Maybe It’s a Bad Thing That The Book of Boba Fett’s Fifth Episode Was So Good

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The post Maybe It’s a Bad Thing That The Book of Boba Fett’s Fifth Episode Was So Good appeared first on Consequence.

[Editor’s note: The following contains spoilers for The Book of Boba Fett, “Chapter 5: Return of the Mandalorian.”]

This week’s episode of The Book of Boba Fett delivered a hell of a twist: It wasn’t about Boba Fett. Instead, the Mandalorian spinoff went ahead and became an episode of The Mandalorian, bringing back everyone’s favorite Space Dad (Pedro Pascal) and catching us up with what he’s been up to since surrendering sweet young Baby Yoda Grogu to Luke Skywalker for Jedi training.

“Chapter 5: Return of the Mandalorian” did eventually connect to the events of Boba Fett so far, but it served more value in reintroducing a character who perhaps we didn’t realize we missed so much. The system shock of Din’s return ended up highlighting what’s been missing from the series: An actual emotional hook.

Episode 5 is actually a common time for a streaming series to do a breakout episode, but at the beginning of the season, though, the smart money would have been on this episode taking on the backstory of Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen) — since lord knows we’ve gotten plenty of Boba Fett’s history over decades of Star Wars-ing.

Of course, no other Star Wars filmed property has actually given Boba Fett much of the spotlight, and one of the best aspects of Boba Fett as a series is watching Temuera Morrison prove how compelling a leading man he can be; that, and his chemistry with Wen, are a huge factor in what has made the show compelling so far.

But the pacing of the season, combined with a structure that leans too hard on flashbacks at the expense of keeping the present-day narrative gripping, is a huge factor in why the return of Din had such an impact. It all came rushing back: the twist of Din now being the rightful holder of the Dark Saber, the teary goodbye between Din and his smol son, and the code that Din violated while saying goodbye.

The Mandalorian Baby Yoda
The Mandalorian Baby Yoda

The Mandalorian (Disney+)

It’s not that Boba Fett is a bad show, but it did pick a bad time to remind us of a show that was more compelling. Thinking back on Season 1 of The Mandalorian, by the end of Episode 4 Din had fully embraced his role as guardian of the Child, cementing the emotional core of the series in a way that managed to make a literally faceless man into a compelling hero.

Chapter 4 of Boba Fett meanwhile devoted an extended sequence to revealing how Fennec got her cybernetic upgrade, followed by her and Boba retrieving Boba’s ship and blowing up a Sarlacc. Boba also lays out his plan for creating his own operation, winning Fennec over to his side and starting the work of convincing other crime lords — but as solid as their bond is, it doesn’t quite do enough to keep us locked in.

Chapter 5 also showcased another Boba Fett shortcoming: There have been interesting pops of character color during the first half of the season, but despite a droid that sounds like Matt Berry and Stephen Root as a duplicitous water broker, there’s been nothing on the level of Amy Sedaris in her Ripley wig yelling at her robot staff. And then she goes and speaks Jawese and she used to date a Jawa? Come on.

(New pitch: Home Improvement set on Tatoonie, with Amy Sedaris in the Tim Allen role and BD the droid as Al. Timothy Olyphant can be Wilson.)

Amy Sedaris, The Mandalorian
Amy Sedaris, The Mandalorian

Amy Sedaris in The Mandalorian

There have been swirls of confusion around The Book of Boba Fett from the literal beginning, when the show’s existence was revealed at the end of Season 2 of The Mandalorian and it was initially assumed to be the subtitle for the third season of the series. In some ways, perhaps it is, since as the ending of Chapter 5 would indicate, our pal Mando will play a part in at least one more episode, if not the rest of the season, and that’s welcome news for both the series and for people who very much need to know what kind of armor he had made for Baby Yoda.

Still, when it came to Boba Fett establishing itself as a compelling narrative, Episode 5 didn’t help matters much. It’s exciting to see Star Wars play around with new approaches to an extended universe. But the fact is that, much like Boba Fett the man still has to prove he can bring his own ethics to the dirty business of the Tatooine underworld, Boba Fett the series still has to prove that it can stand on its own.

New episodes of The Book of Boba Fett debut Wednesdays on Disney+.

Maybe It’s a Bad Thing That The Book of Boba Fett’s Fifth Episode Was So Good
Liz Shannon Miller

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