Spoilers follow for the sixth episode of The Book of Boba Fett, “From the Desert Comes a Stranger,” which premiered on Disney+ on February 2, 2022.
The Book of Boba Fett is a strange show, what with its split timelines, Alita: Battle Angel affectations, and insistence that Tatooine is the only planet in the Star Wars universe on which anything happens. Then there was how last week’s episode, “Return of the Mandalorian,” was just what its title suggested: a mostly stand-alone episode about Pedro Pascal’s Din Djarin–slash–Mando that basically functioned as a backdoor third-season premiere for Disney+’s other space Western series, The Mandalorian. But I am ready to forgive and forget every single Book of Boba Fett transgression — the offscreen slaughter of the Tuskens, the underuse of Jennifer Beals, the implicit suggestion that the Hutt twins are incesty like the Lannisters — because penultimate episode “From the Desert Comes a Stranger” gave the people what we want. And what we want are Cobb Vanth, handsome devil that he is, and Grogu, the most adorably hungry foundling around. In the words of the immortal Paul Rudd, Look at us!
When “Return of the Mandalorian” ended, Mando agreed to help Boba and his second-in-command Fennec Shand stand against the Pykes and the Syndicate who are running spice in Tatooine — but he had to visit Grogu first. That story line opens the door for the return in this week’s episode of both Cobb Vanth and Grogu, whom we first met in The Mandalorian, because everything in the Star Wars universe is interconnected now. Good luck trying to make sense of anything without first having seen something else. Is that annoying? Always. Is Cobb Vanth possibly the hottest character to ever exist in Star Wars, and yes, that includes Leia in her iconic gold bikini? Also yes.
Timothy Olyphant’s salt-and-pepper beard! His little fingerless gloves! The proud way he points to the three stripes on his belt buckle that indicate he’s the marshal of Freetown, formerly Mos Pelgo! That lean! The way he says “Think it through” in the exact way Raylan Givens would! We are blessed.
What does this have to do with Boba? Why is
Bullock Raylan Cobb ready to draw his piece against a man in black who walks into his town? You will have to watch; I don’t want to spoil all the Olyphans on what happens to our favorite lawman. There are more pressing matters to discuss. Like how adorable Grogu is when using the Force to try and eat a frog!
This little scamp! This little scoundrel! This little guy!
De-aged Mark Hamill is still too uncanny valley for my tastes, but let’s put that aside to explain that Luke has been training Grogu on a very lush, verdant planet that now has spider-like robots building a Jedi temple, tons of delicious amphibians for Grogu, and the watchful eyes of R2-D2 and Ahsoka Tano. With Luke’s help, Grogu remembers his home planet and the death of his Jedi family after the issuance of Order 66 (a reference to Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith). That’s helpful! But also because of Luke, Grogu doesn’t reunite with Mando. Instead, Luke says Grogu has to choose: Does he want the little
mithril chain-mail shirt that Mando had the armorer make for Grogu as a gift, or does he want a lightsaber from Luke? Grogu can only choose one, and his decision will determine whether he returns to Mando’s side or continues training as a Jedi under Luke.
Talk about Luke being a buzzkill! (Does Grogu choose the chain mail, and that rejection from his first student, coupled with everything that happens with Ben Solo, is what informs the older, grizzled, bitter Luke we see in Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi? Maybe!) But look, at least in this 48-minute episode of The Book of Boba Fett, a show in which the titular character is an afterthought, we got a 10-or-so-minute episode of Justified and a 25-or-so-minute episode of The Mandalorian. That leaves about five minutes for Boba to glower over a war council meeting, five minutes for another subplot that proves Boba is pretty bad at his whole “I’ll protect Mos Espa, I swear” vow, and three minutes for end credits. Is this the best episode of The Book of Boba Fett yet because of how little it has to do with Boba and because it returns two fan favorites? I say yes. Nostalgia is bad, but not when it gives us these faces!
The finale of The Book of Boba Fett premieres on Disney+ on February 9, and you can catch up on Vulture recaps here. Justified: City Primeval and the third season of The Mandalorian both premiere later this year.