Warning! Episodic spoilers ahead!
Episode 09 – “The Platform Classic”
Directed by – Steward Lee
Written by – Kevin Burke, Chris “Doc” Wyatt
After last week’s action-packed episode featuring a full-scale pirate attack and the introduction of one of the more interesting characters as of late, the show has pumped the breaks a bit and decided to focus on some deep-rooted character development. That character in question is none other than Jarek Yeager.
This week’s episode, “The Platform Classic”, starts off in the Fireball shop where the crew is trying to get their work assignments completed so they can watch the big race tomorrow, aptly titled, the “Platform Classic” Kaz is giddy as he’s heard rumors about who may be competing in the race proclaiming it will be best race ever.
Yeager tells them Captain Doza wants to see him, so they all decide to go to escape the shop for a bit. While there, Doza tells Jarek that Colossus desperately needs the money the race will bring in and to ensure that, he’s brought in an outside racer to compete against Yeager, to entice him to enter. It’s here we meet Marcus Speedstar (Keston John), famous sky racer around the galaxy and as it turns out, Jarek’s brother!
Their reunion is icy to say the least as Jarek isn’t thrilled at all to see his brother, even after such a long time. Yeager reminds them that his racing days are over, and walks out. Back at the shop the others are perplexed by his reaction just as Marcus shows up.
He tells Jarek that his intentions aren’t just to race, but to see his brother again after 10 very long years. Jarek reiterates he doesn’t believe him as throughout his life he’s always looked out for only himself. They do a lot of brother back and forth this episode, repetitious to the point where the outcome is fairly obvious and predictable.
So, Marcus heads to Aunt Z’s to grab a drink where he is being showered with attention by the locals who have all heard of Marcus Speedstar, super racer. Unfortunately, he also drew the attention of a pair of Guavian Death Gang members, who have been looking for Marcus to repay his debt of $20,000 credits. It seems Marcus stole a ship from them on the planet Rishi some time ago.
Marcus tells them the winnings from the Platform Classic are more than enough to cover what he owes, but as collateral, they hold his mechanic, Oplock, hostage. Jarek shows up to challenge Marcus convinced he’ll back out of it, showing the others his true colours. But to his surprise, Marcus agrees to race his brother.
Since he’s missing his mechanic, Jarek loans him Kaz to help get ready for the race. While working with Marcus, Kaz learns that after Jakku, Yeager was forced to race for a living after the Defense Fleet was disbanded due to downsizing. Also, that Marcus’s decision to use hyper fuel the last time he and Jarek raced caused their ships to crash, ruining the race for both. He also learns that indeed; his true intentions were to try and patch things up with Yeager, and that's the real reason he came to Colossus.
The race begins, with the two brothers and all the Aces looking to take the prize. Jarek and Marcus trade the lead as they have a long back and forth with each other, with Marcus desperately trying to convince Jarek his intentions are pure this time.
One cool thing that happens, as they swing below the station and fly underneath, we see a couple of Chelidae engineers working below! Miss those guys.
Anyways, by the time they hit the home stretch after a very cool halo fall bit, the two brothers get it all out of their system. We finally learn that it was Marcus and the crash he caused that killed Yeager’s wife and daughter all those years ago. This caused the two brothers to stop speaking and Yeager to leave for good, seeking solitude on Colossus. Marcus is finally able to plead his case, that the crash changed his life as well and that he loved Jarek’s family just as much. So, realizing Marcus isn’t the selfish man he once was, Yeager eases off and lets him win in the end.
Because of the sacrifice Jarek made, Marcus is able to pay back the Guavian’s and get back his friend, Oplock. Afterwards, the two brothers have one final moment on the platform, with their bond bent but not broken, they pledge there is a future for them. Jarek thanks Kaz for helping learn that forgiving people is important and they share a little moment together. The end.
So, not an entirely great episode for me. While we finally learned why Yeager left the fleet and what happened to his family, something we've all been waiting for, the lack of connectivity to anything going on felt a little uninspired. I found the whole thing to be underwhelming compared to the last few weeks and a little to prophetic, while admittedly happy for Jarek and his brother.
It was great seeing animated versions of the Guavian Death Gang who looked and sounded great. Any Force Awakens winks are cool with me although I have to question the stations security procedures where anyone with guns can just walk around? Also, the Bloodline reference was a nice touch as well.
This will end up a throwaway episode for me likely although the actual race, the “Platform Classic”, was great to look at, something the show has done superbly from day one. Can’t say enough about the job Amy Beth Christensen is doing as Art Director, great stuff each week. Using the ship colours and designs to tell part of the story is a great way to visually keep your eyes from wandering, and that will be useful during long flying sequences, which are sure to be coming our way.
Like I said, not my favorite of the season, as I was hoping for more from Yeager's background, but that's okay! The show continues to build and tell a tight story, while dropping in occasional Easter eggs to remind you that it's still Star Wars.
Next week we’ve got, “Secrets and Holograms” …
“When a determined Kaz tries to discover the truth about Captain Doza, he and Torra embark on an adventure where they uncover more about the tower than either bargained for.”
This sounds interesting and we’ll get to see Torra and Kaz together for a proper length of time. What they can learn about Captain Doza remains to be seen, but will it be enough to turn Torra against her father? Doubtful, not this early into the series anyways. And don't forget, we are expecting a visit from Commander Pyre and the First Order to personally deliver the terms of their pending deal with Doza.
It’s also worth noting that next week will see the return of Elijah Wood as Jace Rucklin, who is still looking to get even with Kaz after the events in “Fuel for the Fire” That should make things interesting for the duo as they navigate Colossus.
Till next time...MTFBWY.
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