Warning: Spoilers for “The Children From Tehar,” “Signal From Sector Six” and prior episodes of “Star Wars Resistance” follow.
“Star Wars Resistance” has been a treat to watch each week so far, and while it may lack the nuance of a truly exceptional show, its compelling cast of characters and unique setting have made it stand out among the rest of “Star Wars” media. The first of the episodes continues the exploration of the First Order’s mysterious involvement on the Colossus, of which Kaz (Christopher Sean) learns more about from trying his hand at a sort of bounty hunting on the station. The second finds Kaz on his first real mission with Poe.
“The Children From Tehar”
Short of any amount of self-sustaining funds, this episode finds Kaz attempting to locate two lost children, who have a well-compensated bounty on them for their safe return. Unbeknownst to Kaz, this bounty was set by the First Order, who made the claim to Captain Doza (Jason Hightower) that they merely belong to a wealthy, well-respected family from within the FO’s allies. Once Kaz and Neeku (Josh Brener) find the brother and sister, Kel (Anthony Del Rio) and Eila (Nikki SooHoo), they learn of the true intent of the bounty placed on their heads. This episode is probably my favorite one yet as it connects the series and its characters to both the recent films and books, as well as features a lot more of the always-positive Neeku.
One of the coolest subjects of the episode was the two runaway siblings. We learn that the duo are from the planet Tehar, which is located in the Unknown Regions. As of right now, the Unknown Regions have largely been untapped from on-screen material and is essentially a large area of the galaxy that has yet to be charted. It is where the remnants of the Empire escaped to under the guidance of the mysterious Snoke and contains the origins of Grand Admiral Thrawn and Luke’s island refuge on the planet Ahch-To. It is one of the most interesting parts of the new canon, and I am excited for the series to explore it more.
The two siblings from Tehar explain that their family and entire people were wiped out by the First Order who were led by a figure cloaked in black called Kylo Ren by his troops. This is the most shocking part of the series thus far, as even though it was apparent that it would deal with the First Order, I did not think we would even reach Kylo’s area (or at least this soon). While we know what his role in the films plays out as for now, this mere mention builds up his frightening persona. He is only attempting to match his grandfather, albeit in a much more chaotic and unruly way.
Something I have stated before is how the series excels at mixing species from across the trilogies, all while introducing its own into the fray as well. In this episode we are introduced to the Chelidae (Frank Welker), later referred to by Neeku as simply shell-folk, who are a really cool turtle/sloth hybrid that remind me a bit of the caretakers seen on Ahch-To in “The Last Jedi.” Their slow-moving animation contrasts well within a series that has so far focused on quick movements and facial expressions from its characters (more so than previous series). The species are the crew that keeps the Colossus up and running and end up being key to locating the runaway duo as well as saving them from First Order operatives. In addition to Porgs, the Chelidae are one of my favorite new additions into the aliens that inhabit the “Star Wars” galaxy.
In addition to a few appearances by Captain Phasma (Gwendoline Christie), we are also introduced to another shiny high-ranking First Order operative in Commander Pyre (Liam McIntyre). Pyre dons a gold armor akin to that of Phasma’s clean, shining outfit, which I even thought in the series’ initial trailer was just Phasma with simply a weird lighting effect reflecting off of her. Here, Pyre is on the hunt for the siblings in order to take them out and prevent the spread of the news of the First Order’s conquering of multiple systems within the Unknown Regions. This is the first piece of real intelligence Kaz has gathered for the Resistance and he shares it with Ello Asty (Matthew Wood) at the end of the episode, wingman to Poe Dameron in “The Force Awakens” and “The Last Jedi.”
While again there is a noticeable lack of Yeager (Scott Lawrence), who does get at least a line at the beginning of the episode, this episode sees Kaz accompanied by Neeku for much of the episode, which is welcomed in my book. Neeku’s forthright way of speaking and looking at typical situations leads to a number of humorous scenarios, but it is his generosity that adds a whole other layer onto his character. With Kaz essentially flat-out broke, Neeku pays for his glass of “basic hydration” at Aunt Z’s (Tovah Feldshuh), as well as the medicine needed for Eila’s injured leg. When Kaz takes note of his generosity and inquires about it, Neeku simply replies that money should go towards anyone lacking the basic necessities. It is Neeku’s generosity and overwhelming positivity that stands out to me and, despite the show carrying a light-hearted tone overall, is something to highlight in a galaxy that can carry some pretty depressing events.
“Signal From Sector Six”
While I am a bit mixed on the episode as a whole, “Signal From Sector Six” does have a good number of neat moments. It is not especially plot heavy, but does give us a trip off of the Colossus in the form of an adventure with Kaz and Poe (Oscar Isaac). The two come across an abandoned freighter with some nasty inhabitants, and rescue a seemingly abandoned worker named Synara San (Nazneen Contractor). By the end of the episode though, we learn that she is in league with the pirates, and you can even spot her in the dogfight between the Aces and the pirates from a few episodes ago — a minor continuity detail which I appreciate.
On the freighter itself, Kaz and Poe face off with escaped Kowakian monkey-lizards as well as their much larger ape cousin. You’ll probably recognize the smaller ones as the same species as Jabba the Hutt’s court jester, Salacious B. Crumb, from “Return of the Jedi,” though we never have quite seen one the size of the ape in canon. One small animation touch I appreciated was Kaz’s pupils dilating when he first hears the Kowakian ape roar, which I only noticed upon second viewing but is something that goes that extra mile of selling these as real characters.
The first time I’ve had a problem with the show’s writing comes in a moment of dialogue exchanged between Kaz and Poe when practicing aerial tricks. It just feels rather forced, but for it to be the first time I have had a real problem with the writing is a really good sign, I think. One of the minor relationships covered in the sequel trilogy is the adorable one found between Poe and BB-8, which luckily for us, this episode brings up a fair amount as the two are reunited once again. Similar to my comment on the animation before, this helps to set up the characters as genuine people the audience can relate to. Poe’s genuine care for his droid is a sweet spot among a chaotic galaxy.
Kaz’s actions in this episode straddle the line between annoyingly goofy and enjoyable. The sort of slapstick humor is something “Star Wars” is no stranger to, but here it nearly crosses the line of being just a bit too much. From the way the show is progressing now though, I foresee that this won’t still be an issue come the end of the season. I do like that, so far, Kaz has been one of the few “Star Wars” protagonists to not carry around a blaster or lightsaber on a regular basis. I think this again speaks to the unique perspective we are getting from this show, which is something I hope it will stay like for a while longer.
“Resistance” is the type of show that handles the balance of self-contained plot in conjunction with a season-stretching arc well, and this is why I look forward to getting to watch week after week. The first in particular is one of the best, as I think the show is at its best when it can connect these freshly established characters to the overarching “Star Wars” plot through things like the Kylo Ren callout. What will become of that is unknown, but I am looking forward to seeing where this story leads in regards to the First Order, the pirate Synara and seeing more of the sweet shell-folk gang. You can catch the next episode of “Star Wars Resistance” for yourself when it airs next Sunday night at 10 p.m. on Disney Channel.