This Star Wars Resistance review contains spoilers.
Star Wars Resistance Season 2 Episode 15
During the cold open of “The New World,: Kaz works on the Fireball, and as he finishes, he heads off to find a new stabilizer. At this point it must be an inside joke.
It’s ironic that James Cameron’s Avatar was on TV the same day I watched “The New World.” There may be more Avatar films on the way but it isn’t clear how much more story can be ripped out from a basic conflict between a native species and their hostile and/or misunderstood colonizers. “The New World” is probably the clearest example of this as well, as it posits a safe haven for the people of the Colossus, but also primes them as an existential threat to the original inhabitants, the Aeosians. It’s a tale as old as time, and if you were expecting Star Wars Resistance to add, explore, or develop anything new or interesting with it, well, prepare to be disappointed.
Retelling cliched stories, at the very least, usually allow the writers to have fun with the set-up or explore the characters a bit more deeply. They don’t do much with the former here, although the art direction team and background artists should take a bow: the planet’s surface, with its clear oceans, purple mountain ranges, and especially wondrous sunset, is honestly breathtaking.
The story itself though leaves a lot to be desired–and sometimes feels a bit off with the characterizations. It’s odd that Doza would be so eager to settle down on an uncharted, brand new planet; he’s somewhat skeptical, but not enough that matches the previously cautious Doza we’ve seen. That trait is given to Kaz, for some reason, and he’s the one that’s usually willing to go all in on bad or questionable ideas.
The episode pairs Kaz with Griff, providing one of the Aces an attempt at development, but mostly squanders it by 1) reiterating what we already know and 2) using him to mostly throw more shade on Kaz. We know that Griff left the First Order, but up until now we never knew why. He reveals it here: he left with Doza, who convinced him of their evil. This is… suspect. We have never seen Doza and Griff interact at any level. Griff’s deep loyalty to Doza doesn’t make sense; it would have been much stronger to keep the character as an anti-social hardass who’s quietly but determinedly trying to atone for his past sins. Tying him to Doza is wholly unnecessary.
Yet despite the cliche set-up and the poor “development” of Griff, you can sort of enjoy the episode and especially its visual acumen. The Colossus lands and the Aces run reconnaissance. Kaz discovers an old Rebellion base but he and Griff are captured by the Aeosians, who think they’re the Empire (or First Order, the time frame isn’t clear) that hurt them before. They’re ordered to be eaten by some unseen monster while other Aeosians troops assault the Colossus itself (in the most knock-off-Avatar scene in the entire episode).
Yeager tries to maintain some control of de-escalation, even though it’s visual nonsense that spear-wielding creatures could go toe-to-toe with laser-blasting droids. Kaz temporarily escapes the Aeosians’ clutches to heal a sick/injured native, which causes the Queen to change her mind and stand down all hostilities. It’s cute, quaint, predictable, and not at all complex.
There’s a slightly random bit in which Kaz pontificates first to Doza, then to Yeager, about the flaw in the overall decision about landing in a peaceful, out-of-the-way world and avoiding a fight with the First Order. There’s something to this, which I think will be explored more in the second episode, but it just feels odd coming from Kaz, who, as I mentioned previously, never quite feels like a character that has become more engaged and dedicated to the Resistance cause. He’s not a fighter and doesn’t necessarily need a reason or motivation to fight, but maybe that’s the point: fighting for the mere sake for freedom against fascist groups doesn’t need a personal or specific reason. I wish the show would just clarify this though.