On Sunday the second episode of Star Wars Resistance aired, following up the hour-long series premiere by giving us a look at Kazuda Xiono’s mission as a spy and mechanic – and his struggle to hold those in balance.
The episode was a good one that furthers our understanding of the characters and the context and that is likely setting the stage for coming episodes. Let’s take a look at the episode, but if you haven’t watched it yet be warned that obviously spoilers are ahead.
On the Colossus, Kaz is given his first mission as a mechanic by Yeager: to fix the ship of their client, Hallion. The ship is a Clone Wars era classic, and it soon becomes apparent to the others on the crew that Kaz isn’t all that great of a mechanic. Tam Ryvora is especially skeptical, but Kaz tells her that he learned how to be a mechanic on Coruscant. Yeager sends Kaz down to acquisitions to pick up a part, but Kaz is desperate to begin spying on the First Order. So he uses this trip as an opportunity to do some spying with BB-8, but runs into trouble. The alien he had gotten in trouble with in the first episode (Grevel) shows up again and has his thugs capture Kaz. Grevel discovers Kaz’s flying trophy – a precious lucky trophy made of aurodium that reminds Kaz of home – and wants it, but BB-8’s antics help Kaz escape with the trophy. This distraction causes Kaz to be late getting the part from Flix and Orka, however, which sparks further ire from Tam and the rest of the crew. While Kaz is installing that part, he overhears Hallion’s communication. After the client leaves, Kaz and BB-8 sit outside when they are told that the coming storm is a Triple Dark – the same thing that Hallion had said into his com. It turns out that a Triple Dark is “a type of storm [that has] low visibility [and] sometimes pirates use them for cover to attack the station.” Sure enough, pirates show up to attack – leading Kaz, BB-8, and Grevel (who had showed up again for revenge) to try to get indoors. Ultimately, Kaz sacrifices his trophy to help Grevel get inside to safety. Meanwhile, the Aces are deployed to fight off the pirate attack. Thanks to Kaz’s quick thinking, he and BB-8 retrieve Hallion’s comlink and use it to send feedback to the other pirates (like Kaz had mistakingly done earlier while working on the ship) and cause them to retreat. Kaz begins working again as a mechanic, convinced not only that he has a lot to learn as a mechanic but also that there are more threats on the station than just the First Order.
As the episode ends, however, we see Major Vonreg talking with Kragen Gorr and his pirate gang, who have Hallion captive and say they will deal with their ally’s failure. Captain Phasma then tells Gorr that she is not impressed, but Gorr assures her that soon the people of the Colossus will be happy to see the First Order.
The episode is a good and fine one that furthers things, but it’s not quite as good as the series premiere. This episode really introduces us more to Kaz and to his dual missions. It’s interesting to see him struggling with being a mechanic, because he so desperately wants to do some spying. Yeager reminds Kaz that it’s his mission as a mechanic that is his cover for spying, which surprises Kaz (who is surprised that people wouldn’t think it’s as awesome as he does that he’s a part of the Resistance). Kaz is a horrible mechanic, and that annoys Tam, but at least by the end of the episode Kaz seems to realize that he needs to work on it. Kaz is also a horrible spy, however, and it’s only because of BB-8 that he hasn’t gotten himself into bigger trouble already. In many ways, I’d expect BB-8 to be the true star of this spying mission and to be the most valuable to Poe Dameron, but that shouldn’t really be surprising. I did like how this episode showed us the reality of Kaz having two jobs, and how he ultimately is failing at both because he cannot keep the two in balance. I’m sure that is something that the character will improve on as the season goes on. And, along these lines, it was nice to see the experience Kaz gained as a spy and as a mechanic coming together to help him drive the pirates away. That was a nice touch.
One other thing to point out about Kaz in this episode is that we learn some things very important about him through his lucky trophy. Firstly, he’s very proud of this trophy (which was for the first race he ever won), but his father didn’t want him to be a pilot and isn’t as proud of that trophy. So Kaz, as we saw in the first episode, is motivated by proving his father wrong and doing things on his own. And, like I noted last week, I can’t help but wonder whether this is all setting things up for the destruction of the Hosnian System to have a major, major impact on Kaz. How couldn’t it? But secondly, Kaz’s actions with his trophy tell us that he genuinely wants to help people. All throughout the episode, nothing can get Kaz to part with it. Neeku is fascinated by it, Grevel wants it to satisfy Kaz’s debt, and Flix and Orka want to buy it. Kaz is offered the chance to pay off his debt with interest and eliminate any bad blood with Grevel, and he is offered enough money to live in luxury for several months. Neither of those motivate him to part with the trophy. But when Grevel is in trouble and trying to escape the pirates, Kaz uses the trophy to keep the door open long enough for the alien to get inside – even though the trophy is then disfigured. He still has it, but it teaches the viewer a valuable lesson about Kaz’s genuine willingness to help others.
Beyond Kaz’s character, though, this episode is even more valuable in setting up some plot points that will surely play a major role this season. It seems that pirate attacks on the Colossus are not uncommon, typically under the guise of a Triple Dark, and that it is the job of the aces to fend off the attackers. I also love the design of the pirates and their ships (some of the pirates are wearing old, cobbled-together Imperial armor). After this particular attack is unsuccessful, Kaz is left thinking that the First Order is not the only threat to the station and that the pirates are as well (he is proud that he discovered that Hallion was a pirate spy). But, as the viewer soon learns, that might not be entirely true… because the pirates are working with the First Order. Captain Phasma makes her first appearance (and it’s an awesome one, with her lurking in the background only to emerge and face the pirates via hologram), saying “When Major Vonreg and Commander Pyre first proposed the idea of collaborating with pirates, I was skeptical. Since then, you have done little to prove me wrong.” Kragen Gorr, the head of this pirate crew, responds, “We will take care of them, Phasma. Just like you asked. Pretty soon, Doza will be begging you to take control of the Colossus.”
In other words, it seems that it is the plan of the First Order to work with these pirates to drive the people of the station (including Doza, the father of Torra and the captain of the station) to be desperate enough so as to welcome a First Order occupation. Essentially, the goal is to make the people fearful enough so as to make the totalitarian rule of the First Order a welcome change. So these pirates seem to be backed by the First Order, which makes the fact that some are wearing stormtrooper armor more interesting (is this old armor that has been supplied by the First Order, for instance?). But nonetheless, the major question that remains now is why Phasma wants control of the Colossus in the first place. Is is because it is a station situated in the Outer Rim? Is it because it is a valuable fueling station? Or is there some other purpose for it? That’s the main question that is left to be answered, but a clearer picture of what the First Order’s plan is. Now we’ll just have to see how long it takes Kaz to figure that out.
Overall, I thought this was a very solid episode. It further introduces us to Kaz’s character, shows his relationship to others on the crew and on the station, shows his struggle to be both a spy and a mechanic simultaneously, features a cool dogfight sequence as the Aces fend off the pirates, gives us our first look at Captain Phasma, and clarifies a bit what the First Order’s plan is. I’m sure many of these elements will be expanded on as the series continues.
My grade: 8.5/10