Racing and family drama are a compelling combination.
Excellent characterization and an intense race make for an absorbing ninth episode of the CGI animated series Star Wars Resistance.
We learn a whole lot about head mechanic Jarek Yeager (Scott Lawrence) when we're introduced to his brother Marcus Speedstar (Keston John), a super slick racer who's come to the Colossus refueling platform to compete in the Platform Classic.
The main spying plot about Kazuda Xiono (AKA Kaz, played by Christopher Sean) trying to find First Order spies on the platform is sidelined, but he acts as a point-of-view character as we find out about the brothers. We know the villainous group is on its way to the platform, but it clearly hasn't arrived yet.
During the episode, we discover that Yeager lost his job with the New Republic military after the Empire was defeated at the Battle of Jakku. He started racing to support his wife and daughter, proving to be unbeatable force even for his brother.
Desperate to win, Marcus accidentally caused their deaths when he used dangerous hyperfuel to give himself an edge in a race. The brothers swore never to race each other again, but an understandably upset Yeager cut off contact (they haven't seen each other in a decade) and became a mechanic.
Marcus acts like a shallow, pompous celebrity (much like Hype Fazon in The High Tower), but he needs to win in order to pay off his debt to the Guavian Death Gang -- a group we saw chasing Han Solo in The Force Awakens.
The Guavians take Marcus' mechanic, a Mountain Nikto called Oplock (Jonathan Lipow), as a hostage when they track him down. His desperation to win suddenly goes beyond pride. Yeager, however, doesn't seem interested in his brother's plight even after he agrees to race.
The race in the premiere looked excellent, but this was a step up. Between the excellent camera work and the beautiful waters of Outer Rim ocean planet Castilon, the Platform Classic is visual treat. All of the the platform's Ace pilots are present, but they can't compete with Yeager and Marcus' skills.
The Climb sees the pilots flying vertically to the edge of space until their engines cut out and they enter the Powerless Plummet. Here, they must guide their ships into the reinginition hoop and restart their engines.
As the race draws to a close, Marcus appeals for Yeager's forgiveness, offering a powerful emotional core. There's no real doubt that he'll let Marcus win, but it's still a great moment.
The commentator for the race -- as in the premiere -- is Jak Sivak, who's played by Greg Proops. He was one of the voices behind podrace commentators Fode and Beed in The Phantom Menace.
Platform boss Captain Doza (Jason Hightower) personally asks Yeager to race in order to drum up hype. Between that and his trusting Yeager to fix the Colossus' automated turrets, it's clear that there's a mutual respect between the pair.
How will that impact events when the First Order -- which tricked its way into providing security for the platform -- arrives and starts using strong-arm tactics to take over? Will Doza help or turn a blind eye to Kaz's mission for the Resistance?
Star Wars Resistance airs Sundays at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT on Disney Channel, DisneyNOW and Disney Channel VOD. Learn a little more about The Platform Classic on the official site.
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