After a bummer of a plot twist in episode 3, things pick back up as we learn how Boba Fett meets his right-hand woman.
Following last week’s disappointing turn of events, The Book of Boba Fett spends Chapter 4 giving us a flashback and present-day devoted to everyone’s favorite assassin, one Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen). It’s a smart move for the show, filling in some much-needed blanks and shifting the story from its holding pattern. Our crimelords are getting ready for war, y’all, let’s see how they get there.
“The Gathering Storm” opens back in the bacta tank, where Boba (Temuera Morrison) dreams about his time following the Tusken massacre, spying on Jabba’s (then Bib’s) palace in the hopes of getting his ship back. A note about the ship this week: both Boba and the captions later on refer to it as the Firespray (the model of the ship) rather than the Slave 1. This isn’t surprising, given recent shifts away from that name, and is rather well in keeping with the storyline–when Boba tells Fennec he needs help retrieving his ship, how is she going to know what “Slave 1” means without context? That being said, maybe it’s time for a fresh start anyway, Boba.
That evening, Boba is having a little fireside meal with his bantha when he sees the lights of the firefight from season one of The Mandalorian that led to Fennec’s apparent death; finding her in the sands he throws her over the back of his bantha (is that wise?) and takes her to a mod-parlor. A mod-parlor? you ask, and I will tell you: it’s the place where Boba’s Cyborg Squad got their modifications. A hefty purse of credits later, the Modifier (Stephen “Thundercat” Bruner) gives Fennec the robo-guts she showed to Din Djarin (how does she still eat and drink? How much do I want to think about this?) Fennec agrees to help Boba retrieve his ship to pay her debt for her life and the pair return to stake out the palace.
Their infiltration of the palace goes well, though Boba should thank his lucky stars every day that he has Fennec by his side, as it’s her quick-thinking and skill that gets them both into and out of the hangar with the ship. Boba offers to drop Fennec wherever she’d like, but she invites herself along for his next tasks: hunting down and killing the Nikto riders who ostensibly* killed the Tuskens, and searching the sarlacc for Boba’s armor. They’re best friends now!
The timing of all of this is an interesting plot conundrum. Boba references being trapped in the sarlacc “years ago,” yet it doesn’t seem like he was living with the Tuskens for longer than possibly a few months? It’s pretty clear that their eventual appearance on The Mandalorian takes place not long after these events and the takeover of the palace was soon after that, so what are we talking about here? Was Boba with the Tuskens for years and Tusken Tween (RIP) just never aged? Was he in the sarlacc for years? It is said you’ll be digested over a thousand years. Is it possible I’m putting more thought into his phrasing than intended? Who can say?
Boba and Fennec make short work of the Nikto riders and head over to the sarlacc to…hover precariously over it and shine a light around to look for the armor. This ends how one might expect, with the sarlacc waking up and attacking them, and Fennec’s quick thinking saves the pair once more as she drops a seismic charge into the sarlacc’s mouth. During another fireside discussion, Boba tells Fennec of his plan to unseat Bib Fortuna and give up bounty hunting. He offers her a place by his side if she helps him do so; he also offers her what he says they’ve never gotten from employers before: loyalty.
In the present, Boba exits the bacta tank (and is told by a droid that he’s completely healed) and tells Fennec that he plans to go into town. She’s none too keen on the idea, all things considered, but he reminds her that it’s important that he’s seen. He heads down to Madam Garsa’s (Jennifer Beals) where who should be drinking himself into an angry stupor but newly unemployed Wookiee gladiator Black Krrsantan. Seemingly enraged just seeing some Trandoshans having a good time, Krrsantan starts laying waste to the group. Boba enters in time to see Garsa attempt to talk Krrsantan into releasing one last Trandoshan, an attempt that almost works but ends with Krrsantan tearing the alien’s arm off and storming out. Boba follows and finally makes the job offer we’d all been hoping for. That makes Fennec, Tim and Tad, the Teenz, the rancor, and now Black Krrsantan. That’s…almost an army.
That evening, at a dinner for the various gang leaders, Boba tries to get their support in his upcoming battle against the Pykes, but the other leaders are only willing to offer neutrality. They won’t go against Boba, but they won’t help him either. Boba and Fennec end the episode by determining that what they need is more muscle, something, Fennec tells Boba, that you can get with enough credits if you know where to look. A very specific theme plays as Boba considers her words.
Oh, there’s no use being coy. It’s Mando, it’s The Mandalorian theme. Do we think Din will show up just to avoid being Mand’alor for a little while? He does need new ship money. The implication that Din will be making an appearance leads to some questions, however. The Book of Boba Fett is already struggling with some audiences for the comparisons with The Mandalorian, how will it deal with those comparisons when the titular Mandalorian shows up? As with the Luke Skywalker appearance at the end of The Mandalorian season 2, when does Star Wars start to stagger under the weight of its cameos? Granted, a Din appearance makes sense plotwise as Fennec and Boba need backup and they happen to know someone very good at fighting, but the promise of an outside character’s appearance shouldn’t be the talking point of an episode.
Jon Favreau, again writing the episode, does much this week to lure the audience back in, focusing on Fennec and giving Boba the chance to revenge the Tuskens. Nothing is more enjoyable to watch than competency, and Fennec has that to spare. As the finale looms the story has to start sharpening down to the upcoming war with the Pyke Syndicate and the realization of Boba and Fennec’s plans. It’s time to stop filling in gaps and start writing the future.
- Fennec expresses some doubt that a gang of Niktos could have killed the Tuskens, it remains to be seen if she’s correct (but odds are she is).
- The series’ theme of “Boba loves animals” continues with his sweet interactions with the bantha.
- The little droid that Boba chases around the palace kitchen is a LEP droid and I think everyone should have one. I hope he still has his job.
- I also hope Madam Garsa has an arm clean up budget.
- Still waiting for Fennec to casually mention that time she kidnapped a little girl clone.