by @holocronJosh & @holocronGeorge
WARNING: This review contains spoilers for The Book of Boba Fett – Chapter 4
Another Wednesday, another episode of The Book of Boba Fett. After last week’s (relatively) present day heavy episode, which featured a showdown between Boba and Black Krrsantan amidst the looming presence of the Pykes, Chapter 4 reverses the structure and is set mainly in the past again. More gaps are filled in a polished and entertaining episode as Ming-Na Wen shines in a terrific central role.
After Chapter 3’s somewhat strange decision to abruptly kill Boba’s newfound Sand People family off, Chapter 4’s flashbacks follow Boba as he deals with the aftermath of this tragedy. Boba is broken and haunted by their deaths, but far from defeated. Rather, he seems intent on doing one thing: getting revenge on those who harmed his friends. It’s a plot that elevates Boba as a character immensely, with Chapter 4 furthering the character work that the series has done so far. Fett is not merely the action figure-like caricature that was presented in the original trilogy. The flashbacks are fleshing out Fett’s character and, importantly, give the audience a real sense of why he wants to be a crime lord and not just a bounty hunter; as he tells Fennec, he wants a tribe, a family, and ruling (with respect, of course), which gives Boba the opportunity to regain what he lost with the deaths of the Tuskens. All of this deepening of Boba’s character in Chapter 4 occurs subtly, and is elevated by Temuera Morrison’s simultaneously understated and heightened performance. Morrison plays the role with such gravitas that we wish he appeared in every Star Wars project (which seems semi-realistic at this stage given that there are so many clones around in the timeline, all of whom share the same face as Boba). Chapter 4 is easily Morrison’s best performance in Star Wars so far.
Similarly, Ming-Na Wen also shines in this episode. The plot brings Boba to the events of Chapter 5 of The Mandalorian, where he rescues Fennec from the desert and helps her recover. Wen excels in playing off Morrison, with Boba being the more sympathetic, heartfelt character and Fennec seemingly more ruthless, especially as she wants to rule with more of an iron grip in the present day scenes. The duo’s great chemistry is on display here more than ever, and are almost like Yin and Yang in terms of their personalities. Their dynamic makes the series, and this episode in particular, even more captivating.
Fennec is brought to a droid-style hospital where the mods from the previous episode seemingly got their “improvements.” Those characters were the brunt of a degree of criticism from Star Wars fans this past week, with some saying their bikes and overall personalities were ill-fitting with the franchise. Favreau and company certainly double down on the mods here, with more bikes, more droid-enhanced humans, and unique music that evokes Blade Runner. Regardless of one’s feelings regarding this aspect of the show, it’s indicative of an overall attempt to push the boundaries of what Star Wars can be by Favreau and Filoni. It’s certainly an interesting concept, and the idea itself deserves praise for the sheer uniqueness and boldness from Favreau and colleagues to open the door to different characters and personalities of the ever expanding Star Wars galaxy.
This episode is masterfully directed by Kevin Tancharoen, a newcomer to the behind the scenes team behind these Disney+ series. It’s undeniably the best directed episode in the series so far, with Tancharoen handling the action scenes with a deft hand. It’s a testament to Tancharoen that, despite the events of Chapter 4 being largely predictable, the episode manages a consistent level of tension and suspense. The Sarlaac Pit sequence, where Boba returns to the pit to look (unsuccessfully) for his armor, could have been a difficult scene to craft, but Tancharoen directs it with horror-film like intensity that evokes Han and Leia’s harrowing escape from the Exogorth in The Empire Strikes Back and improves the event exponentially. There’s also some great shots of Tatooine in this episode, with one night time look at the suns and moon of the planet a particular highlight.
The big event of the episode, though, occurs at the end: a direct tease at Din Djarin’s impending arrival in the series. Boba needs warriors to fight the Pykes, and at this time in canon, who else than the Mandalorian himself? It makes the anticipation for next week’s episode even greater. Will he have a new ship? Will we see the darksaber again? Perhaps wishful thinking, but maybe a reunion with Grogu? It’s amazing to think about. Despite that, it actually makes sense for the story. It’s not simply Favreau putting Djarin in this new series for the sake of it, but because Boba Fett is in need of help and he has a relationship with Djarin now.
The Book of Boba Fett’s fourth installment proves to be the best in the series so far, with incredible action and acting alongside great character work for Boba and Fennec. Things are certainly heating up, with a confrontation with the Pykes pending. The anticipation grows once again for next week’s episode with the impending arrival of The Mandalorian and we’re certainly counting down the days.
Images courtesy of Disney and Lucasfilm