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‘Descent’ presents the best of Star Wars: Resistance and its characters
The First Order occupation continues in “Descent,” and Kaz and his friends are in trouble. The team is under arrest but manages to escape; all of them, that is, except for Tam. Tam figures that this is all a big misunderstanding and it can be cleared up by just surrendering to the First Order and explaining the situation.
Meanwhile, Kaz and Yeager (with Neeku in tow) know that they need to get a message out to the Resistance. They decide to sink the platform — with Captain Doza’s help — so they can deactivate the jamming signal and send word to General Organa. But she informs them that the Resistance’s forces are spread too thin and that they’re on their own.
Preeti: I think this might be my favorite episode of the season. It’s the episode that has felt the most Star Wars-esque to me, and there was so much drama, and action, and heart! I loved everything. I’m gushing.
Swapna: I agree, this episode had a lot of what we love, including Kaz finally confessing to Neeku that he is, indeed, a Resistance spy. And, on top of that, it ties into the larger Star Wars universe. Do you think the coordinates of the Resistance’s new base was Crait?
Preeti: Oh, honestly, it hadn’t even occurred to me. But I think you’re right, that’s the logical guess because it would make sense. I don’t know if they’ll get off the Colossus and make it there, but I can’t say I’d be sorry to see a change of scenery.
Swapna: Agreed. I wouldn’t mind a few episodes among the larger Resistance, but we know that won’t happen until after Episode IX because they’re not going to let the TV show spoil what happened post-The Last Jedi.
Preeti: True. But back to this episode! So, because we left off last week in a cliffhanger, this picks right up with Kaz, Yeager, Tam, and Neeku being confronted by the First Order. I have to say, I was very pleased with the pacing of these 22 minutes. It felt like they used every single second for story. Tam’s indecision about her friends and her choice to stay with the Storm Troopers was as heartbreaking as I thought it would be. Kaz’s face when the door closed!!! Swapna, I have so many feelings.
Swapna: I know!! I think Yeager realizes that there’s nothing they can say to make Tam change her mind about the First Order — she’s come face to face with their misdeeds with the children, yet she still defends them. And the First Order is very good at manipulating people.
But Kaz will never give up on his friend, and that’s what’s so great about Kaz. His loyalty, and his belief in people. He’ll keep trying to rescue Tam, even if she doesn’t want rescuing.
Preeti: Kaz really stepped it up in this episode. He became the leader and Resistance spy that Poe knew he could be. I loved the writing of the character this week and how strong he was. His speech at the end of the episode was one of those Magic Star Wars speeches that gets everyone ready to go. I’m so excited to see where Kaz goes from here.
Swapna: Yes! This season has spent a lot of time developing Kaz’s character and it paid off in this episode. The journey from his first appearance, as a somewhat naive pilot for the New Republic, to now, a bona fide Resistance spy and leader of the team, is completely believable. It’s excellent character work.
Preeti: Also, shout out to that wet hair look that I think Kaz should adopt for the rest of the series. MAKES HIM LOOK DANGEROUS.
I do think, in general, this week had some of the best character work we’ve seen so far. Yeager’s narrative was so, strangely, cathartic. He became the guy I wanted him to be at the beginning. Giving up everything for the cause, and for the belief he has in Kaz.
Swapna: Agreed, completely. And speaking of Kaz’s faith in people, I loved that shot of Synara at the end of the episode. It looks like the pirates might come to the platform’s rescue, and if they do it’s because of how he and his friends treated Synara.
Preeti: What does Paddington say? “If we’re kind and polite, the world will be right.” I’m sorry, I’m laughing so hard because I get to quote Paddington in this recap.
Swapna: 100 percent on brand.
Preeti: Oh, let’s talk about this new character, Agent Tierny (played by Sumalee Montano). I loved when she’s working Tam, and she leans down to convince her of Order’s intentions, “Our goal is galactic peace through absolute order. Nothing more.” That sounds so compelling, I’m sure. But it’s playing so dirty.
Swapna: When she said “absolute,” I got chills.
Also can I just say that I’m so glad this show has so many characters of color, otherwise I’d have something to say about yet another Imperial/First Order officer being a woman of color in the Expanded Universe.
Preeti: Yes! It’s so nice when characters can exist without that burden of representation. This new character is going to be trouble, though, but somehow I’m looking forward to it. There’s something exciting about her.
Swapna: Agreed. I don’t want to overstate things, but she has the potential to be a Thrawn-type villain for this season. Cool, calculating, and incredibly smart and resourceful — while the First Order is a great villain, it’s nice to be able to put a face to it.
Preeti: She also has the unsettling charm that Thrawn had. The moment where she turned back to Doza after he interrupted her interrogation, it was such a beautifully animated facial expression. She had to play calm, but knew it.
Swapna: Yep. Also, I did not realize before this episode that the Tower was named ... Doza Tower. That makes me laugh so hard, naming an entire tower after yourself.
Preeti: Ha ha, there have to be some perks I guess, if you’re stuck in the middle of the ocean with … seemingly no friends?
Swapna: How did Doza come to be the leader anyways? I have so many questions on the power structure here, but those are issues for another day.
Preeti: I appreciate that we’re finally getting to see him take action. I think he sold the base sinking really well, but it’s a very dangerous game he’s playing. His conversation with Torra was interesting, with her pushing him in the right direction. I’m excited to see her take more of an active role as well.
Swapna: I also appreciate he’s being honest with her about his intentions toward the First Order. He’s not trying to “protect” her by keeping knowledge from her, a trope that drives me bananas.
Preeti: OH MY GOD YES, let that trope die forever. I really quickly want to mention how much great the use of droids were! I straight up clutched my heart and yelped when Bucket went over the edge. Yeager’s face was so sad. And then 23 helping them swim, and delivering so many messages, that droid is really earning its keep. (I do have questions about the physics, though. Like … don’t we know that those units are super dense and heavy? I’m overthinking this.)
Swapna: Totally, the droids were really well used this episode! I can’t wait to see where next week’s episode takes us!
Preeti: Especially because now we know that the Resistance … can’t help them. It’s a running theme within Star Wars how difficult it is to get a fractured entity of any version of the Resistance (or Rebellion in the case of Rebels) to commit to helping … starting in Rogue One and getting any sort of consensus all the way through The Last Jedi and no one answering Leia’s plea for help. It makes sense from a plot perspective, but if we’re rooting for them, I’m going to need to see this running theme busted up somewhat, so it doesn’t look like rebellion within the Resistance, just to help their own people. But it remains to be seen, I suppose. I can’t wait for next week!