The Star Wars Universe has long been known for the grand scale of its stories. Epic space battles rage, with very real consequences for the entire galaxy. In this week’s episode of the Disney Channel Lucasfilm Animation series Star Wars Resistance, Star Wars won big by going small. Instead of epic space battles with hundreds of ships, “Hunt on Celsor 3” featured a group of hungry people trying to survive in wartime. Resistance has always been at its best when it left the spying missions behind and concentrated on the everyday lives of those aboard the Colossus. “Hunt on Celsor 3” is is an excellent example of what Resistance could be: quirky, adventurous, surprising, and focused.
Reader beware: spoiler ghosts ahead.
In a battle between the practical and the ideological, the practical always wins. As the Colossus faces an indeterminate amount of time in space with dwindling supplies, the locals are understandably restless. Without food, beverages, or other supplies, even the most dedicated Colossus citizens are considering making a run for it. The pirate leader, Kragan Gorr (Gary Anthony Williams), wants to stir up a mutiny in order to take control of the station. With minimal support from Captain Doza (Jason Hightower), Kaz (Christopher Sean) and Torra (Myrna Velasco) appoint themselves as chaperones when the pirates go hunting for the giant snow ray from last week.
Predictably, the pirates underestimate the size and power of their prey and suffer a humiliating defeat. The more interesting story, however, is the leadership potential of Synara (Nazneen Contractor). Sidelined a bit in the midst of the First Order battle, Synara is back and her intelligence and common sense are refreshing. In a show where everyone seems to regularly make horrible decisions, Synara is willing to admit she is wrong and change course when necessary. Hopefully we see more of her in future episodes.
After a string of pretty terrible losses, Kaz finally manages to bring one home for the Colossus. When the original hunting foray fails, he and Torra retrofit a literal canon and fly to the surface for another try at the space monster. Torra and Kaz’s adventures on the surface are exactly what you would expect from two desperate people attempting an experimental solution. Rather than Resistance portraying Kaz as a genius, he instead uses trial and error to finally get his canon to work. In the end, they bring down the monster and feed the station. The feat is refreshing, however, because it is achieved due to Kaz’s bumbling personality, not in spite of it.
The adventures of Buggles, Torra’s pet voorpak, made “Hunt on Celsor 3” truly enjoyable. Generally, the “cute animal in danger” gag is pretty lame. However, the situation with Buggles manages to be endearing. The animal’s obsession with Kaz, despite Kaz’s lack of reciprocal feelings, walks the line between annoying and endearing, making the sequence more realistic. Rather than detracting from the hunting scene on the surface, Buggle’s presence adds to the feeling of two amateurs in over their heads.
A more character focused, smaller scale series is exactly what Star Wars Resistance should be in its second, and final, season. The films can cover the large galactic battles and the movements of troops and fleets. There is already enough media available depicting the experiences of the Resistance heroes. Where Star Wars animation shines is in smaller, more personal stories. When Resistance narrows its focus and pulls on the strength of its setting and eclectic characters, it becomes a better show. Continuing along the path started in “Hunt on Celsor 3” would both improve the watchability of the show, and make the audience care about the characters. Only time will tell if this notoriously uneven show can finally begin to shine.
The next all new episode of Star Wars Resistance, “The Engineer,” airs Sunday November 3 at 10PM on The Disney Channel.