This Star Wars Resistance review contains spoilers.
Star Wars Resistance Season 2 Episode 16
At this point, the best one can ask for is for Star Wars Resistance to provide a straight-forward, entertaining, tense episode. We’re far too late for depth of characterization, thematic explorations, or expanding the Star Wars lore/mythology in novel or unique ways. So when an episode occurs that just has some one-dimensional but honest emotion, a bit of self-reliant tension, and an all-out, well-executed action sequence, I consider it a win.
“No Place Safe” is kind of an odd episode, as it posits itself as “final” episode in the first act, a kind of isolated, low-key space thriller in the second act, and then an all out aerial battle in the final one. It’s kind of chaotic, and in some ways, messy. But it sort of works because each act is razor-focused on the small story it’s telling. The characters act relatively as they should, and the humor feels more off-the-cuff than forced. Each act could work as a full episode on its own. But Star Wars Resistance has struggled with really engaging with a singular story without excessive silliness, clear logic, or consistent characterization (which is frustrating because on occasion the show has proven it can do it, like in “The Engineer” and “From Beneath,” this season’s strongest episodes). So watching “No Place Safe” do its thing is comforting.
The first act is Kaz saying goodbye to everyone as he decides that he wants to join the Resistance. It’s a weird early beat because, as I’ve mentioned before, Kaz has never quite seemed like a character who would commit to the Resistance. But this episode does a lot of work setting the mood so that it actually seems plausible: more grounded, earnest line-readings from Christopher Sean, the late afternoon lighting/atmosphere, the dialogue more serious and focused. For a moment, it seems like Kaz IS leaving, and the various goodbyes he gives to everyone–Doza, Torra, Yeager, Neeku, even Bucket–feel honest, raw, and powerful. Even Neeku’s over-reactions and excessive hugging feel right. Torra provides the most emotional goodbye, responding with anger and hurt, before quickly accepting the truth, providing a light punch in Kaz’s arm for good measure. It’s genuine, and works as well as a send-off as this show could muster.
The second act has Kaz’s ship disabled right outside the planet’s atmosphere. The First Order sent a bunch of probes to find the Colossus and one of them catches and fires up the Fireball. Kaz has to maneuver around those shots, eventually turning the attacks upon the probe itself and destroying it–although the blowback disables his ship and his droid. Again, it’s all straight-foward. The brief battle is a nice, basic thrilling moment of a sudden aerial fight, followed by a very downplayed, Gravity-esque concept of Kaz needing to repair his droid and the ship, and rocket back to the planet to warn of the First Order’s presence. It’s not a particularly tense moment, but it does have stakes, and Kaz, impersonating Yeager in a stupidly goofy way, does use his wits and knowledge to get back down to the planet’s surface.
And then there’s the third act, which contains some good old-fashioned flying, shooting, and aerial acrobatics. It’s nice to be able to watch some of the sequences that look inspired for once; there are a neat couple of shots where Hype dive bombs but pulls up right above the water as an enemy crashes behind him, wakes and waves splashing around beautifully.
There’s also one kind of… strange moment that I suppose more avid Star Wars fans could explain as well. While it’s a bit inexplicable how Kaz had a clean run/shot to the bridge of the Star Destroyer (raising practical questions as to why this isn’t done more often, raising moral questions over how casually Kaz seem to be willing to commit murder), would it even be strong enough to actually cause damage? Isn’t the bridge as shielded as the rest of the ship? Even more so? It’s a beat that doesn’t track with what we know about Star Wars in general.
It’s also a question that doesn’t get answered as Tam makes a sudden move to disrupt Kaz’s shot towards the bridge, severely damaging her ship in the process. This is an interesting development; we spent most of the season waiting and wondering when Tam and Kaz/Yeager would be able to hash out their falling out, and reunite the team again. It still could happen. Yet there is a sense that… perhaps too much time has passed between the two sides.
After the Colossus warps away at the last second again (although to be fair, it’s probably the most tense this trope has felt in a while), Tam is promoted for her near-sacrifice and flying skills; Yeager pointedly tells Kaz that Tam may be gone for good. There’s three more episodes to go, and not much more can happen in the long-term, but if Resistance digs its heels and solidifies this dissolution of once-friends, it will be the boldest thing the show has done. We’ll see!