“The Platform Classic” is a fairly isolated episode from Star Wars Resistance. We finally learn about Yeager’s background, and how he lost his family, but surprisingly it doesn’t have too much to do with his fight against the Empire. Instead, it’s the root of his estrangement from his brother, Marcus.
Swapna: I initially was a little disappointed we were back to an episode-of-the-week installment with “The Platform Classic,” but it did fill in a lot of backstory for Yeager. We found out that he left the Rebellion after the New Republic demilitarized (which is covered in Claudia Gray’s excellent novel Bloodline) and raced with his brother for his career. That all came to an end, though, when Marcus cheated in a race and (BOMBSHELL) caused an accident that killed Yeager’s wife and son.
Preeti: Despite the bombshell, I ended up being disappointed in how little this episode ended up tying into the larger storyline.
Swapna: I think we were both expecting the First Order to arrive on the platform after the way the last episode ended.
Preeti: Exactly. This felt like another stall, which is frustrating. And that the bombshell is that his brother caused the accident that killed his family… it’s so heavy to be forgiven so quickly. The pacing and narrative felt very off to me. It was too much of an info-dump, maybe?
Swapna: I completely agree. I understand why Kaz was bugging Yeager to forgive Marcus (he’s young, idealistic, and earnest), but the truth of the situation is incredibly complicated — too complicated to deal with in a 20-minute episode I think. Would I have been able to ever forgive him for that? I’m not so sure.
Preeti: I actually had to go back and rewind the conversation that Kaz and Marcus have because I wasn’t sure that I was understanding the implication correctly. And even after listening to the conversation twice, I still needed the confirmation that we got during the race… so I’m not sure Kaz even knew what he was asking Yeager to do. This comes back to the target age level for a show like this… they have to handle such a heavy topic deftly enough that young viewers won’t get too upset watching, but directly enough that you don’t lose the impact. Not sure it worked here.
Swapna: Yes, and the apology itself felt very…rushed. “I’m sorry I inadvertently killed your family, I miss them too” might be heartfelt but it’s woefully inadequate to just immediately forgive. Not that Yeager immediately forgave him, but I have a feeling if we see Marcus again, he’ll be one of the gang. They’re not going to dive into that process of healing.
Preeti: Which is honestly a shame. I feel a little guilty, because so much of this episode rubbed me the wrong way and it’s not how I’m used to reacting to Resistance. But the sequence when Marcus gets surprised by the Guavian Death Gang felt picked up right from The Force Awakens with very little added to it, except that Marcus isn’t Han and so it was somewhat grating to hear him banter with the gang members.
Swapna: I agree, and I think the reason this episode didn’t work for me is that the Yeager/Marcus plot should have been a B storyline over the course of three or four episodes, rather than tackled in one show. It’s just too complicated, and by trying to wrap it up with a bow on top, I think they did what could have been a really emotionally nuanced and deep story a disservice. I keep thinking of how Rebels might have handled this (which to me is some of the best serialized storytelling on TV), and that makes this treatment feel even more clumsy.
Preeti: We have proof that they can handle storylines like this with really compelling writing, and they know how to get viewers invested in characters we’ve never met before… This was disappointing because we know they know how to do it right, and they didn’t.
Swapna: This is kind of petty, but the fact that Marcus was even involved with the Guavian Death Gang makes his entire apology feel….cheap? I don’t know. The whole thing just didn’t work so well for me.
Preeti: Agreed! It’s not altruistic to get your mechanic out of a mess that you got them into. It also put Yeager in a strange light with how ready he was to write off another person’s life because he was so angry… but then I guess he wasn’t that angry? And I’m not entirely sure how Doza benefited from Yeager being in the race.
Swapna: Yep. This was the first episode I felt really misstepped. While we have been critical of other episodes, it was more about what we wanted (tie-ins to the larger universe, etc.) than the show itself having issues. In this episode, I feel like Resistance let us down a bit.
Preeti: I understand that there need to be filler episodes in series like these, every show does it in order to maintain a consistent pacing. But, I have higher expectations for Star Wars filler.
Swapna: Yep, agreed. And I don’t think my dissatisfaction with “The Platform Classic” is due to it being filler. Yeager deserved better than this, I think. He’s such a good, mysterious character, and he’s shown us he’s complex. This was too simple.
Preeti: Right, I wanted more! There’s so much potential for why he is the way he is... what a let down to have it wrapped up so simplistically. I will say, one thing I did enjoy, was seeing Kaz engage with the team members in a way that centers their stories, but still maintaining his hopeful outlook. (Also, the end tag with BB-8 being like, oh we are not friends made me laugh out loud in real life.)
Swapna: I’ll be honest, I watched that end scene like three times because it was so funny. And BB-8 doesn’t take it back! He just rolls off!!! SO HARSH, BB-8.
Preeti: He truly is the perfect blend of R2-D2 and Poe Dameron, ha!
Swapna: It looks like there are just two more episodes before the midseason break (and it seems it is a midseason break, not the end of the first season.) I’m really hoping that we get back to the overarching story next week, or at least get an episode-of-the-week that’s not so clumsy.
Preeti: I’m crossing my fingers for a return-to-form next week!