Knowing one’s friends and foes is a basic yet essential plotline to follow through in a character’s arc, something Kaz (Christopher Sean) gets a taste of in the third episode of “Star Wars Resistance.” While light on the action, “Fuel for the Fire” delves deeper into Yeager’s (Scott Lawrence) past, which is something I have been wanting more of since the premiere. Much like last week’s episode, Kaz again struggles with juggling life as a spy for the Resistance and his cover as one of Yeager’s mechanics. Yeager has to constantly remind Kaz of the importance of playing the role of a mechanic despite what he may think of it himself, because if his cover is blown, the whole operation goes sideways.
Similar to last episode, it starts off with Kaz getting into hot water with Yeager once again, which sends him off in protest to Aunt Z’s (Tovah Feldshuh) diner. Here, Kaz meets Jace Rucklin (Elijah Wood) and his crew, who at first glance appear to be the friends Kaz has been looking for since arriving on the Colossus. Shortly after, Rucklin challenges Kaz to a friendly race on his two speeder bikes, which goes well until Kaz’s bike malfunctions and is conveniently saved by Rucklin. A bit earlier to this, I had my suspicions about Rucklin’s true character, which I appreciate the show not riding the obvious mystery for too long and revealing the truth to the audience fairly quickly. To make up for the incident, Kaz invites Rucklin to check out Yeager’s personal ship in secret.
Through taking advantage of Kaz’s trust, Rucklin steals Yeager’s own supply of hyperfuel to use in the next race. Hyperfuel was a key device in “Solo: A Star Wars Story,” so it’s nice to see it pop back up again here, further tying the galaxy together. After Rucklin is gone preparing his ship for the race with his crew, Kaz realizes his mistake when Bucket the astromech takes note of the missing inventory. Because of his own cocky nature along with his crew, Rucklin uses the hyperfuel despite the warning of a few mishandled drops being able to explode an entire ship. Kaz makes it to Rucklin in time, though not before the ship itself takes off for the race. Both eject from the ship only mere moments before the ship itself explodes. This leads to a confrontation between the two which ends up leaving a likely return for Rucklin and his crew.
It’s always cool to see major actors crossover between giant nerd franchises, which in this case is major “Lord of the Rings” alum Elijah Wood as Rucklin. While his performance isn’t of award winning caliber, he definitely leaves a strong impression as a character that I hope is explored further as Kaz’s rival in the future. I think the real interesting parts of the episode are found in the exploration of Yeager’s backstory. Kaz learns from Rucklin and his crew that Yeager is probably the best racer on the platform but chooses not to participate. We also learn that he has (or more likely had) a family as we see a picture of him at the aftermath of the Battle of Jakku. This battle takes place shortly towards the end of the Galactic Civil War and you may have seen it played out in the campaign for “Star Wars: Battlefront 2” last year. I’m assuming this will begin to setup some sort of mentorship role for Yeager over Kaz in regards to becoming a racer, though perhaps that is too obvious. While this is early in the season, I do wish we had gotten a bit more from Yeager’s past in the episode.
Kaz himself continued to show development through the lessons he learned from Yeager, even though I found him a bit too prideful and childish in his protest to the old mechanic. It is still early on though, so I expect this will go down as the season progresses. I also want to take a moment to point out that Neeku (Josh Brenner) steals the comedic spotlight in whatever scene he is in, as his constant infectious positivity never fails to bring a smile to my face. Perhaps a smaller part of the episode, I did enjoy the two moments featuring an older alien who is a bit too over-eager in recruiting Kaz to live with him. It almost feels like a bit too much bizarre humour to have in a show that airs on a children/teen network, but I am honestly interested in seeing more of the old guy in the future.
While it was a bit more self-contained, “Fuel for the Fire” sets up some interesting plot threads that I am hoping to see further explored in the upcoming episodes, both through Yeager’s past and Rucklin’s rivalry with Kaz. There are no First Order teases in this one, which I think is a benefit because it maintains the shows more lighthearted and serialized format for now. While it goes without saying based on my prior reviews, the animation continues to mesh well within the show’s chosen setting and tone. The water effects were particular standouts during Kaz and Rucklin’s speeder bike race. It’s not the best thing to ever come out of “Star Wars,” but “Resistance” continues to carve out its niche in a series that I think can enjoyed by the masses. It is everything you’d want out of a “Star Wars” show excluding Jedi, and I am excited to see where it goes from here. You can watch the next episode of “Star Wars Resistance” for yourself when it airs next Sunday at 10 p.m. on Disney Channel.