‘The Book of Boba Fett’ Takes a Step Backward Before Its Showdown

The Chapter 5 sidequest brings an old friend back into the fold, and it's as satisfying as it is frustrating.
The Book Of Boba Fett Chapter

Star Wars Explained is our ongoing series where we delve into the latest Star Wars shows, movies, trailers, and news stories to divine the franchise’s future. This entry explores Episode 5 of Star Wars: The Book of Boba Fett (Chapter 5: “The Return of the Mandalorian”) and contemplates the hunter under the helmet. Yes, prepare for SPOILERS.

Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) is a stubborn brute. The bounty hunter who stole our hearts in The Mandalorian predictably returns in Star Wars: The Book of Boba Fett Chapter 5, and his arrival is as satisfying as it is frustrating. With no child by his side, the Darksaber’s new owner retreats into old habits, looking for affirmation amongst his zealous creed. We want better for him.

For most of the episode, we’re left to wonder what Lord Fett (Temuera Morrison) and Fennec Shand (MingNa Wen) are plotting. Their war with the Pykes on Tatooine must wait as we hang with Djarin and watch him fail to be the old Mando. Our champion is listless, having apparently rejected Bo-Katan Kryze’s mission to reclaim their home planet.

As rad as it looks ignited in Djarin’s mitts, we see early on that the bounty hunter has little control over the Darksaber. The ancient Jedi weapon fights against the user, and while in combat with some Klatooinian thugs, Djarin accidentally slashes himself with the blade. Needing medical attention, he hobbles down into the substrata of a Ringworld station and finds his old clan.

The Children of the Watch Linger over Din Djarin

Din Djarin was adopted into the radical Children of the Watch. These Mandalorians are a Death Watch offshoot, made infamous during the Star Wars: The Clone Wars animated series. Few remain after the skirmish with the Imperials in The Mandalorian Season 1. Those who do are surprised to see Djarin carrying the weapon destined to lead their people into triumph or doom — all depending on how the Darksaber is acquired.

To hear the Mandalorian Armorer (Emily Swallow) explain it, Mandalore’s Great Purge occurred because Bo-Katan accepted the Darksaber as a gift rather than winning it honorably in combat. From Star Wars: Rebels, we know that Sabine Wren gave Bo-Katan the blade after she wrestled it away from Maul, the former Sith Lord. When the Empire rose to power, Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito) took control of Mandalore and claimed the Darksaber.

The Armorer is surprised to see the weapon in Djarin’s possession, but she does not make an immediate play to win it back. Instead, her lackey Paz Vizsla, whose ancestor originally forged the Darksaber, steps forth, demanding an honorable duel for the deadly artifact. Djarin obliges and only narrowly survives the event.

The Darksaber, Star Wars’ Excalibur

Star Wars having its own Excalibur is a dangerous delight. In a franchise born from Joseph Campbell’s writings, where knights protect the peace on the edge of their swords, finding a particular blade wrapped in prophecy feels inevitable. Whether human, alien, or droid, sentient life is built around narrative. We can’t help but imbue our objects with meaning beyond their physical structure.

If you can convince others that the weapon you carry comes pre-packaged with meaning, then you can rationalize your dominance over them. It’s scary, scary stuff. And it’s a little disappointing to see Djarin fall back into such Death Watch thinking, especially considering where we last saw him in The Mandalorian Chapter 16.

The Book of Boba Fett Chapter 5 reveals a Djarin ill-prepared to wield the Darksaber, but also a Djarin unwilling to let any old Mandalorian carry it. If he refused Bo-Katan, he certainly wouldn’t let Paz Vizsla get his grubby little hands on it. He’s its keeper for better or worse.

Off With His Helmet!

But what does that better look like? When Sabine Wren passed the sword over to Bo-Katan, Mandalore fell to the Empire. Is that fate or coincidence? Maybe Din Djarin did offer the Darksaber to Bo-Katan, and she refused. Maybe she’s through letting old stories dictate her actions and her ability to win back her home.

Djarin cannot shake his teachings. As a boy, the Children of the Watch rescued him from death, and they raised him in their treacherous thinking. Shaking such knowledge takes more than a season or two of television, and that’s why he goes running back to the Armorer after his victory over Moff Gideon.

However, what we see in The Book of Boba Fett Chapter 5 is a teacher who strictly adheres to doctrine. The Armorer rejects Djarin because he revealed his face to outsiders. He lifted his helmet to Grogu, Luke Skywalker, Fennec Shand, and Bo-Katan’s crew. He brought shame to his clan, and for that, he’s gotta skedaddle.

Ultimately, such rejection could be good for Djarin. It hopefully frees him from their judgment, giving him the space to concoct his own thinking. You know Pedro Pascal wants out of that helmet, and Djarin might be working his way into granting the actor that relief.

Din Djarin’s Heart Belongs to Grogu

Severed from his clan, Din Djarin travels to Tatooine. Lol. Cuz everyone must go to Tatooine in Star Wars. The Book of Boba Fett Chapter 5’s excuse revolves around Djarin’s desire to replace his exploded Razor Crest ship, and his old pal Peli Motto (Amy Sedaris) has collected some spare parts that will eventually assemble into a hot rod version of a Naboo starfighter.

Fennec Shand pops in for a visit and an offer just as the cruiser is completed. Boba Fett wants Djarin at his side, and she’s got the credits to pay for the muscle. Djarin tells her to keep the money; this job is on the house. But, before he can bust some Pyke heads, he’s gotta go say hello to a little friend.

Djarin’s heart belongs to Grogu. He gave him up to Luke Skywalker because he believed the foundling needed proper training. Nothing has changed in that regard, but he can’t keep away. He’s a proud papa, and with his Death Watch cronies in his rearview, the only family he has is that little green blob.

Luke Skywalker could provide something else for Djarin. As unlikely as it seems, Luke is the perfect lightsaber instructor for the bounty hunter. Whether Djarin rejects the stories circling the Darksaber or not, he’s going to need serious skill to keep others from stealing it from him. The Armorer let him go, but she could be back. Moff Gideon is in Republic custody, but that cannot last. Even Bo-Katan could change her mind and come calling. A quick lesson from Luke could go a long way in Djarin mastering the divine instrument.

We need the Mandalorian to move on and discover his true purpose. He spent two seasons getting Grogu to “his people,” but Luke Skywalker is not his father. He can be Grogu’s Obi-Wan, but he cannot be his dad. That’s Djarin’s job. We know it, but we need Djarin to know it.

Star Wars: The Book of Boba Fett Chapter 5 is now streaming on Disney+.

Brad Gullickson: Brad Gullickson is Weekly Columnist for Film School Rejects and Senior Curator for One Perfect Shot. When not rambling about movies here, he's rambling about comics as the co-host of Comic Book Couples Counseling. Hunt him down on Twitter: @MouthDork. (He/Him)