Last week we had hallucinogenic nose lizards, gross Hutt twins, evil Wookiees and a great train robbery, and this week we get… politics! The shifting alliances of Mos Espa start opening up bigger rifts in Boba Fett’s new crime empire as episode three puts the throne on even more unsteady ground. But that’s not to say we don’t still get another cracking episode that sees the return of everyone’s favourite palace pet.
The Matt Berry droid gives us all the exposition with a handy on-screen map: after Princess Leia choked Jabba The Hutt to death, his snivelling little lackey Bib Fortuna took over, dividing the city up between three mafia families. The Trandoshans (lizard men) got the city centre, the Aqualish (bug men) took the Worker’s District, and the Klatooinians (bulldog men) got the docks. Since Bib was such a weak leader, mayor Mok Shaiz was the real boss, but since he didn’t have any real power the whole city became one big power vacuum. Into this, then, comes Boba (Temuera Morrison) and Fennec (Ming-Na Wen), killing Bib at the end of The Mandalorian and now still trying to work out where everyone stands.
The first visit of the day is from a “water-monger” called Lortha Peel (played by the always underused Stephen Root, from Boardwalk Empire and Succession), who asks Boba to help sort out a gang of cyberpunk teens who are stealing all his precious water. Finding the kids hanging out on nifty colour coordinated mopeds (complete with Vespa mirrors), Boba decides to hire them instead – realising that Peel was overcharging everyone for the water anyway. Led by Sophie Thatcher’s (Yellowjackets) Joan Jett wannabe, the cyberpunk kids seem a bit of an odd fit for Boba, but he’s clearly picking his sides carefully as he works through one gang after another.
Settling down into his bed bath, Boba dreams of home planet Kamino again – somehow more of a vivid memory for him than holding his dad’s severed head in his hands. Back to the desert flashback and he’s riding into Mos Eisley on a bantha to collect the protection money he squeezed out of the spice runners after last week’s train robbery. Hearing that the biker gang have collected before him, it looks like he’s not quite finished consolidating power for his new Tusken tribe. The only problem is, there isn’t any tribe left.
Riding back to camp to find his desert family massacred (with echoes here of Luke seeing his aunt and uncle burned, and of Anakin slaughtering sand people, both on the same planet), Boba’s path of vengeance is set. But all that will have to wait another week as he’s suddenly snapped out of his dream by the Hutt twins’ evil wookiee – dragging him out of his bath in his pants to start snapping his spine.
Rescued by the cyberpunk kids and his two loyal Gamorrean guards, The Book Of Boba Fett reaches its most surreal moment yet as we watch the green pig men fight a dark side Chewbacca wielding an electric knuckleduster. Fennec finally shows up and triggers a trapdoor, trapping the wookiee – who we find out is actually called Krrsantan (pronounced “Chris Santan”, which is way funnier).
Before Boba can get too angry about yet another attempt on his life, the Hutt twins turn up and say sorry. It turns out they’re leaving Tatooine for good and they’ve brought Boba a peace offering of his very own rancor (if that’s not enough, it also comes with Danny Trejo!)
Boba sets Chris free and starts playing with his new pet. “They can be very loving,” says Trejo in a very-slightly creepy tone of voice. He explains that rancors are only vicious when they’re riled up. Boba asks if he can learn to ride it (“because I’ve ridden beasts 10 times it’s size…”) before bonding with the rancor.
Back to the politics lesson and Boba finds out that the Hutts are leaving town because the mayor has invited the Pyke Syndicate to take over instead. A slightly ropey CG moped chase sees the mayor’s simpering aide (David Pasquesi) reveal the exact same thing – right before we see the Pykes turn up at the docks in full force. Since we already know the Pykes are connected to the biker gang who massacred Boba’s Tusken tribe, it looks like the two halves of the story are about to meet up.
Under the helmet
- Pause the episode at 31.06 during the moped chase and see one of the punks comically crash into a giant canvas of Ralph McQuarrie’s famous concept art for Return Of The Jedi – an original design that inspires so much of The Book Of Boba Fett.
- The annoying little pit droids from The Phantom Menace make a comeback on Mos Eisley, still getting in the way of traffic in the middle of the street.
- We first hear about the Pyke Syndicate in season five of The Clone Wars, but they get their live action debut in Solo – as the scary spice running gang fighting Han and Chewie.