“We are out of the reach of the New Republic, and, thankfully, they are not out of ours.” So sneered Commander Pyre, or something close, an early foreshadowing of Resistance’s somber foray into presenting a different perspective of the First Order’s devastating Starkiller Base attack on Hosnian Prime. “No Escape,” the first part of which aired Sunday night, laid down significant groundwork for what promises to be an exciting and dramatic season finale. At the center of the episode is Kaz Xiono, continuing his ascendancy to Resistance hero and, tragically, finding his true call to arms.
“No Escape” begins quite literally where the previous episode ended: underwater, with shots of the planet’s exotic ocean denizens swimming merrily past windows that only hours earlier had gazed out over the water. The submerged platform is a problem for the First Order, one they are busy attempting to fix. In the meantime, Commander Pyre warns the Colossus’ inhabitants to mind the curfew put in place by his stormtroopers. This sets up the long delayed confrontation between Captain Doza and the First Order. Though Doza’s security droid takes out Pyre’s guard contingent before its demise, the showdown ends with the gold plated stormtrooper in control and Doza at the end of a golden blaster. Firmly established as one more Colossus citizen against the First Order, Doza is led away for imprisonment. The moment, unfortunately, is undersold because it was telegraphed episodes ago. Since the First Order’s reveal in 2015, we’ve all learned not to trust the Galactic Empire cosplayers and therefore had little sympathy for Doza, fictitious character he may be, who should have known better.
Elsewhere, Agent Tierney and Tam Ryvora represent a potential heart-breaking storyline, with Tierney attempting to lure Tam into signing up to fly for the First Order. Unlike the Captain Doza turnabout’s, the tension in Tam’s decision, left unspoken in this episode, is tangible. For weeks, fans have debated whether Tam was a potential First Order spy; she’s not – that much is now clear. But the frustration that Tam has had with Kaz’s mysterious behavior and Yeager’s nonchalant approach to it, coupled with her open minded reflections on the Empire, create a realistic possibility that she could accept what Tierney is offering her: a pilot’s seat. What’s wonderful about this storyline, beyond Agent Tierney, is that it doesn’t feel like a given that Tam is going to accept the offer. If she did, however, it would build up some potentially great opportunities next season as an antagonist to our heroes.
On a side note, at the same time that Tam is being walked through Doza tower by Tierney, an allusion to the wide shots in Empire of detainees being marched in Cloud City hallways, we catch a glimpse of Jace Rucklin and one of his mechanics, unsurprisingly not the Sullustan, also walking with First Order stormtroopers. Are they captives, like Doza, or perhaps they have taken up the First Order’s offer to join, paraded past for the benefit of Tam?
Fresh off the success of his plan to sink the Colossus, Kaz has a new plan: jailbreak Yeager, steal a shuttle, and go home to seek help. He believes that his father, the senator, will be able to convince New Republic forces to rescue the rest of the captive platform’s residents. It’s the first time that Hosnian Prime is mentioned in the episode, but not the first time in the series. The truth of Kaz’s home planet was revealed fairly early on, creating ominous dramatic tension throughout the show because the viewers know what ultimately will happen to his home and family. This sadness has laced the comedic elements of Kaz’s character, perhaps keeping him a little more grounded from a viewer’s perspective. “No Escape” represents the moment when what the viewers knew and what Kaz experiences finally overlap. It happens at the end of the episode, preceded by Kaz evading SCUBA stormtroopers while trying to swim into a higher level of the platform, meeting up with Torra Doza to formulate a plan to free her father and Yeager, and a duel of ball droids almost as epic and brief as Obi-Wan Kenobi and Darth Maul’s final faceoff on Tatooine. While sneaking past First Order troopers watching a broadcast, Kaz accidentally catches sight of General Hux’s furious speech against the New Republic, followed by the successful demonstration of Starkiller Base’s destructive power. Resistance relies on the same audio from The Force Awakens for the speech, pulling the moment closer to fans already familiar with the cinematic event. It works well, as does the reaction of Christopher Sean’s Kaz, who is left in shock at the magnitude of what he has witnessed: not just the destruction of planets, but the loss of his parents and home. How Kaz further responds, denial, anger, or grief, will be one of the anticipated moments of part two of “No Escape.”
Kaz’s mindset is just one of the element set up to be addressed in the next episode. In addition to Tam and Kaz, “No Escape” reveals that the fueling platform is actually a fueling platform ship, complete with a hyperdrive. Kaz’s request to Neeku to get the Colossus flight-ready indicates that Resistance may not be set on Castilon in the future, but perhaps at the coordinates that General Leia sent to Kaz in her transmission from last episode. A final significant story element that will have a role to play is our friendly neighborhood pirates, pulled back into play at the end of “The Descent.” How the pirates, and Synara San, will affect the future of the Colossus is an open question, providing one more exciting reason to tune in to the finale.
“No Escape” doesn’t forget the little details, either. Captain Doza looks even more regal without his hat, Neeku continues his disbelief at Kaz’s background, the shell folk cameo outside the platform’s control room, and the underwater scenes are gorgeously animated. Regardless of how one might feel about virtually everything else in Resistance, the show has always been a showcase of animation, thanks in part to the skilled eye of Amy Beth Christenson, the show’s artistic director. The first part of “No Escape” was exciting. The second part will undoubtedly leave fans with big eyes, open mouths, and an exhilaration for what comes next… if it sticks the landing.