each other alone and remain neutral in Fett’s growing feud with the Pyke Syndicate.
Speaking of, can we all agree that the slaughter of the Tusken Raiders in the flashback was the Pykes doing and not the Striders? The Pykes ravage Tattoine for its spice, and after the Raiders stood up to them, the Pykes exacted revenge on Fett’s tribe and framed the Striders. Is that a spoiler? Is that not obvious?
Assuming that’s true, it means that when Fett murdered the entire Strider gang, he was basically doing the Pykes’ dirty work for them, thus making Tattoine easier for the taking. The good news is, Fett hasn’t yet received a substantial dose of humility as a leader, but the act of unintentionally killing people and making his true enemy stronger means he’s probably about to get one.
The only thing worse than being humbled is carrying on in your unearned pride and arrogance. Scripture has terrible things to say of men in lofty towers with oppressive imaginations. But to the humbled? That’s where the grace is. Given the choice, I know which one I’d rather see in the final three episodes.
That, and Fett riding a rancor.