This Star Wars Resistance review contains spoilers.
Star Wars Resistance Season Episode 12
Well, you can’t really go wrong with utilizing a two-parter (or, multi-parter, as I’m not sure how long they’ll be stretching out this story) to shake things up a bit. As it stands, “The Missing Agent,” isn’t really much of a game-changer, or even that strong of a story to be honest. There’s the usual padding and stalling, but it isn’t particularly egregious for Star Wars Resistance.
It’s mostly a small mystery tale, a soft investigation into the disappearance of a Resistance agent that pulls Kaz, Yeager, and Synara into its orbit. The episode hedges its bets by showing the captor of said agent, and by explaining the reason for the captor’s actions, at the onset–all of which is revealed before the actual first act–which immediately removes most, if not all, of the suspense. But the episode makes up for it by providing a kind of gritty, grounded, noir-ish sensibility–clue-following, and suspect-questioning.
The episode introduces Norath Kev early on, who sends a distress call before being captured by a hulking dude with horns and a weird helmet. He also mentions that he’s capturing Resistance agents to sell out to the First Order for money, so that point is already elucidated. The signal reaches the Colossus, which piques the interest of Kaz and Yeager, whose loose connection to the Resistance doesn’t deter their determination to figure out what’s going on.
They also bring along Synara, which… look, it makes no sense, narrative-wise, why they would bring her. Kaz may have a low-key crush on her, but Yeager has no reason to trust any of the recently muntious pirates. But she’s there specifically because she is essentially the best fighter in the whole established cast, and when her time comes to throw down, it’s a pretty exciting sequence.
But before we get to that, I just want to say something that’s been nagging at me for a while now. Kaz has never, never came off as a legit Resistance spy or agent. I mean, I guess in terms of the show, he is, but he has always, at best, just came off as a UI–a Useful Idiot. I understand that he was recruited by Poe, and at times he has retrieved information for the Resistance, but the show has failed to present the character as a dedicated member of the Resistance–a believer, or a real asset, or a character who has come to slowly embrace his role within the Resistance ranks.
I like Kaz. I like his goofy, can-do attitude, his clumsy determination in stumbling into victory and success (when the show doesn’t overdo it, which it does, often). I can’t buy him as a gung-ho Resistance idealogue, even a fun-loving one, driven by the strong need to stand up to the threat that is the First Order. This season hasn’t once referenced his home world being destroyed by them, for example.
The episode addresses this with the introduction of Norath, an actual Resistance agent that clearly is meant to parallel Kaz in a lot of ways. He’s also somewhat clumsy, not a great fighter, and seems to survive mostly by luck. But he also has a clear, specific objective, as opposed to Kaz’s generic “just find out what you can about the First Order” mission: finding potential First Order contacts within the black market on the planet. We don’t really get a sense of who Norath is, but the episode ends with him and Kaz all on their own after escaping an all out brawl between Synara, Yeager, and Ax Tagrin–the name of the hulking bounty hunter snagging up Resistance spies in exchange for money from the First Order.
“The Missing Agent” on the whole follows a pretty obvious narrative path: Kaz, Yeager, and Synara track the Resistance fighter, they escape Ax, they pressure one of those First Order contacts (an alien an Lechee, voice by Fred Armisen, who gives a charming bit of life to someone who’s probably a throwaway character) to find Norath, they walk into an Ax trap, Kaz and BB-8 bumble into crashing the ship to escape, and then there’s a pretty nifty battle that allows Kaz and Norath to flee.
Those brawls, one between Yeager/Synara and Ax, and an earlier one between just Synara and Ax, are the episode’s highlights. The blocking is a little clunky, but it’s made up by being fairly chaotic and gritty, with blasters shots flying, weapons drawn and swung, and then the use of raw punches and kicks. Star Wars should have more nutty, non-lightsaber battles like this.
The episode ends on a harrowing note: a large green explosion engulfing Synara, Yeager, and Ax, leaving Kaz and Norath helpless on what to do next, with the arrival of the First Order right outside the planet’s atmosphere, and the Colossus relatively helpless as well. It’s the kind of engaging mess that leaves audiences wanting more, less because of any particular engagement in the actual story, but more in the sense of possessing a complex, chaotic cliffhanger. That’s fine. I can’t fully judge this episode until the entire arc is finished, but so far, “The Missing Agent” does the yeoman’s work of a straight-forward, decently-paced story, and I feel like that may be the best that we can get at this point.