SPOILERS Star Wars Resistance: The Platform Classic Review
The Platform Classic presents our first real character episode for Yeager. Most of his involvement thus far has been berating Kaz, and giving orders with some hints of resentment and being closed off. This episode attempts to not only flesh out the character, but even more so to explore his callous nature.
Yeager’s younger brother Marcus Speedstar is introduced as a famed racer who is in the area to race in the titular platform classic. Right away we get that there are hostilities between the two, which the episode manages to keep vague while still getting across the fact that this is not something petty.
Marcus’ Esral'sa'Niktos mechanic (amazing to see them and their language back in canon) is taken as incentive by the Guavian Death Gang; creating a conflict between Yeager refusing to deal with his brother’s constant trouble after the last time he destroyed his life, and Marcus both trying to reconnect and having to do whatever he can to win in order to save his friend.
The Guavian Death Gang was a standout in TFA despite their incredibly short appearance. Ever since then they have showed up in minor roles in a few places, and while this episode does not have them particularly do anything, it is always nice to see that they are a major player in the galactic underworld. The fact that no one responds with horror upon seeing them is yet another point towards the idea that the Colossus is incredibly normalized towards groups like the First Order and the Guavians. I really need Bala Tik to make a cameo.
Without a doubt the greatest strength of this episode is its maturity. It is easily one of the most mature and adult episodes in Star Wars animation, and frankly one of the more adult stories compared to the films as well. Writers Chris Wyatt and Kevin Burke (the latter of whom wrote for AEMH which I did not notice before, including greats like “Living Legend”) never directly explain what happened to Yeager’s family when Marcus used hyperfuel to cheat in a race, but they do flatout confirm Marcus’ crash killed many other racers and all but confirmed he killed Yeager’s wife and daughter.
Once the image of Yeager’s family was revealed, plenty of people speculated they died due to something First Order or Imperial Remnant related, but this is so much stronger than anything else. This episode does not shy away from the fat that Yeager is frankly an ass quite often, but while it does not forgive that, it instead focuses on giving a larger context for his attitude.
Perhaps the most mature moment in the entire episode is Yeager’s response to Marcus asking if they are ok at the end: simply “no, but one day we will be”. That is something we don’t get as often as we should in Star Wars. This franchise has a habit of treating blood as the defining family no holds bar, so it is great to see an acknowledgement that which it is good to settle strife, you do not owe that person a clean slate, and in some cases they can never actually make up for what they did - merely move forward.
The fact that Kaz never brings up his relationship with his father was a decision I actually quite liked. I do wish we had maybe a throw away reference or hint; it is quite nice to see Kaz dealing with family trouble without needing to directly parallel.
As for the race itself; easily one of the best scenes in the show so far. The more intense stakes (beyond the emotional ones and Oplock’s life) give the animators a chance to show their skills. Aside from the Invisible Hand crashing in ROTS I cannot think of a time the films showed ships breaking through the atmosphere. I mean sure even I know the science there is super wonky as for them to break atmo the gravitational pull would be much much weaker.
I went down that rabbit hole and so everyone has to follow me, so Felix Baumgartner has the record for freefall speed, he was at the edge of the stratosphere, it took him 4 min and 9 seconds to go back down the whole 37 KM. For comparison the Stratosphere ends for sure at 50 KM or so, and the Karmen line is at 100 KM. I know its Star Wars, but since I normally stink at science, I decided to look it up.
Back to the episode; I am very pleased that Yeager is starting to grow on me a lot, and we are following up all these plot heavy stories with one of the most character heavy ones. This series can hold my attention just as well with its characters, as it can with Phasma and pirate raids. Also following up Doza’s deal with the First Order, with him being very chipper and trying to boost the economy and morale is interesting. Both cause we see him trying to get the Colossus under control in good ways, and cause it so wonderfully shows that this man can switch from selling the freedom of his people - to cheerful like it is nothing.
Overall this is one of the strongest episodes thus far. An impressive outing by director Steward Lee who has strong list of Star Wars only directorial credits, paired with an amazing history as art director. This includes The Batman’s “The Laughing Bat” which is perhaps my favorite episode of that series, and one that I still maintain is honestly to god the best animated Joker story - yes that includes BTAS.
Before I begin ranting about The Batman I will wrap up by saying this is arguably the strongest episode of the series thus far. It has a tight and clear story, amazing character work, solid action, and uses the premise of the racing side of things for more than just a backdrop, but rather to convey characterization.