Right there is a link to my podcast wherein I briefly review two books about lesser-known American figures. Geronimo was an Apache leader, and Bass Reeves was a marshal in the late 1800s. Incredible reads.
You can find the Radcracker Podcast on Apple, Google, Spotify, and more.
I think The Critical Drinker said so much of what I felt about this show in the following video. Language warning, because it’s the Drinker.
Man I wish it hadn’t been like this. I’m a writer. Naturally I think I’m a good writer–if I didn’t think that, I wouldn’t throw my own work out into the world for the masses to consume.
But I’m also a highly prolific reader, and I’m a fan of Star Wars, so when I get a story set in the galaxy far, far away…and it has the potential for greatness…and the pedigree for greatness…only to be squeezed out of the back of a stray diabetic dog…the absolute squandering of potential is just too big to overlook.
To be fair, there were some cool moments. And I want to acknowledge them up front. Here’s what I liked about the show, in no specific order:
THE BACKSTORY WITH THE TUSKENS
A VISIT TO MOS PELGO, ft COBB VANTH VS CAD BANE
MING-NA WEN AS FENNEC SHAND
Dude, these two actors are only three years apart in age, but Ming-Na certainly has time in a headlock. She looks great for a woman who’s as old as my mother.
And I generally enjoy her performances whenever she’s in stuff. I didn’t care much for the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. show but Agent May was a compelling character in it. I just wish that hadn’t given her so much wooden dialogue in this show.
BOBA TEACHING THE TUSKENS HOW TO RAID A SPICE TRAIN
Okay, here we go. We see the warrior, the tactician, the guy whose “father” was the template for over a million soldiers that would wreck the galaxy. Give him a few bikes and some desert-hardened spear chuckers, and he is a force to be reckoned with. Wish we’d gotten more of this.
Yes, awesome. Misused, but awesome.
BOBA RIDING A RANCOR
And that’s it.
Once again, in no specific order, here are 10 things that sucked about the show, without qualification:
WHY DO WE KEEP GETTING MORE OF CRAZY MECHANIC LADY
I don’t even know her name. I had to Google the character. Peli Motto? All I know her as is Crazy Mechanic Lady. I know she had an episode in season 1 of Mando, and all I remember about her first appearance in season 2 was how she’d gone bonkers in between seasons. In S2E1 of Mando I turned to the DreadWife and said “she’s just too freaking much.” Too much crazy. The voice, the hand gestures, the need to fit ten extra words in a sentence. She’s on speed, man.
Are we supposed to be amused? I don’t know what we’re supposed to be, other than annoyed. She’s written poorly, and the actress Amy Sedaris deserves better than what she’s handed.
EFF THIS EFFING CYBORG POWER RANGER VESPA GANG
If you’ve ever been stuck in Portland, these people look familiar to you. Now maybe cyborgs in Star Wars are nothing new, they’ve just never been this pointless, bad, stupid, obnoxious, or a waste of oxygen. Nobody likes them, nobody is impressed by them, they do nothing.
Seriously, they’re a bunch of unemployed zoomers who complain about the cost of stuff, yet they’ve got expensive cyborg mods and their stupid little space-bikes have ridiculously loud paint jobs and are the only things in Mos Espa not covered in sand.
Did they cut her arm off, give her a robot arm, and stick her human hand back on? Where’s the blood circulation come from? The sense receptors? Or is it a cyborg hand like Luke’s, covered in fake skin? If so, why cover the hand but leave the rest of the arm exposed? Even the DESIGN sucks!!!
All of these characters are the human version of avocado toast in space, which leads to another problem:
BOBA IS A PUNK CHUMP WUSSY
It makes no sense for Boba to hire these idiots, they’re freaking useless. Yet after listening to ten seconds of their Reddit-posts-disguised-as-dialogue, he takes their side in a price-gouging dispute. Now granted they come to his rescue when he gets woken up mid-nap by a Gladiator Wookie From Hell, and their weapons come in handy, but that’s it.
Boba, the same Boba who killed like 80 Stormtroopers a year ago in one fight, gets his head handed to him repeatedly by anyone and everyone who doesn’t like him. He apologizes to people. He lets others insult him. He doesn’t show strength when he should broadcast it. And yet there are no repercussions for these oversights.
Oh, did he learn compassions during his time with the Tuskens? How? They beat the piss out of him constantly, and didn’t show him a lick of respect until he did something violent (killed the Behemoth.) He proved his use and loyalty to them once more by avenging their deaths at the hands of the Pyke syndicate, teaching them how to use speeder bikes to solve a problem that had been deadly to them for a long time.
He did so well that they made him one of them.
Then he gets his ship. Gets his armor. Gets his throne. And becomes a total wuss who apologizes to henchmen and allows enemies to make assassination overtures against him.
Weak. So weak.
ABSOLUTELY NO BUILD-UP TO BOBA AND THE RANCOR
No surprises. No training. No “oh, that happened in an unexpected way.” Just a “Hey, I want to learn to ride a rancor.” And then he rides a rancor. “It’s hard, it takes a lot of discipline.” Yeah the hell it does.
YOU WASTED DANNY TREJO
One of the baddest dudes in any galaxy, and you put him in an episode for three seconds so he could hand off a depressed animal to Boba Fett, and do nothing else. Come on, man.
HOW DID HE FIND OUT THE JAWASHAD GIVEN HIS ARMOR TO COBB VANTH?
Oh, you want to know anything about that at all? Haha. Screw yourself.
SHOOT THIS IDIOT
Jar-Jar, someone is coming for the title, dawg.
NOTHING ABOUT THE SARLACC SCENE MAKES ANY SENSE
Why in any of the worlds did Boba think his armor was still in the Sarlacc??? And how is Slave-1 supposed to hover like that WITH ITS MAIN PROPULSORS LITERALLY POINTING THE SHIP AT THE GROUND?!
GINA CARANO DID NOTHING WRONG
You may have forgotten, so you needed this reminder.
THE HUTT COUSINS WERE POINTLESS
Oh hey, remember that villain from 1983? Here are his cousins. They could be a formidable force against Boba Fett…nah, we’ll just have them apologize for trying to kill him, and give him another rancor for the palace as a sign of best-friendsies. Mary Sue theme song intensifies…
THEY PLANTED A SEED FOR BOBA’S MOTIVATIONTO BECOME THE BOSS…THEN DID NOTHING
I almost thought we were going to get some good writing in this scene, something to justify Boba’s decision to take Jabba’s throne. The blue-collar guy on the ground got tired of taking orders from the white-collar idiot in the office, the guy giving senseless orders that had to be carried out, or else. Nah. It doesn’t have to make sense! We’ll just do whatever we want and you’ll have to like it, because Star Wars.
BUT GRAHAM! WHAT WOULD YOU DO TO FIX ALL THIS?!
You can find the episode list here. I won’t copy and paste each individual summary. Here’s how I would have done it instead:
Episode 1: (In the past) Boba Fett comes-to in the belly of the Sarlacc. Grapples his way toward a Stormtrooper corpse. Steals the chump’s water supply, torches his way toward the surface. From there he takes shelter in the wreckage of Jabba’s barge and treats his acid wounds using the last of the barge’s water supply.
This requires him to take off his armor. He’s there for a day or two. He wakes up, weak from lack of food, to see the barge raided by Jawas. He kicks a few into the sarlacc, but they knock him out and steal his armor. From there he’s found by Tuskens.
Yes, they enslave him. They deprive him of water. He tries to escape, but the Rodian outs him. Later Boba kills the Rodian because he’s BOBA FETT. The Tuskens beat him and make him work twice as hard to replace the labor of the lost Rodian. When the Tusken kid is threatened by the awakened Behemoth, Boba kills it, then demands some of the melons that he harvested. He doesn’t wait to be given it. He and the Tuskens understand each other now.
(In the present) Boba meets with everyone who was paying tribute to Jabba and reminds them that they now pay tribute to him. Some of these tribute-payers inform him of changes to their arrangements when Bib Fortuna rose to power. Boba constantly deals with people trying to lie to him and take advantage of the turbulence that comes with a regime change.
He and Fennec go out into Mos Espa to collect tributes. A few people complain that he doesn’t have a litter. Boba and Fennec are attacked by the shield assassins, but they utterly beat them and take one of the guys hostage. Boba expects they were sent by either a rival gang or an encroaching mob boss, but Fennec discovers it was actually the Mayor.
Episode 2(In the past) Boba learns the Tusken way of fighting, which is different from much of what he learned at Jango’s hand. He also observes more of their interpersonal relations and learns that their hard-heartedness is a necessity in the Dune Sea. They don’t hate anyone, but they can’t afford to tolerate weakness in such a hostile environment. The more strength he shows and the better he gets at their way of life, the more respect they show him.
When the Pyke train attacks them, he carries out the retribution just like it happened in the show. His standing in the tribe increases.
(In the present) The Hutt Twins come to Mos Espa, claiming their cousin’s throne by right. Boba stares them down and tells them it’s his now, tribute has been paid to him, and if they try to encroach on his territory, they’ll be obliterated. Someone tells Boba he needs permission to kill a Hutt. Boba tells them to go screw themselves, because he’s Boba.
As he moves around in Mos Espa, Boba notices a drug epidemic, how the labor force is depleted because people are too high to work, and more people are dying from overdoses. Spice addiction is spreading and it’s weakening the societal foundations of Tatooine.
Then he meets the Mayor, crossing paths with his litter on the way to meet with the Pykes. Boba calls them out on their affiliation publicly. He’s showing strength, nevertheless he’s making enemies, and this complicates his future plans. End with him calling a meeting with the local business leaders (everyone who pays tribute to him) and make an assessment of their loyalty going forward.
Episode 3(In the past) Boba demands tribute from the Pykes in order to run their trains through the Dune Sea. They tell him they’re already paying protection money to the Nikto gang. Boba seeks out the Nikto gang and sees them attacking the Tuskens, who have taken heavy casualties. They don’t get entirely wiped out but their numbers are so few that they can no longer support an independent tribe. They will seek life elsewhere on Tatooine and invite him to join them.
Boba decides not to, realizing that the power of the Pykes will only multiply, and good people will suffer for it. This is where we see him soften a little bit, and value the Tuskens as people instead of savages. His arc toward the benevolent pursuit of power starts to bend harder.
(In the present) Black Krrsantan sneaks into the palace using an entrance that the Hutts know of, but is not known to Boba. Boba is training with the Gamorrean Guards, showing them the disciplined staff-fighting techniques of the Tuskens, making them more formidable fighters. For that reason, Boba isn’t wearing his armor. He takes a bit of a beating from Krrsantan, as do the guards, but they use their staff-fighting skills (with Fennec’s help) to trap Krrsantan in the rancor pit.
Then he takes Krrsantan, bound and gagged, to the Hutts’ ship and drops him on their doorstep. He’s also got some other hired muscle from the old Jabba/Bib Fortuna network, and informs the Twins that if they don’t leave Tatooine immediately he’ll annihilate them. He sees that they have a rancor. “My pit is empty. That will fill it. I’ll accept it as tribute in exchange for your lives.”
The Hutts reluctantly agree, leaving the door open to a potential future conflict with them.
When Danny Trejo brings the rancor to the palace, it’s Boba who tells him that he heard of old warriors riding the rancor into battle. Trejo says it’s difficult, but doable. Boba wants to learn how. “They want me to have a litter? This will be my litter.”
Episode 4 (In the past) Boba is wandering in the desert. Really misses his armor. Later he sees the battle between Mando and Fennec, and finds her dying in the sand. He takes her to a medic in Mos Espa, a former Rebel doctor who retired to Tatooine and has saved people from severe injuries before. (Throwback time: it’s the doctor from Return of the Jedi who gave Luke a robotic hand.) He patches up Fennec in exchange for most of the money Boba has.
While leaving Mos Espa again, he hears about the distant colony of Mos Pelgo, and how there’s a marshal who killed a gang of raiders using Mandalorian armor he bought from the Jawas. But the colony is having trouble with a Krayt dragon and might get wiped out. Boba and Fennec goes the distance on his bantha and get there just in time to watch Mando ride out of Mos Pelgo, clearly carrying his armor on the back of his bike. Boba will never catch Mando without his ship.
Tries to get his ship. The palace is too well-guarded. Fennec and Boba have the fireside conversation. It’s mostly the same, but Boba emphasizes that he’s tired of being a hired gun and instead wants to call the shots, because the guys on top just get good people killed. People like him, people like the Tuskens. He’s starting to have ambitions. He respects Fennec’s reputation and asks her aboard.
They get Slave-1. They kill the Nikto gang. As a final farewell to his broken past, Boba does a fly-by on the Sarlacc and drops a seismic charge in it. Then they park the ship in Mos Espa and visit Crazy Mechanic Lady, asking her where the Mandalorian went.
(In the present) Training montage with the Gamorrean Guards. Practice sessions with the rancor. Planning meeting with Fennec and the other members of Boba’s circle, including those who pay tribute to him. Something has to be done about the spice and, by extension, the Mayor. At the end of the day, Boba’s the muscle, and business is good for him when it’s good for all of them. So while he’s not there to be their friend, he’s there to keep things running smoothly for everyone, ergo the drugs and the other muscle have to go.
Episode 5(In the past) Boba, Fennec, Mando, and Cara Dune are flying to pick up Mayfeld from his prison colony. Boba is cleaning up his armor and repainting it. Fennec asks him about the dent in his helmet, and he briefly recaps his history with Cad Bane so that the viewers of this single program don’t have to waste hours on YouTube and Wikipedia, catching up on a freaking cartoon from fifteen years ago.
(In the present) The Syndicate hire Cad Bane to coordinate the efforts of their forces against Boba Fett. They know who’s working with him and who’s fighting for him, now they need insight into his thinking, as well as someone who’s dealt with him in the past.
Boba’s spies inform him that Cad Bane has entered the game. The Syndicate has a small army on Tatooine now, including some leftover droids in the form of scorpion tanks. Boba sends out messages to the last people he knows who haven’t yet joined the fight, and prepares to go to war with the Syndicate and the Mayor. End the episode with a conversation with Fennec, asking him if this was what he had in mind when he planned on taking over Jabba’s empire. Ask if his motivation to be in charge really adds up to all this. They’ve hired a bunch of mercs and bounty hunters to help them fight–can Boba really prove that he’s smarter than the thugs who used to hire him?
Episode 6(In the past) Boba returns to Moff Gideon’s light cruiser after the events of Mando Season 2. He picks up Cara Dune, Fennec Shand, and Din Djarin. Bo-Katan and Koska take the light cruiser, along with Gideon, back to their allies to begin the retaking of Mandalore. Din Djarin needs a ride to the Not-Halo-Planet where he’ll find Pas Visla and the Armorer in season three of his own damn show. Cara Dune needs a lift back to Navarro, where she’s a marshal, only she gets a call from the New Republic leadership asking for a meeting elsewhere.
This prompts Boba and Fennec to discuss the role of the Republic in their exploits on Tatooine. Will it always be an Outer Rim backwater that the Republic ignores? Boba hopes so. He sees them as just another faction to have to handle, full of bureaucrats and other people who have never worked at ground-level. He’d rather they not meddle with his work on Tatooine.
(In the present) Open warfare at Jabba’s Palace. The Mayor, the Pykes, all their military might…they lay siege to Boba’s budding empire and offer him a chance at exile/full surrender, which he immediately rejects. A few of the hired mercs and bounty hunters retreat out the back door, failing to buy in to Boba’s vision.
One of the hired mercs is Black Krrsantan. Boba pays him extra to lead the most dangerous mercs through the secret tunnels and passageways of the Palace, taught to him by the Hutt Twins. When the Pyke forces invade, Krrsantan’s forces are instrumental in subverting their progress while Boba and the others can lead the counterattack.
During the battle though, Boba’s forces are initially overwhelmed. His rocket pack takes damage. He loses his ranged weapons. He loses contact with Fennec and the others. Comms are down. The palace is taking a pounding. He’s in the throne room, overwhelmed by Pyke combatants, led by Cad Bane, who outfoxed Boba, and one of them opens the trapdoor in the floor, sending Boba into the rancor pit…
But then a cavalry rescue happens, as some late answerers to Boba’s call join the fight. These consist primarily of the residents of Mos Pelgo (we drop all that “Freetown” BS) as well as the tribe of Tuskens who live out that way. The remnants of the Dune Sea Tuskens joined them and they vouched for Boba’s qualities. They also get a visit from a contingent of New Republic Rangers, sent by (by not led by) Cara Dune. As Boba mounts his rancor and rides it into battle out of the wreckage of the palace, the battle is routed in the other direction.
You can even have it end with another standoff between Boba and Cad Bane, only now it actually MEANS SOMETHING and the stakes of their previous encounters are known to the audience.
Tidy it all up in the aftermath. The palace is destroyed, but Cad Bane is dead and the Pykes are obliterated on Tatooine. Boba straight-up executes the Mayor for his part in it, and moves the seat of his criminal empire to the Mayor’s office in the middle of town.
Cherry on top of it all, the New Republic sends official diplomats to Tatooine in order to figure out what’s going on with the government out there. The diplomats are surprised to see Boba Fett sitting on the official seat of government, while Boba Fett is surprised to recognize the Republic diplomat: Han Solo himself, played by a digitally de-aged Harrison Ford, in much the same way we got a de-aged Luke at the end of Mando.
Both men take stock of their own journeys over the last five years, seeing how a smuggler went straight and a mercenary used his skills for the betterment of others, and not just himself. They acknowledge their troubled past and set it aside in the name of the Republic, knowing that they have to build something better than what they came from.
Fade to black, the end.
Only needed six episodes to do it. Now you can take episodes 5 and 6 as currently constituted, and have them be episodes 1 and 2 of Mando season 3 AS THEY SHOULD BE.
LOOK AT THE ABOVE AND TELL ME IT WOULD NOT BE HEAD AND SHOULDELRS ABOVE WHAT WE ACTUALLY GOT. WHY IS THIS SO DIFFICULT?
Every one of the actual episodes was written by Jon Favreau. So I don’t know what the junk is happening, all I know is, it sucks.
That’s it for now. I need to go boil my head. Bye.
Last month I finished my MAMMON short story for Rob Kroese’s anthology. This month I’m finishing the pre-draft work for HOWLING WILDERNESS, a new Engines tale. I’ve postponed it too many times and I really want to tell that story.
Last month I read 9 books and got 60 pages into Don Quixote. This month I’ll finish my reread of WITCHY WINTER and hit page 150 in Quixote. 2 books made the best-of-year list. I’ll call that a win.
I recorded a weekly Radcracker episode and finished the audio for Sheriff Porter. Next month I only have to record for Radcracker, and I can do that in my car. Should be a chill month for audio.
I started shorter videos of book reviews for the YT channel. Not completely married to the format, I might change it up and improve them. My most popular video was this one, on Nathan Bedford Forrest.
Some minor stuff, I did a few personal drawings but nothing for the craft. This month I need to do a cover for Sheriff Porter. I’m deciding between two thumbnails.
Main accomplishment in January? I cut back on sugar intake. For February my goal is to not have any sweetener before 7AM (like in my yerba) and to stick to a 12-hour IF window. I will also work out twice a week, or 8 times before the next State of the Dread. I’m going back to visible abs, children.