‘The Book of Boba Fett’: A Surprise to Be Sure… But a Welcome One? (RECAP)
The Return of the Mandalorian
Season 1 • Episode 5
Boy, it sure is wizard to see Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) again.
This week’s The Book of Boba Fett exchanges its title character for a solo installment all about Mando. There’s very little forward movement in the plot until the final minutes, so it almost seems more like a teaser for The Mandalorian Season 3 than a Boba Fett episode. And directed by Bryce Dallas Howard, it feels like a Mandalorian episode, too. Depending on how you feel about The Book of Boba Fett so far, you’ll likely either be pleased or frustrated.
It’s a solid episode, though, and there’s plenty to appreciate — it just doesn’t apply to Boba Fett (Temuera Morrison). Fan-favorite characters return (but no Grogu, sorry), key aspects of Star Wars lore are mentioned and the Darksaber gets some screentime. Here’s how it happens.
After giving Grogu over to Luke (Mark Hamill), Din’s not doing so good, and that’s putting it mildly. We don’t get an explanation as to why he’s not with Bo-Katan (Katee Sackhoff), but at the start of the episode, he’s gone back to bounty hunting and brutally kills a whole room of Klatooinians to get the guy he’s been hired to find. He decapitates him — geez, Din! — and then goes to a floating-city system where he exchanges the guy’s head for information about a Mandalorian clan’s location. But it’s not just any Mandalorian clan: It’s his clan, led by the Armorer (Emily Swallow).
She is as cool as ever, and she’s accompanied by one of the Mandalorians from Din’s earlier adventures: Paz Vizsla. As Din discovers, Clan Visla’s founder, Tarre Vizsla, was both a Jedi and a Mandalorian and was responsible for the creation of the Darksaber. But Din doesn’t know Pre Vizsla was once the proud leader of Death Watch, a Mandalorian terrorist group that operated around the time of the Galactic Republic. Bo-Katan was also part of Death Watch once upon a time, although that hasn’t come up in the live-action shows… yet.
From the Armorer, Din gets answers about everything from Bo-Katan to what happened to Mandalore and how his clan survived it. If the Darksaber is not won in combat as is “the way,” it’ll curse whomever holds it and their rule, bringing about the destruction of Mandalore: This makes Bo-Katan “a cautionary tale,” the Armorer says. The only reason the Armorer’s group survived is because they were on the moon Concordia rather than on the planet when the Empire destroyed it. There are many parallels between Din’s group and Death Watch, which seems like something The Mandalorian’s third season should address.
At the Armorer’s urging, Din hands over his super-cool beskar spear to be forged into armor for Grogu. The Armorer reminds him that if Grogu is a Jedi now, he has to forgo all attachment — Din’s uncomfortable with that and tells her that loyalty is central to their Mandalorian creed. She agrees and creates something for him. After that, the Armorer helps Din train with the Darksaber. She tells him to stop fighting the blade, which one might imagine is happening because he really doesn’t want to be leader — he just wants Grogu back. And he almost loses the weapon, anyway; Paz Vizla challenges him in single combat for the Darksaber, saying it’s his ancestral right. Din barely manages to claim victory, but he loses in ways that might be worse at the end. The Armorer asks him if he’s ever removed his helmet, and he tells her he has. Gasp! For this sin, he can only be redeemed “in the living waters beneath the mines of Mandalore,” but since the planet was glassed, that’s a no-go. Din leaves, exiled.
Fortunately, he still has some friends in the galaxy. He heads to Mos Eisley, where he meets Peli Motto (Amy Sedaris), who has a much larger role here than her cameo in Episode 2. She’s been building Din a new ship — remember, the Razor Crest got absolutely obliterated in “The Tragedy” — and it’s a Naboo N-1 Starfighter. Din’s unsure about the ship at first since it’s much smaller than the Razor Crest, but as he helps Peli finish it up (with the help of some friendly Jawas who get her, and him, whatever they ask for), he starts to come around on it and is at least willing to try it out.
And once everything’s in place and most of the yellow paint has been scrubbed away, Din tests it out. He soars through the caverns of Tatooine in a sequence reminiscent of Episode I’s podracing, then he blasts off into space to see how fast the Starfighter can really go. This gets him pulled over by some New Republic officers, since he was flying too fast by a commercial ship (whoops!). One of the officers recognizes his voice and implies Din needs to come in for questioning about the Imperial remnant operating in the galaxy, but Din, feeling zero obligation to “answer questions,” blasts off in the sleek fighter and slips off their scopes. Needless to say, he’s fully come around on his new ship at this point.
When he returns to Peli Motto’s, she tells him an “old friend” stopped by and is looking for him. That friend? Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen). She offers Din a job, which he accepts, but he won’t take her credits — for Boba, it’s on the house. “But first,” he says, “I have to pay a visit to a little friend.” Grogu?! Are we getting Grogu in this show?! We’ll just have to wait until next week to find out…
- I really loved how Grogu’s armor was tied to look like his head, with “ears” at the sides. This is the way… to break my heart.
- This episode raises a bunch of questions that I’m sure won’t be answered until The Mandalorian Season 3, but I’m curious as to what happened with Bo-Katan after that battle in the Season 2 finale. Many had theorized Din would be sticking with her to help unite the Mandalorian clans, but at the start of this episode, he’s back to bounty hunting and she’s absent. Was she okay with letting him go, even though he has the Darksaber? (Unlikely.) Are they allies? Enemies?
- Peli Motto dated a Jawa. I don’t know how to feel about that, or her comment that they’re “furry.”
- Din having to turn over all his knives, whistling birds and even the Darksaber before boarding the cruiser to Tatooine was the funniest moment of the show, for me. “Weapons are part of my religion” only gets you so far.
- I’m a little concerned about how The Book of Boba Fett is going to tie everything up with two episodes to go and almost no forward movement in the main plot here. If next episode is a side quest to see Grogu, then it’s possible nothing moves with the plot there, either. Boba and his team can defeat the Pykes in one episode, but is there going to be time to spend on assembling the rest of the team? Is there going to be time to spend on Boba, as a character, and concluding his arc in a way that doesn’t feel rushed?
- Rating: 4/5. This episode had it all: Unique settings, Star Wars worldbuilding and intrigue, action, nods to previous installments and fan-favorite characters. But it’s hard to understand why it happened here, and not in Season 3 of The Mandalorian.
The Book of Boba Fett, Wednesdays, Disney+