NOTE: Full spoilers for this episode of, “The Book of Boba Fett” are present in this review
The pacing and structuring issues throughout the first episode of The Book of Boba Fett left this sophomore live-action Star Wars series in a disappointingly bumpy state for its debut. What a difference a week can make then, since the series’ second episode is a considerable improvement. “Chapter 2: The Tribes of Tatooine” still doesn’t completely do away with the show’s pacing problems, especially when it has some strange structuring of its own. Fortunately, this episode finally does a better job of cementing the real threat to Boba Fett during the narrative’s present-day timeline though, while also delivering more quality flashback material surrounding Boba’s time with the Tusken Raiders.
This noticeably lengthier second episode for The Book of Boba Fett makes the interesting choice of splitting its series of events into two halves, with the first half unfolding in the present, and the second half unfolding in the past. The show still seems to be figuring out exactly how to present its storytelling here, and that can lead to more clumsy pacing, as I mentioned. The plot structure remains better formed here however, leading to an episode that does a more reliable job of drawing viewers in than its predecessor. It also helps that the story hits the ground running in this case as well, after Boba and Fennec capture one of the assassins that was apparently sent after Boba at the conclusion of the series premiere.
After a rather amusing Rancor fake-out (I guess neither Boba nor the late Bib Fortuna got around to replacing the big beast that Luke Skywalker killed during Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi), Boba learns that, unsurprisingly, the assassin was sent by the openly treacherous mayor of Mos Espa, Mok Shaiz. Thus, after Boba and Fennec barge into the mayor’s office to ‘give back’ Mok’s assassin, Mok surprisingly shoots the man dead, before claiming that the assassin’s order, the Order of the Night Wind, is not able to operate on Tatooine, or anywhere outside of Hutt space. This is an intriguing development, especially when it seems apparent that Boba still can’t trust the mayor, or his Majordomo. Hey, at least Garsa’s pretty hospitable at this point, right?
Alas, we have yet another group of antagonists now in the mix though. As it turns out, Jabba the Hutt still had some family left to lay claim to his crime empire, and that comes in the form of a duo of cousin Hutts known simply as, “The Twins.” Despite Boba initially believing that the Twins would be distracted on their home planet, they unexpectedly come to Mos Espa as well, and declare that Boba must turn over Jabba’s territory. Boba, naturally, is unwilling to do so, and while the Twins simply leave for now, it’s pretty clear that they’re meant to be the over-arching antagonists of the series at this point. This is smart, as creating another obstacle from Jabba’s remaining family line makes for a significant and sensible threat to what Boba and Fennec are trying to build on Tatooine.
That’s the first half of this episode. During the second half, Boba is once again placed in his healing tank, and this means we get more flashbacks surrounding the Tusken Raiders. These begin by continuing to detail how Boba trained with the Tuskens, mastering their combat techniques, and eventually having to hide from an attacking transport train that shoots several of the Tuskens dead with every pass. The Tuskens blatantly fear this mysterious train, and Boba decides to cement his loyalty by offering to stop it. After grabbing a few speeder bikes from some thugs, Boba thus puts together a heist of sorts with the Tuskens, and this goes on to serve as the major action set piece of what’s otherwise an exclusively character-driven episode.
This exciting and impressive sequence is remarkably creative as well, throwing several unexpected obstacles at Boba and the Tuskens, before they successfully neutralize and capture the train. It’s at this point that Boba declares to the train’s surviving prisoners that the Tuskens are under his protection, and that any trafficking will necessitate a toll paid to them, along with a complete ceasefire. The trafficking syndicate thankfully agrees to these terms, and this officially begins Boba’s quest to tame the criminal forces of Tatooine. Granted, we don’t see how this plays out for now, but one brain lizard-fueled vision quest later (it makes more sense in context), Boba is given his Tusken staff, a fancy cloak (this cloak may also explain why the Tuskens fled from Obi-Wan Kenobi during the events of the original Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, as it appears to be the ultimate gesture of Tusken respect), and a permanent place within the tribe that previously held him prisoner.
As strange as it is to abruptly end this episode immediately after its extended flashback, I’m nonetheless pleased to see that The Book of Boba Fett is much more engaging in its second offering. “Chapter 2: The Tribes of Tatooine” continues to excellently flesh out at least one tribe of the Tusken Raiders through its latter flashback, while also finally solidifying exactly what Boba is up against in the present-day narrative. The series’ pacing can still be a little wonky, and its narrative still doesn’t consistently flow all that naturally for now, but clearly, The Book of Boba Fett is learning to better achieve its potential. This show may still have a ways to go before it can start catching up to the larger appeal of The Mandalorian, but its second episode is certainly a step in the right direction.
- The present-day villains are better defined
- Exciting train capture sequence
- Boba completing his initiation into the Tusken Raiders
- Plot structuring is still a little clumsy