Wednesday, February 2, 2022

REVIEW: 'The Book of Boba Fett' - Mando and Grogu Yearn for Each Other in 'Chapter 6: From the Desert Comes a Stranger'

Disney+'s The Book of Boba Fett - Episode 1.06 "Chapter 6: From the Desert Comes a Stranger"

Mysteries are explored and Boba Fett learns new information.

"Chapter 6: From the Desert Comes a Stranger" was written by Jon Favreau & Dave Filoni and directed by Dave Filoni

It's absolutely insane how the drama has basically sidelined its titular character in the last two episodes. This show was suppose to reveal the untold story of Boba Fett, a character the audience had so much admiration for. The first four episodes did that and essentially made it so he wouldn't be missed when the focus shifted. That's a remarkable achievement. He has become a boring character with no internal agency. That's shocking given the anticipation for him being the lead of his own series. It probably highlights how expectations didn't always line up with the actual character. People just attached to him for reasons beyond what was actually textual. The creative team has struggled to fill in those details. At a certain point, they just decided to pivot back to the story they were comfortable telling for two seasons. That is a tale of a different Mandalorian and former bounty hunter altogether. That has made it necessary for the audience to be aware of the developments that played out in The Mandalorian. Meanwhile, the audience of that show will need to also see this season in order to have any clue as to what happens in the future of that series. That too is striking. It plays on emotions from the collective whole instead of trying to do unique things in this specific project. That can still be a lot of fun. This episode invites so many fun and dynamic characters back to the proceedings. Many of them have very little to do with Boba Fett. Even when they do, they don't actually interact with him. Their actions may have consequences for his war with the Pyke syndicate. However, that remains a conflict hard to remain engaged in. Both sides are fighting for control of this planet. In a post-Empire world, everyone is vying for territory and control as the New Republic struggles to build a prosperous federation. It makes this a rogue world with plenty of outlaws and disorder. Again, that's a fascinating place to create story. People are hoping to rebuild. They see a better world on the horizon. Of course, the audience has the foresight of knowing that this universe will plunge into darkness once more. In the moment though, characters remain hopeful. Choices still have to be made though. Those remain the most consequential when they pertain to Mando and Grogu. Even Cobb Vanth has cool and effective moments that bookend this episode. Boba Fett is only onscreen for a minute. The quiet stillness of his performance can make him more intimidating and deserving of being the focal point everything else pivots around. But it's still not effective because the center has been hollowed out. The teases haven't built up to much. And so, that leaves everyone reacting to the developments that are important for the futures of the characters that are bound to center stories in their own respective shows. Mando hopes to reunite with Grogu to deliver the gift that will keep him safe. And yet, the bond between them is only acknowledged from afar. They understand the difficulty of maintaining this love while adhering to Grogu's Jedi training. The rules still don't make much sense given all the pain the secrets of personal relationships have caused. Ahsoka should know that better than anyone. But she honors Luke's wishes and even comments on how similar he is to his father. She trusts his instincts. He presents Grogu with a choice. It's absolutely giddy watching Grogu move with the force. Luke notes that he is just letting Grogu remember what was already known. But he still has hopes in building his new school for Jedi. Grogu was there when the Jedi Order fell. And now, he has returned to be the first student once more. However, his pull to Mando is more tantalizing. It would be great if Luke continued to train him. The show has improved the special effects that allow Luke Skywalker to appear as he did decades ago. It's still not perfect. That awkwardness is always present in these scenes. The emotions are still earned even as the choice seems plain for Grogu despite the action cutting it off into a cliffhanger. The same applies to Cobb's fate after his shootout with Cad Bane. Those are two characters whose presence thrills fans of the franchise. It's over fairly quickly. The fate of their lives and their communities is still up in the air. Boba Fett may take renewed focus in the season finale. At this point, that would not be as thrilling as spending time with the other characters who make up this world - notwithstanding Garsa Fwip whose death seems likely and would cement the show as completely wasting Jennifer Beals outside of one scene.