Last night I revisited The Last Jedi with many people’s complaints about Holdo in mind. I ignored the myriad ones that are clearly coming from sexist places (so many complaints about this movie keep boiling down to people having a hard time with new characters who are not white males, but who knows what’s really behind that) and focused on the main one:
Why doesn’t she just tell Poe what her plan is?
My first time through I found myself wishing for a conversation about moles. After all, without knowledge of hyperspace tracking the assumption had to be that there was a mole? That, I thought, would explain why Holdo wouldn’t tell Poe her plan.
But then I watched it again, and something dawned on me: the Resistance isn’t a club. It isn’t a social group. It is a military organization, and it runs along the same structure and rules as any military organization.
One of those rules is that not only do superiors not owe explanations to the people below them, the people below them for sure don’t have the right to aggressively – on the bridge! – question those orders.
But there’s more. See, Holdo knows who Poe is. He’s a hotshot flyboy… who just disobeyed direct orders and got their entire bomber fleet wiped out. He just fucked up HARD and he doesn’t even realize it. We know Poe as a hero of the movies, but she knows him as the guy who just got a lot of people killed, all for the sake of destroying one ship in a huge fleet and having no positive impact on the war.
See, we’re watching Star Wars. Holdo is fighting a star war. (Sorry)
But what’s more, watch Poe when they announce the new leader of the fleet. When it is said only one person can succeed Leia he perks up, because he thinks it’ll be him. Then it’s Holdo, and he’s not only disappointed, he clearly doesn’t believe in her from the jump. He can’t believe that this is the hero Holdo he has heard about, and he immediately approaches her in a way that indicates to her that he has no respect.
So that’s their relationship, one defined ONLY by Poe’s actions – his reckless shoot-em-up activity that got many brave Resistance fighters killed (about three minutes earlier, mind you) followed up by his blatant disrespect for the new leader. He would never, ever treat Leia that way, but he does treat Holdo that way.
When you look at it like this – and this is how TLJis asking you to look at your heroes and their heroism – it becomes clear that not only does Holdo have no responsibility to give her secret plans to this guy, his continuous insubordination makes it UNWISE to give her secret plans to this guy. In fact, if Poe were a good member of the Resistance and trusted Leia as much as he says he does, he would trust the woman she chose to be Vice Admiral and he would follow his orders to the best of his ability, not scheme behind her back before finally mutinying.