This Star Wars Resistance review contains spoilers.
Star Wars Resistance Episode 17
“The Core Problem” is a deeply unessential episode of Star Wars Resistance. It’s probably the most, unfulfilling, throwaway episode of the season. It’s technically not bad, and it does its job, I guess. But it lacks stakes, motivation, explanations, revelations, or purpose. A boring episode isn’t necessarily worse than a bad episode (like the wildly misguided “The Platform Classic,” which gets more and more terrible the more you think about it), but it has its own set of unique problems.
Also, it’s a Kazuda/Poe episode, which are wildly hit or miss (mostly miss though). These episodes never managed to explore why Kaz and Poe (ought to) work well together. Poe is constantly saying he “sees something” in Kaz but that vision never reveals itself on screen. Neither does the thematic idea of Kaz seeing Poe as a mentor, or a replacement for his distant father (a concept the show has never returned to since the pilot). Their rapport seems more like a forced friendship, but the two have little, if any, camaraderie, connections, or chemistry.
It all comes off so perfunctory, so boring, the result of a company mandate to have Poe in these episodes to support the show’s connection to the new trilogy. So that leaves the narrative around them to pull the slack, which rarely does, and this episode may be its worst attempt.
“The Core Problem,” specifically, has two narrative threads to work with: how to get on and off The Colossus with the First Order’s blockade/curfew happening, and what the heck they’re doing out in the farthest reaches of space with all the intel Kaz (and Poe, I guess) has discovered so far. In regards to the former: I don’t know if the show plans to reveal this later in the season or if it’s meant to be this winking running gag, but the show inexplicable lampshades how Poe (and later in the episode, Kaz) sneaks onto the Colossus without showing how.
Poe says at some point that his droid (now Kaz’s), CB-23, knows how, but it’s never shown in action. I think it’s meant as a running gag but it really comes off lazy and unimaginative, especially since one of the show’s highlights is how it stages some of its action or suspense sequences. But maybe that’s for the better: Showing how Poe and Kaz gets off The Colossus undetected is shrug-worthy (they sneak off on the back of cargo ship, which also strains credibility). Neither winking at “the easy part” of sneaking on, or showing how they sneak off, works. Neither thing is interesting. It’s a waste of the entire first act.
The outer space sections are just as mediocre. Kaz and Poe go off to explore the intel and see a number of empty, cored-out planetoids, and as creepy and mysterious as these visuals are, they discover… nothing. There’s a lot of questions, and Kaz and Poe are as confused and lost as the viewers are, and the entire episode just ends without one single moment of clarification.
There’s a gravity well scene as they fly through a cored-out planet and navigate the debris while losing control (which they use against the First Order when chased by them in the third act). There’s a harrowing exploration of what looks like the remnants of a massacred village (the doll that Kaz picks up resembles a Twi’lek, and I didn’t recognize some of the symbols on the buildings, but I wonder if this was a reference to the Ryloth arc from The Clone Wars series?), and some never-before-seen drone attacks them.
Through all those experiences, Poe and Kaz repeatedly ask what’s going on: what happened here, what’s this, what’s that. At the end, we’re no closer to learning! Just the broad idea that the First Order is capable of serious damage, which we knew, or could easily surmise (that’s essentially what Kel and Eila told them!). Poe says at the end that he’s going to tell General Organa everything he learned. What is that, exactly? What did they learn that they already didn’t know?
Anyway the only thing that happens of note is that BB-8 goes back to Poe, and Kaz receives CB-23 in return. Which I guess would be an emotional moment if younger audiences were as attached to BB-8 as the show thinks they are. Other than that, the core problem with “The Core Problem” is that problems aren’t solved. It barely does any table-setting, the characterizations are flat, the visuals and action scenes aren’t interesting, and the revelations are non-existent. It doesn’t even try in the most basic sense, which in many ways is worse than trying and failing.