SPOILERS Star Wars Resistance "The High Tower" Review
The High Tower proves quite firmly that this series is far from idle with its building of the main plot. I have said several times how impressed I am with the show’s ability to keep certain characters and even parts of the world away from our protagonist. Writer Stephany Folsom does a superb job of making that disconnect evident; my prediction about there being a class divide between the rest of the station and those in Doza Tower came true here.
This episode has the Colossus undergo a mass power outage, causing Team Fireball to spend some time at Aunt Zs with the rest of the population. Aunt Z says that Doza is meeting with the First Order often, and points out that the tower never deals with the same power outages.
We finally meet Hype Fazon, played by the ever talented Donald Faison, who is revealed to have been old friends with Tam, before abandoning her once he became an Ace. One of the strongest elements of this episode is its ability to grasp upon characterization without having the characters make a big deal of “this is my character trait or backstory element we are dealing with this episode”. Tam’s dream of becoming an Ace and dismay at the flashiness of Ace squadron and Doza is not something they feel the need to ignore save for episodes expressly about that. This is a problem many show have, including prime time series; so it is fantastic to see Resistance really nail subtle and natural characterization throughout every episode.
Back to Hype, he mentions outright that Doza makes deals with the First Order and we see the Aces assisting in the First Order making a fuel delivery to the station. I will get more into this later, but I love how much this episode affirms about the First Order’s relationship with the rest of the galaxy. Hype being the only one of the Aces who refuses to work with the First Order tells you right away that this guy has a moral compass. I am willing to bet it has to do with the anti-alien sentiments in the First Order. Interesting then that the Kel Dorian Bo Keevil goes along with assisting. I look forward to seeing some dissent within the Aces.
Upon hearing Kaz wonder why the FO is here, Neeku rushes off to ask them leading to another great reminder of how endearing Neeku is, even as he almost got everyone killed. Kaz takes his communicator away, which was set up earlier as a Chekhov’s gun. Tam and Kaz talk about Hype and how he is only out for himself, and he get a very subtle and human moment of Kaz starting to become aware of Tam’s feelings about the Aces and why she takes the Fireball so seriously. Hype invites them to the tower and we get even more exploration of Tam’s past, while Kaz sneaks off to eavesdrop on Doza’s meeting with Vonreg.
Now back to the stuff that made me all giddy; this discussion between Vonreg and Captain Doza clarifies the First Order’s involvement in the galaxy perfectly. This entire episode makes it abundantly evident that the First Order is no secret, and has legitimate power or at least sway over the Outer Rim. They are making fuel deliveries to the Colossus on the regular, and that is not played at all as illegal or something very major. Everyone is aware of the FO, but seems to understand that you have to play by their rules cause they are the ones with power, and are not really doing anything directly negative to these people in the open.
The First Order wants when their deliveries happen to be kept on the down low, but they are not afraid of being seen walking around the station, and even firing at intruders. Their actual strength is what is a secret, not their involvement and presence. This is something that has been payed lip service to in many places, including the Poe comic, but this episode is really the first time we have directly seen what exactly that involvement is. The First Order always comes off as either more powerful than the galaxy should know, or utterly mysterious, it is fantastic to finally see its relationship with the galaxy as an actual state.
Doza makes it clear that he assumes the pirate attacks have something to do with the First Order, and that they are trying to coerce him into giving them control of the station, but Vonreg brings up that Doza has criminal dealings and needs their fuel, so he cannot inform the New Republic. It is nice to see that the New Republic is not utterly idiotic, it can use its political power to keep the First Order off some people’s backs, but the First Order knows how to play its cards right so no one wants to ask for help.
Kaz hears this whole conversation thanks to sneakily putting Neeku’s comlink on a platter, but that is his downfall as the audio feedback alerts the First Order to his presence and they try to stun him. Kaz ends up running into Torra’s room and the episode once again does a solid job showcasing why we have not seen some of these supporting characters very often, they are of a different world than the rest of the station.
Kaz escapes out the window and engages in a chase along the side of a massive drop to the ocean below. As this happens the entire patronage of Aunt Z’s laugh and take bets on Kaz falling to his death. This show never loses its perverse sense of dark humor. Kaz makes it out of there thanks to BB8 and we end the episode with everyone knowing slightly more, with Doza trying to figure out who Kaz is and why he was spying.
This entire episode was a blast, it had great characterization, solid humor, great actions, and superb world-building. Like I said, the story ends with everyone being slightly more aware of something, but no one has any massive realizations aside from Kaz having a lead. Tam and Neeku have a reason to be a bit more suspicious of Kaz’s interest in the First Order, Torra is wondering why the First Order would be after Kaz, and Kaz is finally understanding Tam a bit more. This is a fantastic example of how you properly further the plot and characterization in each episode. Instead of having the episode dedicated to exploring a character, it is far more rewarding to have these ideas explored one small step at a time as part of episodes that don’t necessarily have to do with said idea.
All in all “The High Tower” is my favorite episode thus far. The series keeps impressing me more and more.