Episode 1.17 – “The New Trooper”
Directed by – Steward Lee
Written by – Paul Giacoppo
“When Kel and Eila seek out Kaz’s help after knocking out a stormtrooper, Kaz dons the trooper’s armor to protect the kids and spy on the First Order.”
The First Order has taken over Colossus. Not everybody knows that yet, and some don’t like it, but the fact remains as soon as Commander Pyre left behind a security squad two weeks ago, the die was cast.
So, this week on “The New Trooper” the First Order is taking up more and more space, sucking the air out of the station, and even removing Captain Doza from his office! We’ll get to that.
Pyre arrives with some more troopers and Doza questions why they are still needed if the pirate spy (Synara San) has been dealt with. Pyre reminds him the spy wasn’t “dealt” with but rather escaped and with the help of a Colossus citizen, someone they plan on finding.
We cut to Tehar refugees and Kylo Ren survivors Kel and Eila who are up out of the basement doing some fishing. They get interrupted by Stormtrooper CS-515 (Steve Blum) who wants to see their ID, but instead gets knocked out by a fish and dragged to a closet by the kids.
They go to the Fireball shop to ask Kaz for help who is eating supper with Yeager, Tam and Neeku. They are discussing the First Order and Jarek is warning them not mess around with the First Order, who like the Empire, can be ruthless and unforgiving. Tam, who is still slow to come around on their threat level, reveals that her grandfather used to work at an Imperial Factory and had an okay life because of it. Jarek reminds them both that they grew up during peacetime and wouldn’t know of such hardships.
Anyways, the kids show up and to keep an eye on Kaz, Neeku and Tam go along to help get them out of trouble. They find the body in the closet and drag him down to the basement where the kids have been staying with the Chelidae. Tam is anxious and fearful that this will cause even more trouble for them and wants to report it, while Kaz, seeing a golden opportunity to cosplay, puts on the armour and heads out into the station to get up close and personal with the First Order.
While gone, the Stormtrooper wakes up and Neeku is forced to knock him out with a wrench and Tam and children get a chance to talk. Tam is confused why they are scared and alone, they tell her their story which shocks her and Kel questions why she would doubt Yeager and Kaz and in his words, “trust the First Order over her friends” This seems to hit home, and Tam is slowly lowering her guard, but not completely.
So Kaz makes his way around the station disguised, even passing by and waving at a very confused Torra who’s sitting in her bedroom. He encounters a small civilian revolt and even gets in the way of Opeepit who is struggling to clean floors without his cleaner which was confiscated by the First Order last week. But he does make it onboard Pyre’s ship and steals a data rod, while almost getting stopped by a black BB unit, very similar to BB-9E, the one we saw in the Last Jedi.
Other troopers catch up to him and tell him Commander Pyre has summoned them to the tower for a briefing. We cut to Pyre in Captain Doza’s office who asks him why he left the Empire all those years ago. Doza responds with “it came down to a personal choice, though I wouldn’t expect you to understand it.” a slight that doesn’t seem to bother Pyre. Although, once Kaz and the other troopers arrive for the briefing, Pyre basically kicks Doza out of his own office! Doza puts up a fuss but ultimately shows great weakness and slithers away. Very disappointing and hopefully not a sign of things to come.
Kaz’s eradicate behaviour, for a Stormtrooper that is, attracts the attention of Commander Pyre who orders he be taken away for re-conditioning. He takes off not wanting to be discovered and calls Tam and Neeku, who are waiting with the knocked-out Stormtrooper and they make the switch back in time. Kaz tells the children that the First Order has no record of them being on board the station, something he learned when he was on board their ship, and they are all safe for now.
They head back to the shop where Yeager is upset that Kaz took so many chances and that all their lives are depending on him keeping things under wraps. Kaz understands and tells him about the data rod he stole so they plug it into BB-8 and have a look. Now we get to the McGuffin of the episode.
On the data rod was a map that BB-8 projects up in front of them. It’s a galaxy map that shows five planets (Yavin, Jedha, Jakku, Takodana and Twon Ketee), some hyperspace routes and roughly 40 red dots which Yeager thinks are First Order fleets. Based on their locations, he concludes that that’s why they must want Colossus, to use it as a staging location for an impending war. Yeager admits that he could be wrong however and Kaz is doubtful that the First Order has amassed a fleet much bigger than the New Republic Navy. But ominous music plays the episode ends with both looking like they just saw a ghost.
I have a theory about the map and what it means, tune into the latest ForceCast podcast to hear that, but understand that I believe it’s actually a version of the Luke Skywalker map from The Force Awakens.
So, the first half of the season had a couple of forgettable episodes, but it’s clear they plan on running the table in the second half. This was another extremely well produced bit of television and checks a lot of boxes for the series. We got some serious character development, a huge McGuffin, and a fair amount of foreshadowing and set-up for the rest of Season One.
Paul Giacoppo’s script is air-tight and with him having written “The Children from Tehar” he seems to be the staff’s Tehar expert for the time being. The score wasn’t as noticeable as it was last week but that’s because there was a ton of dialogue and when combined with some nice editing, made for another well-paced episode.
Tam is proving to be a key part of where things will go with the team, as you can tell the moment it clicks for her, will be the moment the station pushes back. Captain Doza seems to be wilted and if Kaz is to be the defacto leader of the Colossus once the rebellion starts, then it makes sense Doza would take a step back and concede a bit of power.
With Pyre bringing in a whole slew of First Order troopers, it will get more and more difficult for Tam and the other naysayers to keep turning a blind eye to what’s going on. So, look for the tension to ramp up considerably next week.
Speaking of next week, we’ve got “The Core Problem” …
“Poe (Oscar Isaac) and Kaz make an unsettling discovery and must evade the First Order when they are spotted by an enemy probe droid.”
Glad to see Poe is back as the previous episodes where these two paired up provided some of the more thrilling moments of the season. If you’ve seen the mid-season trailer, they you know what “unsettling discovery” they find while out and about. They find a system with no star and in major disrepair, perhaps their first real indication that the First Order has a super weapon, which we know is the Starkiller Base. Should be a big discover for the them and whether they connect the dots or not, we’ll just have to wait and see.
Till next time…MTFBWY.
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