Episode 5 of The Book of Boba Fett dropped onto Disney Plus last Wednesday, bringing the former bounty hunter closer to war over Tatooine's criminal underworld in the seven-part live-action Star Wars series. The deadly Pyke Syndicate is making a move to take over the desert world, forcing Boba (Temuera Morrison) to recruit some muscle to drive the invaders out.
This show is set around five years after Return of the Jedi and shortly after The Mandalorian season 2. Let's don our beskar armor and step into the torrent of SPOILERS for Chapter 5.
Reuniting with Mando
This whole episode – entitled Return of the Mandalorian – feels like it belongs in The Mandalorian season 3, since it follows our old buddy Mando (aka Din Djarin, played by Pedro Pascal). He reunites with his clan, has a present forged for Grogu (aka Baby Yoda), breaks up with his clan and travels to Tatooine to get a new ship to replace his lost Razor Crest.
It ends with Boba's partner Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen) tracking Mando down and recruiting him with a big bag of credits. However, Mando clearly feels like he, Fennec and Boba are buds since they teamed up in season 2 of The Mandalorian.
"Tell him it's on the house," Mando replies, throwing the credits back to Fennec. "But first, I gotta pay a visit to a little friend."
The bag with Mando's present for Grogu is folded to look like the little guy's adorable wee head, squee. Since Mando requested that the Beskar staff be forged into armor, maybe it's a teeny tiny Baby Yoda-shaped Mandalorian helmet (even though the bag is the wrong shape for that)?
It'd be amazing if we saw Grogu in next week's episode, but we likely won't meet him again until season 3 of The Mandalorian. I'd be OK with being wrong about this, though.
This is the Way
Early in the episode, we learn that Mando is using the Darksaber – a Mandalorian symbol of leadership he won from Imperial Moff Gideon – as a handy decapitation tool while bounty hunting on a space station. This work leads him to the survivors of his Tribe, the Armorer and Paz Vizsla.
They're as intense as ever, and the Armorer recounts the Darksaber's origin (which we've previously heard in the CGI animated series Rebels). It was constructed by Tarre Vizsla, the first Mandalorian to join the Jedi Order, over a thousand years ago. After his death, it became a symbol of conflict and ultimately leadership among the clans of Mandalore – but it must be won through battle.
"If, however, it is not won in combat and falls into the hands of the undeserving, it will be a curse unto the nation," the Armorer says. "Mandalore will be laid to waste and its people scattered to the four winds."
In Rebels, Sabine Wren simply handed the Darksaber to Bo-Katan Kryze in the final season of Rebels, allowing Bo-Katan to unite the clans of Mandalore against the Empire. Apparently this broke the rules.
A mildly Terminator 2 flashback reveals exactly what went down during the Empire's subsequent Purge of Mandalore – a massive fleet of TIE bombers absolutely wrecked the planet's surface and blew up its domed capital, Sundari (which we last saw in the epic final arc of The Clone Wars).
Conveniently, the Children of the Watch – the orthodox Mandalorian group Mando is a part of – were "cloistered" on the moon of Concordia, so they avoided the attack. That moon is where we first met the Death Watch, a splinter group that opposed Mandalore's pacifist government and joined constant troublemaker Darth Maul during the Clone Wars, adding fuel to the idea that Children of the Watch are an offshoot of the Death Watch.
So yeah, this episode gave us a hefty dose of Mandalorian lore (Mando-lore?), and it is truly delicious. Unfortunately, Mando also admits to having removedhishelmet and gets kicked out of the club.
Now this is podracing
Even though he's alone again, Mando doesn't seem particularly bothered about the rejection. He travels to Tatooine to meet mechanic Peli Motto (Amy Sedaris), whom he and Grogu befriended in season 1.
She reveals the replacement ship she found to be a sweet Naboo N-1 Starfighter, as seen in The Phantom Menace. After they fix it up through the power of montage, Mando brings it on an epic test flight.
It's time to party like it's 1999, because part of his journey mirrors a chunk of Episode I's pod race. He travels into Beggar's Canyon (but doesn't bull's-eye the womp rat) before leaving Tatooine's atmosphere.
This episode was directed by Bryce Dallas Howard, who previously helmed Chapters 4 and 11 of The Mandalorian. Her dad, Ron Howard, directed Solo.
We get a sweet one-shot when Mando delivers the Klatooinian bounty.
The scene where Mando is swinging the Darksaber at the Armorer is similar to Sabine doing so in the Rebels season 3 episode Trials of the Darksaber, which is among that show's best.
Paz Vizsla feels entitled to the Darksaber because it was forged by his ancestor, but his relative Pre Vizsla lost the weapon (and his life) to Darth Maul during the Clone Wars.
The battle between Mando and Paz reminded me of Oberyn Martell versus The Mountain in Game of Thrones, due to the Pedro Pascal connection, the fight's David versus Goliath nature and Mando sneakily slashing at Paz's limbs.
Peli dated a Jawa, and they're apparently "very furry." We've never seen what the scavengers look like under their cloaks, so we'll just have to take her word for it.
The mechanic also owns a BD droid, a charming model prominently featured in excellent 2019 video game Jedi: Fallen Order (which is getting a sequel). It's our first time seeing one in live action, and Mando has a nice rapport with it. He sure has changed his stance on droids.
As cool as the N-1 Starfighter is, where on this tiny fighter is Mando supposed to carry captive bounties? I guess he's just gonna bring in their heads from now on.
It sure seems like Grogu is destined to sit behind Mando in that old astromech droid port.
Join us for more Easter eggs and observations next Wednesday, Feb. 2, when episode 6 of The Book of Boba Fett hits Disney Plus. It has a lot to live up to.
2023's Best TV and Streaming Shows You Can't Miss on Netflix, HBO, Disney Plus and More