The Book of Boba Fett has settled into its rhythm. At its rough halfway point, though, this rhythm lacks a melody and rhyme. Any enjoyment or poignancy that it offers, and it occasionally offers both, is undercut by the utter chaos of its structure and a gnawing understanding that it has no true sense of self. It has a lead character who is completely at odds with what made him alluring in the first place. It has a story that is bifurcated into two segments and not in a way that is narratively satisfying (this is no Westworld season one). It has a tone that is so wildly all over the place that the resulting product appears to be nothing more than an utterly baffling mess.
The sequence where Boba Fett returns to the Tusken homestead only to find it destroyed is nevertheless poignant. It carries symbolic and visual parallels to when Luke found the destroyed Lars homestead in A New Hope, but the show had done enough work to establish some sense of community between this new Boba Fett and the Tusken Raiders to where it was able to carry that sense of emotional gravitas on its own. The music was a bit heavy-handed but the visuals were for once striking. Temuera Morrison’s performance also carried the weight of someone who was isolated for so long only to find himself isolated yet again.
For a brief second, it looked like the episode would end as Boba Fett walked from the funeral pyre of the Tusken Raiders and their encampment. There’s something to be said for the unfairness in how tragedy and darkness are rewarded as if they’re more compelling and poignant. But for a show that is wildly misconstructed in almost every way possible, this was at least a storyline that had an arc. And then the episode continued.
As in the first two episodes of a series named for Boba Fett, the titular character is so poorly rendered in the scripts that it almost makes the show emotionally inert. The political intrigue doesn’t work because it’s melded into the story in patchwork fragments or just straight up exposition at a baffling time (you think Boba Fett would have a better understanding of the power vacuum in Mos Espa before he went to visit the Mayor, but apparently not). The criminal underworld story doesn’t work because Boba Fett seems like a naive guy who, based on his apparent business acumen in this series, should’ve died in the first two seconds of the pilot.
Even the Mos Espa chase sequence lacks the energy and verve present in last week’s train heist. It’s cheap, poorly choreographed, and Boba Fett’s new posse are so laughable in the context of the story that it comes across as a cut scene from a video game trailer. That new posse is indicative of the tonal problem the show has just fully leaned into and from which it may not be able to escape. The doom of the Pyke Syndicate descending on Mos Espa would be foreboding if it weren’t for the single image of what looked like a teen alternative band on brightly colored bikes standing behind a pair of supposedly terrifying bounty hunters undercutting that tension completely.
New episodes of The Book of Boba Fett stream Wednesdays on Disney+.