Warning: Spoilers for “The Doza Dilemma,” “The First Order Occupation,” “The New Trooper,” “The Core Problem,” “The Disappeared,” and prior episodes of “Star Wars Resistance” follow.

Seeming to finally be hitting its stride, “Star Wars Resistance” shows off the best that it can be within these five episodes, particularly in “The New Trooper.” Kaz (Christopher Sean) and Synara’s (Nazneen Contractor) friendship along with their parallel lives as spies is a highlight, as it again showcases the show’s strong art style. The teasing of the dynamic between the First Order and Kragan’s (Gary Anthony Williams) pirates finally finds some resolution as well.

“The Doza Dilemma”

As Commander Doza (Jason Hightower) continues to delay in making a deal for protection with Commander Pyre (Liam McIntyre) and the First Order, Pyre orders Kragan to kidnap someone Doza holds dear — who isn’t named initially but is clearly Torra (Myrna Velasco) — in order to speed up the process. Kragan sends word to Synara so that she can help smuggle in some pirates to carry out the deed, completely unaware of their intended target.

Soon after, Synara joins Kaz, Tam (Suzie McGrath) and Torra for a day hanging out on the Colossus. The group heads up to Torra’s room in the tower and, despite the two just meeting, Torra shares her access code to get into the tower with Synara so that they can hang out whenever she’s free. This amount of trust obviously has an impact on Synara, giving her further reason not to betray her friends on the Colossus. The four play a hologame involving shooting moving targets and it gives viewers a look at something not often explored in the “Star Wars” galaxy, friends simply hanging out. Most of the franchise finds the characters in some sort of conflict, and this show has a great opportunity as no real war is going on at this point. The phrase “so wizard” is also used by Torra, so I am extremely pleased to see that the slang first used by Kitster in “The Phantom Menace” has survived across all three eras.

Image courtesy of Lucasfilm

Synara ends up helping her pirate allies get onto the platform, only realizing her mistake once they reveal what their plan is. The resulting kidnapping leads to a fun chase, as Kaz embarks in the Fireball in pursuit of Torra and the two pirates with the Aces taking flight shortly after. We finally get a look at Kragan and his crew’s ship, the Galleon, with a specific shot of it coming out of the fog that looks fantastic. I’m ashamed it took me this long to realize it, but the Quarren pirate captain bears a remarkable resemblance to Davy Jones from the “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise. Of course, the Quarren species has been present since the original trilogy, though Kragan is a unique design that hasn’t been seen yet and has an obvious influence.

Once Torra is aboard the Galleon, the First Order arrive to make the exchange for her, but end up double-crossing Kragan and making it appear as though they were her saviors. This later leads to Doza accepting, still reluctantly, the First Order’s offer to prevent future attacks. The move antes up the stakes a bit for Kaz on the Colossus living his double life, as it does for Synara too. There’s also the interesting wrinkle that Kaz saw Synara help the two pirates get into the tower. “The Doza Dilemma” is a solid episode overall, but really serves to propel the next episode into action.

“The First Order Occupation”

With the First Order letting their presence be known on the Colossus, Synara comes into their crosshairs thanks to their search for a pirate spy. As the First Order has blocked anyone from leaving the station, Kaz realizes her trouble and decides to help Synara, despite being well-aware now of her ties to the pirates. This act of kindness is something Synara picks up on, and further drives that stake between her former pirate and new selves.

Image courtesy of Lucasfilm

The episode essentially spends its entire runtime getting Synara off the Colossus, which isn’t a bad thing as it really allows her character and her friendship with Kaz to be further fleshed out. Neeku (Josh Brener) accompanies Kaz, BB-8 and Synara in their escape attempt, and of course, they end up getting into a number of hijinks, failing at a few attempts before finally getting Synara back to her pirate crew. There are some very funny moments going along with Neeku attempting to lure the stormtroopers away, as well as the custodian Opeepit. The little custodian finally gets his chance to shine, seen mostly only in the foreground of episodes till now, though sadly it results in him getting his floor sweeper confiscated by stormtroopers. This leads to a very awkward elevator ride between Kaz, Synara and the now disgruntled custodian. If there is anything I want more now from this show, it is justice for Opeepit.

While the basis of the episode is simple, the humor in it feels right at home in “Star Wars” and doesn’t detract from the development of the characters. While it’s unclear when Synara and the pirates will return, I am eager to see more of her character. She has been an interesting analog to Kaz and even goes beyond being that role thanks to excellent writing and vocal performance by Nazneen Contractor.

“The New Trooper”

Possibly my favorite episode of the series so far, “The New Trooper” blends together laughs, action, cool character moments and a simply fun adventure-like episode. Returning this episode are the siblings Kel (Antony Del Rio) and Eila (Nikki SooHoo), who accidentally knock out a stormtrooper on patrol and go to Kaz for help. Kaz ends up taking advantage of the opportunity by putting on the armor to find out any info he can from the First Order’s shuttle docked on the Colossus. As clumsy as Kaz can be, he ends up successful in his mission, though his behavior throughout the episode does not go unnoticed. Ordered to have a mindwipe — also referred to as “brainscrape” here which is an even more horrifying term — Kaz runs away, switching the armor back onto the now dazed and confused trooper.

The episode has a lot of fun moments, most of which involve Neeku, Tam and the siblings keeping watch over the knocked-out trooper. Very reminiscent of the time SpongeBob and Mr. Krabs thought they had killed the health inspector, Neeku ends up knocking the trooper out to avoid him breaking out in a humorous fashion. Of course, Kaz has his moments as well, one involving a fight with a First Order BB unit over data stolen from the First Order’s shuttle. He also is saved by Neeku and replies that he’s so happy he could kiss Neeku, which the alien takes literally and politely-but-bluntly declines the offer.

Image courtesy of Lucasfilm

The start of the episode finds Yeager (Scott Lawrence) and his crew in an interesting discussion on the First Order’s occupation of the station. Tam believes that the stormtroopers mean well and are only there for the station’s protection, which she backs up by talking about how the Empire gave her grandfather a job when the economy was poor and was able to support her family. The galaxy is big, and it is interesting to see this viewpoint explored, especially when it is something commonly thought upon as the Empire — and later First Order — being entirely evil. From other stuff like “Rebels” and some of the books, we know that some Imperial workers/troopers were simply working as a regular military, completely unaware of the catastrophes that were being committed elsewhere in the galaxy by the Emperor’s command. Even Luke Skywalker was originally planning to sign up for the Imperial Flight Academy at the start of “A New Hope.” It is a grey area that I like that the show is willing to explore, and is something the animated series have been good at doing since “The Clone Wars.” Tam hears the story of Kel and Eila’s entire people being wiped out by the First Order though and clearly changes her tune a bit.

This episode tackles some interesting concepts and ones that I hope don’t go away anytime soon. “The New Trooper” is really the best example of what the show can be at this point by furthering the interesting plot with the First Order while leaving time for fun and humor as well. Kaz also did a nice job undercover despite some clumsy failings and I am glad to see he is keeping up this improvement in the latter half of the season. Opeepit is also shown having to use a rag to clean up a puddle in this episode, which is one more crime to add upon the First Order’s villainy.

“The Core Problem”

As the First Order’s occupation continues, Poe (Oscar Isaac) arrives just in time to help Kaz investigate the intel received from the previous episode. Given that Poe returned initially to simply retrieve BB-8 for a secret mission to Jakku, which is where “The Force Awakens” kicks off, I can only assume that this could very well be his last episode in the season. It is a strong episode to leave off for Isaac though as he once again does a solid job at bringing one of the sequel trilogy’s key characters to life.

Both Kaz and Poe leave on their secret mission, which includes a fun escape in order to slip by the First Order’s TIE fighter patrol. The maneuver involves Poe holding onto the outside of the Fireball as Kaz pilots it into the upper atmosphere and then jumps into his own X-wing. Once at the point indicated on the galactic map stolen from the First Order, the two find planets completely decimated, as well as the system’s sun completely gone. The planets appeared hollowed out to varying degrees, and the sun’s disappearance makes it clear this was a testing ground for Starkiller Base. Starkiller requires the entire planet’s core to be hollowed out to allow the power of the sun to fuel it so that it can fire its galaxy-destroying weapon.

Image courtesy of Lucasfilm

After flying through one planet that had its core perfectly drilled, the two land at a long-abandoned settlement. After some investigation and the discovery of a child’s doll, the two are ambushed by a First Order probe droid. TIE fighters, led by the Major Vonreg (Lex Lang) in his red color scheme, open fire on the two resistance spies, prompting them into their fighters and off into a dogfight. This is another strong example of the show’s ability to handle ship-heavy sequences, and through the creative use of flying through one of the planet’s cores, Poe and Kaz evade the First Order pilots.

This episode is again, one of the heaviest looks into the First Order’s origins and it certainly benefits from it. Kaz also gets to show off his own skills as a pilot where he can actually succeed without displaying his typically clumsy nature. It is going to be sad without BB-8 on the show, but CB-23 — another ball-shaped astromech — seems like an okay replacement. Depending on how deep this show runs into both “The Force Awakens” and subsequently “The Last Jedi,” I am guessing this is the last we will see of the two this season. They were excellent guests in helping to establish the core cast with at least some familiar faces, but I am excited for everyone else to get their time to shine now on their own.

“The Disappeared”

After an action-packed adventure in “The Core Problem,” “The Disappeared” takes a much more grounded-yet-interesting look into the First Order occupation. After the First Order forces Captain Doza to stop all future races, people on the Colossus grow restless. Ace pilot Hype Fazon (Donald Faison) gets taken captive after a run-in and an argument with some stormtroopers over the handling of his ship, as does Aunt Z (Tovah Feldshuh), who protests and essentially tells two stormtroopers to screw off after they attempt to put up enlistment propaganda in her bar. With two’s disappearances obvious, Kaz and Torra begin their search for their friends.

While Kaz and Torra are searching, Aunt Z, Hype and two other Colossus civilians are locked in a container, scheduled to be shipped off-world. The banter here between Aunt Z and Hype here is hilarious and makes me wish we had gotten more of the two in the past few episodes. When Torra demands to know where Hype is to two stormtroopers, they blatantly lie and say he was shipped off-world, which suffices as an answer for Tam. Because of her family history, Tam continues to appreciate the First Order’s “security” brought by their presence on the Colossus. She also continues to show distrust for Kaz as he continues to go missing, often with the Fireball and is constantly backed up by Yeager with no explanation, which I can actually see her side here. I am interested to see whether once she figures out Kaz’s true purpose on the Colossus she’ll turn him into the First Order or back up her friend.

Image courtesy of Lucasfilm

Once Kaz and Torra track down their missing friends, along with CB-23, they form a plan to break the group out as they are transferred to their ship. The plan goes as smoothly as you can imagine with Kaz in the lead, though thankfully the group is able to overwhelm the small group of stormtroopers, partly because Aunt Z body-slams two of them to the ground. Given that they are known escapees to the First Order, Aunt Z and Hype take off in the shuttle, with the bar-owner saying she knows of a friend on Takodona. This is more than likely Maz Kanata, who has her own castle/bar on the forest planet. Since we’re getting close to the events of “The Force Awakens,” it makes me wonder how close their arrival is to Han, Rey, Finn, BB-8 and Chewie’s in the film.

While I am extremely disappointed we seemingly won’t be getting any more of Aunt Z or Hype (mainly Aunt Z) for the rest of the season, I am glad they got some solid screen time in their send-off. With all five of these episodes, “Star Wars Resistance” has really been hitting its stride as we near the end. As we hit the events of “The Force Awakens,” I am curious to see how much the show will tie-in with the events of the film, and mostly how the destruction of the New Republic will play out, especially since Kaz’s father is a senator on Hosnian Prime. Given that “The Last Jedi” takes place right after “TFA,” we could even see the show extend past the current film chronology into a point that has largely been unexplored in preparation of “Episode IX.” Things are heating up and with only two episodes left (the finale of which is split into two parts across two weeks I believe), I am excited to see how things turn out on the Colossus. You can catch the penultimate episode of season one of “Star Wars Resistance” for yourself when it airs Sunday, March 3 at 10 p.m. on Disney Channel.

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Noah Howell is the Arts & Entertainment Assistant Editor for Niner Times. He is currently majoring in Computer Science with a minor in Journalism. He is a fan of all things "Star Wars" and "The Muppets," and spends his free-time playing too many video games and watching the Oklahoma City Thunder.

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