The Book of Boba Fett
It’s been obvious from the start that The Book of Boba Fett would end with a battle royale to determine control of Mos Espa, but it wasn’t obvious it would be this royale. “Chapter 7: In the Name of Honor,” the final installment of The Book of Boba Fett’s first season, has just about every kind of fight imaginable: a couple of showdowns, two pinned-down gunfighters making a desperate escape, big things, little things, two insect-like artillery droids rolling into town like Panzer tanks, and an homage to King Kong. This episode has everything. It’s fun. It’s also a little exhausting and confirms what’s been increasingly apparent as the series has progressed: There’s not that much going on beneath the laser blasts.
Boba Fett ends the season more or less where he began it. He began it determined to settle down and become a kinder sort of crime lord than Jabba the Hutt, and, with a big hiccup in the form of a struggle with the Pykes, he achieved it. The experience didn’t really change him or Fennec Shand. It just confirmed their choices. Elements that seemed promising, like the Sanctuary, have become pretty insignificant. (Why bring in Jennifer Beals and do so little with her?) And the early-season flashbacks to Fett’s life with the Tuskens ultimately did little but supply a motive by killing off his friends and then ignoring the issues raised by having the Tuskens serve as stand-ins for Indigenous people by shunting them aside. In fact, there’s so little going on with Boba Fett that the series was able to detour away and more or less forget him for a couple of episodes. The Book of Boba Fett has remained an easy show to enjoy but also an easy one to forget once the smoke clears and the dust settles.
Fortunately, “Chapter 7” doesn’t allow a lot of time for dust-settling or smoke-clearing. Directed by Robert Rodriguez, it’s action, action, action pretty much from start to finish after a short, mournful opening at Sanctuary establishes the stakes: Boba wants to control Mos Espa and, like Don Corleone, he wants to keep his hands clean of the drug trade. He just hopes there’s something left to protect at the end of the day and that he’s still standing to protect it.
It won’t be easy. On the one side, there’s the Pyke Syndicate, the Mayor, and Cad Bane. On the other, there’s Boba, Mando, Fennec, a bunch of kids on scooters, an angry wookie, a couple of Gamorans and … that’s pretty much it. Or so it would seem at first.
As Boba and the gang prepare for battle, Peli Motto welcomes an unexpected X-wing with an even more unexpected guest: Grogu (and R2-D2, but he’s mostly working as a Lyft driver in this episode). It looks like Grogu has decided between continuing to train as a Jedi and returning to Mando, and that choice involves wearing some tough-looking chain mail beneath his robe. But, as we’ll soon learn, he hasn’t left Luke Skywalker’s side without picking up a trick or two.
Despite their small numbers, Boba and Fennec’s plan to keep an eye out against enemy infiltration seems sound — at least until the forces of the other crime lords (kind of predictably) reveal they’ve switched sides and aligned with the Pykes. If you were a crime lord on Tatooine, who looks like a more promising ally: a new arrival with all kinds of rules about the spice trade and little backup or the freewheeling, heavily armed Pykes?
Even Boba can’t really blame them for making the smart move, but the double cross compounds his already considerable troubles. Cad Bane is there to threaten and taunt him about his attempts to reform, reveal that it was the Pykes who killed his Tusken friends, and announce that his backup from Freetown won’t be coming because he killed Cobb Vanth. (The wound looked serious but not necessarily mortal. Is there more to the story? Better stick around through the credits to find out.) Trapped in the ruins of Sanctuary, Boba and Mando have only their wiles to rely on. The Mayor’s Majordomo, always willing to do what it takes to save his own skin, suggests they negotiate a surrender. They agree, but it’s all part of a plan to make the Majordomo a pawn in their ruse.
The fight continues, and Boba’s forces seem to have turned the tide with the help of some late-arriving Freetowners. Then the artillery droids arrive, and they’re tough. How tough? Blasters, wookiee claws, and even the darksaber can’t penetrate their force fields. Ultimately, it’s a combination of the biggest and smallest fighters that does them in: Grogu uses some Jedi training to get the better of them while the rancor, ridden by Boba Fett, complements the efforts with some ruthless battering.
This goes on for a while until the fight comes down to two mortal enemies: Boba and Bane. After listening to Bane’s taunts and looking pretty defeated, Boba wins with some help from his Tusken staff. (RIP Bane, whose live-action existence was short but memorably menacing.) Then the rancor goes wild and can only be calmed by Grogu, who snuggles up next to his new pal then falls asleep.
After Boba and Fennec take out the Pykes and the Mayor, that more or less closes The Book of Boba Fett. An epilogue suggests that Boba’s dream of a nicer, more orderly Tatooine might be possible with some help from Fennec, the Mods, and Krrsantan (and presumably the rancor and a fresh batch of Gamorrans). Meanwhile, the Mandalorian and Grogu head toward the stars and toward a third season of The Mandalorian, leaving Boba and the gang behind to enjoy future adventures together in book two, should that ever happen.
• And should it? Response to The Book of Boba Fett has felt pretty tepid, but this episode does leave a setup in place for future installments. There’s a lot of Mos Espa left to see, but this season hasn’t done that much to turn Boba and the others into characters who demand we follow them as we explore it.
• But you know who is that compelling? Cobb Vanth, who, it turns out, is less dead than previously reported and getting better by the moment as he recuperates in Jabba’s palace. (Does he dream of being a U.S. marshal in Kentucky while he gets better?)
• The Gamorans squealing like pigs as they die will never not be amusing (though every Gamoran life is precious, and we should not laugh).