This one felt far more compelling to me than the first one. I saw a fair few people getting angry online because some were less than satisfied with the slow start of the first episode. Which shouldn’t surprise me too much, getting up in arms because people don’t share your opinion on a piece of popular media is the new norm these days.
This episode continues the duel storylines of the first one, I’m actually pretty surprised at how much time this second episode does dedicate to the flashback segment of the story, which mostly dominated the episodes runtime. Seeing as we have a whole five years to cover, I find myself wondering if this first series is going to mostly focus on Boba’s time with the Tuskens as the main story drive.
The first segment, however does start in the present and sees Boba and Fennic interrogating the surviving assassin concerning whoever hired him and why. The assassin refuses to speak and we learn he is a member of the “Order of the Night Wind”, a group of assassins for hire, whose name has Fennic rolling her eyes.
It takes a drop into the Rancor pit to finally make the assassin admit that he was hired by the Mayor. A Rancor he must not have heard has been dead for a while now. Oops.
Returning to Mos Espa, Boba and his entourage barge their way into the town hall and come face to face with the Mayor. The very cool headed Ithorian Mok Shiaz. Ithorians are a funny lot, they’re generally know for being pacifists, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have balls of steel. Playing it cool the entire meeting, Shiaz pays the “bounty” for the assassin and continues acting dumb towards any wrongdoing.
Before things can escalate, he points Boba back in the direction of Garsa Fwip’s Sanctuary. If I was Boba, I could start to suspect I was being played for a fool by everyone around me, being led back and forth by people who obviously don’t care who I am. It’s only upon returning to Sanctuary that we learn that the issue might not be with Boba himself, but that a pair of Hutts known as the twins have laid claim to their cousin Jabba’s former lands.
Which is when we get a very cool scene where a litter, looking like it’s close to buckling under the weight of two Hutt twins arrives at the Sanctuary, seemingly to intimidate Boba Fett away from his claim over the planet of Tatooine. You know what, Fennic was right about the litter. While the Hutt’s themselves don’t seem like they’ve be anything Boba couldn’t handle, their mere excessive presence makes them feel much grander than they might, in fact, be.
It doesn’t hurt that they have a very intimidating Wookiee Gladiator with them starring daggers at Boba the entire time either.
While the meeting ends in a stalemate, I couldn’t help but find myself thinking that Boba, if he’s serious about this, needs to find himself more allies if he wants to combat these Hutts and their claim. No doubt, simply killing the twins would bring even more heat from the greater Hutt Cartels down upon him, which is the last thing he needs.
I think it’s here where I really start to think about what I know about organised crime in the Star Wars universe and how it might apply to what’s going on here. Last I knew, most of the criminal underworld was rules over by the five syndicates. Five criminal groups that share an uneasy alliance to run all crime across the galaxy.
They’re the Hutts, the Black Sun, the Pyke Syndicate, the Crimson Dawn and the Crymorah syndicate. I know more about some of these than others based on my recent watching of the animated Clone Wars series and their parts played within that during the time Darth Maul took over Mandalore.
Will Boba reach out to any of these organisations, if they all still exist? If not that, then maybe he’ll reach out to some of his old bounty hunting contacts and bring them under his wing as enforcers. The appearance of the Hutt twins is a very welcome twist in the tail, one I am excited to see move forward.
That only actually covers a small amount of the episode though, from here we spend the rest of our time continuing to chronicle Boba’s time with Tusken people and going from being a prisoner into a fully fledged member of their tribe.
We see him training with the Tusken Warrior, who I never realised was a female until someone pointed it out. It’s kind of difficult to tell with these totally covered people. He’s learning to fight in their style using the Gaderffii stick. This is interrupted by a huge speeder train blasting through the nearby desert and unleashing a torrent of blaster fire in the direction of the Tuskens for seemingly no reason.
After this massacre, Boba makes the offer to leave camp and start forming a plan to put a stop to the speeder. This is the point in the story where it would seem very easy for Boba to steal a Speeder, make for a nearby spaceport and get off-world to recover himself and maybe get back to his normal life. Yet he doesn’t.
It’s not been overtly stated in this series so far. While Boba Fett may have been renown for being a ruthless and deadly bounty hunter, he was also a man of honour and principle. Once he took a job. He would never break the deal nor betray his employer. It was part of what made him so famous and something ingrained within him by his father Jango.
We saw it in practice during the second season of the Mandalorian, where he committed himself Din Djarin to rescue Grogu from the Imperial Remnant. While the Tuskens may have treated him like crap to begin with, now they’ve accepted him into their world. And while the word Tusken is synonymous with the word “raider” amongst many people inside and out of the world of Star Wars, not all of them are bloody murderers.
We spend enough time with the Tuskens in this episode to see that they’re a proud and noble people. A race of nomad and warriors who respect strength and personal ability. Fett is a very capable individual and through that they accept him into their world. I think Boba feels a kinship with these people. These Tuskens, at least, are honourable people and he feels he owes them a debt for saving his life.
Plus, he seems to like being around them.
And so the rest of the episode is a thrilling sequence of Boba stealing a bunch of speeder bikes from some petty thugs, training the Tuskens to ride them and then staging a wild west style great train robbery on the thunderous train streaking through the desert. It feels very Wild West, Great Train Robbery to me.
Which is a distinction I’ve felt like modern Star Wars love to lean into. The whole mashup of Samurai and Gunslingers, the East vs. West thing. I think it works really well to be honest, and this is a cool sequence. One that really makes up for the lack of any real action in the first episode. As it turns out, the train is run by the Pykes, imagine that, and they’re running spice through the Dune Sea.
Shooting at the locals as a warning to protect their cargo. Boba actually ends up letting all of the Pykes live, giving them water and direction to Anchorhead and a warning that they give the Tuskens a wide berth from now on.
As thanks for his part in stopping the train, the tribe leader fully accepts Boba into the fold and sends him on some weird vision quest. One kicked off by having a little lizard shoot up his nose. Which is both gross and hilarious. The significance of the vision is totally lost on me, if it’s supposed to have any deeper meaning of what is to come in the future for his story.
He is wrapped by a tree, surrounded by the glowing eyes of Jawas, the branches of the tree flash back and forth between wood and the insides of the Sarlacc. Some people say the tree is Jango, whose death still weighs on him to this day. I don’t know. Eventually he wakes up outside of the camp and returns with a branch he turns into his own Gaderffii stick. It’s a very ritualistic feeling series of events. One that feels like it’s borrowing pretty heavily from native American tradition.
Or at least, the depiction of it I’ve seen in popular media.
The episode ends with Boba regaled in the black cloak we see him wearing when he is reintroduced in the Mandalorian.
So yeah, this is a real good episode. I wonder if we’re going to get anymore focus on the flashback and Boba’s time with the Tuskens from here. It feels like he’s pretty much at the point he was at when we met him again in the Mandalorian, give or take a few years. Unless there is another story to tell there, I get the impression the rest of the series might have a real focus on the present and Boba’s new war against the Twins.
I don’t think the introduction of the Pykes in flashback was an accident either. Fett needs allies now and I feel like they’re a potential one against the Twins. I wonder if we’re likely to see the likes of Bossk or Dengar come back and become part of Boba’s crew again.
There are a lot of questions floating around in my head for potential directions this series could go now, and unlike the aftermath of the first episode where it all felt like it came with a twinge of frustration. Now it’s all filled with excitement and the prospect of what’s still to come.