Episode 1.16 – “The First Order Occupation”
Directed by – Bosco Ng
Written by – Kevin Burke and Chris “Doc” Wyatt
“Kaz scrambles to help Synara escape the platform as the First Order sends a contingent of stormtroopers to hunt a spy.”
It seems like everyone is happy the First Order is on Colossus now, well, almost everybody. Sure, things have never been safer but in the words of Captain Doza, “at what cost?” They are going about the usual routine of implementing their version of law and order and creating tension on the platform and Kaz isn’t having any of it. Remember, the First Order aren’t the galaxy wide bad guys yet, they’ve haven’t earned that distinction, so for some they are a welcome site. Unbeknownst to almost everyone on the platform, they are the orchestrators of the pirate attacks and tying up any loose ends is the order of the day. That provides the framework for the story this week.
For the citizens and even Kaz’s friends, if having Stormtroopers around means a curfew or having to carry ID, well, that’s certainly better than getting shot at by pirates. Kaz and Yeager know full well that the First Order cannot be trusted, but everyone else sees them as a necessary evil if the end results mean a cessation of the pirate attacks.
Captain Doza for his part, is growing impatient and already sees them trying to usurp his power. He says as much to Pyre, but the First Order Commander is of course not sympathetic to his concerns. It’s funny to see Pyre kind switch gears after last week and play the good guy. He’s downright sympathetic and dare I say, likeable? Not to worry, it won’t last long I’m sure.
If you remember from last week, the First Order laid the double-cross on Kragan and his pirates, playing the good guys by returning Torra home safely to her father. This led to Commander Pyre convincing Doza that leaving a security squad behind wouldn’t be such a bad thing. So, with her world closing in on her, Synara San is trying desperately to get off the platform and reunite with her adoptive pirate family. Unfortunately for her, Colossus is on lock down and all ships and transmissions are being monitored by the Fist Order. Kragan for his part says he’d like to pick her up but can’t get anywhere near the platform, but if she can make her way off he’ll gladly pick her up. I don't know if it's a fondness he has for Synara or a matter of dominion, but Kragan is being very affable towards her. More than likely it's due to the fact that he's lost more than he's gained in his dealings with the First Order and is simply holding on to what he can.
As for Kaz, he is frustrated and even angry that he can’t get word to Poe and the rest of Resistance about what he calls a full on “First Order occupation”, but Yeager convinces him it’s a little too risky at moment. There's just too much at stake if they were to find out Kaz's real reason for being on the station. They are interrupted by some Stormtroopers who are looking to ask Kaz a few questions.
We know the First Order is aware that there's a pirate spy on the station, and they are busy looking around asking questions. They claim to have security footage of Kaz hanging around the Tower the same time Torra was abducted so naturally they are suspicious of his actions and alliances.
He’s able to deflect their inquiry when they get word Synara has been spotted on Level 3. They order Kaz to stay put, but yeah that’s not going to happen because Kaz’s infatuation with Synara has reached a fever pitch. As Kaz makes his way through the station trying to get word to Synara, he sees Troopers giving various denizens a hard time including poor Opeepit, and they even take is floor cleaner! In fact, the Frigosian janitor shows up three times in this episode for some reason.
He eventually catches up with Synara before the Stormtroopers do and he struggles with telling her that he knows she’s a pirate spy, something he learned last week. He tries using a bad metaphor, but she gets the idea and they agree getting her off the platform is a good move. She asks why he’s helping her, something she’s not used to, and he tells her, “You might be a pirate, but I know you’re a good person.”
They get her to the hangar where she can sneak onto a freighter and make her way off planet to Takodana. I’m assuming Kaz suggests this planet as he would have grown up in the next system, the Hosnian System, and it’s a well-known pirate hangout, specifically Maz Kanata’s Castle. Remember, at this point, the First Order isn’t interested in Takodana because Han Solo, Rey, Finn and BB-8 haven’t arrived yet and the Starkiller Base hasn’t been discovered, let alone fired.
Sneaking her onboard sets off an alarm so Kaz takes off hoping to draw the Stormtroopers attention away from Synara. While getting a quiet moment to herself, guilt gets the better of Synara, so she abandons the plan to go help Kaz and BB-8. This freighter was identical to the one she arrived on back when Kaz rescued her in the episode "Signal from Sector Six", did seeing this ship trigger this memory causing the guilt?
Out of other options, Kaz goes to Neeku for help who knows the station better than anybody. He tells them to use the escape pods which are located on the lowest level, below the water. But with the Troopers still on their tail, Neeku and BB-8 provided a heroic distraction to lure the Troopers away from the escape pods.
While riding the turbolift down to the lowest level, Kaz and Synara have a moment with Opeepit who tells them about the First Order taking his floor cleaner. It’s odd and convenient I suppose that both Synara and Kaz speak Frigosian.
They make it to the escape pods but in the end Kaz is not able to tell her how he feels about her. The normally icy and stoic Synara appears to be warming up to him, certainly as a good friend and someone she can trust. This foundation is the reason I believe Synara will find her way back to Colossus, now having connected with Torra, Tam and Kaz. They say their good-byes and she is jettisoned out into the dark waters.
This next sequence is my favorite of the episode. Before she gets to the surface, where she is to signal Kragan who is presumably waiting for her call, Synara’s pod passes by an adult Rokkna. I’m assuming it’s the same one we met back in the “Bibo” episode, otherwise there are more than one giant Kraken type creature lurking close to Colossus. It doesn’t pay much attention to her and doesn’t appear again, but let’s just remember that she’s down there later in the season. It's a beautiful shot and striking as the four eyes of the Rokkna light up and follow her from left to right.
When Synara does make it to the surface, her pod is bobbing up and down on the water and she has a quiet moment alone, waiting for Kragan. She is kept company by some flying fish type creatures and has a serene moment out there all alone. Synara seems happy and content in these quieter moments and this is perhaps the truest sense of who she is and our best interpretation of her we’ve seen so far. This moment of solitude is interrupted by a blinding light from Kragan’s ship, and she is rescued. Will she be back? Only time will tell but money is on yes.
This episode was a strong one simply because it wasn’t consumed with galactic implications or tying into the films. It was free to be its own show based on its own characters and motivations. All the characters in the is episode are born of this show including First Order Commander Pyre, so once we pass the events in The Force Awakens, this is a good indicator of what the show will look like. The only character that connects to the larger picture is BB-8, but I suspect the scene where Kaz sends him to go look after Neeku was entirely deliberate.
The images were sharp, the writing strong, and the smooth editing allowed for perfect pacing from start to finish. And the score by Michael Tavera was playful, mischievous and emotive, his best of the season.
The two big questions we are asking by the end is will Synara and the pirates return and how will the people of Colossus respond once the First Order really puts a stranglehold on the station. We’ve all seen the mid-season trailer, so we know a rebellion of sorts is coming to Castilon and Kaz looks to lead it. But, since the show is getting a second season, don’t expect any resolutions by March 17th, the final episode of Season One. But the show will have to make a transition from guiding us to The Force Awakens to surviving on its own as a show afterwards.
As for Synara, she’s too strong and popular a character not to return. Will it be this season? Hard to imagine we’ll go six more episodes without any pirate interaction, especially since Kragan has a score to settle with Commander Pyre and the First Order. But that's a nice little storyline the writer's could put in their pockets for Season Two if they choose to. Could the pirates and Kaz negotiate a truce in order to combat the bigger threat? Who knows, but the enemy of my enemy is sometimes my friend.
Next week we’ve got “The New Trooper” …
“When Kel and Eila seek out Kaz’s help after knocking out a stormtrooper, Kaz dons the trooper’s armor to protect the kids and spy on the First Order.”
I know there was some speculation that the “new trooper” was Finn but yeah, no. I’m assuming a Stormtrooper goes snooping around in the basement where Kel and Eila are staying with the Chelidae and gets knocked out as it says. It's also possible the kids are spotted up in the marketplace where they venture to from time to time. Hopefully we get to see more of Eila's gift of premonition as it came in handy a few episodes back.
Should be interesting to see what Kaz learns from gossiping with the other Troopers and the hope is he’ll learn what they have planned for Colossus. We’ll have to wait and see like always.
Till next week...MTFBWY.
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