“Into the Unknown” had to run, so “A Quick Salvage Run” could, well, fly. The second episode of Resistance’s final season drew upon the tension built up in the previous episode, from the need of the Colossus for fuel to the threat of the First Order continuing its mission to destroy the rebel scum and their formerly sea dwelling ship. “A Quick Salvage Run” also continued the fact that Tam Ryvora’s story is by far the most interesting one so far this season.
It began with the beginning of The Last Jedi, as our heroes finally arrive at the former Resistance base of D’qar. Twisted and mangled bits of spacecraft and metal float about the space above the planet, while a red angry fiery wound pulsates on its surface courtesy of a First Order dreadnought. Also on display for the inhabitants of the Colossus, the crumpled and ruined remains of said dreadnought in the haunting orbital aftermath of the pyrrhic victory of Cobalt Squadron. However, no sign of the Resistance. Elsewhere, aboard a First Order destroyer, Tam Ryvora is eyeballing her com and the apologetic message from Kaz. Her fierce refusal of the previous episode to acknowledge the apology apparently had weakened enough that it takes the return of the blue-eyed irritant Jace Rucklin to encourage and threaten her into turning the com over to their superiors.
Tam does so, proving Agent Tierney’s faith in Tam as an asset to be well placed, and allowing the First Order to track the sincere apology back to Kaz and the Colossus. While the First Order hungrily set about its intentions of destruction, Captain Doza sent Kaz, Neeku, and the uncomfortable partners in resistance, the pirates, on a mission to the dreadnought in hope of finding remaining coaxium to power the Colossus’ hyperdrive.
What happens next is predictable: the First Order arrives, attacks, and Doza launches the Aces in defense. Kaz and the pirates do find coaxium, which they return to the Colossus just in the nick of time to allow the giant vertical vessel to leap away to safety. All of it, of course, is entertaining, but only two aspects of this story are important, or at least interesting. Tam Ryvora, of course, and the Aces’ performance being the surprising second.
With regard to the Aces, it’s revealed that being an ace racing pilot is by no means proof that one is an excellent combat pilot. The Aces survive their encounter against the First Order TIE fighters, but it’s a close scrap which leaves them somewhat shaken at being pushed so close to their boundaries. This story development is actually picked up in the following episode, “Live Fire,” which we’ll cover below. Tam, however, continues to be the most interesting person in the parsec because “A Quick Salvage Run” reveals that Tam may be having second thoughts about her participation in the First Order when the safety of the people she loved or called friend is actually threatened.
Agent Tienery, in her magnificent First Order spin, lauds Tam for bringing forth the communication and even attempts to upend the sincere motivation of the apology as a means to bolster Tam’s choice of the First Order over her friends. She invites Tam to the bridge of the star destroyer to watch the destruction of the Colossus. That does not go as planned. In the same manner that the salvage run should have been a simple endeavor, but went awry, Tam’s decision to join the First Order is starting to reveal itself as being a bit more complicated than expected. After the Colossus escapes, Tam is dismissed from the bridge, where she had watched the battle with her helmet underarm. Absently, she turned to walk away, only to be chastised by Agent Tierney for failing to return her helm to her head. Given the symbolism of the helmet in the previous episode, her acceptance of merging her identity into that of the First Order, this slip up indicates that perhaps Ryvora is not fully confident of her Season One finale decision. The clash of expectation and reality for Tam continued in “Live Fire.”
For everyone who tuned into Star Wars Resistance last season eager to see the Aces in action – something that turned out to be secondary to the story, despite the advertising heavily laden with starfighters – “Live Fire” was everything desired, but for actual combat between the heroes and the villains. Shaken by the difficulty of facing the First Order in combat in the previous episode, the Aces find themselves ordered by Doza to undertake combat training under the command and battle seasoned eye of Jarek Yeager. Most of the Aces accept the training, albeit reluctantly, but the writers elected to make the leader of the Aces, the Rodian pilot Hype Faizon, emblematic of the starfighter racer desire for independence versus teamwork.
Over the course of the episode, set on an ice planet with frozen formations similar to the stone formations from Rebels’ episode “Wings of the Master,” Faizon is slowly lured into Yeager’s task, forming the Aces into a cohesive fighting unit. Since this is one of the storylines for the episode, there has to be an arc, and as such, the Aces struggle at first, losing as a group to Yeager and Kaz (the only other combat trained pilot) in an aerial scrimmage. However, as time progresses, they do come together, including Faizon, and as a team, end up proving themselves by saving Yeager from a surprise attack courtesy a flying monolithic sized denizen of the ice planet. The music and animation is enjoyable, but the story feels like it’s answering a question that no one asked: “Why should the Aces be able to go to toe to toe with the First Order fighters?” Prior to “A Quick Salvage Run,” where the limits of the Aces’ ability were brought into question, the assumption generally was that Aces are the best of at they do. So why wouldn’t they be able to handle run of the mill TIE fighters? For as much as the Aces are racers, their primary duty on the platform, after all, had been to fight off pirates in combat. Perhaps the Aces’ storyline exists as a parallel to the more fascinating storyline of Tam Ryvora in the episode.
Back in the spotless and sterile world of the First Order, Ryvora finds herself, along with Jace, training to become the same TIE fighter pilots that flummoxed the Aces in the previous episode. In contrast to the Aces’ training, built around supporting one another, Tam discovers that only one thing is important when First Order TIEs launch screaming into space: the mission. This lesson is learned the hard way when Tam saves Jace, who pilots his TIE fighter into an out of control vector and certain doom. Rather than praise Tam, the First Order flight instructor criticizes Tam’s departure from the training mission’s goal of destroying X-wing-like drones. It’s yet another culture shock for Tam, and perhaps one of a number of small steps that will ultimately lead Ryvora to defecting from the First Order in the future. After all, this is a family show, and none of the writing has indicated a desire to turn the former garage hand into a first class villain.
Both “A Quick Salvage Run” and “Live Fire” build onto Tam Rvyora’s decision to join the First Order, with each indicating the facade of her confident acceptance of her new reality in the season opener may not be without its cracks. The other storyline, the Colossus and its Resistance crew, meanwhile provide entertaining adventures, but not much else in the way of character development. It is Tam’s story, however, which lifts the show from being just enjoyable to a weekly must watch. While we hope to see more out of Kaz and the rest of the Colossus team, the battle over one woman’s soul has taken center stage.
For more on Star Wars Resistance‘s “Live fire” and “A Quick Salvage Run,” check out StarWars.com!