Filled with wall-to-wall action but little else, the season finale of The Book of Boba Fett is a fittingly frivolous conclusion to a show that never stopped struggling to find its identity. Titled In the Name of Honor, the hour long closing chapter delivers on the promise of uniting Boba Fett and Din Djarin in battle, but this in itself felt like a compromise; a peace offering from a show that woke up every Wednesday and chose chaos.
After a refreshing couple of episodes in which the titular character had—and someone verified this—less than 30 seconds of screen time in total, Chapter 7 intersects the parallel plot lines of both Boba Fett and Din Djarin, the Mandalorian who singlehandedly saved the show from being an utter train-wreck.
In the Name of Honor is directed by Robert Rodriguez, and not series creator Jon Favreau, as was rumoured. Rodriguez was, of course, the man responsible for the show’s bland opening couple of episodes. But in a bit of a pleasant surprise, he appears to have adopted a less haphazard style for the finale, which is more in line with Favreau and Dave Filoni’s gorgeous work on The Mandalorian than the messy first half of this show.
Essentially an extended Western standoff, inspired, it seems, by the classic film High Noon, In the Name of Honor tracks Boba Fett and Din Djarin as they batten down the hatches, bracing themselves for the Syndicate to lay siege on the town of Mos Espa.
But unlike Gary Cooper’s character from that 1952 classic—and, indeed, Kevin McCallister from Home Alone—Boba Fett isn’t alone. His very own Baker Street irregulars, whom we met back in episode two, patrol the town, while the Wookie Krrsantan is told to keep watch outside City Hall. Boba Fett, Din Djarin and Fennec Shand, meanwhile, take refuge in the destroyed Sanctuary, the cantina operated by Garsa Fwip, as they wait for Cobb Vanth to arrive with the reinforcements. Little do they know what happened to him at the end of episode six, From the Desert Comes a Stranger.
All this, by the way, happens in the first 10 minutes. The remaining 40 minutes are dedicated to an action sequence that involves virtually everyone we’ve seen so far in the series, except, perhaps, the slain Tusken tribe. Had Rodriguez had his way, I’m sure he’d have found an excuse to insert one final flashback sequence featuring the Sand People—remember those?—but thankfully, better sense prevailed.
The sequence is undeniably well done. But at this level, a skilful marriage of visual effects, pre-visualised action and solid stunt work shouldn’t come as a surprise. More money was probably spent on this episode alone than the two Baahubali movies combined, so the chips were always going to be in its favour. The problem, as always, is with the writing.
Having taken an unusually disjointed—defenders would say literary—route to the finale, it seems as if Favreau was bluffing all along. He didn’t have a trick up his sleeve after all, but was simply stalling, in the hope that by the time the finale rolled around, we’d have developed a soft corner for the show’s earnestness. Instead, what’s most apparent is the lack of clear vision—not just in terms of what this show should have been, but also what it wants to be.
Boba Fett’s (re) origin story has now been told, but we still don’t really know why he’s is doing what he’s doing, beyond a vague sense of wanting to turn over a new leaf. He hasn’t changed much from the person he was when we met him in episode one—he wanted to stick to the straight and narrow, and leave his outlaw ways behind him. That’s what he still wants. Ironically, the most transformative phase of his life was wasted on those poorly directed flashback sequences.
Ultimately, this is turning out to be more of a Disney problem than a Favreau problem. A similar strategy was deployed in the recent Spider-Man: No Way Home. I argued that the movie would not work at all without the ‘celebrity cameos’, so to speak. And without Din Djarin, Grogu, and the literal deus ex machina that Luke Skywalker performed in the last episode, what are we left with? A middling, muddled and misguided attempt at telling a new Star Wars story; that’s what. Here’s hoping that the next season—which is properly teased, by the way—learns to stand on its own two feet.
The Book of Boba Fett, Chapter 7, In the Name of Honor
Director – Robert Rodriguez
Cast – Temuera Morrison, Ming-Na Wen, Pedro Pascal
Rating – 3.5/5