NOTE: Full spoilers for this episode of, “The Book of Boba Fett” are present in this review
Oh come on, what happened?! Despite the series’ second episode being a lot better than its rather underwhelming premiere, The Book of Boba Fett’s third episode once again stumbles. The narrative appears to have fallen back into old habits in this case, once again presenting a lack of cohesive structure, while also ruining the show’s remarkably solid Tusken Raider flashbacks. “Chapter 3: The Streets of Mos Espa” thus ends up being a pretty frustrating mess, leaving The Book of Boba Fett’s strong lead cast to once again struggle through a sloppy, unsatisfying plot.
Things immediately begin on a strange note after Boba and Fennec are visited by a water-monger, who complains that a gang of adolescent cyborgs appear to have made off with his supplies. When Boba goes to investigate however, he finds that the teens are terminally unemployed due to a lack of available labour, and that the water-monger is overcharging them. Boba then decides to hire the teen cyborgs as his enforcers, and… That’s kind of it. Really? Boba literally just picked a bunch of random teens off the street to make sure he’s protected? Sure, I get that they’re cyborgs, plus the idea that even young humans are capable of modifying their bodies with droid parts in the Star Wars universe is kind of intriguing. Still, as much as Boba looks noble by giving them jobs, he also kind of looks naive in the process, because there’s no way that hiring a bunch of punk kids with no protection experience sends a good message to the rest of Mos Espa.
Sure enough, Boba’s surprisingly short-lived flashback moment in this episode, which merely depicts the slaughter of Boba’s Tusken tribe at the hands of that gang he witnessed harassing moisture farmers, ends up being interrupted by Krrsantan, the Wookie bounty hunter that the Twins hired as their own enforcer. The brief melee with Krrsantan, which the cyborg teens do get in on, is definitely one of the best scenes in this episode, one that nicely establishes Krrsantan as a beastly presence that even several cyborgs, plus Boba, have a very hard time taking down. Krrsantan is eventually trapped in the empty Rancor pit, but the fight against him beforehand is appropriately fierce. It also leads nicely into a surprising scene that follows it, one that could re-frame who the villains of this series are, if what’s seen is to be believed.
Despite their prior threats toward Boba, it would appear that the Twins may have been deceived about who exactly has claim to Jabba’s territory. Apparently, Mayor Mok Shaiz may have lied to them in a deliberate effort to target Boba once again, leading to the Twins appearing to apologize, before offering Krrsantan as a tribute to Boba, alongside a Rancor calf and its trainer. The Twins then flee Tatooine. I’m not entirely sure that this strange moment is exactly what it appears to be, since the Twins are acting shady as hell. Still, the idea that Mok Shaiz is targeting Boba in plain sight via Jabba’s family has quite a lot of potential, especially if The Book of Boba Fett is cleverly obfuscating a third antagonist.
Unfortunately, after this moment, and a subsequent scene with Danny Trejo’s Rancor trainer that serves as another episode highlight (who knew that Rancor were such complex, emotional creatures?), the rest of this episode completely falls apart. The narrative already felt like it was starting to get stretched a bit thin before now, but once Boba and Fennec decide to burst into Mok Shaiz’ office, again, we get a climax that’s just as baffling as it is silly. Mok Shaiz’ Majordomo tries to flee in a land speeder, before Boba’s teen cyborgs chase after him, resulting in a climactic action sequence that’s slow, repetitive and awkward. There’s only so many times that these vehicles can knock over droids and piles of crates before it loses impact!
Worse than that however is that this action scene proves that Boba’s new cyborg enforcers are completely laughable. They look ridiculous, their bike-handling moves are stale and unimpressive, and even the fleeing Majordomo doesn’t come off as much of a threat. Hell, it’s impossible to believe that Boba and Fennec can’t just corner the Majordomo themselves, especially when Boba eventually arrives at this result anyway, whereupon he learns that Mok Shaiz is working with the Pyke Crime Syndicate, the very same syndicate that Boba previously neutralized for the Tusken Raiders. This feels pretty predictable, and it’s a bit of a weak payoff, honestly. Like I said, I hope there’s another villain lurking in the shadows, one that ends up being the true threat to Boba and Fennec in this series, whether it’s the Twins, or someone else entirely.
“Chapter 3: The Streets of Mos Espa” unfortunately highlights all of the stubborn issues with The Book of Boba Fett yet again, while exacerbating several of them. We still get a few really good scenes here, most notably the brief scrap with Krrsantan, and Boba getting to know his new Rancor calf, but the majority of this episode sadly feels like a misfire. Boba’s teen cyborg enforcers are completely absurd at this point, not to mention that the water-monger’s warnings about no one respecting Boba currently don’t seem to mean anything. On top of that, the Tusken Raider flashbacks would appear to be over, at least in their current form, after someone (probably the Pyke Syndicate) massacred the tribe that Boba was accepted into. Top all that off with the fact that this show’s narrative structure has returned to being a disaster, and you have a frustrating backslide that leaves The Book of Boba Fett struggling with some hefty growing pains again.