The High Tower – Star Wars Resistance S01E05 Review

by Michael Harris

Kazuda Xiono puts himself in harm’s way for the cause as the First Order arrives on Colossus Station in “The High Tower!”

A power outage on the platform causes all sorts of problems and acts as powerful foreshadowing for what is about to arrive at the station – The First Order. “The High Tower” begins with a wave of blackouts across the platform forcing residents to ration power for the next 100 hours, with the exception of Doza’s Tower. Lamenting over refreshments down at Aunt Z’s Tavern, Kazuda picks up some valuable information on the First Order’s business on Colossus from Aunt Z herself and from Ace Squadron pilot extraordinaire Hype Fazon.

Jumping at the chance to get Poe Dameron some valuable intel Kaz takes Hype up on his offer to visit Doza’s Tower. Managing to slip away from Hype and Tam, who are having a bumpy reunion of sorts, Kazuda eavesdrops into Major Vonreg’s negotiations with Imanuel Doza. Yet again, Kaz is slightly in over his head, and is noticed by Vonreg and his pair of Stormtroopers that leads into a chase through, and outside, the Tower. Managing to avoid capture, and with a little help from Torra Doza, Imanuel’s daughter, Kaz makes it back to Yeager’s unharmed.

Politics Of The Platform

Unlike the previous episode, “Fuel for the Fire“, this episode digs in a little deeper as to not only what the First Order are doing on Castilon, but who knows about it. The galaxy’s cantinas are hotbeds of information from reputable, and not so reputable, sources and Aunt Z’s is certainly no exception. In fact as head of the establishment and working behind the bar she is privy to countless conversations when no one thinks she’s listening. From the rumor mill Aunt Z has gathered that not only is Imanuel Doza, head of Colossus Station, dealing with the First Order, but may actually be with them.

The High Tower

To back up this juicy tidbit is the admission from star pilot Hype Fazon that Doza and he have an agreement regarding Ace Squadron’s assistance in these fuel shipments between Doza and the First Order. Hype wants nothing to do with them. The reason for this is never explained, but it hints at a distaste for the Order and perhaps past personal experience with them. Either way some on the platform have heard of the First Order. At least enough to be incredibly weary of their presence.

“The High Tower” also elaborates on the possible relationship between Doza and the First Order that was explored in “The Triple Dark“. The Order is running a type of “protection racket” with Colossus Station. Offering protection from the pirates that they themselves are funding. In effort to gain control of the Station and that particular spot in the galaxy. In order to defend the station against attack Doza relies on Ace Squadron but that is consuming fuel in massive amounts. Unable to receive the help he needs from the New Republic Doza has been relying on the criminal underground until now. Imanuel threatens to report this extortion attempt but Vonreg counters with blackmail of his own. Doza’s dealings violate New Republic trade sanctions. So both parties are forced to work with each other due to a mutual need to hide their activities.

Hype And The Tower

This episode’s character development focuses mainly on Team Fireball mechanic Tam Ryvora. Tam, voiced by Suzie McGrath, was once close friends with Rodian Ace Hype Fazon. Burning up the racing circuit together did not last after Hype was selected to join Ace Squadron however and the opportunity to climb the ladder was too great. Hype traded in his old status for a place up in the Tower and never looked back. Looking to possibly make amends Hype takes Tam and Kaz up to the Tower to get a taste of the good life. It’s a beacon to all those below but also stark symbol of class division. The Haves above and the Have-Nots below. This detail might go above the heads of the younger audience but ties in perfectly to elements brought up in The Last Jedi.

The High Tower

Hype comes across as intended. Self-centered, egotistical and bit of a showoff, but not necessarily a bad person, all of which are delivered exquisitely by the vocal talents of Donald Faison! Their reunion isn’t a smooth one and it was far from resolved but it might be the start of something. His ambivalence shows a lack of ill intent in his quest for fame and Ryvora’s resentment may mean that she was not only hurt but is still hurting. That right there says that it is not over between them but the onus is definitely on Hype to mend the wound.

It would seem that life on the platform revolves around racing and there is no arguing that the members of Ace Squadron are the best around. Kaz and Hype hit it off due to Kaz’s admiration of Fazon and his racing record and Hype admires Kaz for his skills against Torra Doza in “The Recruit“. Plus the fact that Kaz is friends with both Tam and Yeager, who he praises also, grease the wheels for their entry into the Tower.

The Order Arrives

Taking a break from racing, the action in this episode comes from Kaz’s somewhat botched spying effort on Major Vonreg and Captain Doza. While valuable information was obtained Kaz was unable to remain unnoticed thanks to audio feedback from two comlinks in close proximity. This was foreshadowed at the beginning of the episode in a hilarious exchange between him and Neeku. Much the same way that the comlink “malfunction” in a previous episode came full circle at the end to save the day. Only here it get’s Kaz caught red-handed. It does the job regardless if not a tad heavy-handed.

Major Vonreg, menacing in his red armor, is still a mystery at this point. In “The High Tower” he proves that he is just as fearsome a negotiator as he is a pilot. While not necessary, his absence in some major battles in both The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi is interesting. Of course his character wasn’t created then but it could also mean that Vonreg might not make it out of the series alive. However they play it, it’ll be interesting to see just what lies beneath that helmet and where his story goes.

The High Tower

Stormtroopers get their first shots, quite literally, in Star Wars Resistance here. Aside from the funny nod to A New Hope with one telling Neeku to “move along” there is nothing humorous about them. In fact they are shown here to not share the bumbling and amateur traits of their Imperial counterparts. Especially their animated Imperial counterparts. The fact that they fail to catch their prey is in no part due to their determination and skill. Rather from both Kaz’s speed and agility and some duplicitous assistance from Torra.

Moving Along

“The High Tower” delivers some reflective moments that are needed to increase the bond between character and viewer along with some traditional Star Wars action. Plus some story elements that will push the narrative forward through the rest of the season. Poe Dameron wanted Kazuda to maintin a low profile but already he has caught the attention of not only Major Vonreg but Captain Doza too. This will only make it harder to blend in with the locals.

Only four episodes in, the pace is being set as an equal mix of fun and light combined with deep and story-driven. As with the previous series, Star Wars Rebels, it’s not wise to wave off some episodes as “filler.” The payoff might just come further down the road. It might not be moving at breakneck speed as some would hope, but Star Wars Resistance is perhaps taking it’s time to flesh out the details while just having fun along the way.

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