TL;DR – A show that is getting interesting by ignoring its lead … not the best step forward
Disclosure – I paid for the Disney+ subscription that viewed this show.
The Book of Boba Fett Review –
This week we have an episode that swings wildly from two different extremes. The first extreme is a clear love letter to Star Wars fans with characters and callbacks galore. However, this is also an episode that shows deeply that the creators/writers don’t really care about their titular character.
So to set the scene, at the end of Return of The Mandalorian, the titular Mandalorian (Pedro Pascal) ended up getting abandoned by his sect, but not before he obtained a gift for Grogu. But as he arrives at Tatooine to pick up a new ship, he comes across Fennec (Ming-Na Wen), who offers him a job. In this episode, out in the wastes of Tatooine, Cobb Vanth (Timothy Olyphant) comes across some of the Pyke Syndicate dealing spice in his territory and takes offence. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.
Before we dive into the myriad of references peppered throughout the episode, I want to talk a bit about the production. There was a lot of location work this week, and it does look like they went outside for part of it rather than use the rear projection sets. To be fair, I think it just amounted to visiting botanic gardens, but a change is still lovely. To add to this, I think they did a much better job of the ‘young’ Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) rather than what we got in the Mandalorian Season Three Finale, The Rescue. This combined with the general vital production work in these series, makes this one of the best episodes from a visual perspective.
Then, of course, we can’t talk about this episode without exploring the references pouring out of every inch of the show. First, there is literally whose who of Star Wars in this era, with Cobb Vanth, the Mandalorian, Luke Skywalker, Grogu, R2D2, Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson), Black Krrsantan (Carey Jones), and even Cad Bane (Corey Burton) in his first live-action appearance. To say that this episode was stacked kind of undercuts just how stacked it really was. This is then piled upon by references to Yoda, Luke’s training montage, force powers, a reunion of sorts, and even the infamous Order 66 from Revenge of the Sith. On the one hand, if you have been consuming every part of the Star Wars universe, including the more expanded universe, there would be moments that will make you shout for joy, but if you’re not, well, then I think we have hit a point where you might start getting diminishing returns.
However, don’t think the references just stop at the Star Wars universe because this week, we very much dived into the world of the western. To be fair, this is not the first time the show has dabbled in this territory. See The Tribes of Tatooine, for example. But here, the show throws caution to the wind and dives in deep. Throughout the episode, there are aspects of it, but you see it the most clearly right at the end. When Cad Bane arrives in Mos Pelgo/Freetown, he comes with all the swagger and energy of The Man With No Name in a Fistful of Dollars. The energy, hat tilt, and dialogue are all homage to the greats. Then, of course, if you missed that first bit, we get a perfect love letter to The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly. Or in the case of Deputy Scott (JJ Dashnaw), The Good, The Bad, and the Stupid. Shout out to the Stunt Coordinator JJ Dashnaw for taking the fall.
However, I have to say that there is a big but to this episode and frankly to the series as a whole at the moment. If you notice everything that I have talked about, including some of the things that I missed, like the episode putting Grogu back on course to meet The Mandalorian, have been to do about everyone but the titular Boba Fett. At this point, it feels like the writers set out to do a Boba Fett (Temuera Morrison) story, then kind of got bored about it halfway through and went off on a tangent. This is frustrating for several reasons, but most notably, having a Māori lead in a Star Wars production and then pushing him to the side is frustrating. Maybe it will make sense with the context of next week. I hope so.
In the end, do we recommend From the Desert Comes a Stranger? Well, look, this is a nostalgia-fest of an episode, but it did still like it. But there is still a growing frustration with the show, and I am not sure one more episode can tie that all up.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.
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Credits – All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of The Book of Boba Fett
Directed by – Dave Filoni
Written by – Jon Favreau & Dave Filoni
Created by – Jon Favreau
Based on – Star Wars created by George Lucas
Production/Distribution Companies – LucasFilm & Disney +
Starring – Temuera Morrison, Ming-Na Wen & Pedro Pascal with Timothy Olyphant, Rosario Dawson, Jordan Bolger, Sophie Thatcher, Carey Jones, David Pasquesi, Corey Burton, Jennifer Beals & Mark Hamill and Frank Trigg, Collin Hymes, JJ Dashnaw, W. Earl Brown, KArisma Shanel, Marlon Aquino, Andrea Dartlow, Brendan Mayne, Paul Darnell, Scott Lang, Graham Hamilton, Dorian Kingi & Chris Bartlett