THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS SPOILERS
Chapter 3: The Streets of Mos Espa
As the chapter starts, we see a throwback to a familiar horrifying background creature, a B’omarr monk, skittering toward the new Daimyo’s palace. Essentially these extreme monks are enlightened beings who opted to have their brains removed from the physical body and placed into a jar in a spider-like walker droid. It’s nice to see a familiar aspect of the palace return to its home. The palace was originally the B’omarr monks' monastery. Over time, smugglers and crime lords adopted this structure as their own safe haven. Most who rose to power left the monks to their own devices, content with living side by side with them. This opening, simple as it may be, is heavy in foreshadowing what is to come.
In the Daimyo’s court, 8D8 seems hesitant to offend his new boss by mentioning the previous being in power, Jabba. Fett does not care if previous powers are mentioned. The dead will not hurt his ego. 8D8 then explains the three families of Mos Espa: The Trandoshans who control the city center, the Aquila presides over the worker’s district, and the Klatooinians control the spaceport and upper sprawl of the city. Bib did not have the power of Jabba. He relied on uneasy alliances to preserve his tribute and title. “Where does that leave us now,” Fett asks. “Everyone is waiting to see what kind of leader you are,” states the droid.
A vassal, Lortha Peel, played by Stephen Root, seeks an audience with the Daimyo without an appointment. Fett is willing to see him despite the breach in protocol. “No one respects you.” What a way to start the conversation. Peel claims the streets have turned to chaos.
An interesting note about this conversation is Lortha tends to heavily rely on alluding to specific events and dances around directly broaching certain topics. Fett quietly demands those who rely on this form of communication to state what they mean and spell out what they are thinking to have a clear view of what exactly he’s dealing with. That way, there will be no confusion from clear, concise communication. State what you mean.
Lortha Peel is a water broker for the moisture farmers. He takes a percentage from them, acts as a middle man, and sells water to the locals. The problem he claims is a gang of youths who are half men and half machine who modify themselves to make themselves more deadly. They’ve been taking his water and not paying what he is charging. He promises the Daimyo double the tribute if he solves the problem. Fett makes a comment about growing up surrounded by water.
"If There's A Bright Center Of The Universe, You're On The Planet That's Farthest From."
Fett walks the streets himself, accompanied by his usual entourage of Fennec and the Gamorrean guards to observe and solve the issue. He follows the sound of the driving bass of a trap music mix with a hard electric hook mixed in reverberating down the open streets. (I want a soundtrack from this series). He finds the gang, youths who have undergone mechanical modification to suit their personal identities. This group stands out as extremely different from the rest of the beige Tatooine setting. The colorful gang seems to wish to be anywhere other than on this backwater world, with their wardrobe, modifications, and larger world views reflecting youths from the Core worlds. They are out of place on this desert world with their shiny enhancements and shiny rides. Their rides remind me of the colorful speeders on Coruscant we saw in Episode II, which was inspired by George Lucas' film American Graffiti. This part of the episode drew a lot of inspiration from Episode II, in which we met Boba’s father, Jango Fett. We saw a bit of the Coruscant underworld, and there was a nice colorful speeder chase.
The Daimyo confronts the gang about their water theft. They openly admit to stealing the water with no remorse and claim it’s a crime what the water broker is charging: a month's wages for a week's worth of water. “Look, old man,” states one of the girls, Drash, the gang leader played by Sophie Thatcher. “My name is Boba Fett.” He is again reinforcing his name and his right to rule. “I am the Daimyo of this district, and I will bring order.” ‘You’re a crime boss like the rest of them,” Drash shoots back. It’s a glaring contradiction. He discovers they have no work, which is why they have been stealing water. He takes his helmet off and states, “Then you will work for me. You’ve got guts; I’ll give you that. You better fight as good as you talk.”
The water broker comes out of his shop and demands that the gang owes him 1300 credits. “For water?!” Fett is visibly angry at this price. “Take the 500 and consider it resolved if you want to continue to do business in my territory. If you don’t like it, you can move to Mos Eisley (the den of scum and villainy). And cut your prices.” His word is law.
Grainy Transition to the Past
In the Bacta Pod, a returning dream haunts Boba where he is a boy on Kamino watching Jango, his father, leave for a job. Not long ago, he saw this same vision in his vision quest for the Gafferdi stick. We flashback to his time with the Tuskens. We see him on a somber trek across the Dune Sea atop a Bantha in it’s slow lumbering course. As Boba enters the city atop the beast, clothed in his robes of the Tuskens, he sees clues of the Empire's fall. Stormtrooper helmets streaked in blood and scorch marks are on pikes in clear display for all. Do those familiar helmets remind him of his own origins? Peli Motto, the spunky mechanic we were introduced to in the Mandalorian, and her droids make their way through the streets in a cameo.
Fett approaches where the Pyke syndicate is located in town. They are expecting him. “Protection arrangements are all a part of doing business in the Outer Rim,” the Pyke leader, voiced by Phil LaMarr, understands how business is done. There is a catch: The superiors on Oba Diah are unwilling to pay protection to more than one party. The Kintan Striders, a bandit gang, are already collecting payment for the territory that belongs to the Tuskens. Fett argues the sands have belonged to the Tuskens since before the oceans dried. The Pyke leader is firm; the syndicate is willing to do business with one party, not both. Fett states he will resolve this problem and return.
As Fett returns to camp on his Bantha, he sees smoke in the distance. The camp has been decimated by the bandit gang. The Tuskens are all dead. The Kintan Striders left their mark on one of the tents to send a warning. Fett is just one man, but he will stop at nothing to complete his goals once he’s made up his mind.
“Not just the men, but the women and the children too.”
Fett lies to rest the bodies of his fallen clan, cremating them just as they did when they took some losses from the train skirmish in the last chapter. He adds the Gaderffii of the fallen to the fire. He adds one last stick, which is much smaller than the rest, the training stick from his little friend whom he saved from the sand beast in the first episode. This child clearly looked up to Boba throughout their unlikely friendship and was so proud of Boba as he became a part of the clan. Fett takes a moment to mourn his losses. He once knew family with his father, Jango, and he gained another with the Tuskens in his rebirth. Yet again, he is alone.
Abruptly he is awoken from his dream in his Bacta tank by Krrsantan. The Wookiee gets the jump on the vulnerable Daimyo and makes the most of his advantage in this fight. The Daimyo is without his armor or any weapons and gets thrown around extensively in this fight.
Weapon of Choice
Fett makes it over to his weapons and chooses his ready-to-go Gaderffii (gaffi stick), which he lodges in the Wookiees massive back. Krrsantan bear hugs Fett attempting to break his back, crush his ribs, and burst his organs. People like to whisper about Wookiee dismemberment being terrible, but getting an aggressive bear hug would be a worse way to end a fight.
The youth gang steps in to even the odds in the fight. They’re a scrappy bunch who work well together, and they do know how to fight. Their numbers are in their favor, and Krrsantan makes a run for it straight into the Gamorrean guards. The Gamorreans are loyal to the new Daimyo and take damage. The modified youths catch up and surround Krrsantan as he’s standing on the pit’s grate in the throne room. Fennec once again pulls the lever to send yet another tumbling into the pit.
Once Krrsantan has been caged. Fett demands the Gamorrean who took damage get to his bacta tank for healing. The new Daimyo shows he is loyal to those loyal to him. He wants his people in tip-top shape because there will be many more attempts on his life with how things are going.
“Enjoy the trappings,” Fennec chides as she digs into a banquet. It’s clear Fett has other things on his mind. “Everyone is watching. Waiting for me to make the next move. I must respond. I have to send a message.” Fennec thinks locking Krrsantan in the dungeon is enough. The gears are turning in Fett’s head, and he thinks this will just give the Hutts another opportunity to strike. They did warn him to sleep lightly.
As he is musing over an untouched feast fit for a king, 8D8 apologetically interrupts, “The Twins are here. They have brought a gift.” The Hutts have come to apologize. They admit to sending the wookiee to kill him but come bearing a gift. Talk about sending mixed messages. The Twins offer the new Daimyo a rancor, along with a handler for the beast. Danny Trejo makes the perfect rancor trainer. Fennec seems very impressed with the gift of the rancor.
Fett warns the Hutt Twins to clear off Tatooine, and he would consider a truce. They agree but admit to leaving for a reason other than Fett. “There is something you should know.” “We have both been lied to.” “This territory has already been promised to another syndicate.” The Mayor, Mok Shaiz, is making promises and deals that are beyond his to make. The Hutts again state they don’t want a war because it’s bad for business. They recommend Fett leave Tatooine as well.
The Daimyo offers to release Krrsantan back to the Hutts, but they decline, saying the Wookiee is a part of their tribute. If the Daimyo doesn’t want him, he could sell Krrsantan to the gladiators. “Release him.” Fett does not barter and sell beings. Addressing Krrsantan, “ No hard feelings. It’s just business. Take it from an ex-bounty hunter, don’t work for scugholes. It’s not worth it.”
“Quite the gift.”
Fett inspects his new beast in the pit, wondering why this monster is just lying there. “It’s depressed. Rancors are emotionally complex creatures,” explains the handler. Fett asked why the rancor is wearing blinders. “It’s a calf bred from champions for fighting,” the rancor trainer explains he saved this one to train himself. The blinders are because rancors imprint on the first human they see. Rancors are actually quite peaceful unless threatened. Over time the beast can be loving. They’re powerful fighters but form strong bonds with their owners, which explains why Jabba’s rancor handler was visibly upset, breaking down in tears when that beast was vanquished by Luke Skywalker in Return of the Jedi. “It is said that the witches of Dathomir even rode them through the forest and fens.” This lore runs deep in the Star Wars universe and was further cemented in canon by this statement.
Fett surprises the handler, “I want to ride it. I’ve ridden beasts ten times its size. Teach me.” The handler seems reluctant and warns of the time and discipline it will take to master the bond. Fett is adamant, “We begin today.” Boba clearly feels drawn to this creature, kin to its nature, being bred to fight from champions much like his own origin. He already seems at ease with the beast and genuinely smiles at it. Boba was fascinated with the beasts fighting in the gladiator pit on Geonosis as a boy. He seems to have not lost that boyish fascination with large ferocious beasts later in life. 8D8 tries to interrupt the Daimyo as he is bonding with the creature, and this is the first time Boba tells the droid no.
The droid's message is important; the Mayor is putting the Daimyo off once again. That won’t do. The Daimyo poses up and heads into town, now flanked by his new addition of the mechanically modified youth gang. Once in the Mayor’s office, Fett and Fennec are met with excuses of the Mayor’s schedule being complicated. Fennec threatens violence if they’re not let in to see the Mok Shiaz. His Twi’lek aid seems to weigh his next move carefully. He disappears behind the door, locking it behind himself. Fennec immediately opens the door panel and unlocks it with a quick snip of her knife.
The office is empty. Fett and Fennec rush out to see the Twi’lek escaping in a speeder. The shiny speeder gang of youths takes off after him. They chase the Twi’lek through the streets of Mos Espa, making quite the splash. These speeders are not geared to go incredibly fast in residential and business areas. It’s clear that the Twi’lek is not a great pilot and keeps making amateur mistakes. The gang finally maneuvers, so he crashes in the marketplace. The Daimyo makes his entrance via jet pack. The caught assistant admits the Mayor is working with the Pykes.
Fett plants eyes at the spaceport and gets the report that confirms what others have been saying: the Pykes are arriving in large numbers on a commercial starline. This is just the first wave. They’re going to war. “Then we will be ready,” the Daimyo states.
This chapter had layers. The Daimyo is still struggling to assert his dominance over his new territory with various aspects of minor squabbles and issues, leading to discovering much larger problems at hand. He seems to be gaining allies of worth with his steady, level-headed approach. His demand for clarification in his political dealings is going to safeguard him in the future. He’s winning over allies with his promise of loyalty for loyalty, in which he is sharing his domain with those who are helping him secure it.
He remembers the Tuskens, who welcomed him into their clan. They gave him a second chance at life, and he is determined not to waste it. Their loss took a heavy toll on him, but he won’t forget why they did for him.
The acquisition of a new ‘pet,’ the rancor, was a fun twist in which we were able to get a glimpse of a softer side of Boba, who clearly adores it. If he is able to tame this beast, will he eventually get the chance at taming another much larger, legendary one? I have some theories of where the story arc is headed. My hopes are high, and the story has not disappointed yet.
This portrayal of Boba Fett is living up to every expectation I had for his character. He is a complicated man but is sticking to his guns when it comes to his own personal moral code. He wants business to be fair for all involved and on the level. If business parties are happy, then squabbling will be nonexistent, and money can be made. He understands the finesse and intricacies his new role demands. But how will the Daimyo face the new threat from the Pyke Syndicate? Will this greater threat force him to compromise?
What did you think about Chapter 3? Let me know in the comments!