Keeping The Book of Boba Fett viewers waiting a full week in between Chapters 1 and 2 unfortunately doesn’t feel like the wisest release strategy in hindsight.  The premiere remained so vague about Boba Fett‘s direction, that the show has already received scorn from impatient viewers and reviewers.  Even if it feels traditional for a Disney+ Star Wars serial to drop new episodes weekly, rather than an entire season on one day, The Mandalorian and The Bad Batch made exceptions for their second episodes; each premiered only three days after its predecessor.  A fall in Boba Fett‘s ratings sounded very likely, unless Disney+ subscribers waiting for enough episodes to enjoyably binge boost the numbers back up.  I imagine the bulk of such subscribers would tune in after either Chapter 3 or 7, but in the meantime, I can still appreciate the enhancements Chapter 2 brings to the show.

The Tribes of Tatooine

Airdate: January 5, 2022
Director: Steph Green
Writer: Jon Favreau

You shouldn’t have to hide. You are warriors.-Boba Fett

Boba Fett and Fennec Shand learn with help from Mayor Mok Shaiz of Mos Espa (Robert Rodriguez) and Sanctuary cantina owner Garsa Fwip (Jennifer Beals) that cousins of the late Jabba the Hutt have started ordering hits on the new Daimyo and his partner.  As Boba recuperates in the bacta tank again, he flashes back to his evolution into a Tusken fighter.  When members of the otherworldly Pyke Syndicate shoot some members of his captors’ tribe, Boba and the raiders prepare and launch a counterattack.

The modern-day sequences remain a slow burn, at best.  With an incomplete understanding of Boba’s motives for becoming Daimyo, and no explanation yet of why he left the Tusken tribe, it currently proves difficult to stay invested in his efforts to maintain control of the criminal empire.  He also seems in danger of resorting to a “rule with fear” philosophy, when he and Fennec pull terrifying tricks to get information out of Chapter 1’s assassins.  For now, the strongest advantage I can find for the timeline-jumping format, over a strictly chronological telling, concerns the former involving Fennec and Garsa in the story sooner.  My reasons for building up any excitement for the thought of a Fett vs. Hutt gang war amount to, “I like Boba and Fennec,” “I want them to get their way,” and, “I don’t want to see them suffer humiliating deaths again.”

Viewers who can tolerate the length of Boba’s flashbacks can enjoy a thrill ride with this chapter, vehicular pun intended.  When he rescued the Tusken child in the previous chapter, it seemed like something he had to do to avoid a terrible punishment.  This time, I enjoyed watching him and the Tuskens empathize over losing family members; hallucinations he has later in the episode reinforce his lingering heartbreak and trauma from Jango Fett’s demise.  Boba doesn’t come off as more or less sophisticated than the natives, learning as much from them about melee weapons and communication as they do from him about strategic action and technology.  Temuera Morrison’s efforts to integrate Māori culture into Star Wars continue from The Mandalorian Chapter 14 into The Book of Boba Fett, with the haka dance again providing inspiration for combat moves and ceremonies.

Boba leading Tusken snipers and speeder-biking brawlers in raiding a Pyke Syndicate hovertrain proves as dynamic and invigorating as one could hope.  He demonstrates his potential as a future altruistic figurehead, but the Tuskens also get to save him.  During the aftermath, Boba arranges for the Pykes to pay a toll to the natives, discouraging further efforts for the Syndicate to eliminate them from the Dune Sea. This compromise demonstrates that while society must progress to survive, it doesn’t excuse forgoing courtesy to other cultures.  Even if Boba acts more selflessly here than in the Original Trilogy, I wouldn’t accuse Disney of completely softening him up; he still uses physical violence against oppressors.

Boba’s acquisition of black Tusken robes and a gaffi stick, which Mandalorian viewers previously saw him don the first three times he appeared on that show, bittersweetly ends this collection of flashbacks.  The outfit visualizes his acceptance by the tribe, but also hints that Boba will soon start recollecting events from the timespan of Mando Seasons 1 and 2.  If this series starts explaining why we didn’t see him return to the Tuskens after helping Din Djarin rescue Grogu, I kind of expect a rather sad explanation.  However, only time will tell if I can guess correctly; I have multiple theories for now, and not all of them sound tragic.  “The Tribes of Tatooine” doesn’t strengthen the connection between Boba’s endeavors in the Dune Sea and Mos Espa, but adds intrigue to both storylines.

Plugs

  • For an indigenous perspective on this week’s Book of Boba Fett, biracial Tongan media critic Fangirl Jeanne has begun detailing why she found it empowering: https://twitter.com/fangirlJeanne/status/1478917545834926086
  • If you’d like an inclusive place to further discuss Star Wars, join the Star Wars Television Discord server, which I help moderate: discord.gg/swtv
  • Violence towards Asian-Americans has reached alarming levels.  I made a donation to The AAPI Community Fund, and would like my readers to do the same, even if I personally take no share of the funds.

By NJ

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