Throughout these recaps, we’ve repeatedly been comparing Boba Fett to George Costanza. In the latest episode of The Book of Boba Fett, Boba takes another step to cross over into now becoming Curb’s version of Jason Alexander. His “book” is truly more of a pamphlet.
We’re calling this fifth episode “The Pen” because, aptly, that’s the only Seinfeld episode to not include George. Indeed, our bounty-hunting Costanza’s so-called book is so slim that there’s an entire chapter where he does not even appear.
This one is all about Mando, our Jerry—George’s similar but somewhat cooler, leaner, less inept friend who’s way too into his prized, fancy new duds. The episode opens on Jerry in a meatpacking plant that is probably one of the least interesting locales seen in Star Wars since Luke took a dump in a swamp. It’s just a meatpacking place with some electronic panels here and there. However long ago, however far, far away this may be, they still just settled on those clear rubber flap curtains to keep different areas cold for the meat.
Jerry is there on a bounty to kill some dog-faced jackass who runs the place. He does that, but in the process of fighting the guy’s meatpacking cronies, he hurts his thigh on his own dumb DARKSABER (see: The Mandalorian’s season two finale, dear readers!). The leg injury is stressed over and over, but ultimately, like so much of this show, it doesn’t matter. He later just gets some space-Bactine or whatever sprayed on it like he did in his own show’s eighth episode, and it’s fine.
So he cuts the meatpacking guy’s head off and brings it back to deliver his bounty in this city, where the episode cribs from Spider-Man 2 to absolutely no value. Jerry enters an elevator, and this alien guy beside him gives him this awkward eyeballing, as if Mando looks any weirder than any other idiot in this universe. You can’t just do it arbitrarily, assholes!
Also in dropping off this head, we get another padded bit that completely doesn’t matter nor add any bit of atmosphere. Jerry is like, “Here’s the head.” Turn-in NPC is like, “Have dinner with me first.” Jerry says, “No, I just want to know the location of the Mandalorian respawn location.” NPC says, “No, dine with me.” Jerry chooses chat option, “No, tell me the location or I will sell the head to someone else,” because this is such a lazy video game mechanic that somehow the disembodied head itself holds value, not the fact that the guy wanted dead is clearly dead. Finally, the NPC reveals the next quest marker. For fuck’s sake.
So Jerry heads to the quest marker, following what are essentially invisible-ink hobo signs to the sad new Mandalorian enclave. And apparently just the Armorer and the burly guy are now the Mandalorian population.
Jerry brings up this fucked up leg that, again, isn’t even an issue—just spray it!—and the Armorer asks what weapon caused the wound. She has not even examined it, but she is ready to drive the next plot point regardless.
The Sein explains that he nicked himself with the Darksaber, and then we have to watch this whole cutscene again explaining its origins and rules of being passed on.
Armorer is also like, “Hey, while examining your inventory, I noticed you have a Beskar spear! Want to reforge that as something else since you now have a better weapon?”
Jerry chooses: “Yes. Make it a gift for the goblin baby I love.”
She seems to make it into, like, infant chainmail, and ties it into a goblin baby head-shaped bindle. Great. This is a fantastic series.
She also trains Jerry with his new sword, because she’s both the best blacksmith and the best fighter.
He’s fighting her with it, and he explains this new, additional convolution we have to deal with, where if you fight against the Darkblade® instead of your opponent—whatever that means—it gets heavier with each successive swipe.
This fucking Darksaber is Star Wars’ take on Spider-Man’s black suit—this willfully-edgy, desaturated new version of a colorful thing that was already objectively awesome, and now we have to bog it down in so much bullshit. The burly Mandalorian is going to become Venomlorian, and it’s going to be so insufferable.
For now, though, burly Mandalorian will just futilely duke it out with Jerry. He wants that Darksaber, and he’s willing to duel for it.
So, like middle schoolers, the two remove their backpacks and have it out in an incredibly lame scrap.
It is, in fact, such a lame scrap that it calls to mind the idiotic, anemic action Bryce Dallas Howard already wrung our hero through across two episodes of The Mandalorian. And it seems that, yes, the Lady in the Water has reemerged. She’s back in the director’s chair, and she’s even worse of a living testimony that Sofia Coppola is exceptional in inheriting the talents of her noted director dad.
Anyway, Big Mandalorian and The Mandalorian have it out, Jerry wins, and for some reason then it’s like the Olympics—you won, but now you must be tested to be sure you’re pure enough to claim the gold.
Armorer asks both, “Have you ever removed your helmet?” Burly has not. But Jerry is forced to admit that he actually revealed his face to Luke Skywalker’s awful CGI face.
Hearing the news, Armorer immediately kicks him out. There are fucking three of them and they kick the one guy out for this. What is The Book of Boba Fett about if not thin benches that can’t figure out padding their ranks?
Jerry has to leave instead of doing whatever it is three Mandalorians would do on this little ledge they’ve taken over adjacent to a city. His spaceship destroyed, he’s also forced to get on a commercial flight, and we’re given a glimpse of the post-9/11 future of a place where two Death Stars were blown up.
The Star Wars equivalent of the TSA insists Jerry removes all his weapons, and he reluctantly does so. Stock “family comedy” music plays as he un-equips himself and John Williams’s casket is loaded onto the vessel.
Finally, Jerry gets back to Tatooine, the place neither he nor any other Star Wars viewer can escape. He meets up with eyebrow-less mechanic Amy Sedaris, reaffirming that she and Strangers with Candy costar David Pasquesi (the mayor’s Twi’lek crony) could reunite. It’s the sole highlight of this dismal enterprise.
Jerry is there to get a new ship, and while Sedaris sees this as a way to turn a quick profit, series writer/EP Jon Favreau sees it as an opportunity to shoehorn in even more references to Star Wars of yore.
True to form, this Book of Costanza now buys Jon Voight’s car, saddling Jerry with the star-driven vehicle of The Phantom Menace: Sedaris wants Jerry to forget about his RV of a Razor Crest and settle him into a refurbished N-1 Starfighter from the prequels. After even more generic family comedy music, and a montage of doohickey nonsense that further pads out this already GORE-TEX-puffy episode (how much tedious repair crap can one Mandalorian do?), Jerry agrees.
Having already given us this ship callback for no reason at all, the episode also makes sure to explicitly define the trash pole used to stave off the compactor in A New Hope as a “cryogenic density combustion booster,” and gives an actual ride through Luke’s once-mentioned Beggar’s Canyon. No beggars there, but there it is! Just as the fans demanded!
In the episode’s closing moments, finally Elaine shows up to connect this at all with the series’ strained premise: Fennec abruptly and, just as strained (she’s almost 60), literally hops in to recruit Jerry in George Fett’s idiotic “war.” He agrees.
After an entire episode of a backdoor pilot for a series that’s already two seasons deep with a third on the way, that was the point of this show about nothing.