*Warning: This article contains spoilers for episode four of The Book of Boba Fett*
Another episode, another “lingering shot of the bacta tank to signal a useless elongated flashback.” Heh. Thankfully, the flashback this time around isn’t useless, and it could very well be the last one, as Boba Fett (Temuera Morrison) is now completely healed from his physical scars caused by spending years in the Sarlacc pit. Unfortunately, his mental scars have likely not been recovered, but that’s for another story.
Now I agree with the fact that this week’s flashback served as a callback to the first season of The Mandalorian and lightly tied up some loose ends as if everything (and everyone) is all connected in some capacity (a reused shot from Episode 5 of The Mandalorian’s first season kind of signals Star Wars’ answer to the MCU). But it at least gave us compelling character development and a few insights into Boba’s relationship with Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen).
During the past three episodes, Shand took one heck of a backseat, as writer Jon Favreau preferred to focus on how Fett got out of the Sarlacc pit and what happened afterward. Most of it filled time, but it finally led us to his coincidental (it’s all connected, after all!) encounter with Fennec Shand. A cool scene set in a “mod” bar to save Shand’s life later, and they are now partners. Boba wants to reclaim his armor (we know how he does that) and get back his Firespray ship, guarded in Jabba’s temple, now under the possession of Bib Fortuna. Lots of gaps were already filled in Season 2 of The Mandalorian, so we don’t need to see everything, thank you very much, but we at least get the privilege of witnessing how Boba got his ship back.
Filler? Sure. Awesome? You bet. Boba and Shand team up together and perform a “heist” mission for the first time. Filled with dazzling visual effects, a palpable sense of tension between the ship being stuck in a confined space, and Shand having to beat endless henchmen on her own, it’s a heck of a lot of fun. More fun and way less underwhelming than seeing Boba’s ship kill the Sarlacc with a seismic charge. The build-up was incredible, but the execution felt quite disappointing. And that’s where the show swerves around. In between purely awesome moments, where you can feel Favreau’s passion for Star Wars’ deeper material, are two or three sequences that serve nothing to the plot but make us say, “Ah, ok.” It’s as if we needlessly have to learn every meticulous detail about how Boba got out of the Sarlacc pit, up to his appearance in The Mandalorian Season 2. Here’s the thing, though: we don’t need to see everything. The essential was Boba meeting Shand and getting his ship back. The rest serves nothing to the character and the plot.
So it’s great to see a flashback that will have a legitimate purpose to the show’s remaining three episodes and its present-day story, where a war between Boba and the Pyke Syndicate is about to start. Ming-Na Wen is terrific as always and finally becomes the episode’s point of focus. Even in The Mandalorian, she always lurked in the background, or even if she was the central role (in episode 5 of the show’s first season), her character got wasted quite rapidly. Wen deserves more than lurking in the background and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. fans will attest to this fact. And so it’s great to see her character getting her time to shine, as fans patiently waited for the moment to see Shand being at the center of the action and the one responsible for saving Boba’s ship from getting eaten by the Sarlacc pit. It could’ve used a bigger seismic charge, though.
I genuinely hope that there won’t be any more flashbacks. After four episodes, with only three remaining, the show needs to get going. An underground war between Boba and the Pyke Syndicate sounds incredible, so why can’t it solely focus on that? And Black Krrsantan (Carey Jones) joining Boba’s team to aid him in the war? HELL YEAH! Even if Boba should be wary of Krrsantan, after ripping out a Trandoshan’s arm in Garsa Fwip (Jennifer Beals)’s bar, the thought of the former Bounty Hunter teaming up with Santy is any Star Wars’ comic books fan’s dreams come true. Let’s focus on the mind-blowing moments instead of the smaller ones that serve little to no purpose to the series, and we may have a fantastic three-episode finale to a rather underwhelming series.
Episode four of The Book of Boba Fett is now streaming exclusively on Disney+.