Star Wars Resistance Season 2 Episode 18 Review: The Escape

Star Wars Resistance ends with a bombastic escape but ultimately fails to provide a reason for the entire series in the first place.

Star Wars Resistance Season 2 Episode 18 The Escape

This Star Wars Resistance review contains spoilers.

Star Wars Resistance Season 2 Episode 18 

And so it goes. Star Wars Resistance ends, not with a bang, but with a series of bangs, a sort of “back to basics” sentiment that does a yeoman’s job of straight-forward, good ol’ fashion Star Wars action. “The Escape” resembles A New Hope more than anything else, with it’s all out breakout from the Star Destroyer, all phasers blasting and ships exploding. It’s not at all deep or clever, it’s not really rewarding in terms of character revelations or developments, and it’s not particularly the best visually or strongest directed episode of the series. But it gets the job done: there’s an immediate conflict, our protagonists have to go through an absurd number of obstacles to overcome said conflict, and they do it. It’s relatively a fun watch all the way through, despite some strained moments of disbelief and plot contrivances.

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That conflict? Rescuing Tam. A few weeks back it kind of looked as if Tam had, more or less, succumbed to the First Order’s whole mentality. Yeager, Kaz, Captain Doza, and Venisa all spoke as if trying to save her was a lost cause–and there was a sense that if anything, “The Escape” would be a heavy and introspective episode about trust, forgiveness, relationships, and all those emotional beats that give these characters life. There’s a brief moment where Yeager and Tam argue about everything that occurred between them, but it’s not only interrupted but it’s never referred to again.

Instead, Tam’s falling out occurs in what is probably the series’ darkest moment: Tierny and Pyre ordering the Star Destroyer to fire upon the Aeosians from “The New World” and “No Place Safe.” We only see the species look up in stunned silence before we cut to the P.O.V. of the Destroyer as it unloads a barrage of shots onto their existence. It’s brutal–made more by when Rucklin laughing his way through it all.

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It’s also stunning in the macro sense: Resistance becoming so violent, even implicitly, feels a bit much (I’m not against it, but it really doesn’t fit the vibe of the show). But since it’s the end, why not? Also disturbing? Kylo Ren’s appearance and his Force-forcing of Tierny and Pyre to aim their blasters at each other. It’s a waste of a cameo, really (they couldn’t even get Adam Driver to call in a quick few VO reads), and he demands nothing but the destruction of the Colossus, which they were doing anyway.

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Tam freaks out after watching this massacre, although we don’t really get to see much of her emotional reckoning here. Still, she’s morally sound enough to recognize she’s in over her head, and uses some quick thinking to both send out a communication to the Colossus and a way to slide out of training session to hightail it out of there. Of course both come back to bite her: Tierny discovers the missing communicator, and Tam has to shoot down her fellow First Order agents (and knockout Rucklin) when they open fire on Kaz and Yeager. It’s actually the strongest scene in the entire episode.

Kaz and Yeager gazing out along the horizon of Castilon while relaxing on the old, grim-covered racing ring; the exciting low-angle visuals of the TIE Fighters jetting around and blasting at each other while Kaz and Yeager are helpless and vulnerable; the explosions and plumes of water as the Star Destroyer blast at them when Kaz, Yeager, and Tam try to escape. Heck, even the short reunion of the three on top of the racing ring itself is a nice moment, all hugs, smiles, arguments, and pleasantries. Everything that occurs on this planet, where it all began, is by far Resistance at its quiet, specific, low-key best.

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Then the rest of the episode happens – and to be very fair: it’s not all bad. It’s pretty good in some places! The escape shuttle that Kaz, Yeager, and Tam are on get caught in the Star Destroyer’s tractor beam and they’re sucked onboard it, but they escape with a nifty and ballsy maneuver–setting it to self-destruct. Once it explodes, we’re off to the races! What follows is a long, elaborate and straightforward shootout/chase sequence, mostly with Tam, Yeager, and Kaz doing whatever they can to survive and escape. Laser shots fire everywhere, with Yeager being the best shot I’ve seen since Han Solo. There’s nothing really specific or notable about all of this to be honest–it’s purely mechanical, plot-driven action. Nothing visually or animation-wise sticks out either, although Tam does give Rucklin a solid and worthy punch to his smug face, which is satisfying, especially after his attitude earlier in the episode.

All of this leads to Tam, Yeager, and Kaz warning the Colossus about the Star Destroyer coming to finish their base/ship off, and this is where the episode, and the show as a whole, starts to wobble on its shaky, rushed ground. For one thing, Doza has never asked the people of the Colossus what they wanted before, so gathering them now for their thoughts about mounting a rescue seems suspect, if understandable. Broadly speaking, though, it makes their shift from wanting to avoid conflict to staying and fighting way too sudden and random, even after Tam’s honest admission of her decision and her request for forgiveness.

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The lack of any historical or social insight or development in the populace of the Colossus–what they think of any of this–makes everything in this moment seem rushed. The Star Destroyer vs. Colossus space battle is also fun and intense, but nothing particularly stands out, and, weirdly enough, Bo Keevil doesn’t even get a moment to shine or speak. (If you’re asking who the heck is Bo, well… ). And perhaps most ridiculous of all, it seems insane that at this point, Tierny and Pyre fail to account for CB-23 again, considering how often this little ball droid has actually, genuinely saved the day.

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Here, he somehow manages to shut down the entire shield capabilities of the Star Destroyer from a single random port, which feels like an incredible security flaw that’s even worse that the one on top the Death Star. Yet it allows the Aces to take out said Destroyer’s engines, which destroys the ship entirely. Kylo Ren makes an appearance at the end to choke Tierny for their failure, but it’s a bizarre moment because… what does it matter at this point? Everyone on the ship–Tierny, Pyre, even Rucklin (who Tam saved earlier in the episode mind you)–is now dead.

In the end, Neeku, Yeager, Tam, and Kaz reunite at Aunt Z’s. It’s a quiet, nice moment, played with no sound, but even during this heartfelt moment, it raises the question of this show’s entire purpose. It never really ended up being about Doza or Kaz joining the Resistance or committing to fighting the First Order. At best, they let the real Resistance fighters use their ship, and they ostensibly stood up to the particular First Order team that was tracking them. But in the bigger scheme of things, where can one earnestly position Star Wars Resistance in the bigger Star Wars saga?

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I’ve mentioned before that the current trilogy struggled to solidify its core purpose, its New Republic/First Order/Resistance factions failing to actually be something other than facsimiles of the previous trilogies (say what you will about the prequels and Star Wars Rebels, but the work was put in to make them feel complex, purposeful and relevant, even at their most flawed). Resistance pegged itself as a unique outlier, a more tongue-in-cheek show in which its protagonist lucked his way into adventure and success–a fun, goofball, plucky take on this whole franchise.

Heck, the end of the first season, with the Colossus base revealing itself to be a massive ship, was the kind of nutty and bold undertaking that suggested some pretty unique directions the show could go. But its second season squandered that potential. What began as an almost-desperate “lost in space” saga became a grab bag of tropes and Star Wars iconography. Potential new characters were never referenced again (Nena from “The Engineer”) or wasted (Mika Grey, who props up in a few random shots in the end but doesn’t even speak, let alone do anything).

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So even if “The Escape” was indeed a series of bangs, Star Wars Resistance itself felt more like a whimper, a tossed-aside blip on the overall scheme of all things Star Wars. I doubt anyone on this show will stand out like Ahsoka, and with a new season of Clone Wars coming in a few weeks, I feel like we’ll all forget about this show as that show’s final season tell its tales of galactic warfare. This episode may be four stars, but that’s a generous grade, mostly due to the commitment to its story, without too much in terms of force comedy, narrative leaps, and dumb character decisions. Star Wars Resistance is probably worthy of two stars, and it two stars does not a galaxy make–even a far, far away one.

Rating:

4 out of 5