With last week’s premiere, The Book of Boba Fett showed that it could be a slower, more mature take on the legendary bounty hunter. This week’s follow-up, “The Tribes of Tatooine,” is proof that the thoughtful pacing and character exploration was not a one-time fluke but perhaps the very backbone of the series.
The episode begins in the present day, with Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen) leading the lone surviving assassin into the palace to face Boba (Temuera Morrison) and give them answers about who sent him. Their droid, 8D8, tells them the assassin is from the Order of the Night Wind, a cohort of assassins as silent as they are apparently overpriced.
While the man is reluctant to speak after Boba and Fenec’s threats, after the two threaten him with their — non-existent — rancor, he is inspired to reveal that the Mayor sent his order.
The group takes a trip into Mos Espa to speak to Mayor Mok Shaiz (Robert Rodriguez), the Ithorian first glimpsed in the trailer. Despite the Majordomo (David Pasquesi) efforts, Boba forces himself into the office to demand answers from the lone Mos Espa leader who has yet to fall in line with his new rule. Mok Shaiz kills the assassin, and while he doesn’t deny his involvement, he doesn’t quite confirm it either. Instead, he sends Boba and Fennec to Garsa Fwip’s (Jennifer Beals) Sanctuary to seek their answers.
On arrival, Fwip is nervous and not the smooth business owner she was on Boba’s first visit. Unlike Shaiz, she is a little more forthcoming and tells Boba that The Twins — cousins of the late Jabba the Hutt — have arrived in Mos Espa to take the throne they believe is theirs by right. Boba talks the two of them down from coming to blows right there in the street, but as the Hutts leave, both Boba and Fennec know it’s only a matter of time before they make a new attempt for the throne.
From there, things go back to the past and Boba’s time with the Tuskens, and it is to this part of the story, the episode devotes the majority of its whopping 52-minute runtime. Though not quite a part of the tribe yet, Boba still takes part in their day-to-day lives, including making their concerns his own. When a group of outlaws on a passing train kill several of the Tuskens trying to protect their home, Boba volunteers to find a way to stop them.
His quest takes him into Anchorhead, where he relieves the water thieves first seen last week of their entire complement of speeders. The most interesting about this sequence is not the fight itself, but rather the identity of the young man and woman Boba finds at the mercy of the bandits.
Though they don’t get more than a collective handful of lines, the two were confirmed via credits and subtitles to be Fixer and Camie, friends of Luke Skywalker who were cut out of the final version of A New Hope (but who can still be seen in deleted scenes).
This type of subtle nod is brilliant, as knowing their identity materially changes nothing about how you are meant to view the scene but still serves to connect this part of Star Wars with other touchpoints in its universe.
Boba and the tribe manage to bring the train to a halt with speeders now in hand. Upon finding out they are using the Tusken’s ancestral land to smuggle spice across Tatooine, Boba puts an end to the practice and sends the bandits on their way.
The particular brilliance of “The Tribes of Tatooine” is how it continues to reinforce the narrative of the Tuskens as the original inhabitants of Tatooine while all others — yes, even Luke Skywalker — are settlers on their land. After more than four decades of being painted as the savages and the aggressors, at long last, the Tuskens are getting the opportunity to have their story told from their point of view, albeit through a sympathetic intermediary.
With so much of the episode focused on the Tuskens, this also means that the bulk of the emotional weight was borne by Morrison alone. His performance is powerful, as a man striving to turn over a new leaf and to do his best for those around him with this new chance at life he has been given.
He is at once serious and comedic, hinting at the warmer, wry personality that lives under the Mandalorian helmet. Rather than retreating into himself at the loss of his armor, Boba’s nature is allowed to shine through and humanizes him further.
One standout moment is his vision, offered by the Tusken Chief as a way to guide Boba. He is made to confront his childhood and his near-death all at once, in an uneasy kaleidoscopic sequence that culminates in the most moving, heartwarming moment of the entire episode.
Working off a script by Jon Favreau, director Steph Green brought a perfect level of heart and humanity to an episode largely devoid of verbal dialogue and human faces. The use of visual language to convey Boba’s shifting relationship with the Tuskens was subtle yet crystal clear.
The final shot of the episode served as a thesis and overarching theme for the episode, and hopefully the series overall: in and among the violence and unpredictability, where many will do what they must to survive, there is true beauty and connection — and I daresay peace — to be found.
The Book of Boba Fett airs new episodes every Wednesday on Disney+.
Arezou Amin is a freelance writer with a lifelong love of Star Wars, romance, fantasy, and all things pop culture. She is the host of Space Waffles, a Star Wars-focused podcast on the Geeky Waffle network, where she also co-hosts the flagship show and writes reviews and recaps for the site.