Serial Consumer celebrates and interrogates Evan’s relationship to franchised media and his addiction to purchasing its licensed products.

I liked this episode quite a bit. I liked the first episode, too, but the fact of the matter is that Robert Rodriguez has no idea how to shoot Star Wars. His episode of The Mandalorian, although fun, looked considerably worse than the rest of that season. Multiple scenes in the Boba premiere looked flat and sort of embarrassing. The action scene where he and Fennec fought off the Nightwind Assassins was particularly garish. Thankfully, director Steph Green (who has made a career in television behind the camera of shows like Watchmen, Luke Cage and The Americans) seems to understand how to use the tools at Lucasfilm’s disposal to deliver a polished and professional-looking hour of Western adventure. I’d never heard of Green before, but I’m just happy she’s around to give the show some visual gusto.

It reminded me heavily of the progression from the first episode of The Mandalorian to the second. That premiere is certainly better than Boba‘s, with a cleaner mission statement and hook at the end; can they ever top the introduction of Grogu? Still, The Mandalorian didn’t click for me fully until the second episode, where the titular character tries to climb a moving Sandcrawler and later fights a Mudhorn. That was the moment Lucasfilm and company proved they could do big action in the Disney+ sphere, which is key to Star Wars. These are fantasy stories. These are action stories. One of the problems with both Boba and Mando is that their main characters are stuffed into armor that looks cool but doesn’t always move well, so answering the question of whether these shows could really capture them doing badass stuff was key. It took a second episode for Mando to prove it. Same with Boba.

Of course, the action of the scenes is similar: In this, Boba helps his new Tusken tribe raid a Pyke spice train that has been harassing them deep in the Dune Sea. A group of people or a person jumping onto a moving vehicle and trying to get inside is always great fun. This is played out like a classic train-robbery sequence, but well executed and quite a lot of fun. It’s better than the Conveyex train robbery in Solo: A Star Wars Story, although I love that sequence, too. Frankly, we can’t get enough train robberies in Star Wars.

Anyway, all of the material with Boba becoming a guide of his Tusken friends is great. I really love the idea that the most hardened bounty hunter in the galaxy undergoes a death and rebirth within the Sarlacc Pit. There’s little forward plot movement in this episode with regard to his present-day attempt to become the crime lord of Tatooine. But I feel like the flashback sequences imply that his motivation is to help the Tuskens retake their ancestral lands from the syndicates that have long victimized them. The Tuskens have been treated as savages for so long in Star Wars material that the idea of a story that recasts some of their tribes as a group akin to the Fremen from Dune rebelling against the evils of the galactic underworld is long overdue. It’s also fundamentally Star Wars.

In terms of fan service, this episode featured a ton of great nods that filled me with glee. Remember in Star Wars: A New Hope, when Luke whines about wanting to go to Tosche Station to pick up some power converters? There is a classic cut sequence from the film — which you can now watch on YouTube — where we actually saw Tosche Station, along with Luke’s friends Camie and Fixer. Now they’re canon again: They’re the couple Boba happens to save when he attacks the gangsters at Tosche Station.

More exciting for me, though, is the onscreen introduction of devious Wookiee bounty hunter Black Krrsantan (BK for short). BK first appeared in the Marvel comic Darth Vader (2015) #1 by Kieron Gillen and Salvador Larroca. He has played a substantial role throughout the Star Wars comics line over the last half-decade or so, usually as an antagonist. This is the first time a major comics character has jumped into live-action, which sets an exciting precedent moving forward. Plus, this might lead to us getting a sweet BK action figure … even if it’s just a repaint of the current Chewbacca mold.

It was also cool to hear reference to Nal Hutta, the homeworld of the Hutts, and to meet Jabba’s cousins. I hope Boba kills them in a neat way. I loved learning the Mayor is an Ithorian. I feel like there are more aliens walking around in Boba than there were in The Mandalorian, which pleases me to no end. The Star Wars galaxy is vast, and one of the fun pastimes for superfans is looking at the background creatures and wondering what their backstories are. Oftentimes, the movies have relegated that kind of fun to cantina, casino or lair sequences. It’s nice to feel the universe living around Boba.

I’m still not 100% sold on the present-day storyline, but I like Temuera Morrison a lot and the flashbacks are hitting the spot. Does it feel a little redundant for Lucasfilm to make two shows about armored men learning to fight and care for something larger than themselves? Sure. Who cares. I’m in the tank for it. Can’t wait for next week.

Consumer Report

I did not buy any Star Wars merchandise last week, although my friend and fellow Star Wars collector Greg gave me a scale TIE Fighter for my 6″ figures. It is larger than my cat and totally badass. He also gave me a few other things: Rey + Speeder from Star Wars: The Force Awakens, A New Hope Darth Vader, a Maz Kanata, some great 3.75″ figures from the Rogue One: A Star Wars Story days. Wonderful stuff. I love Star Wars. Thanks again, Greg.

In terms of my ongoing collecting, I am growing increasingly frustrated with Hasbro’s poor distribution of the 6″ Black Series line. The new wave that features Fennec and Tusken Boba should’ve arrived late last fall but has yet to see any release in Indiana or on major retailers. I want those figures while I’m watching this show!

Shopping List

Black Krrsantan 6″ — $20