The Book of Boba Fett doubled down on flashbacks this week for what seems like the final time, as the show prepares to cover Boba’s present-day storyline exclusively from here on out.
As such, roughly two-thirds of The Gathering Storm is comprised of flashbacks, with the present day filling out the final third to set up some exciting stuff next week. Those fans who haven’t entirely appreciated the flashbacks may feel a bit frustrated by their return this week after Chapter 3 focused mainly on the present day, but the flashbacks this week did give us a lot of good stuff and answered the remainder of our questions about what Boba Fett was doing all this time on Tatooine.
There are plenty of crowd-pleasing moments that prompted roars of excitement from me, and some unexpected moments of humor; not too many that it felt jarring, but enough to punctuate what was generally a fairly dark and serious story. Thankfully, the action sequences are all great this week; director Kevin Tancharoen (Agents of SHIELD, Fame) nails it, and everything feels appropriately tense and entertaining. There is no repeat of the embarrassing action sequence from last week.
This means, unfortunately, there’s not a lot of time to spend in the present day, which Boba mostly passes setting plans in motion to fight back against the Pyke Syndicate. That doesn’t mean it’s boring though; a particular action sequence was great fun and did justice to a certain character from last week’s episode.
The Gathering Storm wastes no time getting into the flashbacks, as we discover the timeline is now running concurrently with Chapter 5 of The Mandalorian. Boba is eating dinner by a fire after doing some recon on Jabba’s Palace, when he spots Din Djarin’s flares in the distance, as he fights Fennec Shand.
A lot of the humor in this episode comes from Boba’s bond with his bantha. It was funny seeing the bantha lick its lips while watching Boba eat, and then later licking his face when he says goodbye to it. It’s a great way of showing Boba’s affinity for creatures, as he adorably speaks in a cutesy voice and tells the bantha to “find other banthas, make baby banthas!”
We see Boba’s point of view of the tease we received in The Mandalorian when he finds Fennec’s body (noticeably lacking spurs this time in a rare continuity error between the two shows), but this time we see what happens directly afterwards. Boba takes her body to the Mods near the outskirts of Mos Eisley and pays them to install the machine parts in her belly and save her life.
I still don’t know what to think about the Mods’ body modifications – they still feel a bit too cyberpunky and out of place on Tatooine for me – but at least the scooters looked a bit better in the dark compared to how gleaming and colorful they were in the daytime last week. I did appreciate that the Mod artist was much more willing to help Fennec once he discovered she was about to die. It gives the Mods a moral compass that I wasn’t sure existed last week, making them more likeable. I enjoyed the music too; another show would have just used generic drum and bass, or even dubstep, but the Mods’ taste in music still sounded like a Star Wars take on drum and bass.
We then get the first chronological conversation between Boba and Fennec by the fire, and there seems to be an unspoken understanding that she is in his debt after saving her life. Boba mentions it later on in the episode, but we never see them acknowledge and agree on this point before then. It speaks to the sense of honor that both characters share, even if Fennec does consider herself an “independent contractor” first and foremost. This is why Fennec decides to stay with Boba at the end of the flashbacks; she sees the similarities between them, both good and bad, and an offer of loyalty from Boba Fett is nothing to sniff at.
Fennec then makes an observation that gets to the thematic crux of these flashbacks: she believes Boba’s time with the Tuskens has made him soft, while Boba counters that it’s actually made him appreciate the benefits of having a family. You can only survive on your own for so long, and it took his time spent with the Tuskens for him to realise that. Losing them is what motivated him to create his own family and become a Daimyo.
But first, he needs to get his ship and armor back. We already know how he got his armor, so instead we get to see him recover his Firespray (yes I know that’s just the ship’s model, but it sounds so much cooler than “Boba Fett’s starship”) from Jabba’s Palace. The two of them recon the place with a tiny probe droid, allowing them to tag every guard patrolling the palace.
The two of them sneak into the kitchen, and we get an action scene that somehow feels both short and unnecessarily long. I laughed a lot at the ridiculousness of the chef droid going into attack mode by spinning around all six of its cleaver-wielding arms, a la General Grievous in Revenge of the Sith. The following sequence of Boba chasing the rat-catcher droid around the kitchen was a bit goofy, but it made me laugh a lot and didn’t overdo it in my opinion.
Getting the Firespray out of Jabba’s Palace was incredibly entertaining too. It’s obviously a different kind of action scene to last week’s speeder chase, but it felt much more tense. Watching Fennec defend attackers from the Firespray’s ramp as it hovered above the ground in a vulnerable spot was excellent, a great early demonstration of both her and Boba working well in tandem. We haven’t seen Fennec Shand in a fight since the first episode, so this was a welcome reminder of Ming-Na Wen’s talent for fight choreographies.
This is immediately followed by Boba getting some payback on the speeder gang, and we see the Firespray obliterating them all in the Dune Sea. As the first time we get to see the ship in action in this series, it definitely elicited a cheer in me as the Tuskens were avenged.
The final sequence of the flashbacks saw the pair of them travel back to the Sarlacc Pit to find Boba’s armor. I questioned the necessity of this scene at first, as we knew Fett’s armor was already in the possession of Cobb Vanth by this point. I still don’t think it was entirely necessary, and it seemed a stupid risk for Boba to fly the ship so close to the Sarlacc, but it did at least give us a cool moment with the Firespray.
If not for Fennec’s ingenuity, the pair of them would have died after the Sarlacc grappled onto the ship. Instead, we got the welcome return of the sonic charge, as it fell into the Sarlacc’s mouth and detonated, giving us that satisfying BAMMMM sound as the Sarlacc was killed once and for all. I loved it in Attack of the Clones and in The Mandalorian, so it was great to see it return. I suspect the purpose here might have been to remind us of its existence, before it is used in a more important context later this season.
In the present day, we find out that Boba has been fully healed by the bacta tank! Considering the tank has been the vehicle for the flashbacks so far – presenting them as dream sequences – I wonder if we’re done with them for now. It wouldn’t surprise me if we did get short flashbacks later in the show as Boba just remembers moments from his past life, but now that we’ve seen everything up to his debut in The Mandalorian, I think we’re done with long flashback sections now that the bacta tank has fulfilled its purpose.
I was delighted to see we didn’t have to wait too long to see more of Black Krrsantan. We discover he went straight to the Sanctuary in Mos Espa to get drunk after Boba freed him from service, and he gets very angry watching some Trandoshans enjoying themselves at the gambling table. It’s hard to believe this is the first Wookiee-Trandoshan fight we’ve seen in live-action, but it was immensely satisfying for anyone who is familiar with general Wookiee history.
He tosses the Trandoshans around like ragdolls before Madam Garsa Fwip attempts to calm him down. I liked that she called him by his nickname “Santa”, as well as alluding to his backstory from the comics. It was elegantly done; we see her soothing Black Krrsantan as she tries to connect and sympathize with him by recounting his backstory in general terms.
It’s also an excellent performance from Jennifer Beals, who exudes charm and charisma, and a great way to introduce fans who haven’t read the comics to Black Krrsantan without stalling momentum. We think she’s actually calmed him down when she offers to wipe his tab clean, but not quite – he rips off one the Trandoshan’s arms anyway before leaving.
Boba then offers him a job before he sits down with the three other crime families from Mos Espa. I expected to get this scene last week, so I’m glad we finally got to watch this meeting that had been teased in the trailers months ago. Boba’s offer of neutrality is apparently a good deal according to him, but while I believe the Trandoshans and the Aqualish will stay neutral, I don’t believe for a second that the Klatooinians will keep their word. The Klatooinian at the table seemed more hostile than the others and gave off a generally duplicitous vibe; I fully expect him to side with the Pykes when the time comes, and Boba will execute him for his betrayal.
Finally, the episode ends with Boba and Fennec planning on spending some money to hire some muscle, and we hear a version of The Mandalorian theme play. This seems to confirm that Din Djarin will be appearing next week as Boba takes the fight to the Pyke Syndicate.
The thought of Boba teaming up with Fennec Shand, Black Krrsantan, and Din Djarin is tremendously exciting, and hopefully it’s a sign that The Book of Boba Fett will really kick into gear next week. There are only three episodes left, so it’s important it does this soon to be held in the same esteem as The Mandalorian.
Make sure to also check out the “Mando minute,” James Baney’s 1-minute immediate reaction to Chapter 4 below, 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!