Wednesday, February 9, 2022

REVIEW: 'The Book of Boba Fett' - Boba Fett Makes a Last Stand Against the Pyke Syndicate in 'Chapter 7: In the Name of Honor'

Disney+'s The Book of Boba Fett - Episode 1.07 "Chapter 7: In the Name of Honor"

Boba Fett and Fennec Shand face an escalating conflict.

"Chapter 7: In the Name of Honor" was written by Jon Favreau and directed by Robert Rodriguez

At 61 minutes, the finale is the longest episode of the season. It feels like it at some points as well. It's devoted almost entirely to action. That keeps the thrills coming as the audience isn't quite sure what could possibly happen. Any characters could reasonably die at this point. Consequential things could theoretically happen with characters whose core stories play out in a completely different show. Rewarding and earned moments happen because of that support cultivated elsewhere in this universe. The past two episodes handed themselves over to Mando and Grogu. This finale delivers in reuniting them. It comes in the heat of battle. It ends with the two flying off in space together with Grogu enjoying the new ride just as much as Mando does. Those two simply belong together. Grogu made his choice. He shouldn't have to sacrifice his connection with Mando in order to use the force. In fact, it's because of that bond that he has the strength to make a difference in this fight for the future of Tatooine. That's compelling to witness too. However, too much of this story repeats the pattern of Boba Fett and company feeling confident in the war against the Pyke Syndicate only to be outgunned until a rousing group of reinforcements arrive. That basic formula plays out several times over the course of this hour. That's striking and leaves the overall action feeling uninspired. In the beginning, Fennec details all the ways in which they won't be surprised by the Pyke army coming. They've negotiated a deal with the other warlords to remain neutral. They have recruited the necessary muscle to defend Boba's position. And then, a coordinated attack seemingly dooms his allies. Of course, it's mostly misdirection. Only the Gamorrean Guards are pushed off a cliff. Everyone else survives to rally at Garsa's cantina. That's only after the action swirls around the inevitable peril that should doom their fates. That happens a lot over the course of this finale. All hope seems lost. And then, the troops rally. The fighters from Freetown arrive in support of Boba's cause. They too wish to rid the planet of the spice trade. Cad Bane was wrong to believe killing Cobb Vanth would keep them out of this fight. It only motivated them more. Of course, Vanth isn't actually dead. The bacta tank and the mod artist seek to save his life as revealed in the post-credits sequence. That's a nice detail to see. It's also the show treating that character as beloved after two appearances while Garsa was disposable in the end.

But again, all of this has to center around Boba Fett and his desire to do right by this planet. Cad Bane takes that as the former bounty hunter going the straight and narrow. He yearns to be a peaceful daimyo instead of a ruthless killer. And yet, Boba's ability and willingness to kill was never in question as a result of his move to Tatooine. That makes it weird to center that around his final confrontation. Yes, it's absolutely cool to see Boba and Bane in a quickdraw. That imagery is so potent. It once again affirms Bane's skills. It's also a motif the show already produced in the previous episode. This one offers nothing new beyond continuing it to showcase Boba's power coming from somewhere new entirely. He is still a skilled gunslinger. That's how he attacks the majority of the Pyke forces that come after him and his allies. But it's more meaningful when he shows up riding the rancor to defeat the shielded gun droids and uses the Tusken weapon to kill Bane. Those are more unique to his journey on this particular show. Of course, his journey hasn't been the main concern for awhile. And so, it was mostly up to the audience to project some sense of importance onto these actions. The tables are then flipped when the rancor starts attacking indiscriminately. Mando realizes that it's a creature frightened by the blasts coming its way. It still ultimately pivots around Grogu using the force to lure it to sleep. Grogu then cuddles up besides it. That's a charming and sweet moment. That continues to define so much of Grogu's existence in this universe. All of that action is suppose to essentially distract from the fact that Fennec disappears for a long stretch of time. That's reasonable for her to attack the leaders of the Pyke Syndicate controlling this assault. That's a crucial development too. It just leaves Fennec sidelined. Her final attack is eerie and very efficient. Is that enough though? It's certainly entertaining. This episode provides the thrills meant to get the audience out of their seats. A line forms to use the bacta tank to heal the injuries suffered from this battle. Boba has earned the respect of the city he wanted when he came to lead as daimyo. He acknowledges that this life isn't meant for everyone on his crew. He doesn't want to hold them to these roles given how they could be better utilized elsewhere. Fennec explains that no one else will protect this city if they don't. That's pretty much the only explanation as to why this means so much to Boba and his crew. It's certainly not enough. Even his connection to the Tusken raiders faded over time. The pieces are present to suggest a coherent narrative. The execution just left it all lacking even when the action was generally epic in scale.