Simon Pegg voices Empire Strikes Back alum Dengar, and Ventress gives bounty-hunting a try.
Okay, it’s official. Asajj Ventress is one of the most interesting characters that Galaxy Far, Far Away has ever given us. From her brutal, blood-soaked, yet ultimately redemptive appearances in the 2003-2007 line of Clone Wars comics to Nika Futterman’s portrayal on Dave Filoni’s better-all-the-time TV show, she’s been possibly the most scarred soul we’ve seen in Star Wars. She’s a hairless harpy with a heart. And “Bounty” showed her tremendous growth, as epitomized by that opening moral: “Who we are never changes. Who we think we are does.”
Last season, Ventress was a powerful study in how violence can be perpetuated in an endless cycle. She was betrayed and left for dead by Count Dooku, who thought of her as nothing more than a servant to do his bidding. Then she sought revenge against Dooku by training Savage Opress, who she herself saw as nothing more than a servant to do her bidding. A servant who she was willing to sacrifice to achieve her revenge. The moral blindness of those who do wrong to others because they themselves have been wronged found its perfect expression in Ventress. But now…with even more suffering under her belt, Ventress may finally become a more humane soul.
After General Grievous wiped out the Nightsisters on Dathomir, Asajj wandered across the galaxy trying to figure out what her new life should be. Of all the blue milk joints in all the Galaxy she had to walk into Chalmun’s Cantina in Mos Eisley. Personally, there weren’t enough dewbacks and rontos roaming Mos Eisley’s streets for my taste. But I loved the new Figrin D’an and the Modal Nodes song! Asajj ordered a rahl straight-up. Not one of my favorite drinks in the Star Wars universe. I’m definitely a ruby bliels man.
So sensing Ventress’ at-first-not-apparent-but-totally-there hotness, an alien bar patron walked up to her with the immortal pick-up line, “What’s a pretty bald babe like you doing in a desert like this?” So, like any woman who’s protecting her personal space should, she impaled him with her lightsaber. “I’m not much of a talker,” she said to the briefly stunned crowd, who almost immediately went back to their smooth Bith jazz. What does this say about Obi-Wan, really? He was also willing to slash first and ask questions later when confronted with that Aqualish here some 20 years later! Anyway, Asajj received a drink “compliments of the lizard in the back.” Turns out that lizard was a Trandoshan, and not just any Trandoshan, but the notorious bounty-hunter Bossk, fresh out of his stint in Coruscant’s maximum security lockup. Bossk had a problem. He was assembling a team for a job, and this bald-headed babe just killed a member of that team. But, hey, Asajj certainly has the disposition necessary to be a bounty hunter. So she had a choice. She could take that dead dude’s place, or they could turn her over to the authorities. Asajj was in.
NEXT: We meet the leader of Bossk’s band of bounty hunters. And Simon Pegg lets Phantom Menace bygones be bygones to voice Dengar!
So Bossk took the (decidedly un-adorkable) new girl back to their office where they were planning the job. Embo was seen just leaving with a dog that seems strikingly like Bubastis from The Watchmen. And Dengar, that mummy-wrapped Corellian, was leaning back on a porch-chair with his feet propped up like Henry Fonda’s Wyatt Earp in My Darling Clementine. Bossk took Asajj inside to meet the boss. And it was…a kid? A kid with an incredible bounty hunting pedigree…Boba Fett! Also straight out of prison. Makes you wonder how he got into a position of power so quickly, doesn’t it? Sure, he gained access to his father’s credit-rich bank accounts on Aargau and has maybe picked up a few jobs here and there for Jabba the Hutt. But the most we’ve seen him do of late is start a prison riot and allow the Slave I to be stolen by Hondo Ohnaka. Maybe it’s just out of respect for his father that established bounty hunters like Bossk and Dengar would be willing to follow him?
Ah, yes, I know some of you are going to quibble about Dengar being an active bounty hunter at this point. But I don’t think it breaks existing canon. It just bends it a little. Dengar could still very well have been a rival of Han Solo’s on the swoop racing circuit at this point. Sure, Solo’s probably only about 10 at this time, but young Anakin Skywalker was already a racing legend at that age, right? I know, I know, Dengar was supposed to have been an Imperial assassin before going freelance, blah blah blah. Get over it.
With a team in place of Bossk, Dengar, purple-hued Latts Razzi, the amazing new droid Highsinger, and Ventress, Boba and his new outfit set out in the Hound’s Tooth to a skyhook orbiting a strange, strange world. This was a planet that had a completely pressurized atmosphere, making all aerial travel impossible. So its civilization had developed underground. The bird-beaked Major Rigosso gave them their assignment: they would take the elevators from the skyhook down to beneath the surface of the planet, then protect a valuable shipment being sent across the planet from the marauders who had been trying to take it back—so far Rigosso’s own men had been ineffective. No matter what, they were not to open this box and see what it was they were protecting. “You make the rules, I follow them,” Boba said, which seemed unexpectedly pliant to me. But I suppose Boba’s motto really is “The customer is always right.”
NEXT: Dengar proves those rags aren’t a hindrance in battle.
Dave Filoni & Co. really outdid themselves with this one unbroken Scorsese-style visual that simulated a Steadicam tracking-shot to show where every one of the bounty hunters was on the train. Ventress was to guard the rear. And Dengar was to join her. I loved Simon Pegg’s Johnny Walker-smooth delivery of “Hello, darling. Looks like we’re guarding the back platform together.” Considering that Pegg has been a vocal critic of the prequels, especially The Phantom Menace, it’s pretty awesome to see him not only participate in a Star Wars-related project, but a prequel-era one! Of course, the moment Dengar flirted with Ventress, the marauders immediately boarded the train. Boba put on his new helmet (anyone recognize this particular headgear? I couldn’t place it…) and whipped out his dad’s pistols. Dengar and Ventress were at the front of the fighting, though. Dengar placed miniature thermal detonators on two of the marauders, causing them to blow up. Very Daniel Craig-Era Bond. Even if they only rode centipede-like creatures and wielded vibroblades, the marauders did have sheer numbers going for them, causing Ventress to whip out her lightsabers. Unfortunately, Dengar was quickly knocked off the train. I don’t know about you, but I’ve been waiting a long time to hear Simon Pegg say “Poodoo!”
Bossk went back to help the new girl, but some marauders cut him off, blew some kind of gas in his eyes, and threw him off the train. Latts Razzi and Highsinger were far more successful in dispatching this marauding scum. Latts was using her unique teal-colored tendrils to throw a bunch of them off the train, and Highsinger would go into full scorched-earth mode and just blast the hell out of everything around him while rotating in place. At that moment, though, the leader of the marauders boarded. He proved to be the only capable of evading Latts’ tendrils. He placed an EMP on Highsinger, but it had no effect. Then, Latts accidentally ensnared Highsinger in one of her tendrils and they both fell off the train. That left only Boba and Ventress to protect the shipment.
NEXT: Asajj Ventress and Boba come to blows. This hovertrain just wasn’t big enough for the both of them.
The marauder leader turned to Major Rigosso and said, “I want what’s mine.” Shouldn’t everyone know by now you should never say “Over my dead body”? Most people will take you at your word for that. So the lead marauder threw a vibroblade into his torso. Bye, Rigosso! Of course, Boba was there to prove a more formidable challenge than the bird-beaked wonder. In the course of his fight with the leader, the crate was knocked over and out tumbled a pretty young girl. Boba thought he needed to protect her, but actually the leader of the marauders, Krismo, was her brother! This young girl, Pluma, had been ripped away from her family to become the bride of Rigosso’s warlord, and her brother had been trying to get her back. That meant Boba was basically facilitating human, er, alien trafficking. Boba was also pretty quickly neutralized by Krismo. But there was Ventress yet to contend with. She said that girl meant a lot of money to her, once again being completely insensitive to the suffering of others. She used the Force to subdue Krismo, then tied up these siblings for their delivery to the warlord. The girl, Pluma, said that Asajj must have no idea what it’s like to be ripped away from your family. With Asajj’s back turned to the girl, she stared out the train’s viewport and said, her eyes expressing decades-worth of sorrow, “Actually, I do know.”
Asajj told Boba that she would deliver the cargo to the warlord herself, because no one of any importance would deal with a mere boy. Oh, and she wanted half the bounty. I mean, there were only two of them left, right? So she should get half. Boba was appalled and said, “You have no idea who you’re talking to!” So Ventress Force choked him and said, “Boy…you have no idea who you’re talking to.”
NEXT: Bring me my bride!
So at last, Ventress received an audience with the warlord and delivered him his bride. “Ah ah ah,” Ventress said when he wanted to take possession. Payment first, of course. She got her unmarked credits and took off. But then when the warlord opened the crate, who should be inside waiting to be delivered to the happy groom? A bound-and-gagged Boba! Yes, he was the new bride. Enjoy your wedding night, Boba.
Asajj was willing to turn Pluma back over to Krismo, but for a price. The marauders gave her some more credits and Pluma went back to her family. Somehow this felt like the perfect way for Asajj to do the right thing — under her own intensely self-interested terms.
When she met up with the rest of the posse, now back at the skyhook, she gave them all the credits, minus her cut, and said that Boba was bound to turn up sooner or later. But she was going to go on her way. “What, you’re not good enough for us, anymore?” rasped Bossk. Ventress said she wasn’t like them anymore because now she has something to live for. To be honest, I’m not quite certain what that is. But hey, whatever works, right? At least she has enough money to start a new life.
What did you think of “Bounty,” everyone? Do you also like the growth we’ve seen in Ventress? How did you enjoy Simon Pegg as Dengar? And when the hell is Boba going to become the most fearsome bounty hunter in the galaxy?