SPOILERS Star Wars Resistance "The Triple Dark" Review
The role of a first episode is to awe the audience with what the series is capable of; by extension the second episode of the series needs to give the audience a solid demonstration of what the average episode will be like and get them to settle in. I found the first episode to excel at getting me hooked, so does the second episode fulfill its role? More or less, yeah.
”The Triple Dark” centers around Kazuda’s doubts about his new mission on the Colossus. I am quite enjoying the fact that this series has still not fully given Kaz a one on one conversation or personal moment with several main characters. Some of them—like Torra and Hype—are not a part of Kaz’s orbit yet, thus he only has scant encounters with Torra in the first episode. This episode continues the trend of the rest of the pilots being distanced from Kaz: while it has not been treated with resentment yet, there is a clear divide on Colossus - between those in Doza Tower—and the rest of the station.
”The Triple Dark” chooses to fixate on Kaz needing to commit to his cover as Team Fireball’s mechanic. Most of the run-time is dedicated to Kaz and BB-8 talking as Kaz attempts to shirk his responsibilities to Team Fireball. I know many people, myself included, where unsure about BB-8’s inclusion in this series, but this episode really sold me on why he works well here. He is not just familiar to us, but also the only person Kaz can really talk to and connect with. It enables the writers to verbalize the hero’s internal thoughts, while still having him be clearly separate from the rest of the station.
As for Team Fireball, we get to see more of Tam and Yeager interacting with Kazuda whilst still displaying a disconnect. The fact that, by the end, Kaz still messes up the engine to Tam’s chagrin, and Yeager either does not believe him that Hallion is working with Kragan, or he just plain does not care.
Tam’s constant frustration with Kaz can so easily feel annoying, or make Kaz seem like a hapless dunce, however I think this episode strikes a good balance between Kazuda not being committed to his job, and not being unlikable; while also making Tam’s contempt totally understandable and not grating. Neeku is given more of a backseat which is fine considering he was given the most involvement last episode. Bucket has not had anything of substance beyond his introduction scene; which I like since it means, like Kaz, we are not really even fully acquainted with some of the crew.
I do find it a bit curious that Poe decided to set Kaz up as a mechanic for his cover. It was not like they had documents already forged or something as far as we can tell. I only say this cause having Kaz directly ask why he has to pretend to be a mechanic and not just an assistant or just an extra pair of hands as opposed to having him pretend to be a full fledged practitioner of a profession he is not knowledgeable on. I think there are some really good explanations for why Poe would want to plant Kaz as specifically a mechanic: getting special access to retrieved crashed ships first, thus enabling him to get evidence from a crashed racer before it can be destroyed is a good example. There are some decent reasons, I just want Kazuda to ask what those are.
In last episode’s review I made the point that Kazuda already showed an ability to acknowledge his faults and actually fix them himself. The fact that he already is showis a capacity for change and self improvement without needing to be coerced. Not to get onto the Ezra hate train or anything, I like him I really do, but as “Brother’s of the Broken Horn” showcased, he would go on a mission simply to get out of chores as late as season 2. Kaz of his own accord, fixes his mistakes, is willing to give up his only connection to the comfort of home, and make a real effort to fix the Fireball with little to no urging.
The fact that even once Kaz resolves to put actual work into being a mechanic, he still fails is very reassuring. He is growing and making a concerted effort, but that just means the hard work is actually going to start here on out.
That is not to say this episode is free of any flaws or misgivings; the introduction of Kragan and his pirates was hasty and came across somewhat inconsiderable in the plot. Hallion is just kinda there, and the pirates plot is only alluded to once before it happens, cause Kaz accidentally overhears a conversation Hallion has in front of everyone. It feels disconnected from the episode and Kazuda’s arc.
Grevel and his goons are given more focus than the pirates. I am not necessarily against that route, and did in fact really like that story and how it played into Kaz’s arc. However I feel as if the pirates just existed here to enable Kaz’s decision to save Grevel without having any significant weight on Kaz.
As for that aforementioned decision; I appreciated the fact that Kazuda saves Grevel without even hesitating beyond his initial confusion of not knowing how to keep the door open. I was prepared for him to be upset or lament the ruination of his trophy, which would be completely understandable, but was pleasantly surprised by the fact that he simply smirked remarking it was lucky.
Now that’s not to say I dislike the pirates’ role in the story outside of Kaz’s arc. Seeing Ace Squadron was really interesting, and the idea of the racers doubling as station security is really intriguing. The design of the pirates, and their patched together uglies where outstanding. The population of Colossus being completely nonchalant about the attack afterwards was both really funny for me, as well as further getting across just how desensitized to violence these people are.
I guess that leaves us with the chrome elephant in the room. Phasma’s cameo at the end is intriguing to say the least. While I have some reservations about Phasma and Major Vonreg both being present to talk to some pirate all so they can get an, albeit large, fueling station. It just make me raise an eyebrow briefly that Phasma would take the time to speak face to face with pirates, particularly since Vonreg is more directly attached to the mission. Minor quibbles aside, I really enjoyed the pirates’ aesthetic and bits of personality, and Phasma’s armor looks stunning in this animation.
To continue what I said at the start, this episode does an above average job of showcasing the status quo and daily grind of our protagonist and the world. We saw the extremes of life on the Colossus, now we have minor mishaps such as the dart situation from the first episode, being resolved and other smaller scale character moments.
”The Triple Dark” does a solid job of creating a compelling and fulfilling character arc for a 20 minute episode; while also organically leaving room for improvement and interesting additions to the building character dynamics. If smaller scale episodes are like this in the rest of the series, I will be hard pressed to complain.
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