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The Book of Boba Fett, Chapter 4, The Gathering Storm review: Star Wars show regains composure, concludes with tantalising tease

The Book of Boba Fett, Chapter 4, The Gathering Storm review: With a handful of thrilling action scenes and a genuinely pivotal character introduction, the latest episode of the floundering Star Wars show hurls it in the right direction.

Rating: 4 out of 5
Written by Rohan Naahar | New Delhi |
Updated: January 20, 2022 8:32:23 am
Temuera Morrison as Boba Fett in a still from the latest episode of The Book of Boba Fett. (Photo: Disney+)

In a welcome change of pace, creator Jon Favreau fills Chapter 4 of The Book of Boba Fett with plot developments befitting an episode of its importance. After a string of chapters that have ranged from downright disappointing to moderately enjoyable, The Gathering Storm is the first real winner of the season, as the sophomore live-action Star Wars show struggles to find its own identity.

In a way, it’s a struggle that mirrors Boba Fett’s, as the bounty hunter-turned-crime lord remains chained to his past, yet makes genuine attempts at re-establishing himself.

Chapter 4 continues the Godfather Part II-style back-and-forth across timelines. And after way too many flashbacks devoted to inactivity (or, at best, rudimentary character development), The Gathering Storm opens with a moment that fans have been waiting for. The first meeting between Boba Fett and his trusted accomplice Fennec Shand is suitably understated and often very sweet. And if I didn’t know any better, I’d be willing to wager that Favreau and episode director Kevin Tancharoen looked to Terminator Salvation—the least-remembered of the Terminator sequels—for inspiration.

After essentially coercing her into accompanying him on a mission—finally, missions are back!—Boba Fett allows her to claim her ‘freedom’. In a rare example of the otherwise steely show letting its guard down and cracking a smile, Fennec Shand waves away his offer and suggests that she might want to tag along with him on further adventures. And like Don Corleone, who became a softie in his old age, Boba Fett doesn’t refuse her offer of companionship.

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It’s so interesting to watch two emotionally restrained characters embrace the warmth in each other that possibly only they can see. Fennec Shand even makes this observation in the show; a self-aware touch by Favreau. And Boba Fett’s response is equally emotional. “You can only get so far without a tribe,” he growls, making a reference to his Tusken friends, who perished in episode three.

Although this moment doesn’t excuse the sloppily paced flashbacks of the previous chapters, it certainly makes the ‘past’ timeline in The Book of Boba Fett more interesting all of a sudden.

Importantly, both in terms of tone and visual aesthetic, the flashbacks are no longer all that different from the ‘present day’ sequences, perhaps symbolising the eventual intersection of the two timelines. Boba Fett and Fennec Shand’s siege of Jaba the Hutt’s palace is thrillingly staged, with more humour than what we saw in the flashbacks directed by Robert Rodriguez in earlier episodes.

Tancharoen introduces physical comedy to the show, most notably when he has Boba Fett’s Bantha creature burp after a meal, and then, when a droid chef whacks his food on the head as he cooks it. There’s even a humorous chase between Boba Fett and a small creature who appears to have been created using stop-motion animation. It makes the state-of-the-art show positively artisanal.

All-in-all, this is the first time that the flashback timeline has seemed worthwhile. And imagine our good luck; the ‘present day’ bits, although trimmed this time around, are still strong. Fennec Shand organises a Meeting of the Five Families-style get-together between Boba Fett and Jabba’s former captains, in an attempt to help him consolidate his power, which isn’t happening as smoothly as Boba Fett had imagined. This sets the stage perfectly for the final showdown, as The Book of Boba Fett nears the end of its debut season.

Now having recovered from his injuries, Boba Fett has been quietly putting together a rag-tag team of sorts—joining Fennec Shand and his two Gamorrean guards are the Rancor beast and the Wookie bounty hunter Krrsantan, who gets a scene all to himself in Chapter 4. But it is a throwaway line muttered at the end of the episode, and accentuated with a music cue that is sure to send chills down your spine, that tantalisingly teases where we might be headed next.

The Book of Boba Fett, Chapter 4, The Gathering Storm
Director – Kevin Tancharoen
Cast – Temuera Morrison, Ming-Na Wen
Rating – 4/5

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