REVIEW: ‘The Book of Boba Fett’ Chapter 5 – Return of the Mandalorian

After what can perhaps be described as a rather lackluster series so far, The Book of Boba Fett has delivered not only its best episode yet, but probably one of the best Star Wars Disney+ episodes ever. It’s interesting how it managed that on an episode where the titular character doesn’t show up, even if the reasons for that tend to be pretty obvious. Let’s dive in.

After the obvious hints on last week’s episode, it’s no surprise that Din Djarin finally made his debut on the show. And much like Ahsoka Tano’s introduction on Chapter 13 of The Mandalorian, we didn’t have to wait long for that to happen, with the series putting aside an endless tease and going straight into it. By giving us an entire episode following Din the show cashed in on the growing expectations to see what was to come next in the journeys of Din Djarin, following Grogu’s departure and his acquiring of the Darksaber. By expanding his story and also tying it with Boba Fett’s it managed to deliver a compelling addendum to both The Book of Boba Fett and The Mandalorian.

One might say that a few of the issues that have made The Book of Boba Fett pale in comparison to its predecessor might come to the (lack of) novelty of it all. Having a show not only set on Tatooine, perhaps the most uninteresting of the interesting planets of the Star Wars universe but also focusing half of your runtime on flashbacks that do little more than connecting dots one already knew existed doesn’t exactly invite the awe of discovery one often associates with Star Wars. With the flashbacks presumably ending in Chapter 4, given Boba Fett being finally healed of the injuries inflicted on him by the Sarlacc, it was now time to move forward and bring something new to the table.

This breath of fresh air is personified by the return of Din Djarin. His on-screen magnetism is perhaps best explained through the tracking shot set between 07:05 and 09:21. We follow him go up an elevator, delivering his bounty, collecting the information he needed, and then leaving, all on a single take, with the camera focusing on him at all times. The Disney+ shows have been known for doing something similar to what Peli Motto did with Din’s new ship when she states “Not a gram of fat on her!” in order to make it go faster. They always seem to be able to cut the superfluous shots and give us the bare essentials that the story needs in order to move forward at a more pleasant pace. So it is interesting to see an episode take its time with the reintroduction of a character so that when it’s done everybody had the opportunity to settle in and begin the episode on the same page. That can only speak of how much the character means to so many, even if it’s only been around for a little over two years.

By making Din Djarin the star of the show we managed to get off-planet and onto some new and interesting locations, one of the aspects where The Book of Boba Fett doesn’t really deliver. Elysium and Interstellar came to mind when we got to the city in space where Din delivers his bounty. But the references within the new and exciting location and action shots didn’t stop there as the flashbacks to the destruction of Mandalore was reminiscent of Terminator 2: Judgment Day with the KX-series security droids taking the place of the Terminators stepping on human skulls. All these references, combined with the connections to past Star Wars projects as seen when Din is testing out his Naboo N-1 Starfighter through Beggar’s Canyon, Motto’s BD droid, and a few more, could feel gratuitous but they all end up shining by flowing nicely into the plot and being used as an integral part of the story.

At the end of the day having a Din Djarin-centered episode also benefits his future endeavors. Besides setting up what is sure to be a transformative final act for The Book of Boba Fett, having Chapter 5 explore the present state of The Tribe, the group hidden in the Mandalorian covert in the sewers of Nevarro, first introduced and mostly destroyed in The Mandalorian, also perfectly sets up what a The Mandalorian season 3 might be all about by addressing the legacy of the Darksaber and how that impacts Din’s relationship with his fellow Mandalorians. With Din left on his own, and much like in his own show battling his teachings after realizing there were other ways to honor his Mandalorian background, his search for Grogu will now begin as he plans to deliver him his own mesh armor made out of beskar. 

This chapter feels like one that jumpstarts the show from its lethargic state, giving it a much-needed energy boost as we get to the final two episodes with a greater sense of urgency, with more dynamic character dynamics on the horizon. The Book of Boba Fett might not be living up to the hype, but there is no reason why it can’t still surpass it. 

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