This Star Wars Resistance review contains spoilers.
Star Wars Resistance Episode 5
“The High Tower” is mostly table setting. But it’s efficient table setting. It’s actually remarkable how the episode sets up a new character, two character relationships and histories, a new locale, a clearer contrast between the upper-crest Aces and the lower-caste… non-Aces, and a bit more on the First Order’s role in everything that has happens. It’s a lot, and it also kind of suggests why Kazuda is still coming off as a bit of a flat character.
Star Wars Resistance is more interested in this world than him (although it didn’t quite show that hand in its first two episodes). And while I would like to see more going on with Kazuda as a character beyond his waffling among the duties of being a pilot/mechanic/spy, his sort of blind confident and naiveté sort of makes him charming, as long as he stops trying to show off. And his clumsiness creates a decent amount of comedy as well as the kind of narrative contrivances that sort of makes this show works on its own.
A series of blackouts on The Colossus have everyone grumbling, especially in contrast to the always-lit Tower where the Aces and the boss, Captain Doza, reside. Two things are interesting here. One is the layered frustration that feels evident among the The Colossus regulars, mostly spoken through Tam and her clear resentments at how much better the Aces got it. Generally, the resentments are tempered due to the Aces and all the work they put into servicing The Colossus (protecting it from attacks, guiding in cargo/fuel ships, etc.), but Tam voices the frustrations nonetheless.
But there’s another layer: she and the leader of the Aces, Hype Fazon, (who is clearly arrogant but otherwise seems like a really cool guy), clearly have had history. It seems like Hype abandoned Tam when he became an Ace, but also there’s hints of a maybe-broken romance. (Small detail: Hype’s expression when he sees Tam changes slightly to what looks like regret, before jumping back into his general cockiness.) It clouds her opinion, but it still represents a clear sense of the separations between “us and them”. Also? Between this and what we learned about Jaeger last week, there’s more going on with them and the Aces that looks to be rather intriguing.
We also finally get to see the actual tower where the Aces reside! Feeling guilty on how he treated Tam in the past, he invites her and Kazuda up into their world, with its pristine white walls, better food and very-clearly, always-on lights. Again, the contrasts between the well-off and not-so-well-off is kept to visuals and attitudes, some of the franchise’s best uses of nuances in a while (I liked The Last Jedi a lot, but this show is doing the whole “rich vs. poor” thing much better.)
We also meet Captain Doza, a stoic, intriguing man who doesn’t really stand out, but despite residing in the upper echelons of The Colossus, he seems to have the best interests of the base at heart. At least, he’s doing the wrong thing for the right reasons: talking with the First Order about protection from the pirates and ensuring safe passage of future supply ships. We know the First Order is working with said pirates. And we definitely get the sense Doza knows, too. But while acting tough, he may know he’s out-matched; the best pilots can’t compete with a whole organization.
And yet, there’s Kazuda, who is a sort of a wild card among all these established dynamics. He still is a bit on the silly side but also possesses a keen ability to think on his feet (using the new com to eavesdrop on the conversation between Doza and the First Order), and a sloppy but athletic-and-lucky skill set. Watching Kazuda run along the outside walls of the Colossus, almost falling but adjusting himself and still making some great leaps (I really love the detail of him rubbing his hand against the wall to keep some level of balance) was weirdly thrilling.
It is even fun to watch the tavern eventually cheer him on, after originally take bets on his death. There’s something to that though. The people of The Colossus, so used to fights, blackouts, and the casual deaths of others, who usually only find solace in the races above their heads and out of reach, are beginning to have a distorted but distinct sense of “hope” towards some random kid who they were willing to kill some time earlier. Could things be starting to change? Could they finally be opening their eyes and maybe thinking about something more?
The most impressive thing about “The High Tower” is how all these random parts fit together, even though some dialogue bits seem a bit clunky and some of the comedy still feel forced. Neeku, for example, is still less a character and more of a comedy machine, and while the scene where Neeku misinterprets what Kazuda means when he says he wants to “see what’s up” is amusing, it’s seems to be the only real type of joke they can cull from him. (I’m still not sure what he does on The Colossus!) But otherwise, there’s enough set-up here to suggest a kind of fun, chaotic, and exploratory season to come.
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