This Star Wars Resistance review contains spoilers.
Star Wars Resistance Episode 14
I don’t know why it took so long since…. let’s say, “Fuel for the Fire,” for Star Wars Resistance to finally provide an intriguing, exciting, and fun episode, but they manage it here in “The Doza Dilemma.” There’s a bit of some heavy lifting that needs to be done, mostly with bolstering Synara’s stock as a character and somehow placing her within the trust circle of friendship between Kazuda, Tam, and Torra. But once the episode wriggles through that clunkiness, it manages a straight-forward, high-stakes adventure, with some last minute twists that will go to further complicate things between all the disparate characters and factions developed so far.
“The Doza Dilemma” manages to pull Synara into the orbit of Kaz, Tam, and Torra merely because of Torra, whose bubbly, endearing personality allows Synara in with little resistance. What’s interesting is that these personalities, despite being one note, are disparaging enough to make the interplay and interactions among them work surprisingly well. Tam just tossing insults at Kaz is boring. But placed against her easy-going friendship with Torra, it has a more joking, elbow-ribbing camaraderie to it. Torra bringing Synara along is a part of that–just a friendly gesture by someone who approaches mystery, danger, or any uniquely new situation with a optimistic, devil-may-care attitude.
Synara is certainly wracked with guilt, pulled between Kragan and the burgeoning, platonic feelings that she’d developing for everyone, but she channels that through a certain quiet, awkwardness within the new setting, and it fits her character. And then there’s Kaz, the overall goofball who unwittingly pulls everyone together. There’s also deep, lightly-touched-upon layers of romanticism going on between Kaz, Torra, and Synara (I think you could argue Tam, too, if you use fan-fiction levels of logic). But as the four play that objectively-terrible video game together, it’s genuinely and weirdly complex, adorable, and… kind of sweet. (I have to keep telling myself that they’re all ultimately just kids.)
Narratively speaking, the episode also lampshades things to get the plot going. I mean, the pirates need access to the tower to implement their plan, and Torra not only invites Synara up, but happily provides her with access codes? Again, it fits Torra’s character, but it also strains credibility. The episode smartly rushes through those points, though, just to get to the main thrust of the episode, and it’s delightfully tense. That tension is played off Synara’s lack of clarity with the pirates’ plan, which is layered on top of her wavering allegiance. Sneaking the pirates into the tower allows her to at least straddle the line, but when it’s revealed that they’re planning to kidnap Torra, she forced to make a choice. (It helps that Kragan has already more or less dropped Synara from their ranks, essentially stringing her along just for tower access, playing off her wavering loyalties up until the point they can discard her).
What follows then is a straight-forward, but well-conceived and narratively logical set of beats. The pirates take Torra, and Kaz races off in the junky Firebird to try and save her as Synara alerts Captain Doza of the kidnapping. The Aces and Kaz fly off to save her, and they eventually witness the full regalia of the pirate ship emerging from the sea fog, and it is pretty breathtaking. Star Wars Resistance is clearly limited in how it can execute senses of scale and amazement, but the show’s third acts clearly indicate the show can showcase moments of awe, which are infinitely more fun and exciting than exaggerated and forced moments of humor. And the comic bits are best performed incidentally than said forced moments: Kaz flopping hard after literally running into Synara is funnier than BB-8 rolling over Kaz’s foot, which also falsely inflates the tension of that specific scene to boot.
But the biggest twist is yet to come, as when the First Order arrives, presumably to take Torra themselves. Instead, they open fire on the pirates–the pirates they were supposedly working with–and “rescue” Torra instead. Paralleling the pirates “using” Synara, the First Order used them, scapegoating them as the enemies they fought off to win even more favor from the Captain. In retrospect it’s all fairly predictable, but “The Doza Dilemma” pulls it off, partly by providing a sharply executed episode, but also partly because of the audience’s lowered expectations of the previous mediocre episodes. Captain Doza still smartly is suspicious of the First Order, as they seem to be forcing their “help” onto the captain now (he didn’t agree to their help but they’re leaving a security detail for him anyway), and Kaz is also suspicious of the whole situation (it’s odd that the First Order was allowed to land on the pirate ship in the first place).
But the neatest moment occurred in the final scene between Kaz and Synara, whose conversation is filled with subtext. Kaz realizes that Synara is a pirate or working for them, and Synara recognizes that Kaz, for the most part, figured that out. Yet deeper still, both of them realizes that their burgeoning friendships and trust has all but eroded. There’s a lot of tension and dilemmas up in the air now, beyond “The Doza Dilemma,” and here’s hoping the season can ride that out to a solid conclusion.
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