Maybe the stiffness of this dialogue could be explained by the fact a droid is speaking it — a shame they’ve put such a funny and charismatic actor like Matt Berry (What We Do in the Shadows) in this role. However, the dialogue throughout the episode is also dull both in terms of the words spoken and the actual meaning. “No one respects you,” the apparently rather brave water monger Lortha Peel (Stephen Root) declares to Boba. 8D8, the water merchant, and the rancor keeper (a fun Danny Trejo cameo) all explain things so straightforwardly that I felt like I was reading a Star Wars encyclopedia. Elsewhere, “That’s a crime,” Boba declares. When the dialogue isn’t redundant (“another opportunity to strike again”), it simply makes me miss Star Wars‘ goofier side characters or speech quirks.
Fennec’s role is still pretty much one-note, too, although Ming-Na Wen continues to play her with steely energy. I love that she grins at the prospect of eating like a king (and the food set out for the crime lords’ dinner is truly appetizing). But while his past with the Tuskens’ mercy backs up why Boba wants to spare as many of his enemies as he can now, her motivation is still pretty obscure. It’s okay, even fun, that she just wants power and luxury. But we’ve seen enough different versions of the conversation where she advocates for killing and Boba advocates for mercy. Aren’t there other themes their partnership could explore?
In addition to the dialogue sounding flat, there are a few odd cases of characters walking awkwardly in and out of scenes at convenient times. How far from Mos Espa is the palace formerly known as Jabba’s? Because Black Krrsantan seems to be walking home. And what was the water monger doing before he overheard the swoop bikers’ conversation with Boba?
The bikers offer up one of the episode’s two big fight scenes. Their costumes looked a bit out of place, more like hipsters than down-on-their-luck street orphans, but it was hard for me to complain about that when the flashy coats were at least one-third of their personalities. Overall I enjoyed the action as the bikers chased down the mayor’s aide, though. With plenty of reaction shots from droids and aliens, and speeders knocking over cargo and water jugs left and right, the chase didn’t feel like it took place on a stage at all. Some CGI shots were more noticeable than others, and the city streets were too crowded for the chase to build up much speed. But it did make Mos Espa feel thoroughly lived in. This version of Tatooine is far from empty and sterile.
Black Krrsantan provides the other major fight scene, dragging Boba out of his bacta tank. I really appreciated how much work must have gone into these costumes. I imagine it’s no small feat to make Wookiee and Gammorean outfits that can look good while handling performers rolling down stairs. The aliens were entirely convincing, but, like in this show in general, even a fight scene that travelled a bit felt oddly static. Black Krrsantan raising electrified brass knuckles or biting Boba’s hand are presented with about equal weight.
Boba clearly hasn’t had time to process the trauma of his latest bacta tank memory. Seeing the Tuskens killed links right back to how abandoned he felt by his father. As an audience member, the slaughter feels forced and unnecessarily cruel. After all the work put into exploring them in episode 2, the Tuskens are all removed off-screen, without ever even having individual names. Even if some of them are to return later in the season, it’s still a dismissal of all of that development last episode. It’s unsatisfying, except as yet another lack of closure in Boba’s life.
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