After a long week of waiting, The Book of Boba Fett is finally back with the second episode of the series. The new episode, titled “The Tribes of Tatooine,” was directed by Steph Green and written by Jon Favreau, and is, in many ways, a very fitting continuation of last week’s “Stranger in a Strange Land.” The runtime is a bit longer this time around, and the episode really takes advantage of that. While it has the same slow-burn pace as any Mandalorian episode, this one had more time for the story to unfold, and that was a major improvement upon Chapter 1.
Much like what happened last week, there is an extended sequence in present-time, in which Boba Fett is acting as the new crime lord of Mos Espa, with Fennec Shand by his side. And there is also an extended sequence in the past, with the Tusken Raiders. Following in the steps of Chapter 1, the stuff with Fennec is very enjoyable and comes with a couple of nice surprises which we’ll discuss in spoiler territory down below. The flashbacks, though, worked much better this week, but they did drag the story for me. They come with a great action sequence, and it looks like what happens in there might be of relevance in later episodes.
For someone who hasn’t directed anything Star Wars-related and is stepping into a very well-oiled machine, Green did a fantastic job directing this episode. But of course, that is no surprise — she directed the episode “Little Fear of Nothing” from Watchmen, which granted her an Emmy nomination.
Overall, the episode was quite enjoyable and was better-paced than last week’s. However, I must say I’m not the biggest fan of flashbacks in general, and more than half of this episode took place in the past. If you are like me, that might ruin the experience a little. That being said, I cannot wait to see where this goes.
I will get to the positive stuff first, and then point out a couple of criticisms I have, not just with this episode but with the overall series so far. Starting with the present, I loved everything about Boba Fett and Fennec Shand on Mos Espa. The show presents one of its first mysteries right away: who hired the assassins? There are a couple of possibilities here.
The first suspect, pointed out by the assassin, is the Mayor, Mok Shaiz. We are quickly introduced to him, and get to see the scene that was teased in a clip posted Tuesday, a few hours before the new episode aired. I have to say, though, I was a bit surprised by the scene, but not in a bad way. I thought we’d be establishing here the Mayor as one of the main antagonists of the show, but that didn’t happen, at least not on the surface. Instead, Mok Shaiz simply sends Boba Fett to the Sanctuary, so that Madam Garsa can explain to him what is going on exactly.
But before that happened, Shaiz killed the assassin in cold blood, saying that “the Order of the Night Wind are not allowed to operate outside of Hutt space.” The Mayor denies that he sent them, but it is very possible he did and won’t admit it. The assassin did mention his name out of desperation, and in fact, it just makes sense — if it were any other crime lord who sent the assassins after Fett, why would the assassin say it was the Mayor if he knew that, once he stepped into his chambers, he’d be killed for being out of place?
Madam Garsa of course raises another possibility: “The twins have laid claim to their late cousin’s bequest.” Of course, we know who the late cousin is, the one and only Jabba the Hutt, who “ruled with fear” for a long time before being taken down by Leia Huttslayer. And moments later, a drum starts to play in the background. But it’s getting closer and closer. People stop what they are doing. Fett, Shand, and the two Gamorrean guards leave the Sanctuary, and we meet them. This is the first Hutt we’ve seen in live-action since Disney acquired Lucasfilm, and… there are two of them!
When The Book of Boba Fett was announced, and we started speculating what characters and species we could see, the Hutts definitely came up as a very real possibility. And even then, I was so satisfied when they turned that corner on Mos Espa. Their introduction was very cool and left the door open for much cooler stuff to come. They are seeking to take back what they consider to be rightfully theirs, but they leave without any real confrontation, which raises the question: why did they leave? Will they come back with reinforcements? What do Favreau and Rodriguez have in store here?
They looked fantastic, and very puppet-like, which either means they build actual puppets for them, or they are well past the awkward CGI of the special edition of A New Hope, which is also great news. We will see them again, and I cannot wait.
And along with them, we see another very cool character too, because the one and only Black Krrsantan is in this series. The Wookiee bounty hunter is a recurring character in the Doctor Aphra comics and first appeared in Darth Vader #1 (2015). He has a long history working for the Hutts, and his appearance here was very fitting and an awesome nod to comic fans. There are plenty of nods at Solo in this episode as well, and if Lucasfilm ever wanted to go on with Alden as Han, we are definitely in for a showdown between Chewie and Black Krrsantan — after all, the latter was working for Jabba around the time Solo takes place in, and the end of that movie definitely teases the Hutts.
The present-time stuff of the episode ends there, and then we cut to Boba’s bacta tank, which, as we saw last week, means we are flashing back to the past — we meet again with the Tusken Raiders, and they look friendlier towards Boba this time around. They are teaching him the Tusken ways, but they are suddenly interrupted because they are under attack. A train passes by half a mile across from them, and individuals inside the train start shooting at the Tuskens. We later learn that these are members of the Pyke syndicate and are carrying spice. Several nods to Solo crammed in there, which was great to see. And I fully believe there are more of them coming in the next few episodes.
But Boba Fett sees injustice here, and he can’t stand for that. He tells the Tuskens he will stop the train, and he’ll be back by morning. At first, I thought Boba Fett was going to take on the train all by himself, but that is not what happened. Instead, we go to Tosche station, in what is yet another deep cut by Jon Favreau. While this is the first canon introduction to Tosche station, die-hard fans of the original trilogy may have seen the deleted scene from A New Hope in which Luke visited his usual hangout place. Additionally, we cut to an even deeper cut, as we finally meet Camie and Fixer, Luke’s friends on Tatooine that also appeared in deleted scenes from the original movie. They were played here by Mandy Kowalski and Skyler Bible, respectively, and to be honest, I didn’t even realize who they were until the episode ended and I went online.
They are surrounded by a group of Niktos, a.k.a. the Sons of Anarchy of Tatooine, a group of bikers that don’t last long once Boba Fett shows up. I loved how this scene was shot, as Green used a wide angle and she let the stunt people do their thing. We saw the entire fight with barely any cuts, and it was fantastic. After knocking them down, he steals their bikes, and we cut to a very entertaining scene of the Tuskens trying to ride those bikes under Boba’s teachings.
This was all in preparation for the assault on the Pyke train, a fantastic sequence that was also another node to Solo. This acted like a mini-episode, with a three-act structure, as all great action sequences do. With barely any dialogue, we see an inciting incident, when the train arrives, a midpoint in which our heroes are surrounded, and finally, they win after learning from their mistakes and working together. Beautifully written and masterfully directed, this was the highlight of the flashback. Once the train is stopped, the Pykes are captured and then freed by Boba Fett under the condition that, from that point onwards, that desert is the territory of the Tuskens, and they must pay a toll every time they pass through.
Of course, we know that Boba Fett will soon be leaving the Tuskens behind, and while they have more weapons than ever after this strike, they are still a rather small and disorganized group, which means that without Fett’s direction, they might very well not win the next battle. I assume Fett is hoping that the Pykes don’t ever think of that, but when he says that “any death dealt from the passing freighters will be returned ten-fold,” well, I wonder if they can really deliver on that. I’m not nearly interested to see a fight between the Tuskens and the Pykes, but this might be something that comes up later, as I’m certain we haven’t seen the last of the Pykes in this series.
I would have been fine if the episode ended here, and even happier if Favreau and Green had cut back to present-time and given us more Boba Fett and Fennec Shand against their competing crime families. But Favreau wanted to get weird, like Star Wars likes to do sometimes, and gave us a disgusting sequence with a lizard controlling Fett’s mind from inside, after crawling up his nose. He then goes after a mystical tree from which he grabs a long branch that is then forged into the weapon he is carrying in The Mandalorian season 2.
As I said, I could have done without this sequence, but I did like the whole ritual that the Tuskens gave Boba Fett, with the sewing of the costume and all of that. It gave more gravitas to his Mandalorian appearance and emphasized something I really enjoyed about this story. When we saw the Tuskens carrying the same weapons that Boba Fett had in The Mandalorian, I assumed that at some point, Fett would just kill the Tuskens and grab their weapons. That is not what happened, because he actually became one of them. They gave a more mystical vibe to the character we saw at the end of “Chapter 9: The Marshal,” and I love that. To be honest, I was even expecting the Tuskens to give him a name, like what would have happened if Tolkien was writing this episode.
With this, it appears we’ve covered the majority of the flashbacks, and we will hopefully focus more on present-time stuff from now on. More than half of this episode was spent back in time, and I do think it dragged the story and kept me from enjoying it more. There are still a few things Favreau might cover, and I do think we are going to see Cobb Vanth in the series, and not necessarily in present-time. Temuera Morrison also said months ago we should expect flashbacks from The Empire Strikes Back era, so there are clearly more coming, but I hope they have less weight from now on.
Speaking of quotes, I have to say I’m quite disappointed with Robert Rodriguez so far. He told The Hollywood Reporter last month that they couldn’t even give the marketing department more than the first half of the first episode, as there was a massive spoiler in the second half. That of course didn’t happen, and I started to wonder if he actually meant the first few minutes of the present-time scenes, which took up most of the trailers. But that isn’t even the case, because, after two episodes and around 25 minutes of present-time scenes, there are still scenes in the trailers we haven’t seen.
Now, I’m okay with the show being a slow-burn and not having any major surprises every three minutes, but if that is the case, don’t say otherwise. I’m sure there are plenty of moments coming where I will not believe what I’m seeing, but please stop overselling your content. While there were a couple of surprises in this episode that I loved, with the Hutts and Black Krrsantan, I don’t think that is something he should have advertised so much. And while this is certainly more brutal than The Mandalorian, I still haven’t seen any sequences like the one in “Chapter 14: The Tragedy,” with Boba Fett just killing off stormtroopers with his knee rockets.
I’m sure all of those moments are coming, but come on, don’t make me watch the credits of every episode wondering where in the world are those big shocks Rodriguez screamed to the heavens we wouldn’t believe we were seeing, and why would he say he couldn’t overhype if he tried. I know that this is nitpicking, and like I said, I enjoyed this episode, plus the showrunner’s quote shouldn’t influence what I think of the actual storytelling, but as a viewer that reads and writes on a daily basis about this stuff, I might start believing him when he delivers.
Make sure to also check out the “Mando minute,” James Baney’s 1-minute immediate reaction to Chapter 2, and join The Resistance Broadcast tonight LIVE at 9pm ET on The Mando Fan Show on the SWNN YouTube channel, where the TRB crew will delve deep into this episode with you in the live chat!