Identity Crisis

This week’s episode of The Book of Boba Fett wasn’t an episode of Boba Fett at all, but really an episode of The Mandalorian. Despite the title being The Book of Boba Fett, it focussed solely on Din Djarin (the Mandalorian) and an adventure he was having after last season, only tying in to the ongoing Book narrative at the very end. It’s a fun diversion — and a damn fine episode of The Mandalorian — but it’s frustrating to have a literal episode of another tv show in the middle of a show that’s having trouble knowing what kind of show it is.

Since it’s started, The Book of Boba Fett has been split between two narratives: flashbacks to Boba Fett after the Sarlacc and Boba Fett after the second season of The Mandalorian. They’re both interesting plots, but they also feel like two totally different shows that have very little do with each other. The former sees him understanding and joining a tribe of Tusken Raiders, the latter has him navigating Mos Eisley as he tries to succeed the power vacuum left by Jabba the Hutt. 

This isn’t a bad thing. Lost’s entire modus operandi was spending each episode giving us flashbacks to a character’s life before the plane crash. The show would notoriously flashback (and late flash-forwards and flash-sideways) throughout each episode, intercutting the other narrative with the one at hand. But Lost avoided a similar identity crisis by often having the flashback inform the present; Charlie’s desire to do better is in part because of a history of failure; Locke’s relative chillness with the Island is because he sees it as the opportunity for a second chance. Though each story is separated by time and space, they’re part of the same narrative; playing off of each other with theme and character.

The Book of Boba Fett falters here. Empirically, we know that Boba Fett’s time with the Tusken Raiders is his crucible, a period of his life that leaves him the changed man we see in the present. But the show doesn’t really work to tie the two narratives together; we’re not totally clear on how the flashbacks informed the Boba Fett we see in the present. It doesn’t help that we don’t really know too much about him in the first place; perhaps a flashback-back storyline where we see Boba Fett as the coldblooded killer would put the two in contrast. As it stands now, though, it’s felt like two disparate tv shows, with an episode of The Mandalorian thrown in for fun.

I say all this before the show has run its course, of course. Maybe the show will wrap up stunningly, tying all its threads together into a cohesive whole that makes the earlier episodes better in retrospect. Or maybe the structural problems persist. Either way, it means more Star Wars, and I am okay with this.

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