This Star Wars Resistance review contains spoilers.
Star Wars Resistance Season 2 Episode 9
“The Voxx Vortex 5000” definitely seems it was meant to be normal, regular season idea that had to be retro-fitted for this final season. Even the title seems like it’s meant to be some kind of epic racing adventure instead of the desperate, little-watched race it ends up being. It kind of feels like an episode that is meant to, in the broadest ways possible, explore the Aces in a bit more detail on the individual level. It’s the longest look we get of the Aces one-by-one, which is still minimal, but at least it’s something.
It’s also an episode that doesn’t quite make sense. The excuse is that the Colossus needs credits to buy supplies, but it doesn’t quite gel with the idea of the Colossus being lost/on the run from the First Order. How can the leadership and defense crew of this ship continually just skip off to random locations, leaving the station-ship so vulnerable? I feel like it could be handled if there were clearer stakes with decisions like this, or more tension in the air when these decisions or made and/or carried out.
The Aces being on edge and at one another’s throats makes plenty sense, but the episode suggests its because they’re itching and desperate to race, which also feels weird. This whole situation seemed to have recalibrated the Aces’ priorities, what with training to defend the base against the First Order, which way more tougher than any pirates or local monsters (whatever happened to those pirates?). Now they’re back to being bored and irritable cause they need to race?
This doesn’t really track, particularly with Torra, who very specifically became a more grounded, level-headed character. This is even more confusing when, later in the episode, she witnesses a potential racer rival collide and explode against an asteroid, and reacts in horror. (Season one Torra was amused by potential crashes and death!) Why suddenly is she so eager to race?
But again, the episode lets the need for credits be the motivator to go off ship and race, which, fine. So they head to Voxx Cluster, where the Hutt Vranki the Blue runs things, who also used to work with Hype in what was a once-bustling, busy casino. The war has killed off attendance (only one other person is seen gambling), so it’s pretty odd that Vranki is so okay with wagering so many credits for a race that no one will watch and therefore bet on.
But I do like that it becomes clearer that Vranki is playing a longer con: basically winning the races by any means necessary, gradually “winning” control and agency over the various Aces (particularly Hype), whose skills and attention would win more people and customers back to Voxx Cluster. It’s relatively clever, and “The Voxx Vortex 5000” plays it cool and lets that plan reveal itself in pieces, which is a strong, entertaining, and welcome way to tell the story. It’s also a bonus to bring in John DiMaggio to voice the character, whose gruff voice maintains a slight edge of wit and menace, making him one of the show’s standout, one-off characters.
So each Ace loses by increasingly more crooked, deceitful, and deadly ways. First the “rival” pilots are revealed to be drones (so that crash Kaz and Torra see early in the episode didn’t kill anyone). Then they attack each pilot. Then hidden blasters fire upon them, and even homing space mines chase them down. It’s wild, and kind of amusing: sure, you know that Vranki is going to cheat somehow, but the cheating is so brazen and forthright that it almost works as bleak comedy.
We also get a smidge of personality from the Aces in each of their races, which is nice, but also a bit too little, too late. It comes across more as narrative time-wasting instead of unique bursts of insight into these characters, but hey–it’s at least something. Neeku “hacks” into the casino’s computer system to help out the Aces during their race–the algorithm that functions inside the casino games somehow relates to the programming of the droid ships and racing traps–but he mostly just calls out when the traps are triggered. He doesn’t do anything to hinder, control, or disable said traps, except for the final one, which is good!
The final race is a relay with Kaz and Torra, which, with the help of Neeku and some decent, smart, and risky flying, they emerge victorious. “The Voxx Vortex 5000” is a fun, relatively simple episode that conceptually strains credibility but at the very least offers a decent bout of tension and excitement, and the new environment is pretty fresh. In a regular season, an episode like this would be totally fine, but with only five episodes to go, it feels like an excursion that takes away from the more interesting stories back on the base.