Resistance Season 2 Opener: “Into the Unknown”

How has it started and what are future expectations?

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With the second week of October, Star Wars Resistance has returned to Disney’s channel. It has already been confirmed that its second season is also going to be the last. For now, however, the entanglements of Kaz, Tam and others with the First Order continue.

Better Or Worse Than S1?

Let me first answer, spoiler-freely, one question: does it seem like Season 2 is going to be better or worse than the first season? And perhaps you have not watched Season 1, but are wondering whether it makes sense to watch it because of the second season? Perhaps S1 struck you as “too childish” and you are wondering whether, similar to Rebels, S2 is shaping up to be more serious and darker?

An absolutely honest answer would have to be that we don’t know yet. The opening episode was very slow in terms of setting up the scene. Rather than throwing us into the middle of a conflict, it quietly sketches the basic outline: this is where we are now.

The chief focus seems to be on the characters. If the first episode spent its time on something, it was once again showing: these are the main characters. This is where they are. This is how they act around each other, and towards each other. This served both as a reminder to where first season left off as well as initial setup for – I assume – more action to be kicked off in the following episode.

There is one good news for those who are not at all sure whether they want to start to watch the second season. DisneyKids have put the pilot episode on their YouTube channel, where it can be viewed for free.

I have managed to speak spoiler-freely so far. But now be warned – spoilers for Resistance Season 1 ending, as well as generic spoilers for the first episode of Season 2, ahead!

Where We Left

I have mentioned that “Into the Unknown” reminds us about everyone’s place. That means: Kaz and co. in space, with Yeager and Doza cooperating in charge of the station, a rag-tag bunch for crew – including the pirates; while Tam remains in the clutches of the First Order. Or, to be precise – she remains there voluntarily, because she has finally found her purpose. She is given the chance to become a pilot, something she always wanted, and she is still angry with Kaz for lying to her.

This already would be enough for an overarching plot of the second season – and I personally think that that is what it is going to be. Not only that, of course. It is fairly likely that the Colossus’s crew is going to play some role in the Resistance-First Order conflict.

Over To The Last Jedi

That is evident from one fact: at the beginning of the episode, the Colossus finds itself mere six parsecs from D’Qar, the Resistance base from The Force Awakens. Time-wise, the attack on Starkiller Base should commence soon, followed quickly by the evacuation of D’Qar base from the beginning of TLJ.

We can very much predict that the Colossus is going to arrive to D’Qar too late. The interesting question is what is Tam and her branch of First Order going to do. Are they perchance going to take part in any of the battles seen in The Last Jedi? And how will they react to the destruction of the Starkiller Base? Such a thing can hardly pass them without leaving its mark on their perception of the universe.

Just A Space Adventure? (Or Space Horror?)

For now, however, the second season has stayed away from big things. The first episode was packed into a very tight space – literally. The story of Kaz, Torra, Neeku and CB-23 was essentially of one encounter – with an unexpected stowaway.

Three things stand out in this episode and I would like to point them out. The plot itself may have been fairly simple. However, like I have mentioned earlier, it served to better show us the way the protagonists interact with each other. Kaz and Torra are now an actual team, and more importantly, CB-23 is also now a part of the main cast. BB-8 in the first season was a bit of a letdown, benefiting from his celebrity status rather than of actually doing anything much of interest. On the other hand, CB-23 has already showed herself to be capable and likeable character. I found myself connecting with her emphatically during her explorations of the dark corridors as well as her encounter with the hidden threat aboard the Colossus.

Second thing to point out is that despite its simple plot and very much simple antagonist, the episode managed to make the antagonist seem serious and the encounter even scary. We have already seen the same thing in the previous season when the crew encountered the First Order ball droid unit for the first time.

Which brings me to the third point. Every fan of sci-fi classics probably appreciated the atmosphere reminiscent of James Cameron’s Aliens. Sneaking through dark corridors of a ship is already Alien-esque enough, but the final scene featuring an airlock was so similar to the finale of Aliens that it could not have been accidental.

 

The Verdict

If I compare “Into the Unknown” to the pilot episodes of season 2 Rebels or Clone Wars, or (since this is also the last season) the first episodes of their last seasons, the difference is striking. The others did set up some sort of arc and usually were very action-packed and epic. In comparison, “Into the Unknown” is just another day on the Colossus spent with maintenance and eliminating a single, “low-level” threat.

In that sense, Resistance feels somewhat underwhelming. However, we have to keep in mind what Resistance is. It is not the story of heroes, but of simple, average people in unusual situations. We also cannot say that it would lose sight of its main plotline (which the other shows actually sometimes did).

The focus is on the relationships between characters. Most importantly, on that between Tam and Kaz. I cannot stress enough how this delights me, because this theme is more “Star Wars” than anything else. Finding the bridge between two people on the opposite sides of the conflict, the question of finding one’s identity, pursuit of one’s “destiny” and how far it may lead, the question of redemption brought about with the help of compassionate love – are these not the central themes already in the original trilogy? And all this comes (or may yet come) into play between Kaz and Tam.

I think the first episode has set up the future drama between Kaz and Tam in a manner echoing the drama between Luke and his father. Underlined by the final scene where Tam refuses to listen to Kaz’s message and then puts on black armour that makes her – well, a faceless villain, just like Vader? At least for our perception. However, just like in Vader’s case, there is still a human under the shell.

Aside from this, the episode managed to turn a rather trivial encounter into a fairly entertaining adventure, and a metal ball into a formidable villain. It also maintains the down-to-earth, everyday, non-heroic “blue collar” spirit Resistance has become famous for. I would hope for more in the future, but in its own category, it has been a decent start.

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Rostislav Kurka
Rostislav is a Protestant theologian and a self-trained Sith, counting Jan Hus, Dorothee Sölle, Darth Revan and Darth Traya among his main influences. He hails from the hundred-towered city of Prague, where he had spent a large part of his life creating worlds and inspiring young generations to roleplay. His involvement in organising children's camps led him to accidentally writing a Lord of the Rings musical, which made him temporarily famous, and a Three Musketeer-Jedi fanfilm, which didn't. He has recently moved to the frozen waste of Finland, because that's it, the Rebels are there.