*Warning: This episode contains spoilers for episode seven of The Book of Boba Fett*
After six good or bad episodes (depending on your viewpoint of things, really), The Book of Boba Fett ends with an hour-long climax that contains a slew of ultra-satisfying moments which unleash Robert Rodriguez’s inner child again. Unfortunately, however, the show’s purpose still needed to be defined, which never happens, and ultimately ends on a sour note rather than an “A-ha!” moment that justified the numerous cameos and flashbacks we had to sit through.
Thankfully, no other extended universe character made their appearance, and the “real villain” pulling all the strings was the Pyke Syndicate all along. I was worried that the rumors would be accurate and Qi’ra (Emilia Clarke) would immediately show up, without any connection to Fett (Temuera Morrison), Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal), or any other character introduced in the series. But, of course, that never happens, and this allows for a more focused climax between Boba/Din/Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen) confronting the Pyke Syndicate and his “inner demons” represented through the figure of Cad Bane (Corey Burton) in the process.
The best scenes of the entire episode are Fett’s two confrontations with Bane. As much as the former bounty hunter wants to become the hero of Mos Espa, his past with the Empire will come to him. Cad Bane knows Fett’s history and will confront it head-on through two duels that are insanely tense (and frightening) to watch. Favreau and Rodriguez couldn’t have replaced Burton with another actor for his live-action debut, and he gives yet another chilling performance as the soulless Bounty Hunter. I’m a bit disappointed at how easy it was for Fett to kill him, but my fan lens believes he will show up yet again, in some capacity.
When Rodriguez gets to live out his childhood fantasies, this is where The Book of Boba Fett shines the most. A spaghetti-Western duel, mixed with a Showa Era King Kong vs. Godzilla battle between Boba’s Rancor and Scorpenek Droids, makes for some highly cathartic (and creative) action sequences, which continuously mesh the best film genres inside the world of Star Wars. Rodriguez pulls no punches in, living out what he’d like to see done in Star Wars. In this case, it works brilliantly because we’re able to suspend our disbelief at the sight of the Rancor decimating Mos Espa as a Star Wars version of Kong, as long as there are some “fan service” moments in the mix.
And lo and behold, the fan service works for once. Grogu, having chosen the way, goes back to Din and becomes heavily involved in the battle. Many funny moments implicate Grogu in the center of the action, but the most satisfying moments are when he uses the force to defeat a Scorpnenek Droid and calm the Rancor. Am I a bit disappointed that Grogu is back and that The Mandalorian may never move away from him? Sure, but look at him! He’s so damn cute! I have no objections with bringing back Grogu, as long as we never see deepfake Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) ever again.
So the hour-long action scene is pretty damn great. There are terrific whoa (!) moments where Din and Boba jetpack-fight Pykes together, or Din using the Darksaber in an attempt to penetrate a Scorpnenek’s shield, or the moments mentioned above with Cad Bane and Grogu make the episode worthwhile. And yet, something’s still missing. As much as it was cool to see Rodriguez play in his sandbox again (he should come back to direct more Star Wars, heck, maybe some Jedi-related Star Wars), I still feel severely disappointed by the lack of purpose this series presents.
Was it a set-up to The Mandalorian Season 3? Of course, it was, but it wasn’t a very enthralling set-up nonetheless. Whenever a show (or film) plots for the next one, it needs to be enticing enough for us to want the sequel (or the next season) immediately. Unfortunately, The Book of Boba Fett had a minimal purpose. Incredible fight scenes and decent enough performances aside, we spent too much time inside flashbacks that add no depth to the character or the story at hand. And the fact that our main character got sidelined in two episodes for The Mandalorian 2.5 featuring Glup Shitto was not the greatest idea in the world, especially when the story was already this paper-thin.
If this will be the future of Star Wars (I’m already on the bandwagon that television series should be the norm for Star Wars instead of spinoff movies), I’m not sure how long I will keep being engaged. The Bad Batch was frustrating enough, but at least it had a linear story and a clear-cut good vs. evil battle. The Book of Boba Fett’s non-linear approach resulted in very little character development, minimal plot, and very little fun. And if this is how Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni will tell stories with Ahsoka and The Mandalorian again, then sign me out. I’ll keep watching (hopefully, Kenobi will be good), but that doesn’t mean I’m invested in the franchise. I guess the franchise peaked at The Last Jedi after all, huh?
All episodes of The Book of Boba Fett are now streaming on Disney+.