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The Book of Boba Fett, Chapter 3, The Streets of Mos Espa review: An action scene and a cameo energise lethargic Star Wars show

The Book of Boba Fett, Chapter 3, The Streets of Mos Espa review: A major improvement over the first two episodes, but the Star Wars show continues to struggle with crafting a compelling enough arc to sustain interest.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Written by Rohan Naahar | New Delhi |
January 12, 2022 4:41:52 pm
Boba Fett (Temuera Morrison) in Lucasfilm's The Book of Boba Fett, exclusively on Disney+. (Photo: Disney+)

The Book of Boba Fett, Chapter 3: The Streets of Mos Espa
Director – Robert Rodriguez
Cast – Temuera Morrison, Ming-Na Wen, David Pasquesi
Rating – 3.5/5

The best episode of The Book of Boba Fett so far, The Streets of Mos Espa almost entirely does away with those tiresome extended flashbacks and dedicates itself to bringing some much-needed momentum to the plot. It took three episodes, but the new Star Wars show finally feels like it has kicked into gear.

Directed by Robert Rodriguez, who also helmed the bland series premiere, The Streets of Mos Espa is a tight 35-minute episode in which the titular bounty hunter hires his very own Baker Street Irregulars and puts them to excellent use in a terrific chase sequence. Thrillingly staged and filled with moments of humour, it will remind viewers of the motorball sequences in Rodriguez’s Alita: Battle Angel.

Boba Fett comes across the ragtag group on one of his assignments. Aware that he needs eyes and ears on the ground to actually assimilate himself into the culture and reassure the sceptical citizenry about his capabilities as a leader, he decides to take the gang under his wing.

“Everyone is waiting to see what kind of leader you are,” a droid tells Boba Fett in the opening moments of the episode, during the now-requisite throne room sequence, where the bounty hunter meets with his subjects and listens to their grievances. One of them is a water farmer played by the great character actor Stephen Root. Giving solid competition to his one-scene appearance in this week’s The Tragedy of Macbeth, Root drops by bearing bad news. “No one respects you,” his corrupt salesman tells Boba Fett, who is now certain that the power vacuum he believed he had filled after the reign of Jabba the Hutt and Bib Fortuna remains up for grabs.

With Mayor Mok Shaiz making it clear that Boba Fett is unwelcome on Tatooine, the bounty hunter must assert his dominance or risk losing the life that he has rebuilt. Perhaps that is where the Rancor Beast comes in, or will in a future episode. Boba Fett becomes the uncertain owner of the creature in a tender scene reminiscent of the Buckbeak sequence in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azakaban, with an old Rodriguez collaborator stepping into the Hagrid role in a quick cameo. I won’t spoil it here.

Thankfully, the episode’s one and only flashback sequence is brief. After having been ceremonially anointed a tribesman by the Tusken Raiders in episode two, a shocking turn of events sends Boba Fett down a potentially new path. This doesn’t mean that the flashbacks will end—they’ll likely continue until the storyline eventually intersects with the present day timeline—but that this is merely a transition period. We can expect fresh flashback adventures in the next episode.

To be clear, the flashbacks were never a problem, especially if you consider that The Book of Boba Fett hardly follows the rules of episodic storytelling–it’s one of those really long movie situations. The Streets of Mos Espa essentially serves as the end of act one, having fulfilled the rather thankless three-episode task of establishing the setting and the characters. But with the stakes still at an alarming low, and the thinly written Boba Fett still not the easiest character to root for, the show is skirting the edge.

Yes, the effects are spectacular and Ludwig Goransson’s score suitably epic. The brief moments in which the show embraces its Space Western origins are, as always, joyful. But we really need a Luke-level intervention right about now. Or, at the very least, a more compelling reason to keep tuning in for the next four weeks.

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