This Star Wars Resistance review contains spoilers.
Star Wars Resistance Episode 8
“Synara’s Score,” for some reason, isn’t really about Synara. It’s about Tam. But it’s not really about Tam. Sure, she connects with Synara to the point that our mechanic tells her about what essentially trapped her, both on The Colossus and in life, but the information she reveals is fairly perfunctory.
Suzie McGrath sells Tam’s distraught backstory well enough, but there isn’t anything specific about it that’s revealed to really deepen the character. He father was a racer and she moved from planet to planet, like a military brat. She tried her hand at racing as well. She made a bet that she would win, and put her ship down as collateral. She lost the bet, ad therefore she lost her ship. And now she’s working as a mechanic until she can acquire another one.
We already knew about half the story, and the second half tells us little about the extent of the struggle Tam may have gone through in losing the bet. (There’s an implication that she didn’t really want to be a racer like her father, but it’s ambiguous, and little is revealed that suggest really how she feels about all that). I like the idea that Tam may have took the loss in stride, but it would be good to get an idea of that, too.
This is an episode that just… functions. It has all the requisite beats that Resistance has established since the pilot but is slowly starting to overuse (acquiring a missing part that’s really rare; silly if unnecessary side comedy; a decent, chaotic climax that’s exciting but lacking real tension), but it also has a curious lack of focus. It isn’t clear, for example, how Synara wiggled her way into becoming a scavenger (which looks like a specific job on The Colossus, as opposed to a broad hobby anyone can do), nor is it quite clear why Tam ever-so-slightly cozies up to Synara. Sure, the pirate spy provides the part they need, and tosses a few pot shots at Kazuda, but it doesn’t seem like Tam and Synara are on the same level at all. Not enough is divulged in either person’s history to suggest they’re building up to be friend-friends.
The connection moment is supposed to occur when the two talk in the middle of the episode, when Tam leaves with Synara in order to distract her from noticing their super-secret project about repairing the laser guidance systems. (An aside: would such a serious project be handed off to these guys? Yeager and his motley crew don’t seem like the kind of people that would be trusted with such a task, unless that was the point?) On paper, Tam and Synara becoming friends, connecting over mutual tough lives, seems like a good idea (especially, at a narrative level, the fact that Synara will be faced with the choice whether to betray Tam or not, and what Tam’s reaction might be upon finding out the truth about Synara).
But The Colossus is filled with people with tough lives. Not enough time is spent between them to make their specific, budding friendship viable. Watching Tam risk her life to try and find and rescue Synara comes across more like an excuse to watch Tam be badass, versus accepting what the two now see in each other. Synara asks why Tam risks her life for her, and Tam says its because they’re friends, but little in the episode suggest they are. There isn’t even enough to satisfy any potential shippers.
On the Kazuda front, there’s nothing much happening here either, although I kind of like that the character is pushed to the background here (along with the Aces)… except when he’s not. The third act brings him and Yeager front and center again in a rather cool, goofy action scene in which the two have to fight off pirates on a tiny speeder while simultaneously forcing that large, newly-fixed guidance system into place. I
t has the kind of absurd, chaotic action that Resistance is fairly strong with (the fight referencing both various Han Solo fights and Indiana Jones’ infamous tank fight), possessing both a solid handle on humor and danger. Even though they’re victorious, the increased pirate attacks force Captain Doza’s hand. He contacts the First Order to request their assistance, deepening the echelons of power into the literal and metaphorical dark side.
“Synara’s Score” has elements of a fine episode but it’s too unfocused to matter. What, exactly, is “Synara’s score”? It’s never explained, and you can hardly count “friendship” as something Synara “won”. We know slightly more about Tam, but nothing particularly notable. And we take a deeper step into danger, with Doza desperate for First Order help (who recognizes, at some level, the connection between them and the pirates, but feels trapped with limited options) and the (pretty obvious) reveal that there’s more spies aboard The Colossus whose agendas are more than suspect. It’s the most significant piece of development this episode offers, since the characters are too trapped in service to the plot, and little else.