In “The Children From Tehar,” Kaz offers to help Tam and Neeku repair a ship. Tam gleefully takes the opportunity to insult him, only accepting his help when she realizes that there are three turrets that must be tightened at the same time. She reluctantly accepts, but Kaz manages to break her compensator, which is apparently a rare and costly part, angering Tam. At Aunt Z’s, Kaz is further berated for not having enough money to buy a glass of water, but Neeku covers the balance. The two overhear some bounty hunters talking about missing children. The payout for finding them is 20,000 credits, more than enough to fix Kaz’s problems. The shot cuts to the two children sneaking around and snatching a bowl of food. The kids literally run into Kaz and Neeku, but despite Kaz’s offers to help, they get up and run away. Neeku assures Kazuta that he has friends who can help, and takes him to the engineering level of the platform. There Neeku introduces Kaz to the engineers, turtle-like creatures whose language he apparently knows. A droid approaches the two, informing Kazuta that Captain Doza has summoned him. Doza asks him about the two children, and Kazuta gives him a small trinket he got from one of the kids. Doza asks if Kazuta put any thought into who would place such a high bounty on two children and why, to which Kaz has to say no. Doza dismisses him and promises to update him if they’re found.
Doza contacts Captain Phasma via hologram and tells her everything he knows about the children, including their last known location. Again, we see the children; the girl has an injured leg, and they discuss not feeling safe from “him.” The engineers contact Neeku and inform him that they’ve found the kids. Kazuta and Neeku head there; Tam insists on Kaz taking the compensator with him to get an exact match. The children tell Kaz that they’re not lost, but that they ran away from Kylo Ren after he destroyed their home and killed everyone else. After hearing their story, Kaz promises not to let the First Order find the children. But when they all head to the market for supplies, the First Order does indeed arrive. The four make a run for it, with the stormtroopers in hot pursuit. They all get to the engineering level, determine that it’s a dead end, and jump down a hatch into icy water. The stormtroopers are unable to trace life signs in the water, so they leave, satisfied. However, the life signs only disappeared because it was the reptilian engineers who jumped into the water; they possess the ability to alter their vitals. The heroes simply hid on the sides of the platform’s underbelly. One of the engineers gives Tam’s compensator back to Kaz, repaired. Kazuta attempts to contact Poe, but reaches one of his colleagues, Ello. Kaz gives him the information, and Ello promises to report it directly to General Organa. He then tells Kaz that he’s doing a great job, and Poe is very pleased and proud of him.
It feels redundant and just mean saying it at this point, but “The Children From Tehar” is really dumb. This is a common plot to television animation: the good samaritan protagonist wanting to help a lost/runaway child(ren). I would say it’s a good opportunity to introduce some characters the audience can relate to, but Kaz already acts like a little kid despite clearly being a young adult. This actually would have been an excellent way to develop Kaz and make him more complex, but that’s not the way they go with it. If it took some time for him to decide to do the right thing or if he had some kind of late-in-the-episode epiphany, it could have been really interesting and added some moral complexity to the show. However, the fact that Kazuta was always trying to do the right thing makes his decision not to turn them in weightless. Yes, he stood to profit from the reward and needed the money, but he was only going to do it because he thought it would be mutually beneficial to the children to get them home. The fact that it’s the First Order pursuing them seemed like an obvious development from the start, so Kaz’s choice to help them escape allows an already predictable, boring story to continue to be so. His relationship with Tam is still annoying and painful to watch; Kazuta by himself is obnoxious to the point of exhaustion, but Tam’s holier-than-thou disposition and her penchant for constantly arguing with and mocking him are just stupid. It actually feels at times like they’re actively trying to create characters nobody would like. Tam is barely even in this episode, but her appearances still have to consist entirely of this childish, unlikable behavior. She may be worse than Kazuta because she’s an actively mean, hateful person; he’s just dumb and careless. Neeku does a lot of generous things in “The Children From Tehar,” so I guess we can officially say he has a character trait aside from taking everything Kaz says literally. Yay?
I actually like the look of the alien race they introduce as the engineers in “The Children From Tehar.” I’m partial to turtles, and I almost chuckled at Neeku’s remark about wishing he had a carapace. These guys are really just a plot device, but if the show wants to win me over, they could utilize them more and our fearless heroes less. I do have one nitpick here, though; when Neeku is translating their message for Kaz, he does it syllable by syllable. This seemed very stupid to me. A language isn’t going to have an equivalent syllable for each syllable in another language; that’s not how languages and translation work. This is kind of a moot point with Star Wars, anyway, though. They’ve always done stupid things, like having Jabba and Han talk to each other in different languages despite understanding one another, and placing proper nouns in the same place in a sentence across different languages. However, I have another issue with “The Children From Tehar,” and this one is pretty glaring: when the First Order is searching for the kids, why do they only check the water? Wouldn’t it be common sense to check the platform, since people can plausibly stand/hide on it? Fiction usually relies on some form of convenience or stupidity on the part of the opposition, but this is just unbelievably dumb.
The children themselves don’t really share any shocking information in “The Children From Tehar;” if you’ve seen Episode VII and/or VIII, you know Kylo Ren sucks and does mean things. They also don’t distinguish themselves from one another, or the other cast members; these kids have 0 personality. They express sadness and fear over the loss of their family and entire home planet, but they don’t look sad/scared, and they don’t sound too choked up about it. This series doesn’t seem to be too concerned with character animation or great vocal performances, and I think that’s a real shame. I’ve mentioned before that, while I really, really hate this animation style, Rebels and The Clone Wars weren’t exactly state-of-the-art in this regard either. Technical excellence is an undeniable merit in entertainment, but a show with great characters and an emotionally engaging story can work with average or even subpar animation. If Resistance would focus on creating genuine emotion in its stories and maybe make Kaz and crew more likable, I could get past the hideous smeared-recycled-Play-Doh look of the animation. As is, I’m just baffled this thing is even airing. There’s nothing to love about this show and nothing that I can even step back and appreciate.
Overall, “The Children From Tehar” is slightly better than the previous episodes, but it’s still a turd. Again, they proved the shiny stormtrooper armor to be the only thing that looks good in this sloppy, gooey animation style. However, I liked the design of the engineers on the platform, and Neeku tells one joke that almost cracked a smile. I still think Kazuta is dumb and impetuous, and I don’t understand why Poe would be bragging about him. The dialogue is bad, the music is inconsequential, and the characters are totally hollow. This series lacks everything that makes Star Wars cool.