This week’s episode of The Book of Boba Fett helps set the stage for the crime lord’s current problems while bringing in new allies.
It’s Wednesday, which means it’s time for a new The Book of Boba Fett episode! While The Streets of Mos Espa is quite a bit more straightforward in the story being told, there’s still plenty to talk about. If you need to catch up, be sure to check out my recaps for Chapter 1 and Chapter 2.
As always, spoilers rule the day in these breakdowns so maybe come back after watching the episode for yourself!
This week’s episode, titled The Streets of Mos Espa, mostly flips the script on what the previous episodes have done. Before, a bulk of the runtime was given over to the period of time following Boba’s escape from the Sarlacc, but today we most stay in the current timeline and get a better handle on what’s going on overall.
We see 8D8 explaining to Boba and Fennec about the current state of Mos Espa and the way things were divided up during Bib Fortuna’s “reign.” In short, he parceled it out among three minor families and served as little more than a figurehead. He played at having power, while Jabba seemed to actually rule. With this in mind, Boba wants to bring things back under his control, albeit a bit more benevolently than Jabba.
This is demonstrated nicely as he’s petitioned by a local “water-monger,” Lortha Peel, to take a firm hand with the unruly thugs roaming the streets. Upon confronting them, however, Boba gives the young biker gang (who augment themselves using droid parts) gives them an unlikely offer: a job. The cyberpunk crew, led by Drash (Sophie Thatcher), takes him up on the opportunity…and it’s a good thing too.
It seems Boba didn’t take the Twins’ warning about “sleeping lightly” seriously enough. While he rests in the bacta tank, his flashback (I’ll talk about that in a bit) is rudely interrupted by Black Krrsantan. The Wookiee is there to kill Boba, resulting in a fun fist fight in which it’s made clear just how badass Krrsantan is.
I loved this little action piece. While it’s not as bombastic as other fight sequences in Star Wars, it feels very much in line with the gritty, “down to earth” style we would expect from a show about rival crime bosses. Also, we get to see Drash’s gang in action, and it turns out they aren’t too shabby and able to (mostly) hold their own.
New Threat and Pet
After trapping Black Krrsantan in the empty Rancor pit, Boba and Fennec find their (extravagant) morning meal interrupted by none other than the Hutt Twins themselves. The duo arrive on their litter bearing both an apology and a gift!
I love this little moment. It feels very much in line with what we know about the Hutts in general, and how you would expect inter-crime syndicate stuff to play out. They don’t even bother hiding the fact they sent Black Krrsantan to kill Boba. Even as they apologize, there’s no real remorse there and it’s obvious to them all of this is strictly business related dealings.
The exchange, however, makes it clear that Boba’s claim on Tatooine might be even more tenuous than initially expected. As the twins explain, it turns out another criminal organization (who we learn are the Pykes) has already been promised the territory. In the interest of preventing all out war between syndicates, the Twins are content to leave Tatootine and renounce their previous claims.
Even better, they offer Boba a peace offering of sorts to make it clear there are no more hard feelings: a Rancor! Yes, Boba now has his own pet Rancor to replace the empty spot beneath his palace, even coming with a keeper played by none other than Danny—fucking—Trejo!
Seriously, I squealed when I see Trejo pull up in the background aside the Rancor. The actor has made it clear in the past he’s wanted to appear in the franchise, even specifically stating at one point he wanted to be in The Mandalorian. As such, it’s neat (though not terribly surprising given his relationship with Robert Rodriguez) to see him finally get that chance. Considering his role as Rancor keeper, who will apparently help Boba Fett learn to tame/ride the beast, it seems like a safe bet we could see him appear in more episodes too.
Boba Fett offers to return Black Krrsantan to the Twins unharmed. When they refuse, seeing no more need for the Wookiee bounty hunter, Boba instead lets him loose. It’s another indication of how much Fett has changed overall, and his continued desire to rule with respect. No more wanton killing/destruction. While it’s a stance that his enemies seem poised to take advantage of, it will likely also bring in new allies down the road…
After all this, it’s time to pay the Mayor another visit. As suspected, Mok Shaiz has been more in control of things than publicly known. It seems he’s the one who promised the planet to the Pykes and Boba is ready to deal with him. Unfortunately, it appears as though he’s already decided to cut out.
The Majordomo tries to give Boba the slip, but thanks to his new crew of bikers, the Twi’lek doesn’t get very far. Let me preface this first; I love the overall idea behind this final act action sequence in episode. A “car chase” sequence is exactly the kind of thing you expect in Star Wars and something George Lucas would undeniably approve of. That’s not to mention how much I LOVE the look of those shiny speeder bikes.
The problem, however, is it manages to be one of the slowest/low-stakes chases I’ve ever seen. I don’t know where exactly the disconnect comes from, but there’s no real sense of speed, or even urgency to the chase. Hell, they’re going so slow that at one point a dude crashes his speeder and just kinda rolls off, seemingly no worse for wear.
It’s a great idea, but the overall execution is lacking. It’s confusing considering we all know director Robert Rodriguez knows how to craft dynamic action pieces. So how he missed the mark on this moment is strange. Regardless, it has its moments, and I’m already in love with Sophie Thatcher’s Drash, so it’s cool to see them get utilized effectively.
After being caught, a far more compliant/less haughty, Majordomo spills the beans on the Pyke Syndicate being the big group trying to establish dominance. As they pile out of the starliner, Fennec makes it clear they’ve arrived to handle business, even if it means war.
Back to the Past
While this flashback popped up earlier in the episode, it’s the shortest one we’ve gotten so far. As such, it’s easier to talk about after everything else. Having won a place among the Tusken tribe, Boba sets out to Mos Eisley astride a Bantha in order to speak directly with the Pykes in residence. He wants to ensure his threat from the previous episode was received, and to make it clear he’s there to ensure the Tuskens retain control of their lands.
After the Pyke leader explain they’re already paying “protection” fees to the Nikto swoop gang we’ve been seeing, Boba heads back, seemingly intent to deal with that problem once and for all.
As I mentioned before, it seems like Boba’s overall motives have shifted. Rather than concerning himself with working for the highest bidder, living with the Tuskens, and seeing their plight has given him new purpose. He wants to make his second chance at life more meaningful than before. Unfortunately, upon returning to the Tusken camp, he finds it completely destroyed, with all his newfound friends/family slaughtered.
It’s certainly a choice!
I have very much loved seeing how the Native/indigenous influences have been handled in regards to the Tuskens during this series. It’s taken the “primitive savage” stereotype they’d previously been used for, and given them a stronger sense of culture and civility. Thanks to Temuera’s push to have his Māori heritage influence their background, indigenous people have seen more genuine representation on screen than ever before in Star Wars.
Sadly, the storytellers decided to kill them off, falling back into the very same cliches the previous episodes completely bucked against. I can’t say I didn’t see it coming. It’s such a common trope, I would have been MORE surprised if the tribe had survived.
It’s more disappointing in that there really is no NEED for them to have been summarily disposed of. Boba Fett has already completed his transition into being a more noble warrior, looking to protect the Tuskens from outsiders. He didn’t need a “revenge” motive thrown in there to make his upcoming battle against the swoop gang (and the Pykes) more personal. Moreso, his general backstory already includes him losing his home/family! Why does it have to happen again?
Their narrative purpose fulfilled, killing off the badass Tuskens is the most obvious, and laziest, way to pull the story away from them. For what it’s worth, I think the moment itself was handled fairly well. It was more emotional than I was expecting and Temuera does an excellent job of selling his sorrow. While I don’t agree with the choice to kill them off, from an audience perspective, it’s well-told.
More than the previous episodes, The Streets of Mos Espa, gives us a clearer picture at what’s coming. In short, Boba’s struggles are only just beginning. The Pykes have come to town (literally) and Boba is going to have to deal with them. I suspected the big dinner meeting we’ve seen in the trailers, was Boba gathering the minor crime bosses (who we discussed earlier) to win them to his side. An attempt to unite together to fight back. Obviously, I thought this would be against the Hutts, but it works the same for the Pykes.
I suspect we’ll see that come into play in next week’s episode, though I’m eager to see what resources the other ‘families’ will bring to the fight (and who they’ll align with). That said…I’m not convinced the Pykes are the ones calling the shots. I mean, the Pykes are big, but even so, it’s hard to imagine the Hutts ceding control of their territory to another Syndicate, simply because the Pykes claimed it.
Sure feels like a bigger organization, or at least one in league with all of the cartels/syndicates, is pulling the strings. It’s easy to infer from the conversation with the Twins, that there is SOMETHING keeping all of the major crime syndicates in simpatico; a balance they aren’t keen to disrupt. Boba Fett’s arrival, however, has thrown all of that in chaos, being a totally new player on the board.
My guess here, is Crimson Dawn. It would make a lot of sense considering what we saw of organization in Clone Wars, Rebels, and Solo, not to mention it’s renewed spotlight thanks to a dedicated comics storyline. Hopefully we’ll find out sooner than later. Regardless, it’s clear Boba is heading into an all out war if he wants to keep Tatooine.
On the flashback side of things, I suspect we’ll next go into how Boba met up, and saved, Fennec Shand. Perhaps the slaughter of the Tuskens is his impetus for wanting his armor back so badly in The Mandalorian‘s second season. I could see his train of thought being, if he’d had that extra edge, he might have been strong enough to save them, and will need it to ensure it doesn’t keep happening.
And as for that Rancor, I’m very excited to see Boba Fett actually ride the damn thing. I mean, how cool is that going to be in live-action?!
As always, there are a number of fun references and Easter eggs for fans to spot throughout The Streets of Mos Espa:
Ralph McQuarrie Again – This is one of my favorite Easter eggs so far. During the chase sequence, we see one of the speeders crash through a painting being carried across the street. It’s so cheesy, but it knows this and leans into whole hog. The painting is none other than Ralph McQuarrie’s concept art of Jabba’s Throne Room. Of course, Luke Skywalker has been painted out of the image, but it’s cool to see!
Peli Motto – One of my favorite background/minor characters in The Mandalorian makes a quick appearance in this episode. As Boba strolls into Mos Eisley on the bantha, he passes the Stormtrooper helmets on pikes (which featured prominently in The Mandalorian marketing), but just past those, you can see Peli Motto walking the opposite direction, her Pit Droids following behind.
Witches of Dathomir – Danny Trejo gives the Witches a Dathomir a name-drop in this episode (the first in live-action I believe), while explaining how they once rode Rancors. This is an awesome bit of lore that harkens back to their Expanded Universe/Legends debut in Courtship of Princess Leia. It was an idea that since became a major point of their culture throughout their continued appearances in legends, though has largely been left behind in any of the more recent canon stories. Love seeing this idea make a return.
B’omarr Monk – Though we’d seen it in trailers before, this episode gave us a good shot of a B’omarr monk, the spider-like robot creature, who originally appeared in Return of the Jedi.
Meiloorun – Look closely at the fruit the Majordomo crashes into and you’ll notice they are meilooruns! The fruits original popped up in Star Wars Rebels as a humorous plot point, and continued to pop up in other animated projects ever since. Fun to see it pop up in live-action now.
Worrt Part 2 – In another establishing shot of the palace, we get to see yet another Worrt (we saw one last week trying to run from the Tuskens). This time, he even eats something out of the air just like in Return of the Jedi.
Boba’s Beasts – This isn’t so much an Easter egg as it is a sly (or even potentially sly) reference to Boba’s iconic past. While talking about wanting to ride his new pet Rancor, he offhandedly mentions how he’s rode animals “ten times” larger than the beast. The first appearance of Boba Fett, in a cartoon featured within the infamous Holiday Special, showed him riding atop a large dinosaur-like creature. Perhaps this line of dialog is a cheeky callback to that.
More than likely I missed a few, so be sure to let me know which ones you caught!
On the whole, I enjoyed Chapter 3 of The Book of Boba Fett. I like seeing the present day story moving forward, and seeing Boba going hands-on with a Wookiee is just plain cool. That said, something about the episode feels off. The poor execution of latter action sequences leave something to be desired, and the killing of the Tuskens is just a big ‘ol bummer.
It’s a very up and down episode, that bounced between great moments (Boba loving on his new pet is something I never knew I needed) and strange choices. The result is a mixed bag, but one that largely keeps me invested in the story and eager to see what comes next.