Resistance Season One Rewatch: Blue Collar Star Wars

I wanted to do something I haven’t done before for a Filoniverse show. I didn’t do this for Clone Wars or Rebels when they were running. But with season two on the way this fall, I wanted to give a rewatch to Star Wars Resistance.

There are several reasons why I wanted to do this, but it really boils down to how I felt personally about the show so far. I originally felt that the first half was slow and rough while the second half was solid, one of the best opening seasons for a Filoniverse show. Now with an entire season under my belt, I wanted to give it a second look to see if I felt the same way.

And a lot of my views of the first half have changed knowing what was to come. It still has a lot of flaws, but it’s a very solid show the entire way through. I can see how it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. There are parts where it’s not mine (looking at you, “The Triple Dark”). Overall though, it’s a really great performance in story, cast, crew, and animation.

Blue Collar Star Wars

What I love most about Resistance is something I’ve been calling “Blue Collar Star Wars.” What I mean by that is that this show focuses on the everyday people and how the big story lines of the movies affect them. Rebels got into this more than Clone Wars did, but Resistance really makes it shine. I keep thinking back to episodes of Clone Wars where Anakin, Ahsoka, and Obi-Wan would roll up to some little village, save the day, and then leave. Resistance is like if we stayed with that village and gave it an entire series. It’s about how these huge intergalactic wars, these battles between good and evil affect the everyday person.

The series isn’t about any Skywalkers. Sure, Leia’s in it, but it’s not focused on her. It’s not about Jedi and Sith. It’s about normal people. We have Kaz, a senator’s son roped into the Resistance as a spy, getting sent to the Colossus, the refueling station the majority of the season is set on. I lovingly call the Colossus by “The QuikTrip” in case that pops up in this piece. But Kaz is sent to the QuikTrip where people live, work, and exist. He learns about their daily lives, he has to have a job as a mechanic, and he becomes part of this city.

This is where Resistance shines. We see what happens through Kaz and the citizens on the Colossus when the Resistance and First Order start coming into their lives. We see how the First Order systematically invade these people’s home. We see them try to control Aunt Z’s Cantina. They try to dictate the Colossus’ safety as well as the entertainment when stormtroopers ground the Aces, the pilots that protect and race at the station. The war comes to their doorstep, and these people have their way of life completely disrupted.

Which is one of the most exciting things I’m looking forward to in season two. These people aren’t trained fighters. Their cantina owners, janitors, marketplace kiosk owners, mechanics, and scavengers. Now, their home is literally dragged into a war they don’t really care about, know about, and now they will have to make a choice. Will these regular people go out and fight in this bigger conflict? Will the little old lady who hits on Kaz join the fight? Will Orka or Flix? Will Bolza Grool, the Gorg salesman, want to fight? And if they don’t, what will they do with all of these people they’ve literally dragged into this conflict?

This is where Resistance really gets things right for me. I remember talking on Twitter with someone about how he thought the show doesn’t move the bigger story forward. If you’re watching the show to see how it moves plots forward in the movies, then I can see how this is a valid argument. But if you’re looking for a show that showcases the normal people, how these big movie wars affect their lives, and how they respond to it, then Resistance is perfect for you.

This is a character driven show, not a plot driven show (as of yet).

The Lack of Force Users

There has been some mention of Force users in Resistance. Kylo Ren has been name dropped. Eila, one of the children from Tehar, seems to have some kind of Force Sensitivity through dreams. But for the most part, there aren’t Force users in Resistance in the traditional sense like Jedi or Sith.

When I watched Clone Wars and Rebels, I always liked the episodes where the Jedi weren’t the main focus. I enjoyed seeing Hera and Sabine work together. Same with Padme or Bail Organa. The Force has always been part of Star Wars, but I always enjoyed those episodes about people who didn’t have it.

Then came Resistance where pretty much the entire season minus the Kylo naming and hints about Eila had no Force whatsoever. When I first watched the season, I was a bit torn on this point. I liked it, because it was new for Star Wars. But I kept feeling like there was something missing. I realized when I was waiting week by week for the show, I was missing those Force elements that make Star Wars what it is.

Which is where Resistance works much better when binge watching the season. I didn’t find myself missing that element of the story as much the second time through. I went back to how refreshing and new the story felt without the Force controlling and dictating much of the story. The podcast Skytalkers summed it up really well in their episode for “Synara’s Score.” In the episode, Kaz and Yeager have to install a massive targeting computer in the middle of the battle. It gets jammed when it’s installed incorrectly. The thing is so heavy that Kaz can’t shove it into place. Yeager ends up ramming the computer in with his repulsorlift.

Skytalkers pointed out that the moment would have been so easy if a Force user was there. If it had been an episode of Clone Wars, someone like Anakin could just use the Force to put the computer back in place in seconds. But with no Force users, Kaz and Yeager had to use their strength, wit, and ingenuity to get the computer installed. It added drama in the middle of the episode as well as helped the characters to think on their feet in a tough situation.

Watching these normal people having to problem solve what would be easy situations for a Jedi is part of the reason I love Resistance as much as I do.

The Colossus

I love the QuikTrip.

I love it so much. The Colossus is just a wonderful location. It’s so diverse with the population. I always want more aliens showcased in Star Wars (where is my Star Wars movie/tv show where it’s majority aliens?). There are so many different kinds of people there that it’s visually wonderful to look at. It’s a slice of the greater Star Wars galaxy, even introducing new species like the Gozzo, which the character Flix is part of.

The actual station itself is beautiful to look at with its surrounding ocean and wide sunrises and sunsets. The market is bright and vibrant. The hallways are dark, especially in engineering and the lowest levels. Doza Tower is white and pristine. Aunt Z’s Cantina has so much personality. The station is clearly lived in, worn, and a character of its own.

There’s also a social commentary built up on the station, showcased in the episode “The High Tower.” The lower level characters like Yeager and his mechanics, Aunt Z, the marketplace, and Flix and Orka struggle to get by and make a living. Meanwhile, the Aces and Captain Doza live in Doza Tower with power, food, clean rooms, and at least two lounges that we’ve seen. The Colossus sets up many storytelling beats throughout the season when lower class characters get to go up to the Tower or when Torra, one of the Aces, go down among the common people.

It’s all portrayed so well in the show.

Friendships

One of my biggest pet peeves in media is when you have a guy and a girl character in a show, it usually leads to some kind of romance. It’s definitely prevalent in adult television. Two people of the opposite sex are apparently incapable of being friends and just HAVE TO SHAG at some point. This is one of the reasons I love Once Upon A Time in Wonderland so much. The characters Alice and Will Scarlet NEVER hinted at romance. They were best friends, supportive, and helped each other towards their goals because of their friendship. This is why I really appreciate a lot of young adult media. Guys and girls actually get to be friends and support each other through their journeys.

Resistance does this well. Torra and Kaz don’t have a romance (it would be weird because she’s fifteen and he’s nineteen). They are clearly friends in the same age range who respect each other. They support each others ideas and work together as a great team. It’s so wonderful seeing two opposite sex characters as actual friends.

To a lesser extent, we see this with Tam and Neeku throughout the series, but it’s really shown in the episode “Bibo.” Tam realizes when she’s hurt Neeku’s feelings and goes to long lengths to make it right.

I do wish we got more development with Kaz and Tam’s friendship, but I think that was the point with the big finale twist at the end.

We also get to see friendships with same sex people like with Synara and Tam, which I needed so much more of. But hey, I’m super bias because I ship those two ladies real hard. Regardless of my shipping feelings, Tam and Synara connecting and protecting each other was one of the best developments in the show. I wasn’t expecting those two to hit it off and have so much in common. Also, watching those two punch out pirates together was awesome (even though Synara was trying to keep her cover intact).

#CouplesThatPunchPiratesTogetherSlayTogether

I do wish we got to see more of the ladies and their relationships. The show does a great job putting Kaz and Neeku together to develop the male friendships. But I wanted to see more of Tam and Torra, Torra after meeting Synara, and Tam and Synara. I hope we get more of these developments in future seasons.

A surprising amount of Poe (and sort of Phasma)

I was extremely surprised how much Poe Dameron was in this show. When I heard that Poe and Phasma were going to be characters in Resistance, I thought they were going to be how movie characters were handled in Rebels. Vader would only pop up in season openings and finales. Lando was in one main episode and a cameo. Leia had one appearance. I was under the impression this is how Resistance would function with its movie characters.

Surprise! Poe is part of the supporting cast making regular appearance every few episodes. It wasn’t “A Very Special Episode with Poe Dameron.” He was woven into the fabric of the story, helping Kaz with his character development, and giving us a look at the state of the Resistance and First Order.

And Poe is just so much fun to watch. You can tell that Oscar Isaac has a great time playing that character. We get to see Poe in ways that reminded me a lot of how he acts in The Last Jedi. He doesn’t have any big character arcs, but whenever he shows up, it signals we’re moving the plot closer and closer to The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi timeline.

Unlike Poe, I was let down by Captain Phasma in the series. In fact, Poe’s time in the series made me want more Phasma. A lot of these are my own expectations not being met, which is fine. We don’t always get what we want in a show or movie, and that’s exactly what fanfiction is for.

But with the major lack of Phasma in the movies, I was hoping we would at least get more of her in season one of Resistance. We got SO MUCH of Poe that I was waiting to have more Phasma. Outside of the episode “Station Theta Black,” she really didn’t do anything except stand around, give orders, and let Commander Pyre take care of the infiltration of the Colossus. I wish we got her in a more active role, but I am happy with what we got.

Ideals vs Reality

Because this show isn’t focused on Jedi, Sith, or the Force, it’s one of the most practical shows we’ve ever had in Star Wars.

Kaz comes into the first episode with an idea of what he thinks the Resistance is like. It’s almost played off like it’s some cool social club to join, because the great Leia Organa is the leader. Even when Poe tells him they’re fighting the First Order, Kaz doesn’t actually know what that means. We see multiple times how the New Republic has stunted his military training even though he’s in the navy. There’s also a look at privilege with Kaz being a senator’s son who grew up wealthy. We really haven’t had a protagonist in the Filoniverse that came from wealth.

But then when Kaz is sent to the Colossus, the real world catches up to him. Yeager tells him episode one that he can’t simply get out of things anymore just because Kaz doesn’t like it. He has to work for a living. He has to learn how to be a mechanic to make and budget money so he doesn’t blow his cover. Every action he does has consequences. If he’s outed, then he puts Team Fireball in real jeopardy.

He also gets to know the people on the Colossus. These vibrant, amazing citizens become his friends. The Colossus becomes his second home. He learns to care about this place. So when the First Order begins to infiltrate the station, Kaz for the first time really understands what it means to fight for a cause and to fight for the Resistance.

We also see this with Tam in regards to the First Order. Without giving away too many spoilers, she has a particular view of what they are. It’s interesting to see her perspective, because she’s just an average citizen. She doesn’t really know about this bigger war happening in the Sequel Trilogy. All she knows is that she wants to do her job, be safe from pirate attacks, and make a living. When the ideals and protection of the First Order comes along, the show does a wonderful job framing it so Tam’s story makes sense.

We haven’t seen reality catch up to Tam yet. It’s one of the biggest story lines of season two I’m looking forward to the most.

I did write a much more in depth piece about Tam which you can read here. I will warn you that it has spoilers for the end of the season.

A Few Gripes

The majority of my criticism stems from a point I’ve wrestled with for some time now. I’m still a bit on the fence about it. But I really think there are a few too many characters in the show for an introductory season.

Wait what? You thought my criticism would be the show is “too kiddy” or “too much slapstick comedy?”

Well, yeah! A lot of the slapstick jokes didn’t work for me. It’s why you’ll see further down that “The Triple Dark” is the weakest episode of season one in my opinion. That said, I’m an adult in my 30’s. This is a show on Disney XD for a younger audience. Not all jokes are going to work for me. There were jokes in Clone Wars and Rebels that were directly for kids that weren’t aimed at me (remember Stinky?). I do what I call “The Nephew Test.” I have an eight-year-old nephew that LOVES Star Wars. When a joke doesn’t work for me, I ask myself if he would be laughing at it. It’s almost always a resounding yes. So, the humor and slapstick nature of the show didn’t bother me as much.

Not all media is made for everyone, and that’s fine.

But I digress. Back to what I was saying:

Too many characters in an introductory season.

Which is a tough point for me, because I really do love everyone on the show to some extent. From Kaz to Opeepit, I have some kind of soft spot for every character.

The problem I had the most stemmed with the Aces. When all the promos were coming out for the show, what hooked me the most were the Aces. They looked so cool! They were so different. They seemed like they were being hyped up to be a huge part of the show.

And then we barely got to see them outside of Torra and Hype. They barely spoke, got air time, or really did much of anything until the finale. I especially wanted to see more of Griff, the one sporting Imperial tattoos and flying a modified Tie Fighter. I really wanted to know what he thought of the First Order.

Everything around the Aces was so unclear. I wish they got at least a little more focus.

Which is where the conundrum lies with the season. If we featured the Aces more, we wouldn’t have as much screen time for characters like Tam, Yeager, Torra, and Synara. Kaz is the main protagonist; he will probably be in just about every episode. But everyone else really had to share and split screen time.

Neeku is the best example of this. Yeager, Tam, and Synara all got episodes shading in their characters and some of their backstories. Torra’s story developed alongside her father. But Neeku just got an episode about finding a pet. We didn’t learn anything about him. I would rather get that character development than have him stay stagnant through the season.

Especially since he’s constantly dropping nuggets about his life like how he’s seen bounty hunters before or about his grandfather in the Imperial days. But we still don’t know why he’s on the Colossus in the first place. It’s easy to write him off as a comic relief character, but even comic relief characters need deeper content to back up their narrative.

As I mentioned above, I feel the same way about Phasma. This could have been the only real time we got to see her in a visual medium (not counting books) as a huge villain in the story where the movies didn’t do her any justice. She had to share screen time with three other named villain characters AND pirates.

Though, I will say that Commander Pyre is great, and Agent Tierny was a standout in her short appearances.

But I did find it odd how they didn’t develop Major Vonreg more. Again, there are a lot of characters and not enough time to focus on any of them.

I am very sure we’ll see more and more of everyone in the coming seasons. Heck, this is a Filoniverse show. Everything that everyone says has a chance to come up again at some point. But for a season one, there’s just so much to take in from Kaz’s journey down to Orka and Flix.

Though, I will say that Resistance handles it’s multiple characters at times better than Rebels. It helps that everyone is in one place on the Colossus. It’s easy to catch glimpses of characters in the background or swing by their shop on an errand. With Rebels, they introduced a lot of characters in season one from the main cast, the Grand Inquisitor, Agent Kallus, etc. Anyone who was super important stayed for most of the journey.

Then there were other characters throughout the series like the Sumars or Jai Kell where I had to stop and go, “Wait, who are you again?” And if we’re being honest here, I had to look up Jai’s name while writing this article, because I always confuse him with Mart.

Resistance does a great job keeping all the characters organized, and the unique designs help tell them apart with so many people in one show.

I will also say not focusing on Tam that much, especially in the second half of the season, was really well done for her character arc. That felt purposeful looking back at the show so far. We’re not supposed to have Tam constantly with Kaz on his adventures. It would have really ruined the end of the season.

My only other gripe is the First Order spy story line. Poe distinctly says in episode one there’s someone on the station giving the First Order intel, and Kaz is supposed to find this person.

But when we reach the second half of the season, that story gets dropped. It’s really hard to tell if this is on purpose or not. Was the First Order spy story all a red herring? Was there ever a spy? Is the spy still on the station? Are we going to get that reveal in later seasons? Is it someone we already know or will they introduce a brand new character to fill in that roll (I hope not)?

The spy story is really unclear at this point. I’m not sure how invested in this plot I should be as an audience member. What seemed like a huge, important plot in the first half just vanished.

Again, I’m sure this will be addressed as the show progresses. But on the chance that it’s not, I would be really disappointed.

Best Episodes

The High Tower: This was the first episode that really hooked me into the show. It sets up an amazing social dynamic among the upper and lower classes of the Colossus. We also get our first real introduction to Captain Doza, one of the most interesting characters in the show. And don’t forget Aunt Z, who is hilarious in this episode.

Synara’s Score: There’s so much to this episode, but what really sells it is Tam and Synara’s budding friendship. It’s a really great moment setting up these two wonderful female characters. I just wish we got to see more of them together over the season.

Station Theta Black: This episode set up a lot of the politics of the Sequel Trilogy, filling in gaps about what’s going on in the bigger picture. We get to see early hints of how Poe acts in The Last Jedi. Kaz really steps up being the voice of reason. But mostly it’s great seeing Phasma in action. It’s our only real look at her in the season.

The Disappeared, Descent, and No Escape Part I and II: After a season of slowly building the tension, drawing out all of these parallel stories, introducing us to a literal ship worth of characters, Resistance slams it’s foot onto the gas and let’s it rip. These final four episodes is what solidifies this show as one of the best Filoniverse entries. It introduces one of the most interesting characters so far with Agent Tierny. But these four episodes wouldn’t be as good if it wasn’t for an entire season of character building and exploration of the Colossus. There are no fillers in this show. Every action, no matter how small they seem, comes into play in these episodes.

Worst Episodes (In my humble opinion)

The Triple Dark: Every criticism that was flying around about the show being too kiddy, too much slapstick, etc. is featured in this episode. Kaz is almost unbearable to watch at times, really acting like the rich little senator son that he is. Also, it was episode two of the series probably making it a turn off point for some viewers. “Fuel for the Fire” follows it, and I’m not a big fan of that episode either. It felt like a trip at the starting gate, but the show recovers so well. I will say that Kaz had to start at the bottom and work his way up. There was a moment while watching “Descent” where I said to myself that Kaz from the pilot could not do what he did in that episode. “The Triple Dark” was the start of his journey, and he’s already come a long way.

The Core Problem: This is not a bad episode by any means. It’s a really great episode actually. My problem is that it’s plot and character moments are a lot like “Signal from Sector Six” and “Station Theta Black.” We really didn’t get anything new from those episodes other than Kaz acquiring CB-23, and Poe and BB-8 were leaving for Jakku putting the show finally in The Force Awakens timeline. The rest of the twenty-two minutes were “Sector Six: Part Two” almost story beat by story beat. This was the episode where I wish we spent time somewhere else with someone else. It could still be a Poe episode, but I maybe have him stuck on the station and interacting with Yeager or Tam. Like he needed to get BB-8, and they had to find a way to get him out of there since the last escape pod had been used in a prior episode. Or even focus on another character entirely. If not for the other episodes, this would have been a standout. But because we already had “Signal from Sector Six” and “Station Theta Black,” this episode felt like a repeat.

 

Resistance really is a stellar addition to the Filoniverse as a whole. They’re doing things I’ve never seen before in Star Wars. It got better and better every week. The characters are some of the most intriguing people in the canon. It shades in those gaps in the Sequel Trilogy stories.

Most of all, it’s a heck of a lot of fun. I laugh every single episode. There’s nothing wrong with fun Star Wars.

If you haven’t given Resistance a shot or if you turned it off early on, I implore you to watch it. You’re missing one of the best entries into the Star Wars universe.

 

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