Jarek Yeager teaches the Aces about combat piloting, while Tam learns what it means to be a pilot in the First Order, in Live Fire.
This article contains plot points for Star Wars Resistance Live Wire.
Star Wars Resistance S02E03 Live Fire had such a different beginning than the previous two episodes. Whereas the first two episodes were focused almost entirely on Kaz and Tam, Live Fire opens with the Aces lounging around upset at their performance in the battle against the First Order.
There are a couple of intriguing points to note about Live Fire: First, having an episode featuring the Aces is a rarity, even though the hype (or lack thereof) leading up to Star Wars Resistance was full of racing references. So giving Ace squadron the ball is a welcomed move. Second, steering away from the Kaz/Tam dynamic towards the Aces is a such a shift in gears it’s rather jolting. And it works fine once the episode moves along. Up to now, all arrows pointed at Tam and Kaz. The sudden down switch in gears takes a few minutes to adjust.
Live Fire is a decent self-contained episode, but it lacked the quality of the previous two, which were filled with dramatic tension. The stress that has been escalating since the end of season one was absent in Live Fire. Any scene with Tam and the First Order is infinitely more interesting than anything happening on the Colossus at the moment.
Tora is Stepping Up
Star Wars Resistance has shifted from Kaz and his spy cover to Tam and what is going to happen to her—what decisions will she make next—will she stay with the First Order? Events on the Colossus and Kaz have been relegated to a secondary role. Even Tora is developing into a character that deserves more attention. Her lighthearted personality has evolved into a mature leader. It won’t be long now before she earns more responsibility as part of the crew of the Colossus. Years of being around her father, Captain Doza, is starting to rub off on Tora.
Despite the lack of drama in Live Fire, it would be impossible to keep up that pace. Therefore, episodes like Live Fire are 100% necessary for character building, or in this case, team building. Each side is given their voice—to demonstrate precisely how they handle their respective trainees. What’s the best way to have a team-building event? Toss in a monster, and have the two people who disagreed work together to form a bond. It works like a charm every time!
Yeager Takes on a New Role
With Yeager back in the role of squadron leader, it appears as though he’s forgotten to forget about his past with the Rebel Alliance. Yeager takes on this role with vigor and enthusiasm. Yes, he says it’s not his first choice, but it’s in his blood, once a leader, always a leader. Kaz is finally allowed to show off his piloting skills beyond racing with the Aces. This is a confidence boost for Kaz because up to now, he’s been looked upon as a hack. The developing relationship between the Aces is satisfying, but so far, they’ve been left in the background without barely a mention. Bo Keevil had two lines of dialogue in Live Fire. One more than he had all of last season.
As each side demonstrates their respective teaching styles, it’s really a microcosm of the war between the Resistance and the First Order. Whereas the Resistance works as a team, however reluctantly at first, the First Order is all about following orders (which makes complete sense). Their focus is on defeating the enemy, disregarding teamwork, or their copilots’ well-being.
First Order Follows Orders
This liberal approach of troops and pilots is what doomed the Empire, now the First Order is following those same footsteps. Lt. Galek, Tam’s flight instructor, claims the weak die in battle, leaving the strong to carry on. Tora Doza is the most stable character on Resistance. Typically she serves as Kaz’s conscious. In Live Fire, it’s Tora who convinces Hype not to quit on the pilot training lessons. Despite her age, Tora is mature well beyond her years.
During her flight training lesson with Jace Rucklin, Tam, in her eagerness to destroy the last of the X-wing drones, accidentally shoots Jace. Instead of staying focused on the drone, Tam saves Jace from crashing into the Star Destroyer. Lt. Galek sees everything transpire and takes notes of Tam’s failure.
Saving her wingmate is a natural thought for Tam, and would do the same no matter who it was. But the First Order sees this as a weakness. Agent Tierney may second guess her decision of waiting to have Tam re-conditioned after this. Commander Pyre will use this as evidence that Tam requires a brain-scrape if she is to dedicate herself fully to the First Order.
Happily Ever After
By the end of the episode, it’s clear, if not a little predictable, that the resistance/Ace pilots are all getting along, having a drink together after Hype saved Yeager from the jakoosk with Kaz and Tora at his side. Conversely, Tam and Jace get reprimanded for not following orders. Tam didn’t seem to flinch when Galek set her straight, which means Tam is accepting of the First Order’s strict conduct.
Its evident plotlines are leading up to a point when Tam meets Kaz in space combat. Regardless of the comfort, Tam is feeling within the First Order, her resolve will crumble when faced with live enemies. Not only enemies but people she knows and once called her friends.
The episode was to showcase the difference between how the Resistance and the First Order train their pilots. There wasn’t a lot of individual characterization in Live Fire, besides Hype putting his ego in check for 20 minutes. Tam is settling in as a member of the First Order but isn’t quite there yet.
Live Fire doesn’t need multiple viewings to understand what’s at stake—because there isn’t a ton. What it did need was more Agent Tierney. Having Agent Tierney and Lt. Galek, two equally dedicated First Order officers with very different styles, engage in dialogue would’ve been interesting. Not to mention, when was the last time two female First Order/Imperial officers were ever seen speaking to one another? With the continuing push towards The Rise of Skywalker, Star Wars Resistance should stay focused on the First Order/Resistance and Tam/Kaz duo, and keep episodes like Live Fire to a minimum.