Star Wars is a mix of so many story-telling genres, one of which is “coming-of-age.” We are 11 episodes into the first season of Star Wars Resistance. The series has been loaded with slapstick, goofiness, and leaving me wondering if it will merely be a fun romp that never delves too deep. I think that narrative is about to change once the second half of season one begins. Here is my review of the mid-season finale “Station Theta Black”.
Whether you adore him, or shake your head at him, Kaz Xiono has been goofy, sloppy, and a giant pratfall for a solid majority of the series’ first 10 episodes. Even as “Station Theta Black” begins we have Kaz once again messing up and being bailed out by elder statesman Poe Dameron. My eyes began to roll and I noticed myself looking at how much time was left in the episode. But then something changed.
There comes a time in all stories, when the main protagonist must make a choice. Standing at the proverbial fork in the road, that time has come for Kaz. I can’t pinpoint a specific moment (aside from the end of the episode which is a more direct sign I’ll get into below) that made me necessarily realize this. But, seeing Kaz work with Poe Dameron as they evaded stormtroopers in a pretty messy situation made me begin to see a future for the character that reminded me more of a potential warrior than a Looney Tunes character.
Before I delve deeper into Kaz’s character development, I must say it was a joy hearing both Oscar Isaac and Gwendoline Christie’s voices again. I feel it lends the series a kick in connectivity legitimacy in tying it to The Force Awakens and films in general.
In addition to this, I can’t be sure if the animation direction changed at all for this episode, but it felt like it did, and it looks fantastic. Gone were the boring pastels that beat me over the head for the better part of 10 episodes. The dark and rich colors enriched the look and feel of the episode, and pulled me in further like a Death Star tractor beam.
I have not loved the animation nor look of this series, but this episode has forced me to take a step back with that take. I feel a tonal shift coming, and the end of the episode fortified that feeling. General Leia Organa not only commends Kaz (who she purposely and clearly keeps calling Kazuda), but emphatically tells him he is important and vital to their Resistance.
I can imagine kids watching this and feeling inspired, feeling like they can be somebody, and that washed away any feelings I previously had about the hokey and over-the-top goofy nature of this initial run in this series.
Just look at Kaz’s face in this image above. There is no doofy smile, he’s not slipping and falling all over the place. He looks like he is beginning to understand that he is a part of something bigger than he could have imagined, and that it might be time for him to step up and take his place in the Resistance, wherever that ends up taking him.
I am not saying I think the fun and sweet tones of the show will be swept away. I guarantee we still get our doses of Neeku bringing his naive yet endearing lack of understanding metaphors to offer levity during tense moments. That type of device is imperative to the nature of Star Wars. But this coming-of-age story for Kazuda Xiono may kick into a new gear when the second half of season one continues next month, and I can honestly admit I am excited and eager to see where Star Wars Resistance goes from here.