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

An ongoing joke among critics and fans this season of The Book of Boba Fett is that Jon Favreau built an entire series of Boba Fett being an underwhelming moron just to prop up his own Mandalorian character as the best in the saga, and this episode more or less proves it. There’s no knowing Favreau’s intent, of course, but the amount of passion, coherency and character here is so far beyond what we’ve seen in the previous four episodes of this show. Frankly, it feels like the first episode of The Mandalorian‘s third season parachuted into the middle of The Book of Boba Fett just to rescue it in the eyes of bored audiences.

I mean, Boba Fett isn’t even in the episode.

Thank goodness. He’d have probably slipped on a banana peel.

Where to start? I haven’t had this many notes about an episode of Star Wars television since the first episode of The Bad Batch last May or this much enthusiasm since The Mandalorian‘s penultimate episode of the second season. It feels good to just outright love a Disney+ episode of this universe again.

The entire episode is focused on Din Djarin (aka the Mandalorian), and follows him in the immediate aftermath of the second-season finale. Grogu is gone, so he’s set out in search of his lost tribe of Mandalorians. They used to represent his home and may have the answers and guidance he needs moving on with his life as the one who wields the Darksaber and, thus, rules over the Mandalorians.

It’s nice to see these characters again, and the segment where Djarin hangs out with Emily Swallow’s Armorer and Tait Fletcher’s Paz Vizla (aka Heavy Mando) felt like the type of scene we’ve been missing from this series and The Mandalorian for a long time. Yes, it’s exposition, but it’s actual, concrete lore-building. We finally get a glimpse of the purge that destroyed Mandalore and the Night of a Thousand Tears. We learn how Bo-Katan (Katee Sackhoff) lost her leadership and possession of the Darksaber. We even learn how Djarin’s specific Death Watch sect survived; they were on Concordia, a moon seen in The Clone Wars and Rebels).

Although Djarin is their hero, Favreau and Filoni focus a lot of his angst through his difficulty wielding the Darksaber as a weapon. I appreciated that as both a character bit and a world-building exercise: Lightsabers are very difficult to use without the Force! They’re dangerous and unwieldy.

Additionally, this episode does a good job showing us some of Djarin’s feelings about leaving Grogu with Luke and the Jedi. He wants to see Grogu again and to offer him a family by way of Mandalore. I don’t have faith that this will develop into an interesting or substantial conflict — as these series have rarely allowed for such things — but a Mandalorian-versus-Jedi conflict would be pretty cool and has been the foundation of other Star Wars stories for decades.

After he leaves his old friends, Djarin heads to Tatooine to meet up with his pal Peli Motto (Amy Sedaris), who found a new ship for him to use in lieu of the destroyed Razor Crest. Sedaris has never been funnier in this show; her line about dating a Jawa actually made me rewind just to hear it again. Idioms like “faster than a Fathier” had me smiling, too.

What got me the most was the ship she found — an N-1 starfighter, as seen in Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace. Unlike my brother-in-law (with whom this remains our sole point of Star Wars contention), I’ve always loved the N-1, so seeing it get new life as Djarin’s ship filled me with glee. His test flight through Beggar’s Canyon and segments of the Boonta Eve Podrace track from Episode I floored me. This is what these shows do, at their best: They’re fan service that’s also in service of a story.

Not to beat a dead horse, but this episode really emphasizes how bad The Book of Boba Fett has been thus far. Everything Djarin does in this episode is badass, fun and full of character. But why is this the first episode where our armored protagonist wins a fight? Why is this the first episode where our protagonist gets to show off his armor as a deadly weapon? Within the first five minutes, Djarin slices a bounty in half. Why the hell isn’t this Boba on a job, delivering merciless judgment?

Why didn’t Boba show up at the end of the episode to recruit Djarin?! It’s Boba’s show! He’s healed up!

There is more story in these 50 minutes than there has been in the past three-plus hours of The Book of Boba Fett. The implication from the cliffhanger is that the next episode will be very Djarin-heavy, too.

What a stupid waste of Boba Fett. But damn, I really love Din Djarin.

Other notes: I loved Djarin saying “wizard,” seeing a “ring world” in Star Wars, watching X-wings fly next to an N-1, and the return of that one pilot from the previous show.

Consumer Report

Nothing. No new Hasbro releases, no new Star Wars comics.

Shopping List

I’m glad this episode happened because it actually showed me cool new toys to hopefully purchase. I’d love a shinier 6-inch Din Djarin with a Darksaber. (Yeah, I already own a Beskar Mando with a Darksaber, but I want a shinier one.) I’d love a Force FX Elite Darksaber, which has been delayed endlessly since it was announced last year. What I want most is a 6-inch scale N-1 starfighter, which could theoretically happen because it’s not much larger than the other vehicles that have already been made.