Star Wars Resistance borrowed a note from the dwarves of Moira, dig deep, what’s the worse that can happen? “From Beneath,” provides the answer, when Kaz, Torra, Flix, and Orka, head to Flix’s home planet to seek fuel for the Colossus, which is running on fumes. Ahead of the airing of “From Beneath,” buzz for the episode was high based on its focus on Flix and Orka, the pair that run the parts shop on the platform. For reference, Flix looks like a giant white wading bird with long legs (a gozzo), and Orka, a Chadra-Fan (short mouse-like); and more notably, the pair have been coded as being a same sex couple. It’s this status that led “From Beneath” to be highly anticipated under the belief, as intimated by individuals connected to the show, that this relationship would be clearly established instead of simply implied. Was it? Somewhat, but it was not a question that the episode was built around, but could have easily been.
American cinema and television loves to use the practice of sending characters home as a means to create drama, the clash of a character in the present with who they were in the past; or at least, the expectations of who they were to others when they left. Alternatively, tension is also commonly drummed up with the homecoming involving the reveal of a new romantic partner; and that partner causing the conflict. “From Beneath” was sold as Flix’s homecoming, and so the above expected paradigms seemed quite possible. Based on the expectation that Flix’s and Orka’s relationship would somehow be involved, it seemed natural to expect that it might somehow constitute part of the conflict for the return home. In fact, it had nothing to do with it, which is a great thing.
The absence of conflict over this partnership cast an understanding that same sex relationships are the norm in the Galaxy, Far, Far, Away. This has generally been the running practice in the Marvel comic books and the novels produced by Del Rey and Disney’s publishing arm, but so far has been absent from the franchise in its televised and cinematic mediums. It’s a step with many miles to go, but a welcome one. Instead, the conflict at the heart of “From Beneath,” took on another familiar appearance, the family member who got tired of a provincial life and left for something bigger and better. In Flix’s case, at least part of that dream involved singing in cantinas, but it was this perspective of wanting to leave behind the life of a fuel refinery/miner of his family, that causes strife between him and his cousin, the one left in charge of the family’s operation. It’s this barrier between Flix and his cousin, over requesting and receiving fuel for the Colossus, that is the heart of the episode. It’s also not overcome until both gozzas end up depending on each other while confronted with gigantic subterranean lizard monsters awoken by a greedy desire to drill (dig) too deep.
The premise of the episode, built around this, is fairly straight forward with the characters reacting and dealing with the problem of the monsters from the depths of the underground. “From Beneath,” succeeds, however, in how our characters deal with the problem. Kaz, while reacting over the top, as Kaz does, demonstrates bravery while slowing and stopping an out of control elevator. Torra is allowed to be the hero who flies a shuttle deep down the shaft to save everyone at the last minute, and of course, Flix and his cousin find respect for each other in the course of doing what they can to overcome this challenge. Orka, meanwhile, shows his love for Flix by climbing a ladder (to get to the surface for help). The romantic partnership between Flix and Orka is thus delegated to the position of background normalcy, referenced enough to establish that they are indeed together. As a result, “From Beneath” works because of its characters.
“From Beneath” is also a gorgeous display of Lucasfilm’s animation department, particularly its atmospheric and lighting abilities; which were given heavy lifting for the underground environment. In particular is a lovely animated moment when light enters the cockpit of the shuttle and creeps over its inhabitants. All in all, “From Beneath,” while drawing upon the general storyline of need for the Colossus produced an episode that shined through its characters.
For more on Star Wars Resistance and “From Beneath,” check out StarWars.com.
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