Wednesday, May 25, 2022

‘The Book of Boba Fett’ Recap: Episode 5 “Return of the Mandalorian”

Last week’s episode of The Book of Boba Fett left off with a tempting teaser. While Boba Fett and Fennec Shand discussed their need for help to go up against the Pyke Syndicate, Fennec remarked, “Credits can buy muscle if you know where to look,” which was followed by the recognizable notes of Din Djarin’s theme song. Rather than bringing the bounty hunter directly into the fold on Tatooine without much fuss, “Return of the Mandalorian” was an epic surprise for fans. Instead, it functioned as a crossover episode with The Mandalorian, spending the entirety of its runtime digging in to what Din Djarin has been up to since we saw him last.

Din Djarin collects a bounty

In the episode’s opening scene, we see that after saying his goodbyes to Grogu in the season 2 finale of The Mandalorian, Din Djarin has resumed working as a bounty hunter. Today, he’s collecting a bounty on Kaba Baiz, and he still has a way with words — “I can bring you in warm, or I can bring you in cold.” While Din never had any issues taking on a room full of enemies before, he has some extra help now in the form of the Darksaber. He’s still learning to wield it, though. He walks out of the room with his bounty’s head in a bag (guess Kaba opted for the second option) and a nasty wound on his thigh from the blade.

The Mandalorian covert

Din delivers his bounty in exchange for payment and confirmation of where the closest access shaft to the substrata is. He declines the offer of another job and uses the information to seek out the new secret location of the Mandalorian covert, which is where the Armorer and Paz Viszla have relocated to following the fight on Nevarro. It appears they are the only three that remain.

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The Armorer examines the Darksaber, and she explains to Din that it was forged over 1,000 years ago by Tarre Vizsla — he was a Jedi and a Mandalorian. Din mentions that he has met Jedi, confirming that he has now completed his quest to deliver Grogu, and the Armorer tells him that he can join their covert as they rebuild. This is the Way.

The Armorer inquires about Din’s beskar spear, which was given to him by Ahsoka Tano after she defeated the Magistrate. She notes that while it can block a lightsaber, it can also pierce beskar armor. Mandalorian steel is meant for armor, not weapons. The existence of it puts Mandalorians at risk. As the Armorer begins to rework the spear, Din asks her about Bo-Katan Kryze. She explains that she is a cautionary tale, because she laid claim to rule Mandalore based purely on blood and the Darksaber. However, it was gifted to her, and he rules dictate it must be won by Creed. Bo-Katan’s house lost sight of the Way, and her rule ended in tragedy — the destruction of Mandalore.

When the Armorer asks what she should forge with the spear, Din asks her to make something for a foundling … a specific foundling, Grogu. The Armorer reminds him that he’s no longer in his care, but Din firmly says that he wants to see him and make sure he’s safe. Din is bothered when she notes that Jedi must forego all attachment to master the ways of the Force, because it’s the opposite of the Mandalorian Creed. While the final product isn’t shown before it’s wrapped up in cloth, it appears to be some sort of chainmail armor.

A challenge

Din practices sparring with the Armorer, who is trying to teach him how to wield the Darksaber. He’s struggling, because it gets heavier with each move. He needs to fight against his opponent, rather than the blade. The Armorer chides him for being distracted, and Paz Vizsla suggests that maybe the blade belongs in someone else’s hands. Paz wants to win it from Din in combat, because the Darksaber was forged by his ancestor. The two have a harrowing battle across the compound, but Din eventually wins. Afterward, the Armorer asks Paz if he’s ever removed his helmet or if it has ever been removed by others. “Never.” When she asks Din the same question, he remains silent. When he eventually admits that he has, she swiftly tells him that he is a Mandalorian no more. The only way that he can be redeemed, by Creed, is in the living waters beneath the mines of Mandalore … which were destroyed. Din leaves the covert behind and boards a commercial ship to Tatooine (making a show out of removing his vast assortment of weapons before boarding).

A new ship

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Din arrives in Mos Eisley and pays a visit to a familiar face: Peli Motto. Before Din arrives at Peli’s hangar, an exciting Easter egg for the game Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is shown. One of droids is revealed to be a BD unit, which is reminiscent of the beloved BD-1 that accompanies Cal Kestis in the aforementioned video game. Din’s business on Tatooine is soon explained when he tells Peli that he received her message; she found him a replacement for the Razor Crest (RIP). Her solution turns out to be another Easter egg straight out of the prequel films, an N-1 starfighter, handmade for the royal guard and commissioned personally by the Queen of Naboo. Din immediately asks for his credits back, because this definitely isn’t what he asked for.

However, he begins to change his tune when Peli tells him about all of the advantages of this particular starfighter. With help from some Jawas (and an admission from Peli that she used to date one), the two get to work restoring the ship. When they finish, it’s a far cry from the hunk of junk that Din saw when he arrived. Peli even removed the droid port for him. (Ah yes, a perfect little seat for Grogu.) Din takes his new ship for a test drive, flying across Tatooine at incredible speeds. He has a brief run in with Captain Carson Teva, who wants to chat once he recognizes Din’s voice, but he manages to get away thanks to his sublight thrusters.

A job on the house

Ming-Na Wen in The Book of Boba Fett
Lucasfilm

When Din gets back to Peli’s hangar, Fennec Shand is there waiting for him. She asks if he’s looking for work and tosses him a bag of credits. She tells him that there’s no bounty, she and Boba Fett just need muscle. Din tosses the bag back to her and tells her it’s on the house. But first … he needs to pay a visit to a little friend.

The next episode of The Book of Boba Fett will premiere exclusively on Disney+ on Wednesday, February 2. Follow along with all of our weekly recaps here.

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