The snarlfish. What is it? Does it taste good? Can it be used to incapacitate a First Order stormtrooper? “The New Trooper” only answers one of those questions regarding the bloated flying fish that start off the episode, but it also delves into the source of the First Order’s interest in the Colossus. With the white armored goons patrolling the platform, push is quietly tilting into shove for its inhabitants and even the skeptical Tam who finally is convinced that the security the First Order offers isn’t worth the loss of freedom elsewhere. And by the way, the answer to the last question about the snarlfish is absolutely!
“The New Trooper” opens with our children from Tehar “fishing” for the flying fish, only to be discovered by a patrolling stormtrooper. In their attempt to escape, Kel manages to knock a trooper out with one of the aforementioned flying grouper. In desperation they turn to Kaz, who loops in Neeku and Tam, to figure out whether the trooper reported the children. Kaz slips into the unconscious trooper’s armor, and as a result, allows the viewer to slip into a glimpse of the world of the First Order. It’s about as wonderful as we have been lead to expect.
Kaz Xiono in stormtrooper armor is still as awkward. The Resistance spy manages to infiltrate a First Order shuttle and steal a data card from a dutiful astromech. Along the way, we witness the platform’s citizens beginning to protest the presence of their “protectors,” and more ominously, Commander Pyre kicking Captain Doza out of his own office to hold a meeting with his troopers. Through it all, Kaz’s complete inability to successfully model stormtrooper behavior results in his superiors determining that their trooper is defective and in need of a mind scrub. It’s a callback to The Force Awakens, when Captain Phasma recognizing that FN-2187, aka Finn, was not behaving like a proper trooper and ordered him to report for conditioning. Instead, Finn busts Poe Dameron free and makes a run for it. (Technically, it’s a throw forward in-universe as Finn is presently refusing to put down a mining strike or something along those lines as seen in Before the Awakening). Kaz takes the same strategy and makes a hasty exit.
Kaz’s journey in “The New Trooper” was designed to give us insight into the goals of the enemy. Another journey took place, too, Tam’s. For several episodes, Tam has been nonchalant about the First Order, even appreciative of their presence on the platform. A conversation between her and Yeager at the beginning of “The New Trooper” offered a different perspective on how to view the enemy, in this matter, one long vanquished, the Empire. We learn that Tam’s perspective of the Galactic Empire was colored by its role in providing jobs for her family, a view that’s immediately challenged by Yeager, who claims the Empire took advantage of marginalized and desperate people. There’s something uncomfortable in the back and forth between the two, perhaps because Tam interprets Yeager’s lecturing as taking the side of Kaz over her. The growing split between Tam and Yeager began in the first episode of Resistance, when the shop owner allowed Kaz to fly the Fireball. Unfortunately, it was also kind of abandoned but for bits and pieces, and the result is arguably a depiction of showing a black woman becoming unnecessarily angry over something she shouldn’t (a discussion on why the Empire was bad). FANgirl Blog previously referenced this concern regarding the show and one can only imagine that this scene probably could have been handled better to avoid slipping toward a possible derogatory racial stereotype. Over the rest of the episode, Tam learns about the behavior of the First Order on Tehar, and it seems to sink in that they are far from the benevolent force she would like to believe them to be.
Back at Yeager’s, Kaz and Yeager examine the stolen First Order data card and our old Rebel Alliance vet makes the analysis that we have been waiting to hear since the beginning of the show: why the First Order is interested in the Colossus. The short answer, fuel. In the data is a map of systems revealing some, if not all, of the First Order’s threatening fleet scattered across the stars. One thing unites the fleet, a need for a centralized fueling station, and the platform on Atallon represents the best possible point for such a station. The stakes for the Resistance on the platform have gone from local to galactic in size and at the sharp point at the center of it all, Kazuno Xiono. From this point on, Kaz’s role on the platform has sobering implications that will test the young ace pilot far more than anything in his life so far.
For more on “The New Trooper” and Resistance, check out StarWars.com!