February 6, 2022

Streamin' Meemies: The Book of Boba Fett Season 1 Episode 6, "From the Desert Comes a Stranger"


This show is a mess. 

I say that with regret. I'm certainly not against the idea of a show about Boba Fett in and of itself, especially if Ming-Na Wen plays a prominent part. The first four episodes weren't outstanding, and were absolutely wrong-headed and dumb in fridging the Tuskens, but I think it could have built into something more interesting if it had been given the chance. I'm wondering if there was some sort of internal fight at Disney and some higher-up forced Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni's hand with a "WAIT WE MUST BE MORE LIKE MARVEL STUDIOS AND HAVE EACH SHOW SET UP AND LEAD INTO THE NEXT," because all of a sudden The Mandalorian was dragged onto the screen. 

And last week's episode was good. That's the most unsettling part of it. "Return of the Mandalorian" was good, and poor Boba got left in the dust. Which leads to this episode, where we see him for two or three brief shots and he doesn't have a single line. And we're back to Din Djarin, and Cobb Vanth and Ahsoka Tano from season 2 of The Mandalorian, and we see......guess who again? 

This episode isn't quite as good as last week's, and the closing scene set a fire under certain quarters of the internet. We see Master Luke training Grogu, having him raise frogs from swamp water and use the Force to jump into the air (and in a hilarious scene, Grogu can only do the tiniest little hop, because after all he's still a baby) and fight with a "training module" that keeps zapping Grogu as he hops from rock to rock in the river, until he finally becomes fed up with it and smashes it into the water. But one definitely gets the sense that he's only doing this because Luke is asking, not because he really wants to. Luke gets this vibe as well: "It's more like he's remembering than I'm actually teaching him anything."

Ahsoka Tano: "Sometimes the student guides the master."

Luke: "Sometimes I wonder if his heart is in it."

Ahsoka: "So much like your father."

Luke: "What should I do about him?"

Ahsoka: "Trust your instincts."

(As an aside: Really? That's all we get between Luke Skywalker and Ahsoka Tano? This scene is bursting with subtext. One gets the feeling that they've talked all about Anakin and each of them knows what happened when he was young and how Luke managed to redeem him, but boy howdy I would've liked to see that complete scene. Unfortunately, I don't think we're going to, not in this show or The Mandalorian either. Maybe in Ahsoka's show? 

Another aside: This CGI'd Luke was a helluva lot better than the one in The Mandalorian Season 2. Maybe the guy Lucasfilm hired, who worked up the deepfake on YouTube, worked on this episode?)

This leads to the episode's final scene, and The Choice That Shook the Internet. Luke's Jedi training house is complete (and was constructed by six-legged ant droids, in an absurd bit of Star Wars weirdness) and Luke and Grogu are sitting inside. Luke takes out the little beskar chainmail shirt Din Djarin brought for him and lays it down in front of Grogu, then Yoda's miniature lightsaber, and tells Grogu he has a choice.

"The Mandalorian wanted you to have this. But before you take it, I will give you a choice. This is a lightsaber. It belonged to my teacher, Master Yoda. Now, I'm offering it to you. But you may choose only one. If you choose the armor, you'll return to your friend, the Mandalorian. However, you will be giving in to attachment to those that you love and forsaking the way of the Jedi. But if you choose the lightsaber, you will be the first student in my academy, and I will train you to be a great Jedi. It will take you many years to master the ways of the Force, and you may never see the Mandalorian again. Because a short time for you is lifetime for someone else. Which do you choose?"

(Argh. This is why these two episodes really belonged in the third season of The Mandalorian, dammit. I do not like how they were shoehorned into this show, no matter how good they are in and of themselves.)

There's also so much to unpack in this scene: Luke (and Ahsoka, to an extent) falling into the "Jedi attachment-free" bullshit that ruined Anakin Skywalker; Luke's setting things in motion for the downfall of his school and his withdrawal from the galaxy decades later, as seen in The Last Jedi; and Luke's wrong-headedness in not realizing that Grogu can be both a Jedi and a Mandalorian, as the Armorer pointed out in the previous episode about the person who forged the Darksaber. (Which, to be fair, Luke may not be aware of.) I suppose we'll see what Grogu chooses in the next episode. Although I'm pretty sure Peli Motto didn't build that second little seat in Mando's Starfighter for nothing. 

Yeah, and some other things happened in this episode as well: Cobb Vanth reappears, still the sheriff of Mos Pelgo, or Freetown, who Mando goes to see in an effort to convince him to join Boba Fett's fight. Vanth also has a shootout of his own, with a gunslinger from the Pyke Syndicate who wipes the floor with him (although I don't think Vanth is dead, as said blue-skinned gunslinger was also aiming for his deputy and the shot that dropped Vanth to the sand was a bit off to one side). In Mos Espo, Garsa Fwip's bar is blown to smithereens by a couple of Pykesters. We also see a barnstorming session at Jabba's palace, with Fennec Shand briefing everybody as to what the Pyke Syndicate is doing. 

Oh yeah, and Boba Fett makes all of a two- or three-minute appearance in his own show! 

If this is the result of some interior tussle over the future of the franchise, I hope it gets worked out. Because the quality of this show is simply not up to par, and everyone should know it. 

No comments: