January 22, 2022

Streamin' Meemies: The Book of Boba Fett, Season 1 Ep 4, "The Gathering Storm"


Four episodes in, and we're still not done with the damn flashbacks? At least this one is a bit more entertaining, as it shows how Boba found an injured and dying Fennec Shand (as shown in Season 1 of The Mandalorian), took her to a cybermod chop shop to be fixed, and recruited her to his cause. I'm not sure any of it was necessary, mind you, since we already knew Boba had rescued Fennec. However, Ming-Na Wen gets quite a bit more to do, and that is always a good thing. 

Nevertheless, the show is still compounding its sin of the previous episode, the senseless and unnecessary fridging of the Tuskens. (Yes, I'm still mad about that, and no, I will not shut up about it.) In one scene, Fennec asks Boba why he wants to take over Jabba the Hutt's operation, and he says, "I'm tired of working for idiots who are going to get me killed." He then says, "The Tuskens took me in. Made me part of their tribe. I was ready to leave hunting behind." So which is it, my dude? Because so far, your motivation to do anything, much less become a kinda-sorta crime lord, remains a muddled mess. As I said before, this weebly-wobbly characterization is stupid when there's a lovely reason outlined in the show's first two (and particularly the second) episode: to work to get the Tuskens their proper recognition and recompense from the people who are exploiting them.



There are a couple of good things about this episode: the entire sequence when Boba and Fennec sneak into Jabba's palace to steal his ship (hastily renamed the Firespray in Disney's belated acknowledgement that slavery is maybe not a good thing), including a hilarious aside of them tangling with a couple of chef droids. One droid has six arms and the same number of knives, and in a sequence that reminded me of the famous Raiders of the Lost Ark scene where Indy faces off with a guy who whirls his sword through the air in a smug display of menacing dexterity which Indy interrupts by drawing his gun and shooting the schmuck, the six-armed droid advances on Boba, knives whirling so fast you can't follow them, and Fennec pops up behind it and chops its head off. (The head falls into the plate of salad greens it had just been preparing.) Then another tiny droid that looks like a cross between a grasshopper and a bunny rabbit stumbles into the kitchen and Boba has to chase it down. He finally grabs it by the ears and hoists it up, and apparently Temuera Morrison's delivery of the line "I am Boba Fett" is so scary the little droid immediately powers itself down. 

Back in the present timeline, Boba adds to his oddball assortment of employees by recruiting the menacing and ill-tempered Wookiee Black Krrsantan (nice to see him again). Boba and Fennec hold a meeting between them and all of Jabba the Hutt's former captains in an attempt to recruit them to Boba's cause, which is taking out the Pyke Syndicate. The bosses rightfully point out that the Pykes are not their problem, and Boba at least manages to wrangle a promise from everyone not to interfere and/or betray him. (One Trandoshan spouts off about killing Boba and taking his territory, only to be interrupted by an outraged roar from the listening baby rancor, who jams his claws through the holes in the floor. This shuts the fellow up.) As they all leave, Fennec asks Boba if he trusts them. Boba says no, but he does trust them to act in their own self-interest. Then comes the dialogue exchange that seems to be the only salient point in this entire episode:

Fennec: "How much treasure do we have in reserve?"

Boba: "I have plenty of credits. What I'm short on is muscle."

Fennec: "Credits can buy muscle, if you know where to look."

And the background music swells with the distinctive tones of The Mandalorian theme song. 

Well, how about that. Did someone figure the only way to salvage this underwhelming mess is to bring back Din Djarin? (Who needs something to distract him from the loss of Baby Yoda, I'm sure.) Maybe that's too harsh; Ming-Na Wen is clearly doing her best, and while Temuera Morrison isn't the greatest actor in the world, he does give Boba Fett an appropriate gravelly gravitas. I guess I'm more irritated by the confusing, inconsistent characterization of the protagonist, and the absolutely wrong-headed and stupid decision of the writers to fridge the Tuskens. 

Nevertheless, there are only three episodes left in the season. This show needs to get its act together.

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