This Star Wars Resistance review contains spoilers.
Star Wars Resistance Episode 9
It’s kind of bold for Star Wars Resistance to bring in yet another deeply talented pilot with the knowledge that The Colossus already have five Ace pilots, of which we really only know about one and a half of them (Hype Fazon got some nice development in “The High Tower” but all we know about Torra Doza is that she’s the daughter of Captain Doza and that she’s perky).
It’s a bit frustrating in that everyone we know is either a pilot or wants to be a pilot or was a pilot. This show needs to open up its job pool. Still, there’s a lot of potential in the arrival of Marcus Speedstar, who is poised to have the most Star Wars-ian name to ever Star Wars. Fortunately, it’s called out in a fairly self-aware fashion–it’s a fake name that masks the fact that Marcus is actually Jarek Yeager’s brother.
It’s a reveal that certainly opens up the world of Star Wars Resistance, as well as allow an avenue to develop Jarek a bit further. But, man, they really dropped the ball here. There is some very heavy, dark, and depressing history that is explained to us, but “The Platform Classic” treats it so flippantly, so throwaway, that it’s almost offensive and it kind of makes this, at the emotional level at least, the worst episode so far. The plotting is fine. The animation is fine. The interactions and dialogue and beat-by-eat structure and pacing is fine. But the hollowness in which this episode explores the truth of what happened between Marcus and Jarek is glaring, to the point that it’s kind of… enraging.
Marcus “Speedstar” is a famous and talented pilot/racer who apparently is known throughout the galaxy. He wins the attention of Kazuda, Neeku, and Tam! But Jarek isn’t so won-over, and he eventually reveals that he and Marcus are siblings, and there was a pretty significant falling out between them. This is a fine, if cliche, inciting incident: the discovery of the fallout, the search for why the fallout occurred, the steps taken to mend the relationship. And as the episode develops, a pretty solid explanation for that “why” opens up. Jarek and Marcus were competitive racers, with Jarek being the slightly better one–well, more professional and dedicated at least, while Marcus enjoyed the spotlight, fame, and success.
The bottom line is that Jarek would always beat Marcus when they raced together, and Marcus got so desperate that he used that hyperfuel (remember that whole plotline in “Fuel for the Fire”?) to get an edge. He lost control and caused a large accident in the crowds, and that in and of itself is strong enough to warrant the falling out: the envious use of a dangerous material that caused a lot of harm among innocent people. It makes sense right there and then for Jarek to stop speaking to his brother for years.
But then, “The Platform Classic” begins to overreach. Both Marcus and Jarek start referring to Jarek’s wife and child. It’s dicey, but at first you may think that Jared’s wife left him (with their child) due to the rage or anguish brought forth by that falling out and/or the accident. But it’s worse than that. Jarek’s wife and child were among the fatal casualties of Marcus’ accident.
This is huge.
Like, this is game-changing, shocking, hand-over-your-mouth-to-cover-the-gasp kind of stuff. This is the kind of revelation that would propel the dramatic tension to a whole other level. And I think the show, at some level, recognizes this. But it’s also trapped itself as being an easy-going, chilled action-adventure serial, so it specifically goes out of its way to make such a powerful moment of truth completely toothless and inert.
Marcus’ role in the death of Jarek’s wife and child is treated with the same dramatic tension of, say, using deadly fuel just to win a race over his more skilled brother, and it’s wildly tone-deaf and disingenuous. There’s so much pain here! But the portrayal of this is so flat, with Marcus asking for forgiveness–and expressing annoyance when he doesn’t get it immediately–after indirectly killing Jarek’s family. (Watching the episode again, it’s even more bafflingly tone-deaf; there’s a scene specifically where Marcus expresses a bit of frustration at Jarek for not “helping him through it” even though he trigged the death of Jarek’s family!)
This isn’t helped by the fact that Marcus’ mechanic is held hostage because he owes some characters called Guavians some money. And, well, while normally Marcus needing to desperate beat his brother in the race to save his mechanic is an admirable endeavor on its own, there is just… something in the way Marcus’ pleas to his brother to let him win that suggest that he and his mechanic are more than just partners. That Resistance would even dab its toe into the waters of a maybe-possibly-if-you-squint-you-might-see-it gay relationship is profoundly progressive, but because “The Platform Classic” fails to commit to it, as well as fail to put any weight into Marcus’ role in the death of Jarek’s family, the dramatic and thematic weight of everything never catches hold. What should have been extremely tough, complicated, and powerful acts of guilt, forgiveness, reconciliation, atonement, absolution, and familial outreach just felt.. perfunctory. And in a lot of ways, that’s even worse than just being a bad, bland episode.
The one decent thing in the episode was the race itself. Resistance has always managed to make their aerial action look good, and the “plummet” portion of the race was particularly exciting, with interior rotating shots and excellent visuals of the ships plummeting on fire through the atmosphere. But it’s hard to focus on such small, good elements when such a glaring, painful disclosure is treated like a typical plot point instead of an opportunity to explore a sibling relationship and their pained history without any depth whatsoever. “The Platform Classic” is anything but classic.