If Resistance‘s previous episode’s content was somewhat lighter, then “Secrets and Holograms” delved deep again. And that’s good. There aren’t many cartoons that illustrate class differences in realistic strokes, portray the friendship between the male and female protagonists as completely a-romantic, and provide a glimpse into the background of villain organisation (The First Order) that two films haven’t been really able to sufficiently explain.
To be honest, the later two have Dave Filoni’s name written all over them. I have already appreciated his “signature move” of not succumbing into clichés (“the hero gets the girl”) in my earlier articles. He is also known for filling plot holes and providing missing links – The Clone Wars, for example, explained the mysteries surrounding the purchase of the clone army and added more nuances to Anakin’s turn to the Dark Side. (We could only hope Resistance might do the same for Kylo Ren, if the films don’t.)
But what of the story of this episode?
The Girl And Her Daily Life
“Secrets and Holograms” opens with an insight into Torra Doza’s daily life. I loved this part for multiple reasons. First, it was a complete change in point of view – following a different character than we are used to. Already that added a lot of freshness to the story. Second, this view also came from “higher perspective”: that is, the perspective of a person from completely different social background than Kaz and Jeager’s crew. Torra is a girl from a well-to-do family, has everything she needs (pets, toys, sim games, servant droid), yet still suffers from the typical teenager’s curse: boredom. I must underline that Torra is portrayed as a wonderfully realistic character, and that makes her very relatable. She acts pretty much how many of us would in the middle of spies and First Order delegates.
She also finds time to play her simulator games, which is another aspect the creators just nailed. The design of the sims (with flying through asteroids and space slug, a homage to Han’s legendary feats from The Empire Strikes Back) is fabulous, both “retro” and hi-tech at the same time. It also shows a different, mundane side of life in the Galaxy Far, Far Away – and the development of technology over time, too. (Think: in A New Hope, Luke played with a toy spaceship.)
First Order Strikes Back
From the larger perspective, it looks like the First Order is back in the game. And so is Jace Rucklin (aka Elijah Wood and Kaz’s big enemy), at least briefly. While Jace fills in the role of nosy semi-antagonist, Torra’s father, Captain Doza, is further introduced as a person with complicated past. Or so the hints at his personal secrets and skeletons in the closet (or, Imperial uniforms in the closet) indicate. This is obviously a false trail for the audience (and for Kaz), meaning to further make Doza look fishy, while there may be perfectly understandable reasons for him owning an Imperial uniform (for instance, if he had been in charge of the Colossus already back then, he had to work for the regime – like any orderly citizen). Still, between his Imperial past and Griff’s Imperial tattoos (that big racer guy dressed in black), there may be a very interesting clash between former Imperials/sympathisers and the new First Order.
Which brings us to the last point: the sort of look behind the scenes of how The First Order operates, and what it really means when in the new trilogy they “claim control of key systems” (as mentioned in the opening crawl of The Last Jedi). I very much appreciate that Resistance finally shows us what the First Order is: a paramilitary group preparing for a coup, for seizing military control of the New Republic once they are ready. With troops positioned in key places (such as the Colossus), the citizens are going to have difficult time opposing it once it’s ready. Add to it the destruction of the Republic fleet by the Starkiller Base as shown in The Force Awakens and we have a pretty realistic image of the situation on larger scale than what the films alone (mostly focused on individuals) could show us.
Overall, “Secrets and Holograms” was a very good episode, and I can only hope this trend will continue.