Major spoilers ahead of The Book of Boba Fett episode 3
That’s par for the course and needed for the present day storyline for Boba Fett that has dragged in comparison to the flashback sequences that have dominated both the premiere and “The Tribes of Tatooine.”
No, it’s due to the unnecessary murder of the Tuskens. They’re the emotional catalyst for a future clash with the Pykes in the present day. The show spent so much time building Boba’s connection with the tribe only for them to be slaughtered three episodes into the series for plot reasons.
The groundwork for those reasons are laid out in the first half of “The Streets of Mos Espa.”
The Tuskens deserve better in The Book of Boba Fett
We open the episode with Boba and Fennec sitting through a presentation from 8D8. The droid is explaining the division of power between the three families that run the territory under Boba’s leadership.
The Trandoshans control the city center, the Aqualish hold dominion in the worker’s district, and the Klatooinians have the starport and the upper sprawl. This information comes in handy when Lortha Peel, a watermonger in the worker’s district, pays Boba a visit.
While explaining to Boba that he’s been pressed upon by a gang of cyborg youth, Lortha conveniently leaves out the fact that he’s been price gouging his wares. Instead, he goes on about being offended on Boba’s behalf that this has happened under his watch.
Lortha emphasizes that the new daimyo isn’t respected as denoted by this attack which he says never happened before when Jabba and later Bib Fortuna were in power. In repayment for Boba’s assistance with getting rid of the thieves, Lortha pledges to pay double his tribute.
Unfortunately for the watermonger, Boba has a soft spot for mouthy youth who see an injustice and act accordingly. Lortha was charging a month’s worth of credits for a week’s worth of water, so they stole what they needed from him.
Seeing as how there’s no work in their district, Boba brings the young thieves into his fold because they can handle themselves. He also tells Lortha to cut his prices and pays him less than half of what the group owe the watermonger. Lortha is displeased, but it’s either that or he go to Mos Eisley and live out his days there.
The name drop of Mos Eisley is important because it’s there that Boba met with the Pykes in order to collect the protection money the Tuskens are due thanks to the events of “Tribes of Tatooine.” This episode’s flashback sequence includes a reappearance of the biker gang that Boba attacked at Tosche station in order to take their speeder bikes.
Turns out, they too have laid claim to the Dune Sea and are charging the Pykes for protection. Unwilling to pay two parties for the same service, the representative that Boba speaks to says that they’ll only pay to one group. As such Boba vows to handle the situation so that the Tuskens receive their rightful payment.
When Boba returns to the tribe’s encampment, he bares witness to the aftermath of an attack from the biker gang. They set fire to the camp and killed everyone present. Not a soul was left alive, and it’s up to Boba to make the funeral pyre.
It was at this point of the episode that I let out a disappointed sigh. Again, The Book of Boba Fett took great pains to connect the audience to the Tuskens, so it makes sense that their slaughter would be the emotional catalyst for Boba’s impending conflict with the Pykes in the present.
However, the trope of massacring a people in a sci-fi fantasy that are clearly stand-ins for real life indigenous communities that are woefully underrepresented in media is beyond tiresome. Naively, I want to hope that some of the Tuskens from this tribe survived but it’s unlikely.
So now, what the series has is an opening two episodes where the lives and culture of the Tuskens are given respect and honored only for that work to be undercut by killing them in order to further the lead’s story. Boba will continue their traditions as an adopted Tusken, but they only serve as a tragic plot point in his narrative which is disheartening.
The Book of Boba Fett sets up a conflict with the Pykes
We’re pulled from Boba’s dream and immediately dropped back into the present thanks to Black Krrsantan yanking the daimyo out of the bacta pod. Cue a big fight with Boba, the cyborg gang, the Gamorrean guards, and Fennec Shand all involved.
Of course, our heroes prevail and Krrsantan is forced to chill out in the empty Rancor cell. Boba believes he needs to respond to this threat, but Fennec thinks that he already showed his power by putting a stop to an assassination attempt once again. Their disagreement here likely won’t be the last as we move further into the series.
To no one’s surprise, it was the Hutt twins who sent Krrsantan. In apology, they gift Boba with a Rancor and explain that they’re leaving. Mayor Mok Shaiz already promised another syndicate Mos Espa and they have no desire to war over Tatooine. Boba lets Krrsantan go after the twins leave since they have no interest in him. Time will tell if he makes another appearance.
The Rancor Boba receives, along with the trainer/keeper played by Danny Trejo, is depressed. However, the daimyo is immediately endeared to him and, since the Rancor has imprinted on him, the feeling is mutual. Can’t wait to see Boba training with his new pet that doubles as a battle companion.
Before the episode ends, Boba and his crew pay a visit to the mayor’s office to talk about who he promised Mos Espa to. Once again, they’re waylaid by his majordomo who attempts to beat a quick retreat only to be chased down by Boba’s young squad on colorful speeder bikes that make them look like futuristic Power Rangers, not going to lie.
After they capture him, the majordomo admits that the mayor has left town. He’s gone to see the Pykes. It seems they’re the power behind the man who’s been a thorn in Boba’s side since he assumed the role of daimyo. This reveal puts into context the writing decision behind the Tuskens being killed, but it’s my belief that the disrespect alone from the Pykes, a group who’ve already shown their prejudice, was enough.
Other than emotional weight, there’s no real reason for the Tuskens’ death and they got no more than a sad pan and walk through a smoldering camp before Boba burned their bodies and the story moved on.
I expect next week we’ll see more on Boba’s continuing issues with the Pykes, who presumably are the syndicate Mok Shaiz promised Mos Espa to in the wake of Bib Fortuna’s death.
The present day storyline is heating up, it’s just a shame that the Tuskens were discarded like this. Maybe the events of episode 4 will help the series dig out of this rather unfortunate choice but for right now it’s a disappointing one.
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