In “The New Trooper,” Commander Pyre and the First Order arrive on the platform to find out who helped Synara escape. Doza reminds Pyre that he’s still in command, and Pure feebly agrees. Meanwhile, Kel and Eila are fishing as a group of stormtroopers walks past. One of them stops to apprehend the children, but they manage to knock him out. Back at Yeager’s shop, Kaz and Tam are again at odds with regards to the extra protections offered by the First Order. Yeager equates them to the Empire, and Tam takes offense, saying that her grandfather used to work for the Empire to put food on the table. Their argument is interrupted by an arriving Kel and Eila, who ask Kaz to come with them. Neeku and Tam tag along, the latter being horrified at the sight of the indisposed trooper. Kaz and Neeku lift the trooper, and the group goes to a less conspicuous location. Kaz decides to impersonate the trooper, talking on his transmitter and heading to their base. He’s roped into a confrontation with a group of protestors who want the First Order off their platform. Rather than stick around and fight, Kaz slips away so he can get some information about the First Order’s plans.
Meanwhile, Tam laments being sucked into this conflict, as she has no problem with the First Order. Eila observes that it’s strange for Tam to trust the organization over her own friends. She asks why the First Order is after them, and Eila tells her that the First Order killed everyone on their planet. Their chat is brought to an abrupt end when the trooper wakes, but Neeku knocks him out. Kaz tries and ultimately succeeds in obtaining a data file from a First Order droid, but troopers arrive and tell him to come and see Commander Pyre. In Doza’s office, Pyre asks him why he left the Empire years ago, to Doza’s reply that it came down to a personal decision that Pyre wouldn’t understand. The troops arrive, and Pyre tells Doza to leave his own office so he can meet with his troops. Kaz is compromised, but as he flees, the troopers are surrounded by protestors. They track the suit and ultimately find the real soldier back in his armor and send him to reconditioning. Kaz and his friends head home, and he debriefs Yeager on his findings; the First Order wants to see the Colossus as a refueling station for their fleet.
Well, for the third week in a row, I’ll say that this is the best Resistance episode yet. This might be a slight overstatement, but at times it feels like the whole creative team behind this show was replaced with people who actually care and know what they’re doing. “The New Trooper” is dramatic, sad, and, at times, approaches some really tough subjects and situations. I still feel like the First Order is kind of a faceless threat with no clear goals or beliefs, but what they’re doing with the heroes almost makes up for it. “The New Trooper” is the first time Tam has been anything more than an annoying wet blanket, and I love the way they handle it. Her blind defense of the First Order in “The First Order Occupation” was a little annoying and, frankly, insensitive, but this week they gave those sequences meaning and narrative purpose. Tam grew up with a family member who loved and cared for her, and who worked for the Empire. I’d like even more exploration of this kind of thing on the show; what the Empire and the First Order did and do is evil, but some of the people in the organizations are just regular folks earning a paycheck. That’s interesting, realistic, and honestly pretty scary. It is deeply satisfying when Tam comes face-to-face with Kel and Eila, two people who have been hurt by the First Order and can’t comprehend her sympathy for the organization. Also amazing is how she tries to rationalize these horrible actions – it can’t be that the First Order just decided to wipe out an entire planet; there must be some good reason for them to do it. It’s a short scene in a short episode, but this is poignant because it feels real. This is exactly how someone in Tam’s situation would feel; of course, she isn’t immediately going to be disillusioned. She has to try and make sense out of senseless violence.
Kaz has some good moments in “The New Trooper” too. I don’t care for how silly he behaves in disguise, and frankly, it’s a miracle he doesn’t get caught earlier. I understand that this is an obvious chance for some comedy, but that doesn’t mean he has to act so obviously out of place and ridiculous. However, it was a good idea on his part to infiltrate the First Order to get intel, and also to later use the mob to his advantage in escaping the other soldiers. We don’t get to see him change places with the real trooper, but it must have been quite a trick doing that so quickly too. Even Neeku’s scenes are relatively painless in this episode. I also like how Yeager calls Kazuda into his office like he’s going to be scolded, but then just wants to talk to him about the mission. I hope they do an episode with Yeager in the forefront soon because he’s probably my favorite character. They also drop the revelation that Doza used to work with the Empire in “The New Trooper.” This character has been shrouded in mystery from the beginning, and I like that they’re trying to make him complex and reserved. I wonder when he’ll discover that Pyre staged Torra’s kidnapping, and how he’ll respond to such a huge betrayal. I also hope we get to see Synara again soon. I’m genuinely starting to like some of Resistance’s characters, and I hope they can keep it up.
Overall, “The New Trooper” is a solid episode of Star Wars Resistance, and my favorite one yet. They’re working on defining these characters and their relationships, and from where I’m standing, it’s slowly paying off. I’ve seen and even loved shows that started off slow, but Resistance started out horrible, with few to no redeeming qualities. But over the last couple of weeks, this series has turned over a new leaf, and I’m starting to enjoy it. I’m genuinely curious to see what happens next.