The Book of Boba Fett Season 1 Episode 6 Review: Yoda Man Now Grogu!
As we build towards the climactic finish of Disney+ & Lucasfilm's The Book of Boba Fett, we get another beloved episode of The Mandalorian with the bulk of the episode finding Din (Pedro Pascal) looking to give his gift to his one-time traveling companion, Grogu. In the process, we do see some very familiar faces and most shockingly of all, showrunners Dave Filoni and creator Jon Favreau actually remembered to feature their title character in this episode albeit at the bare minimum since most of the fandom adores Din and Grogu far more, apparently. This is your major spoilers warning.
When Din lands upon his destination, he initially meets up with R2-D2 who's commanding spider droids building livable huts in the area and is greeted by Clone Wars protagonist (and soon-to-be-featured-in-her-own-live-action-series) Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson). Yeah, of course, the two arguably most popular Jedi in the Star Wars universe know each other. Despite the entire Jedi order being essentially wiped out of whatever plot deemed convenient for the animated series, the two surviving ones are still sticklers on the whole "attachments" thing being key to their alleged selfless ways. Yes, Din is itching to see his old friend again and no doubt Grogu is too, but Ahsoka only lets him go as far as leaving her his gift to him before departing to repay the favor to Boba (Temuera Morrison). The other major arc of the episode "From the Desert Comes a Stranger" is Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), still in rendered CG and voice-modulated to sound like his younger self, regurgitating the ways of The Force that he learned from Yoda onto "baby bird" Grogu. But given the size difference, it would be unrealistic for Luke to fit in Grogu's backpack to train. Perhaps I'm a bit biased, but it felt the training back in The Empire Strikes Back (1980) is far more organic a regiment than the "by-the-book" feeling Luke was trying on Grogu.
The Jedi training scenes in The Book of Boba Fett episode were basically just a checklist of nostalgia that Luke was trying to follow from a manual. It was intended to feel like classic Star Wars but it felt a little too unnatural and forced. Yes, it was probably by design and it probably does foreshadow Luke's own ineptitude in trying to train Ben Solo (Adam Driver) later in the sequel trilogy. In trying to teach Grogu, he didn't lean on the flexibility that allowed him to thrive but rather developed rigidly from the Masters who aren't around anymore. From some of the reactions online I gathered, people love this version of Luke but to be quite honest, there wasn't anything wrong with him in the first place and it came from a place that was consistent with a character with his flaws.
At Least The Book of Boba Fett Finale Will Focus on Boba, Right?! Right?!
Directed by Filoni, "From the Desert Comes a Stranger" again steals more thunder from the subject of the story. One can argue that in the greater paradigm of the whole "family," it shouldn't matter. But again, when people joke that it's another episode of The Mandalorian, it severely undercuts the intent of the original series. Think of it this way. How many times did I mention Boba Fett in action in this episode? Because that's how much of a factor (or non-factor) that he's become in his own series. Many of us are still trying to figure out why Boba deserves the pedestal he got with fans from being just Sarlaac fodder. Giving him a half-baked Western tale of redemption doesn't make him any more relevant than more-developed fan fiction. With two more unexpected returns to bookend the episode, we should expect the fan service meter to go to 12 in the finale. In fact, I won't be surprised if we see Carl Weathers, Bill Burr, or a "CG"-rendered Gina Carano show up, too.