One of the most interesting aspects thus far about 'The Book of Boba Fett' is how Temuera Morrison's own Māori heritage is influencing much of Fett's backstory.
Like last week's opener episode, much of this week's episode is divided into two - one set in the present, where Fett is trying to get to grips with being a crime lord, and the other in the past where it explores how Fett came to survive and thrive after escaping the Sarlaac pit. With the first two episodes out of the way, you have to wonder how much more they can explore his history without it becoming somewhat redundant. It's not to say that it's not interesting or well-told, far from it.
Steph Green, who previously directed the excellent Irish indie drama 'Run & Jump', is able to balance the character-building moments in this week's episode with a thrilling finale that sees Fett and the Tuskens take down a train that's screaming through the desert of Tatooine. More on that later. The episode begins with Fett and Fennec Shand confronting the mayor of Mos Espa about the assassins he supposedly sent to kill them. Yet, like so many things on Tatooine, it's not what it appears to be. Jabba the Hutt's awful extended family, represented by two as-yet-unnamed twins, arrive on the planet with plans to reclaim Jabba's territory. They've even got their own angry-looking Wookiee gladiator ready to get messy with Fett.
Yet, they depart on veiled threats and the story shifts into the past where we see how Fett came to earn the respect of the Tuskens. In 'The Mandalorian', there were a number of times where the Tuskens were humanised in such a way that hadn't been explored in 'Star Wars' before. When you think back to, say, 'Attack of the Clones' and how they were described as animals by Cleeig Lars, and then the subsequent slaughter by Anakin Skywalker, you realise that the view of them was only one perspective. The Tuskens are indigenous to Tatooine, and given how Temeura Morrison is from New Zealand and of Māori descent, you can see the connection and the impetus behind this exploration.
For all of 'Star Wars' being set in a galaxy far, far away, it's always been able to examine our own world in a unique way. The sequel trilogy, for example, was about how fascism is always more extreme on the second generation. The prequel trilogy examined how democratic decay occurs by institutional rot and executive aggrandisement, something we're seeing all too clearly now. More specifically, this episode of 'The Book of Boba Fett' zeroes in on indigenous people asserting their territory by use of force. More specifically, them blowing up a train and throwing the rich interlopers off it. The whole sequence feels like it could have been done on horseback with a steam train barreling along instead of a speeder train.
After this, Boba essentially goes on a kind of vision quest with the Tuskens where we begin to see glimmers of his past, from Kamino to escaping the Saralaac to see his father Jango killed by Jedi, and all of it culminating with him coming back to the Tuskens with a tree branch that's then shaped into a fighting stick. Again, the Māori parallels are fascinating. In Māori culture, the taiaha - a fighting stick used by warriors - is of vital importance. So to is the haka, which most people would be familiar with via the All-Blacks rugby team. By the end of this episode, Boba Fett has made his own fighting stick and the final scene sees him joining in a tribal dance that - you guessed it - looks remarkably similar to the haka.
- You just know Fett's gonna have a brawl with that Wookiee before the season is over, isn't he?
- The music during the train hijacking sequence is fantastic
- 'Order of the Night Wind' sounds like bedtime gas after eating a dodgy burrito
- After all the talk about litters, we finally got to see one this week and honestly? Not impressed
- The vision sequence showing Kamino and the Slave I was terrific