Choices and Consequences – Review of “The Book of Boba Fett” Episode 6 “From The Desert Comes a Stranger”

Following up on the stellar Din Djarin-focused episode, Chapter 6 of The Book of Boba Fett,titled “From the Desert Comes a Stranger”, delves even further into the choices made by our cast of characters and the consequences those choices bring. We’re given added depth into the choices made at the end of The Mandalorian’s second season. And we get to see the first live-action arrival of one of my favorite characters from the Star Wars animated series.

Spoilers ahead, so don’t read if you haven’t watched the episode.

The return of Timothy Olyphant in the role of Cobb Vanth is a welcome one. When I watched the first episode of season two for The Mandalorian, Olyphant’s smooth swagger made Cobb an immediate favorite of mine. For anyone who spent any time watching FX’s Justified, it was clear that Olyphant was treading familiar ground with Vanth but I (like many others) didn’t mind that. Here, we see Vanth is still the Marshall of Mos Pelago (now known as Freetown) and he runs afoul of the Pyke Syndicate as they move spice through his territory. Vanth’s quick-draw skills are on full display (and serve as a Chekov’s Gun for the events of the finale in the episode), sending the Pyke Syndicate off with their credits but not their spice.

The Mandalorian (Pedro Pascal) and Ashoka Tano (Rosario Dawson) reunite. Source

Much of the episode is spent on a lush jungle world where Din Djarin goes to see Grogu, now under the tutelage of Luke Skywalker. The de-aging effect used for Mark Hamill is much less egregious than it was in the season finale of The Mandalorian’s second season. For those fans who were disgruntled at Luke’s appearance in The Last Jedi, we get to see Luke at the height of his power, both as a Jedi and as a Master training a Padawan. Grogu’s abilities have only slightly been shown during The Mandalorian. During the course of the episode, we see Grogu gaining more and more confidence with his connection to the Force, using it in much the same Yoda was fond of doing.

We also see the return of Ashoka, once again played by Rosario Dawson. The carefree attitude Ashoka carries here is a sharp contrast to her last appearance, which was dealing with a life-and-death struggle. When she refers to herself as “a friend of the family”, it’s clear to us as the audience that she’s been brought up to speed on Anakin’s redemption and has forgiven her old Master for his transgressions. There is a look of admiration and pride when Ashoka views Luke training Grogu, almost like a proud Aunt who is seeing her nephew become who he is meant to be. It is Ashoka who helps Din understand that his presence, while coming from a place of love for Grogu, might not be the best thing for the new Padawan. The Jedi’s distaste for attachment is one of the more problematic aspects of the Jedi philosophy, indicative of the binary thinking that the Jedi default to. Djarin sees Grogu as a Mandalorian Foundling, Ashoka and Luke see Grogu as a Padawan. For me, the most interesting possibility is that Grogu could be both and not just one or the other. Based on the choice Luke gives Grogu at the end of the episode, that may not be possible for Grogu but I like to think that maybe it could be.

The real hammer blow of the episode is the ending. For the first time in live-action, Cad Bane (a bounty hunter made famous during The Clone Wars and The Bad Batch animated series) wanders out of the desert, the “Stranger” referenced in the title of the episode. Bane is one of my favorite characters from the animated shows, largely because he was an excellent foil for the Jedi characters, specifically Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker. One of the few non-Sith characters who could go toe-to-toe with Jedi and walk away from the fight, Bane arriving in Freetown is not a good sign. While Boba Fett is looking for muscle in his war, the Pyke Syndicate managed to hire one of the deadliest bounty hunters in the galaxy to their side. We see this on full display when Cad Bane out-draws both Vanth and Vanth’s deputy in a quick-draw contest. The Deputy is gunned down but the ultimate fate of Cobb Vanth is left up in the air. Bane’s declaration to the Freetown residents makes it clear: the Syndicate owns Tatooine and anyone who stands up to them will receive the same treatment. The destruction of The Sanctuary seals the deal that the Pyke Syndicate is playing for keeps.

Cad Bane, one of the deadliest bounty hunters in Star Wars. Source

I’m excited to see how this plays out over the remaining episodes of the season. Seeing Boba Fett or Din Djarin in a duel with Cad Bane is something I definitely want to see. The ultimate decision of Grogu may not be resolved until the start of the third season of The Mandalorian but I would like to think Filoni and Favreau are smart enough storytellers to figure out a way around the binary choice laid before the character.

My book series The Atalante Chronicles is now live on Amazon for Kindle, Paperback, and Hardcover Print-On-Demand. Your support is greatly appreciated.
Blood And Stone, Book One in my series, is also available on Smashwords (Affiliate Link)
The Crone and The Curse, Book Two in my series, is also available on Smashwords (Affiliate Link)

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