Star Wars Resistance Episode 18 Review: The Disappeared

Star Wars Resistance continues more table-setting plotting, but at least this episode sets up for the endgame.

Star Wars Resistance Episode 18
Disney XD

This Star Wars Resistance review contains spoilers.

Star Wars Resistance Episode 18

Star Wars is anything but subtle, but with so many people out there who fail to grasp the parallels, “The Disappeared” has Stormtroopers bursting into taverns and forcing them to display very ominous, very Nazi-like military propaganda on the counter.

It’s red and glowing, depicting three “proud” First Order soldiers standing in a row, with the clarion call to others to join, to be a part of something bigger. You really can’t get more clear than that. The only thing that Star Wars Resistance failed to do was introduce these kinds of visuals earlier, to really get the sense of the First Order’s slowly overpowering, suffocating, dangerous presence.

The background stuff is finally starting become the foreground stuff. Things are getting ugly and complicated, and they are now elements that’s driving the story and various character motivations. It’s still very wonky (there’s still three other Aces that have yet to do anything), but the germs of an overarching idea is starting to form.

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No more goofy one-offs running a shop or Poe excursions that, shocker, reveal the First Order are bad hombres. We now see them actually being bad hombres to people we know and ostensibly care about, and the actual people on The Colossus are doing something instead of random fist-shaking.

I think that there’s something to the arguments that are developing among Kaz, Tam, and Neeku that feel, if not realistic, then relevant. Kaz is antagonistic, obviously, but Tam is still stubbornly pro-First Order, even as their rights and freedom (and races) are being taken away. Neeku is still playing a wishy-washy centrist role, with no clear preference either way.

further Reading: How Star Wars Resistance Tells Unique Stories

It might be frustrating to see those latter two characters fail to be alarmed in any way by the aggressive behavior and tactics of the First Order, even after they’ve heard about what happened to Kel and Elia, and witness what they do to Hype and his ship, and how they treat the actual Captain of the The Colossus, and the fact that people are literally disappearing despite the facade of the First Order supposedly protecting people. But people refusing “to get it” is pretty clearly reflective of our contemporary environment, isn’t it? Again, Star Wars is anything but subtle.

“The Disappeared” is still a kind of sloppy episode in how it tells its story, with some early focus on Hype as the races are shut down and they impound his ship, before he disappears. Then Aunt Z suddenly becomes a prominent character, loudly voicing her complaints and protests against the First Order’s behavior and propaganda before she disappears (which makes me wish that we got see her developed a bit more, especially at the end when she says she has a friend off world that could help them).

Then we follow Kaz and Torra as they investigate what happened to Hype and Aunt Z, but this occurs in the middle of the episode. Yet we don’t really get to following their investigation, which would properly build suspense; the episode instead cuts to Hype, Aunt Z, and two other “captured” people to show where they are and what’s happening to them, mostly for the gag of Aunt Z climbing on top of Hype. It’s not a smooth narrative transition, particularly since Aunt Z, as mentioned, is underdeveloped until now. But it does make the overall threat of the First Order feel more real, so… baby steps?

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The episode ends with a small fight as Kaz, Torra, Hype, and Aunt Z battle the Stormtroopers, with the heroes’ dumb luck winning out again. It’s relatively silly, but the dynamic is interesting, with Hype inadvertently joining Aunt Z to meet with what I assume to be a part of the Resistance. It’s unexpected for sure, and it would be bold if the show played down the role of the “Aces” for something grander.

At least there are stakes now, the conflicts directly on the surface, and the tension reaches its peak by ending with Kaz, Tam, Neeku and Yeager all captured by the First Order. I have no idea what’s going to happen next, which is something you always want for your endgame. Star Wars Resistance just needs to tighten up its narratives considerably to really pull something out from its own wishy-washiness.

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Kevin Johnson is a writer who loves cartoons and animation. He has written for The AVClub and Topless Robot, and has more content at his own blog here. You can also follow him on Twitter.

Rating:

2.5 out of 5