And this is it. The showdown at… the Sanctuary? For some reason.
Fett, Shand, and Djarin stand in the ruins of the Sanctuary, trying to figure out their next move. Drash (Sophie Thatcher) and Skad (Jordan Bolger) insist that they defend the territory from here because it’s their home. Cad Bane shows up to tell them that their reinforcements from Freetown won’t be showing up. He tries to goad Fett into a showdown, but Fennec talks him down from it because he’s too emotional over the new knowledge the the Pykes are the ones who killed the Sand People he lived amongst, not the Nikto bikers.
They come up with a plan to have different groups watching different areas of Tatooine; the Mos Espa kids watch the Worker’s District, Santo watches the Trandoshan District, the Gamoreans watch the ships coming in, and so on, while they wait to see how the Pykes will make their move. Only problem is, all the families they thought they had alliances with turn on them. Din suggests they could leave, but agrees to stay and fight until they die if that’s what Fett wants. Shaiz’s former majordomo suggests that they could give their terms of surrender to the Pykes, so Fett gives him a tablet with terms and sends him out before he can read them. The terms are nothing at all, a distraction before the battle begins. Meanwhile, Grogu lands at Peli Motto’s in Luke’s X-Wing; he’s made his choice, and has his beskar shirt on under his clothes.
The Pykes have brought large shielded droids to do their dirty work for them. Fett asks Din to distract them so he can bring his own reinforcements. The Freetown group arrives in an armored speeder and lends a hand. Everyone starts showing up to the fight, including Grogu and Peli. Finally, Fett shows up on his rancor and they begin tearing one of the droids apart. It takes some time, but they eventually stop both droids and have taken out so many of the Pykes that they retreat. Cad Bane shows up again and tries to agitate Fett into a showdown. He gets what he asks for, and Fett ultimately kills him. The rancor is too upset to calm down, however. In order to stop it without hurting it, Grogu uses his Force abilities to ease the beast, and they both curl up for a nap together.
The Tatooine family heads are meeting with the Pyke’s Tatooine leader and Mok Shaiz to demand that they offer more protection, since they went against Fett in siding with them. They are all quickly picked off by Fennec in a stealth operation.
Fett is now formally instated as Daimyo and has the respect of the people. He and Fennec decide this is going to be a tough job, but it’s what’s best for Tatooine. As the city-dwellers work to repair their town, Din and Grogu leave on their new starfighter; Grogu demands another speed burst from dad. Back at the palace, Cobb Vanth is in the bacta tank healing from his wounds. The mod artist who helped Fett with Fennec’s repairs (Stephen “Thundercat” Bruner) prepares to get to work on him.
It was criminal to give us Danny Trejo: Rancor Trainer, and never bring him back to us, is all I’m saying.
This episode did all the things it needed to do, even if it did them in the most baffling way possible. The plan to handle the syndicate makes negative sense. They keep telling us it makes lots of sense, which makes it more embarrassing. Let’s separate our forces, so we know what angle our attackers are coming in from! Or… where we have to go? Wait no, we decided we’re defending this point, so we’ve just split up our forces to have them keep an eye out for no real reason. Now everyone’s really far away when we need them to converge on the spot we said we were defending in the first place.
Look, I get it, they wanted everyone to show up dramatically in the fight. They already had it set with the Freetown locals, but there was no reason for everyone else to be so far away. So they made up a bad one, which is not better for the purposes of drama. Setting the fight in Mos Espa is another example of this: Drash and Skad say no, we’re not leaving, this is our home. We defend from here, not your lofty palace. The problem is, by insisting on staying, you’ve also guaranteed maximum destruction for the city you claim to want to protect. I get that it’s more dynamic doing the battle in the streets, but if you can’t think of legitimate reasons for any of this then sit down in a room with some more writers and figure it out. There are better solutions to the problems you’ve created for yourself.
There’s a weird “war on drugs” sidebar here, being that everyone keeps talking about how they want the spice off the planet, but they don’t wanna talk about why. Spice as a drug in the Star Wars universe is a thing that’s existed on the periphery from the very first film—stolen wholesale from Dune and then altered to fit a different sort of universe—but it’s never been fleshed out anywhere but the Legends canon. In fact, Solo tried to make spice into something else entirely, suggesting that the spice mines of Kessel were about mining fuel rather than drugs. (It’s still funny and awful.) We’re back to the drug aspect, but it’s being discussed without any indication of what that means in-universe: How does drug trade work in the Star Wars galaxy? Who’s getting high, and how are they getting high? Are the Tatooine locals worried because they don’t want their own people on spice, and if so, why? Fett agrees to rid the planet of it because the people of Freetown want it, but Fennec thinks it’s a bad call because you make tons of money in the spice trade. There’s no detail on what people’s stances are, they just have them.
But it’s family entertainment! someone cries. Well, they made the choice to center their family entertainment around crime syndicates and drug running, so now they’ve gotta make sense of what they built.
Grogu shows up because of course he shows up. R2 delivers him because we don’t need more Luke Skywalker CGI—which, having read the pieces that have explained exactly what’s going on here, has made me even more against this process than I used to be, and I was against it from Tarkin’s use in Rogue One. (The point is that they’re cobbling together Luke’s dialogue via computers by synthesizing older stuff. The same is true of the CGI. What we’re running into here is a situation where you cannibalize former performances to make new ones. That’s part of the reason why Luke is busy regurgitating bad Jedi dogma he’s already learned instead of saying something new; he can’t. That’s part of the reason his character seems off; this isn’t a real performance by a living, breathing actor. It’s a stand-in with altered existing footage composited over him.)
The same lack of reasoning in the setup permeates this entire script, which is why no one seems to remember that the Clone Wars saw lots of shielded droids like this in combat, and the Jedi were great at fighting them by moving slowly to get inside the shields and blow up and/or slice them to pieces. Santo tries and is promptly stopped, but this stuff is a known quantity in this universe, and it doesn’t make sense that no one on this battlefield has any idea how to fight them. (Or that the shields go red when they’re weakened, which is a video game conceit if I ever saw one—you wouldn’t want people to see the shield was weak.) Then there’s how Boba manages to stay fixed to this rancor’s back while it’s being attacked by the droid, but then Cad Bane shoots some fire at him and he’s tossed off instantly.
What’s upsetting is that the scenes between Bane and Fett are what this whole show should’ve been. This entire series kept forgetting that Boba Fett is an infamous bounty hunter—arguably the most well-known in the galaxy—who’s just come back from the dead several years after the fact and made this wild bid for Jabba’s territory. People know him. They’ve fought him, lost bounties to him, had to deal with him professionally for decades. They knew him as a grieving, messy teenager. They watched him get tangled up in things that were too big for him to handle as a kid, then make a name for himself as years went by and show them all up. This is personal for Bane. He does not believe in creating something better than the shitty system they all abide by, and he never has. Certainly not if Jango’s annoying kid is going to be the one running things.
He keeps making it personal for Boba, too—bringing up the Sand People, bringing up his father. And it’s not enough because this should’ve been happening every damn week. Having stock footage of li’l Boba watching his dad fly away from Kamino tells us exactly nothing about how the man feels, but the script sure wants us to infer everything. Bane calls Jango a murderer, and we don’t know how Boba feels about that either. We can guess, sure. But that’s not why we’re watching a whole television show about Boba Fett. We came here to be shown.
And then Fett kills Bane, which is fair, really. Bane wants us to believe that this will weigh heavily on Boba’s conscience, but the truth is that the Fetts are alike in this—they’re pragmatists. Bane isn’t the kind of guy you lose sleep over. (And moreover, sure, he’s dead forever. We all buy that, of course. As much as we bought Vanth’s death.)
There are some great visuals to enjoy in this episode, and I do appreciate that Din tries to lasso the rancor, only to have the rancor (probably) roar YOU’RE NOT MY REAL DAD and promptly fling him away. It was also great to see Din and Boba fighting side-by-side for a while, and get proper use out of both of their arsenals for a change. (I also have a deep, inescapable love for Fett being like “You really buy all that weird Death Watch crap? Well, it’s good for me in this moment, so I accept. Weirdo.”) The reunion with Grogu is predictably endearing, and it’s amazing to watch Din go from his certainty of dying to help a friend due to his
cult code to a sudden and fierce determination to keep everything alive because his reason to live has returned to him. *sniff*
But you know what else we could’ve been doing this whole time? Fennec’s excellent assassination sequence. Ugh, so good. So many places where that could have been useful. We deserved much more of that, and of a relationship between her and Fett that involved him sending her to free his street gang, then telling her to just lay low for the whole battle so she could off these guys when the time was right and they were all running scared. This is what I wanted, show.
The second-to-last scene of the series is another aspect I was looking for this whole time: Skad giving Boba a hard time for handing his meiloorun fruit to Santo instead of him. The Tatooine kids are alright, see?
But of course, because this is actually The Mandalorian’s third season—I will never stop grousing about this because it’s true and they should have owned it instead of making me think I was going to get a solid season of Boba Fett in my life—we end on Din and Grogu in their new starfighter, ready to take on the galaxy together. Nevermind the fact that there’s nowhere to put bounties anymore, or the fact that anyone who comes into Mando’s actual third season without watching this is going to be confused. (Because that’s the point really, just making sure you have to watch every Star War whether you want to or not.)
Bits and Beskar:
- I’m not saying that no one from the Sanctuary could ever pop up again, but we didn’t get nearly enough of that place to use it as a Now-You-Know-It’s-Serious tipping point. We barely got to know Garsa Fwip, and I know you’re not telling me that Max Rebo survived Jabba’s sail barge only to die here.
- Justice for the Gamorean guards, who did nothing wrong this whole time, and were dispatched because someone had to die and the script didn’t care about them.
- Really, with the rancor King Kong reference? Could we not do that? It’s just kinda lazy and adds nothing to the experience. Clone Wars already did that homage one (way) better with the Zillo beast anyhow.
- But is Peli gonna date the Twi’lek majordomo, because I want that for her. (Her comment about Grogu being a terrible name solidifies my claim that she is all of us.) Also, is Drash gonna date the cute sniper lady from Freetown, because I want that too.
- Cad Bane is taunting Fett for being the slower draw, and I’m like WELL YEAH, HE’S LIFTING A WHOLE-ASS RIFLE, CAD. (Also, how many times have you been shot already today because it’s at least two dozen times fewer.) There goes Bane, trying to be cool and coming off laughable, as always.
- Does Vanth get a new lung from this, maybe? I think Bane shot him on the right side, so a heart replacement isn’t in order. Now Freetown has a cyborg Marshal, which means you can count on the current story arcs coming up with all sorts of excuses to bring him into things. I told you, you don’t waste Olyphant.
And that’s all they wrote! See you at the next Star War, which is probably Obi-Wan Kenobi?