Ricky Church reviews the nineteenth episode of Star Wars Resistance, ‘Descent’…
Last week’s Star Wars Resistance left off on a pretty big cliffhanger and ‘Descent’ wasted no time picking right up right where it left off as Kaz and his friends faced arrest from Commander Pyre. While ‘Descent’ served as a nice primer for the two-part finale, it was still able to tell its own story with some high stakes that saw the usual group fractured in some big ways. Kaz’s development was again highlighted as he took charge while the arrival of a First Order security officer shook things up even more by adding a new threat to him and the Colossus. When all is said and done, ‘Descent’ may be remembered as the game changer of the season.
Rather than trying to talk their way out of arrest or the show doing a fake-out, ‘Descent’ went all in with Kaz’s secret of working for the Resistance being exposed and on the run. The fact the rest of the workshop crew got pulled into it was a consequence waiting to happen and it didn’t pull any punches there either. Both Tam and Neeku were in disbelief that Kaz was a spy, though this affected Tam much more than Neeku. All season long, Tam’s had a bit of a tense relationship with Kaz, especially in recent episodes given how much more attention and leniency Yeager has given to Kaz as well as her positive opinion of the First Order. The seems ready to boil over as several other truths of Kaz have been revealed thanks to the arrival of Agent Tierny.
One thing which as set Resistance apart from something like Star Wars Rebels is there hasn’t really been a central antagonist to the series. Commander Pyre has so far been the closest character we’ve had to in that role, but as intimidating as Liam McIntyre has made Pyre, he’s still only a rank and file Stormtrooper, albeit a high-ranking one. ‘Descent’ introduces us to Agent Tierny, an agent of the First Order Security Bureau who holds the same type of role Kallus held in Rebels. Tierny, played by Voltron‘s Sumalee Montano, has already set herself apart from Pyre by being a very clever, insightful and manipulative figure. The way she used empathy and compassion to sway Tam and lull her into a false sense of security was a breath of fresh air compared to Pyre’s intimidating tactics, not to mention blatant (to the audience at least) lies to the characters. Tierny at least sounds like she might be a reasonable person, which makes her more of a threat to everyone onboard the Colossus.
Throughout the season, Resistance has sometimes had trouble balancing its story with comedic moments. Thankfully, ‘Descent’ kept the comedy largely to a minimum given the stakes involved. Neeku’s belief that Kaz’s role was a spy was some sort of prolonged prank wasn’t even that bad and didn’t get in the way of the story by allowing Kaz to stay in the spotlight. His idea on communicating with the Resistance by sinking the Colossus was pretty ingenious and allowed Captain Doza to have some believable deniability. The way Kaz took charge instead of Yeager, a seasoned Rebellion veteran, showed just how much he has grown throughout the season. He’s really come into his own and Christopher Sean did a great job portraying Kaz’s varying emotions, from his fear of Tam getting caught to the resolve of his crazy plan.
Even in the conclusion, there was no easy way out for Kaz since Yeager sacrificed himself to save Kaz and his hope for a last minute save from the Resistance has been dashed. Since the show is now tying into time period of The Force Awakens, the Resistance is too busy dealing with the First Order in the lead-up to the attack on Starkiller Base. It was at least nice to see Leia again, but while her message to Kaz isn’t a great one since she can’t provide any back-up, Kaz’s resolve still held as he told Neeku and the others they are the Resistance now. It contained Star Wars‘ central theme on the power of hope as he prepares to do what it takes to protect his friends and the Colossus from the First Order.
‘Descent’ is the best episode yet thanks to its treatment of the stakes, Kaz’s leadership and a compelling new antagonist with Tierny. It told its own story while setting up some exciting prospects for the finale, particularly with Tam’s loyalty. Will she be able to see reason and how the First Order is a danger or will Tierny’s mix of truth and lies turn her against Tam, Yeager and Neeku? And while the Resistance won’t be lending a hand in whatever plan Kaz drums up, it will be nice to see the return of Synara as she’ll likely provide back-up with the pirates, though its more likely Kragan and the rest will be more keen to settle their score with the First Order than help the Colossus’ citizens. It will be very interesting to see how Star Wars Resistance wraps its first season due to the events from ‘Descent’.