SPOILERS Star Wars Resistance: Station Theta Black Review

Thrilling, that’s what this episode was -thrilling. Sergio Páez continues his amazing directorial streak from Signal from Sector Six, and some standouts from the final season of Rebels. Mr. Páez has made me even more unsure of why the previous episode fell slightly short for me, as this one is also without much of Team Fireball, is mostly the same action of our characters fleeing, and almost solely takes place on a very sterile environment. However this episode was perhaps the best visual outing for the series yet.

This episode kicks off right away with our one scene of Team Fireball, a legitimately funny scene between Tam and Yeager in which my point that Tam is not easily angered, just surrounded by people with communication problems - is further validated. For a second I thought we might actually be seeing the Fireball in action, but nope it nearly blows itself apart. There is a risk in making the mascot ship a lemon, but thus far they have managed to make that fact endearing. Plus this gives us a nice chance to get Kaz back in that T-70 when the Resistance saves him from exploding in his own ship.

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A thankfully recast General Leia sends Poe and Kaz to find a possible First Order installation, which turns out to be a massive mine in an asteroid for retrieving components for blasters. As is Kaz’s luck the station is due to demolition that day. Phasma becomes the main threat of an episode for the first time in the series thus far, with Major Vonreg getting to shine again as well.

While the fact that Phasma and Vonreg both are still lacking kills is disappointing, I do feel that the episode does a great job of making a squad of Stormtroopers and an abandoned First Order mine intimidating. It is hard to both portray the First Order as this large threat, and show the micro of the resource war going on as a threat. This episode does a fantastic job of making a mining facility still feel like a major location. This is something that is hard to do with the Empire, as so often the infrastructure is so vast that it is hard to find an appreciation of scale in their facilities.

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Part of why Phasma and Vonreg work here is cause they don’t get humiliated. Poe and Kaz can only just keep their heads above water, and that is enough for me to be pleased with the threat level here. On top of that is the fact that we get a beautifully animated and directed dogfight. Once again this show treats dogfights as difficult and mostly a game of bob and weaving and attrition.

We end off with Leia and Kaz discussing the fact that New Republic senators will not be swayed into action by this information, because some are benefiting from the arms trade this facilitates. I love how depressingly real that fact is. I get frustrated with how some people characterize the New Republic as this utterly aloof, pointless institution that is not getting involved cause of it being ideologically weak and not militaristic enough. And yet this episode shows that, just like in our world, it is not exactly the fault of the form of governance, but rather lobbyists and the military industrial complex. The suggestion by many fans - that the New Republic’s flaw was that it did not keep building and building is something I feel fundamentally is at odds with Star Wars, and this episode and Bloodline showcase that fact perfectly. Strong military industrial power only facilitates war and often serves both sides. This is exactly why Canto Bight mattered in The Last Jedi.

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On the whole this episode was not loaded with tons of new information, or even anything particularly pushing our characters forward. However it instead got us more accustomed to the political state of the galaxy, Kaz being involved in Resistance missions, and just giving the audience a taste of what this First Order-Resistance Cold War is really like. All the while being wrapped up in the package of stunning animation.

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