Star Wars Resistance’s latest, “The Children from Tehar” introduced a fascinating new alien species to its viewers and Kylo Ren to its characters, all while running in place. Watching the episode, one can feel Paul Giacoppo’s script neatly connecting the dots. Kaz breaks Tam’s compensator, incurring the reminder that he remains virtually penniless aboard the Colossus, which is subsequently reinforced by his inability to purchase all of a drink at Aunt Z’s. The hungry for money Resistance spy hears about the bounty for two children, which launches him into a quest to find them and finally secure some pocket change. The entire broken compensator plot device could have been dropped entirely and nothing would have changed about the episode. True, we would have missed the awesomeness of Tam showing off her buff arms by holding the heavy device with one hand; as well her deft aim with a large wrench, but it really did not add anything to the story. Unless, awkwardly, a sudden close up of Tam’s lips as she counted down in the opening was intended to be a POV of Kaz’s and perhaps indicative that the young pilot was developing feelings for his coworker. The shot is just there, like a literary island, however, and nothing is ever referenced back to it.
“The Children from Tehar,” could have opened in Aunt Z’s, and from there, Kaz with Neeku in tow, start the hunt for the boy and girl featured in a bounty hologram and with considerable success. The pair are literally run over by the highly sought after children, who scramble off and out of sight, but not before Kaz accidentally strips an insignia off the wrist of the older boy. The episode features an unusual amount of focus on this symbol while providing almost zero information about it. If we can trust the showrunners, we should expect to see it or another like it again in the near future. After Neeku guides Kaz to his friends, who have eyes everywhere on the fueling platform, “The Children from Tehar” begins to earns it keep with the introduction of a new Star Wars alien, the chelidae. Human-sized, sentient turtles, the chelidae are the engineers of the Colossus, natives of the planet, and dwellers of the platform’s sublevels. Evoking the gentle and deliberate moving uRu/Mystics of The Dark Crystal (the four armed, long haired and big nosed creatures who adopt and raise the main character), they are simply too wonderful not to enjoy. And, given their need to know the state of mechanical repair of the platform, they are an indispensable source of information for Kaz and Neeku.
Fresh off the high of the chelidae, we are redirected to the large, but not quite intimidating office of Captain Doza, where the aforementioned has decided to formally meet the man who flung himself out his daughter’s window. The conversation is brief, Kaz confirming Doza’s belief he is a new mechanic for Yeager, until it turns to the missing children. Kaz freely admits to his search for the children, but then oddly, and without prompt, hands over the symbol/insignia to Doza. This makes no sense other than the writers wanted Doza to have this information, with which he would later question Captain Phasma about. It’s sloppy and could have been handled differently. Kaz and Neeku depart and Doza, leaning into our own suspicions of First Order sympathizing, immediately notifies Phasma of the children’s presence on the platform. Other than revealing that Phasma made up a story to cover the First Order’s reasons to obtain the children, as well Doza’s own suspicions (and potential insight into the symbol), the scene didn’t offer much. Still, hearing Gwendoline Christie voice her iconic character is worth the wheels spinning a bit in place. We know the First Order, by virtue of being the First Order, has nothing but bad intentions for the children, so Phasma’s lies are mainly icing on the chilling child hunting cake. It also introduces one more party to fight over the children, Commander Pyre and his First Order stormtroopers.
Meanwhile, thanks to the help of the chelidae, Kaz and Neeku find the children, but must earn their trust by finding medical supplies for the girl’s hurt leg. The kids reveal they are refugees from the planet Tehar and that the First Order, lead by a man with a lightsaber called Kylo Ren, had murdered the children’s parents and village. On a show called Resistance, every connection we receive to The Force Awakens is fun; but, it should be accompanied with a purpose, otherwise, it’s simply fan service. Phasma? Her presence as the First Order officer who attempted to take over the Colossus makes sense. She’s not a general, but this is obviously an important mission signified by her presence and participation. The only purpose for Ren’s name drop would be to continue the show’s efforts to establish the state of the galaxy in terms of its knowledge of the First Order. At the least, we now know Kylo Ren was not a universally known figure of the First Order; much in the same way that Darth Vader has recently been recast as a shadowy figure of the Empire, serving the Emperor’s personal needs. Likewise, it could be simply to further establish the wickedness of the First Order for our heroes. Beyond this, it might serve as an introduction for Ren to eventually appear on the show. At this moment in the episode, “The Children from Tehar” felt much more of a vessel designed to bring things up, Kylo Ren, the mysterious symbol from the older brother, rather than advance any of the main characters’ stories.
The episode enters its final act with the procurement of medicine, which draws the attention of Commander Pyre and his stormtroopers. Pyre, a Stormtrooper attired in gold chrome, indicates the First Order really, really, likes to accessorize their soldiers. The emerging Crayola box of First Order soldiers is a good bad thing; it keeps things interesting, but it also begins to cheapen the unique quality of Phasma’s own appearance. Perhaps she’s the trendsetter, but it would be nice if they slow down on introducing any more colorized bad guys for a while. Commander Pyre, himself, does nothing out of the ordinary outside of giving chase to our heroes and is tricked by Kaz with the help of the chelidae into believing the children had chosen to kill themselves to avoid capture. Their safety guaranteed, the children are offered the chance to live with the chelidae, and hopefully, this isn’t the last time we see them (both groups) or otherwise, it’s a slightly weird way to conclude their story.
Kaz’s adventure finishes with him returning a compressor to Tam, repaired by the chelidae, again, offering nothing to the overall plot, and then Kaz reporting to Ello Asty the news of Kylo Ren and Tehar’s fate. “The Children from Tehar” could have simply finished with this report to Asty, but either as filler or for bigger storytelling purposes, we had to have a return to Tam. It’s these little things which undermine the fun parts of the episode, which is otherwise finely animated, and as I noted, introduced the incredibly nifty chelidae. One of the problems that has always been an issue for Lucasfilm animation has been the half hour (including commercials) length, because the tendency has been to imagine stories that naturally want to leap beyond the limited time restraint. In The Clone Wars, we ended up with multiple episode arcs, in Rebels, a number of back to back episodes gradually proliferated through the show until the final season consisted of almost nothing but two part stories. Perhaps with Resistance, the same problem is popping up, leaving problematic spots in the writing where there’s a desire to stick more into the story than can be fleshed out and appreciated within the that limited time. There may be plans for Kaz and Tam, or that mysterious symbol, but there isn’t time to provide more than subtle nudges and winks. Kaz’s own character arc stalled in this episode for the sake of exposition on Kylo Ren. “The Children from Tehar” is a fun episode to watch, just avoid thinking too much about the details.
For more on “The Children from Tehar” check out the episode guide on StarWars.com!