“Tricky little bugger,” says Boba (Temuera Morrison), as a hallucinogenic lizard is blown up his nose – a wonderfully weird detour in the middle of a backstory that’s dreamt up halfway through the main plot. Two episodes in, The Book Of Boba Fett is laying the groundwork for two different shows at the same time, giving us a western desert epic and a shrewd little gangster drama in one.
Last week saw Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen) catching up with a masked ninja on the rooftops of Mos Espa, and now we see the captured Night Wind assassin dragged in front of Boba. Finally naming names when he’s threatened with being eaten by the palace pet (bring back the rancor you cowards), the assassin says he was sent by mayor Mok Shaiz, which we all sort of suspected anyway.
Dragging the goon to town, Boba and Fennec confront the mayor (an Ithorian, aka “a hammerhead”) who denies everything, conveniently killing the assassin and suggesting the pair start asking questions in The Sanctuary club instead. When they get there, Garsa Fwip (Jennifer Beals) pretends she doesn’t know anything either, just in time for the third (and fourth) culprit to turn up.
Led in by a war drum, and carried by some of the most thankless servants in the galaxy, The Book Of Boba Fett reintroduces the Hutts to the Star Wars universe as “the twins” roll down the street – getting the best entrance of the series so far. As gross as Jabba was in Return Of The Jedi, his cousins are worse. Mopping his sweaty jelly brow with a live rat, twin number one (no names yet…) tells Boba that the throne rightfully belongs to him and his sister, back now to claim the family inheritance of the Hutt crime empire. Threatening him with an evil Wookiee henchman, the pair decide to back down (for now) and slither off back down the street to join the list of enemies now stacked against Boba.
At this point, you have to wonder why Boba even wants to be a gangster. He might have retired from bounty hunting but it seems like there are easier ways of making money than running a crime ring on a planet where everyone hates him. Clearly, something is driving him, and as he settles back down into his water bath/bed for the night, the show picks up his backstory where we left it last week – fresh out of the belly of the Sarlacc, still in his PJs, now running with the Tusken raiders.
The second half of episode two sees Boba learning the ways of the desert – part Dune, part Lawrence Of Arabia, part Sons Of Anarchy as he robs a biker bar, steals a load of speeders and leads a full on train robbery in what already seems like a classic Star Wars set piece. Director Steph Green (Watchmen) does a great job with the action here, but the training montage works just as well, as Boba teaches the Tuskens how to ride (“this makes it go, this makes it stop”) and gains enough trust to get given the weird lizard nose thing as a gift.
Finding himself a tree branch somewhere in the middle of his acid trip, Boba returns to the tribe to swap his dirty undies for clean desert robes and to carve his own gaderffii stick, ending the show with a nice little dance number around the campfire. Still a long way from Mos Espa, and still without his armour, there’s a lot of backstory left to fill here before we catch up with the turf war playing out in Boba’s main thread. Now faced with fending off the mayor, the local club syndicate and the Hutts all at the same time, it looks like he has his work cut out for him in both halves of the story.
Under the helmet
- Matt Berry returns again to voice 8D8 in Boba’s palace, but the character was first seen in Return Of The Jedi as Jabba’s chief droid torturer.
- Robert Rodriguez voices Mayor Mok Shaiz, making the role his second in the series after last week’s cameo as Trandoshan leader Dokk Strassi.
- The episode gives us another very brief flashback to Kamino, and to Boba’s first appearance in Attack Of The Clones.
‘The Book Of Boba Fett’ releases new episodes every Wednesday on Disney+