“From the Desert Comes A Stranger” is an absolute delight for long-time Star Wars fans.
This recap of The Book of Boba Fett season 1, episode 6, “From the Desert Comes A Stranger”, contains spoilers.
A common idea about The Book of Boba Fett ever since the show was announced has been that it’s basically another season of The Mandalorian — it’s set in the same time period, has much of the same creative team, focuses on a character reintroduced in the second season of that show, and includes several others that it popularized. Nowhere was that more evident than in last week’s episode, which followed Din Djarin and didn’t feature Boba Fett at all. Similarly, “From the Desert Comes A Stranger” opens with Cobb Vanth, the Marshall of Mos Pelgo, interrupting a Pyke Syndicate spice deal like an old-school gunslinger. And just like that, another alum of The Mandalorian is brought into the fold.
The Book of Boba Fett season 1, episode 6 recap
Here’s my theory, for anyone interested. I think that the third season of The Mandalorian is going to revolve heavily around the Darksaber and Mandalore, likely taking Mando far away from Tatooine, so all the characters and subplots located in its vicinity are being steadily moved over to this show so that their stories can still continue independently of Din Djarin. We already have Boba, Fennec Shand, Peli Motto, and now Cobb Vanth. It’s a pretty cool stable of characters to tell stories about for a while, and now Disney have a way to do it without keeping their new signature figure running in place.
Speaking of Mando, he arrives in his new N-1 starfighter on some random backwater to be greeted by none other than R2-D2, who leads him to Luke Skywalker’s still-under-construction Jedi Academy, which is being assembled by a coterie of ant droids and will eventually be demolished by an aggrieved Kylo Ren. Luke isn’t around, so the ant droids assemble him a little bench to wait on, while the audience gets to check in on Grogu and a convincingly de-aged Luke, who’re training and bonding in the forest nearby.
The fascination with post-Return of the Jedi but pre-The Last Jedi Luke is that he’s canonically the most powerful Jedi ever but we’ve never really had a chance to see that before. When he turned up in the second season finale of The Mandalorian it was really a flex — he wrecked all the droids that had been built up as considerably dangerous for several episodes without even breaking a sweat. It was Darth Vader’s hallway moment from Rogue One inverted. You get a sense of that here when he uses the Force to casually lift a bunch of frogs out of a nearby pool. This is Jedi Master Luke, Cool Hand Luke, If-You-Were-Unsatisfied-With-His-Send-Off-Then-This-Is-For-You-Luke. As he walks with Grogu through the trees, he lifts him along with the Force so he can keep up, like how parents swing their kids by the hand. He lets Grogu recall his past, which seems to be witnessing several Jedi be cut down by clone troopers during Order 66. He says he will teach Grogu to protect himself against the dangers of the galaxy — and you believe him.
When Mando wakes up from a nap, he’s greeted by Ahsoka. Her job in The Book of Boba Fett episode 6 is to convince him, essentially, that seeing Grogu at this point is self-serving and will only make things harder for him in the long run. He already misses Mando, he’s already struggling to grasp his training, to not be focused on passing frogs he can eat. It’s a sad moment, and a pretty flagrantly manipulative one, seeing Mando watch him from nearby, so close yet so far, and to see Grogu reach out from Luke’s backpack to Mando’s retreating ship as he leaves without the two of them having been reunited. But it’s necessary for the sake of Star Wars‘s broad, long-term storytelling. Mando has other things on his agenda, and so too does Grogu.
“From the Desert Comes A Stranger” devotes a fair chunk of time to Luke training Grogu, and a lot of it is designed to trend on Twitter and become a meme. The whole thing’s a homage to Luke’s training under Yoda on Dagobah in The Empire Strikes Back, up to and including him carrying Grogu around in his backpack, but there’s a social media savviness to it that’s a bit… I don’t know, offputting? Not massively so, but Grogu’s little jumps, and his nap after whooping a training remote, feel calibrated to appeal in a certain way. But if you’re a long-time Star Wars fan, there’s a weird amount of power and meaning in Ahsoka telling Luke that he’s just like his father. It’s the best kind of fan service, in a way, letting you see things that you never thought you would.
Eventually, and inevitably, Mando returns to Boba’s palace on Tatooine, where Fennec gives a quick briefing. Between Mando and Krrsantan, they have enough muscle to act as enforcers, but they don’t have the manpower to cover their territory with foot soldiers. Mando might be able to help with that, though. He goes straight to Cobb Vanth and asks him to assemble a garrison of his best fighters, as a favor, which isn’t an easy thing to ask for. But what’s Mos Eisley’s problem today might be the entire planet’s problem eventually, so Cobb agrees to see what he can do. But he’s distracted by an impromptu new arrival.
In an episode that has featured Grogu, Ahsoka, R2-D2, and Luke Skywalker, the moment that’ll get everyone talking is the live-action debut of Cad Bane. The bounty hunter was one of the coolest characters in The Clone Wars and has remained a firm fan-favorite ever since. Here, he’s working for the Pyke Syndicate and offers to match whatever Boba is paying Cobb for him to stay out of the coming conflict. Cobb is too principled for that, though, and his new deputy is too blustery, so Bane ends up shooting them both, the latter fatally. Tatooine, he reminds everyone, belongs to the Syndicate.
These are the first shots fired in the war. In the very next scene, the Pykes bomb Garsa’s Sanctuary.
But in the final scene, we return to Luke and Grogu. The Jedi lays out a little blanket and gives the youngster a choice. If he chooses the tiny suit of Beskar armor that Mando had made for him, he will return to Mando and forsake the ways of the Jedi. But if he instead chooses Yoda’s lightsaber, he will be trained as a great Jedi, but may never see Mando again. What will he pick? Well, we don’t know, since the episode ends there. But everyone who said that this show was simply meaningless filler sure have egg on their faces now, don’t they?
You can stream The Book of Boba Fett season 1, episode 6, “From the Desert Comes A Stranger”, exclusively on Disney+.