The slow burn pace of Disney’s The Book of Boba Fett is probably rubbing people the wrong way. More than a few fans were probably expecting an action-oriented series, one where Boba Fett would be doing more than attempting to take over Jabba the Hutt’s enterprises on Tatooine. For me, I find the slower pace to be a welcome change and a chance to dig into who this character is.
Spoilers ahead, so don’t read if you haven’t watched the episode.
Episode Two of this series is titled “The Tribes of Tatooine”, a reference to the Tusken Raiders that have been prevalent in Boba’s flashbacks. I’m enjoying the framing device of the flashbacks being tied to Boba’s time spent in a bacta tank. The time spent examining the Tusken Raiders is also something I’ve grown to appreciate. In all of their previous appearances (except for The Mandalorian), the Tusken Raiders were largely used as antagonists without any real depth to their characterization. The Book of Boba Fett is using the Tusken Raiders as a transformative element for the character of Boba Fett but they also serve as foils for the journey Boba has been on up to this point in his story.
The three main figures that we’ve focused on so far are the Child Tusken, the Warrior Tusken, and the Leader Tusken. The Child Tusken can best be described as Boba when he was young, still learning the ways of the universe under his father’s tutelage. The Warrior Tusken spends much of “The Tribes of Tatooine” teaching Boba how to fight with a gaffi stick, the traditional weapon of the Tusken people. Slowly but surely, Boba is able to acclimate to their method of fighting. The Leader Tusken is the most interesting character when compared to Boba, primarily because Boba has never been a leader, only a highly-paid follower. I’m willing to venture a guess that Boba’s transformation during his time on Tatooine and his desire to take over Jabba’s cartel has something to do with the example set by the Leader Tusken.
The second half of the episode during the flashback focuses on Boba assisting the Tuskens in defending themselves from a train that travels through their territory, killing Tuskens indiscriminately. It’s not subtle but the allusion to the colonization of European settlers with their advanced technology over the indigenous people of a given land shouldn’t be subtle. The fact the Temuera Morrison is a New Zealander of Māori descent makes this particular narrative more genuine, in my opinion. Seeing the many deaths caused by the train’s inhabitants, Boba sets out to provide the Tuskens with a means to defend themselves, acquiring a collection of swoop bikes and teaching the Tuskens how to use them (which led to some wonderfully hilarious sequences). The train heist itself was a well shot action set piece, building on the tension at every step.
Which leads to the more esoteric part of the episode: Boba Fett’s vision quest. The fact that this is caused by a lizard crawling in to Boba’s head is one of those Star Wars moments that I don’t even bother trying to understand. This is the setting where space wizards exist, so anything is truly on the table at this point. Boba finds himself facing a tree, swimming in visions of his life on Geonosis, his time with his father, and his near-death in the Sarlacc’s stomach. The branches begin to envelop him, almost like he is being entombed. While this is largely a metaphorical (while still being a physical) journey, the visions Boba Fett receives could be interpreted as Boba having to wrestle with his past in order to escape to a better future. That’s purely speculation on my part but it does fit the available imagery shown during the scene. After returning with a branch from the tree, Boba is accepted as part of the tribe, using the branch to fashion his own gaffi stick. We then see Boba engaging in a ritualistic dance with the Tuskens, indicating that he has been fully integrated into their society. Given that when we see Boba on The Mandalorian he’s alone, it leads me to believe that some tragedy is going to occur with this tribe of Tuskens.
The present-day portion of the episode takes up the first part of “The Tribes of Tatooine”. We learn that the assassins from the first episode are part of the Order of the Night Wind, a notorious group that are only supposed to operate in Hutt territory. We’re first led to believe the Mayor of Mos Espa was responsible for sending the Night Wind assassins but that is simply a misdirection. Instead, we can surmise that the assassins were sent by the Twins, a pair of cousins of the late Jabba the Hutt. These two Hutt crime lords have decided to lay claim to Jabba’s territory and make not so subtle threats to Boba Fett, including introducing Black Krrsantan (a gladiator first introduced in the Darth Vader comic book series). To say Krrsantan is an intimidating figure is an understatement. For those who’s only exposure to Wookies is Chewbacca, who carried himself as a largely lovable character, Krrsantan is a reminder that Wookies are natural hunters and capable of extreme violence. The Twins are not going to quietly accept Boba’s control of Tatooine as the new Daimyo, but as Fennec Shand points out, killing a Hutt without the approval of the Hutt syndicate is a death sentence.
The stage is being set in these first two episodes for what we can expect moving forward. In the present-day story line, we’re seeing Boba Fett attempting to manage the grotesqueries of the criminal element on Tatooine, particularly now that he has the Twins as his seemingly primary antagonists. The flashback storyline is an integral part of the experience, providing us with clues as to how Boba transitioned from the lethal bounty hunter into someone capable of taking over a vast criminal syndicate. I have a feeling that the two story arcs are going to converge at some point but I’m not certain how or when. For now, I’m going along for the ride and greatly enjoying how the story is unfolding so far.
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