I’m back with another episode review for Star Wars Resistance. This is the second and final season of the third animated show in canon, focusing on Kazuda Xiono and his friends on the Colossus as they attempt to get away from the First Order and find the Resistance. These will take a very similar format to previously: an overview of the plot (so it goes without saying, there will be spoilers!), my thoughts on the episode and a few Moments in Canon – things I picked up on that linked to other stories or the larger galaxy as a whole. Today, I will be looking at episode 3: “Live Fire”
The episode begins with the Aces in their lounge, feeling dejected about the way that the First Order outmatched them during the skirmish in the last episode. Doza arrives and compliments them for their work protecting the platform over the years, but says that they need to prepare for a new kind of enemy as they are race pilots rather than combat experts. Doza informs them that he has appointed Yeager as their new squad commander, while Kaz will also be joining Ace Squadron due to his combat experience. While most of the Aces are grudgingly accepting of the new personnel, Hype Fazon is less happy at Kaz’s inclusion.
On Pyre’s Star Destroyer, new cadets Rucklin, Tam and Lin Gaava are late to training. Upon arrival, Tam is scolded by her training instructor, Lieutenant Galek, for not having her helmet on as she has not earned the privilege of being seen. She orders the cadets to prepare their ships as their first exercise will start shortly.
In Yeager’s garage, Yeager briefs the Aces that he is going to put them through a mock skirmish on a nearby ice moon to assess their combat skills: him and Kaz against all the Aces. Cutting to the beginning of the skirmish, the aces fly in formation together and are attacked by Kaz and Yeager. While Torra tries to get the Aces to work together, Kaz and Yeager’s teamwork allows them to take out Griff and Freya. The remaining Aces form up on Kaz’s tail; Torra has a shot but just before she fires, Hype selfishly dives in front of her to get the glory, but is taken out by Yeager.
“The First Order nearly blew us all out of the sky!”
Debriefing back on the Colossus, Yeager says that Hype is a good racer but a bad combat pilot, as racers only think about themselves whereas good fighter pilots survive by working as a team. Hype selfishly doesn’t want to be chained to the others and storms out, going to Aunt Z’s Tavern. Kaz finds him there and tries to appeal to Hype’s desire to protect the Colossus, but Hype blames him for Tam leaving and tells him to go away. Torra speaks to him, reminding him that he came back after escaping the First Order and tells him that they are stronger together.
Tam, Rucklin and the other cadets take part in a live fire training exercise against a group of 3 drones. Lieutenant Galek informs them that whoever destroys the most drones will become squadron leader. Tam takes down the first 2 drones as Galek and Pyre look on from the Star Destroyer’s bridge. Rucklin tries to cut in front of Tam to get a shot at the final drone, but loses control after a collision. Realising that Rucklin will crash into the Star Destroyer, Tam abandons the last drone and manages to guide him just wide of the ship, bantering with Rucklin that losing the clean sweep but saving him is almost a fair trade. The exercise complete, the cadets are ordered back to the hangar, where Tam is chastised by Galek for breaking off the attack on the drone and informed that her stunt cost her the position of squadron leader. Galek informs them that the First Order is built on survival of the fittest and becomes stronger by culling the weak. If one lesser pilot cannot survive on their own merit, then so be it. Reminded that her job is to follow orders, Tam walks away with Rucklin.
“Allow me to introduce you to your new squadron leader: Jarek Yeager. And your newest member of the Ace Squadron…”
“Kaz?! Are you kidding me?!”
On the Colossus, Hype returns to the Aces and Yeager informs them that for the next skirmish they will work in 3 pairs, with Kaz assigned to be Hype’s lead. Back on the moon, the pairs split off in their formations. Kaz tries and fails to make conversation with Hype, before Torra and Griff ambush them. A missed shot from Torra hits an ice pillar, and the debris dropping off it disturbs a large creature, a Jakoosk, which chases after Hype. Kaz and the rest of the Aces try shooting at the creature, but their blasts can’t penetrate its hide. Hype manages to get away, but the Jakoosk now goes after Yeager and manages to catch his racer in its claws. Hype develops a plan for the group to fire on the ice pillars to hurt the Jakoosk by dropping the debris on it. The Aces work together and the plan is a success, the debris hitting the Jakoosk forces it to let go of Yeager’s fighter and he is able to escape.
Back in Aunt Z’s Tavern, the Aces all celebrate together along with some other patrons. Hype gives some credit to Torra and Kaz, admitting that they made a good team and welcoming Kaz as his newest wingmate and the newest member of the Aces.
I’ll say it straight away, this has been my favourite episode of the season so far. I’ve mentioned a number of times that I think the show is at its best when we are in flights, with the focus on the ships. While this looks beautiful, what makes it even better is that Kaz goes from being (too often) a bumbling fool on the ground to an accomplished pilot.
“Yay, I’m back in flight school.”
“I hope this isn’t boring.”
Having recently read Alphabet Squadron, it was great to see the first skirmish, with Yeager and Kaz working so well in tandem to take down the Aces with ease, manipulating them into positions that made them easy to pick off. It was great seeing the use of different formations and pair-ups throughout this episode. What also worked really well was the contrast within the episode between the Aces’ training and that of the First Order, with the Aces fighting each other using stun blasts and the First Order using drones in live fire exercises. It was also really well shown the different mentalities between the groups, with everyone working together to save Hype and Yeager compared to Tam being punished for prioritising Rucklin over attacking he drone.
I’ve been waiting to see more of the Aces ever since the pilot, so it was great to see them expanded upon in this episode, especially with Griff talking about his experience flying for the Empire and how he sees the similarities between the Empire and the First Order, while it was also great seeing a few moments with all of the Aces’ droids together with their own personalities and I hope we get to see more of them over the coming season.
“You can’t be serious, Yeager. Cos there’s no way you can beat all of us.”
“Well then I won’t have to wish you luck.”
Hype initially felt a little annoying in this episode, but that felt completely right for the character and it was good to see him become more bearable as the episode went on without massively changing his personality. I do wish that there had been a bit more about Hype’s feelings towards Tam joining the First Order and Kaz’s role in that, especially as Season 1 showed that they have a history.
In terms of Tam, I think we are once again seeing the differences between the Colossus and the First Order being highlighted to her and making her realise that she may have picked the wrong side. I wonder if Rucklin will be used as a sacrificial character now, with Tam having the chance to save his life but having to follow orders and ignore him. However, having Rucklin’s friend Lin Gaava having also joined makes me wonder if she will be the one lost, and Tam will be affected by this more than Rucklin. It was also interesting to see Pyre taking an interest in her piloting skills. In the last episode he suggested that her usefulness may be coming to an end but seeing her as a top quality pilot may make him feel that she needs to go through conditioning to take full advantage of her talents. Tam is seeing the worst of the First Order in every episode, so it is surely just a matter of time before she renounces them or gets forced through conditioning.
“Eyes open, Hype. Always.”
A few other thoughts from the episode:
- I love seeing Yeager made squad commander as it allows him to have a larger role in the show, both as a pilot and the go-between for the pilots and Doza
- Even if we don’t get much more from the Aces’ droids, Hype’s droid R4-G77 needs a larger role, he was so funny storming off with Hype
- It’s great getting to see more of First Order training through Tam’s eyes, as this is something that we haven’t really had the chance to see on screen before
Moments in Canon
- Lin Gaava, who was part of Rucklin’s race crew, joined the First Order with him
- The other member of Rucklin’s race crew, Gorrak Wiles, is shown to have remained on the Colossus
- The First Order uses drones that look similar to X-wings, though the S-foils were also reminiscent of ARC-170s
What did you think about the episode?
Thanks for reading. May the Force be with you…