NOTE: Full spoilers for this episode of, “The Book of Boba Fett” are present in this review
The Book of Boba Fett seems to be struggling when it comes to finding steady footing, and that’s very frustrating. The good news however is that the series’ fourth episode took some extra time in order to develop a more fleshed-out, satisfying plot. “Chapter 4: The Gathering Storm” is another flashback-heavy episode of The Book of Boba Fett, one designed primarily around the background of Fennec and how she came into Boba’s company. The result is a clear improvement over the previous sub-par episode, even if the series’ strangely slow pacing continues to be a problem for now.
With Boba once again back in his healing tank, around three quarters of this episode revolves around flashbacks, as the last of Boba’s healing regimen is completed. These flashbacks begin with Boba eventually deciding that he can’t steal back his ship single-handedly. By a twist of fate however, Boba chances upon the dying Fennec in the desert, left after her prickly encounter with Din Djarin during the events of The Mandalorian. After getting patched up with droid parts, using one of the very modders that Boba later hires the customers of (even if they’re lame bodyguards for now), Fennec then decides to stick with Boba as he settles some old scores.
Seeing Boba’s and Fennec’s partnership develop proves to be pretty satisfying throughout this episode as well. This begins with Fennec agreeing to help Boba take his ship back from Jabba’s palace, resulting in probably the most exciting sequence of this episode. The separate ingenuity of both Boba and Fennec coming together is a joy to watch, as is Boba finally reclaiming his ship, thus empowering him to take revenge on the speed biker gang that threw in with the Pyke Syndicate. Naturally, Boba also takes out Bib Fortuna shortly afterward, and claims Jabba’s throne for himself, bringing these flashbacks full circle from that original teaser sequence in The Mandalorian.
On the flip side, while the origins of Boba’s and Fennec’s partnership are mostly pretty enjoyable here, the flashbacks still hit a few speed bumps in this episode, largely due to the series having to retread what viewers already know, especially if they’ve seen every episode of The Mandalorian to date. There’s an entire sequence wherein Boba tries to retrieve his armour from the Sarlacc Pit for example, which is pretty cool in concept, but we already know it’s not there. This series’ intro, let alone The Mandalorian, confirmed that Boba’s armour was stolen by Jawa’s after he escaped the pit, later ending up in the possession of Cobb Vanth. I know Boba was in shock, but did he seriously forget that he was wearing his armour on the way out of the Sarlacc Pit? Likewise, there’s never any true suspense behind Fennec contemplating splitting from Boba, because we already know that the two are partners. Thus, why operate on the pretense that Fennec only works alone? Obviously, she doesn’t.
That said however, outside of these retreading sequences, the Boba/Fennec flashbacks still manage to work pretty well, creating a believable alliance between these two bounty hunters. The final quarter of this episode not being based around flashbacks also nicely builds towards what’s next, complete with Boba recruiting Krrsantan from Garsa Fwip’s cantina (after he pulls an arm out of one of the patrons, naturally!), and later enlisting all of Tatooine’s crime families to help him in his campaign against the Pyke Syndicate. This is already exciting on its own, but easily the best payoff here comes from the very end of this episode, when Fennec suggests calling in another ally. The resulting music cue all but spells out that Fennec is referring to The Mandalorian lead, Din Djarin as well, setting up a very exciting crossover between The Book of Boba Fett and The Mandalorian. That’s pretty cool (and probably inevitable), though I wish that the music cue wasn’t there, since it would have made Djarin’s return all the more exciting, and potentially unexpected the following week.
I’m not sure if, “Chapter 4: The Gathering Storm” fully manages to justify its extra lengthy runtime. Its pacing can still be a little sluggish at times, especially when it’s forced to rehash story events that viewers are already well familiar with. Even so, it’s good to see The Book of Boba Fett getting a boost after the much shakier episode it previously delivered. Despite no longer being able to work with Boba’s Tusken Raider tribe in its flashbacks, the series’ examination of how Boba’s and Fennec’s partnership was born still manages to satisfy, with the rewarding conclusion that Boba’s healing is now complete, thus also completing The Book of Boba Fett’s flashbacks for now. This episode’s final tease of a crossover with The Mandalorian is particularly promising as well, though I do hope it doesn’t inadvertently turn The Book of Boba Fett into a mere stopgap series, while we wait for The Mandalorian’s upcoming third season. The Book of Boba Fett already has an issue with feeling like a consolation prize compared to its parent series, but I’ll keep an open mind and hope Djarin’s inevitable reappearance is another boost to the narrative, and not a crutch.
The Book of Boba Fett delivers a mostly successful examination of how Boba and Fennec became partners in, "Chapter 4: The Gathering Storm", though the series' pacing remains a bit suspect.