Star Wars Resistance Season 2 Episode 5

Neeku (Josh Brener) is perhaps an underrated hero of the Star Wars universe. His kid-appeal existence could easily be as clunky as Jar Jar Binks, the alien comedy relief sidekick that’s largely considered more annoying than endearing (the heartwarming movement to rehabilitate Jar Jar’s image is another conversation entirely). Except Neeku’s character in Star Wars Resistance works from the get-go simply because he has a developed personhood and his moments of comedy relief register as much as his emotional needs, as best expressed in “Bibo,” one of the breezier episodes of Resistance. So it’s interesting and heartbreaking to see his faith in others get tested here in “The Engineer,” written by Sarah Carbiner and Erica Rosbe.

Kaz (Christopher Sean) and Neeku have their hands full repairing the Colossus short-circuiting control room. The two answer a distress call and discover a stranded shuttle piloted by a Nikto engineer, Nena (Meghan Falcone), who tells them she barely escaped a First Order attack. Kaz bargains to help fix her ship if she can help Neeku fix the Colossus. She and Neeku hit it off as friends. She seems to be incredibly helpful, but her motives aren’t for the benefit of the Colossus.

Nena

Nena is an interesting addition to Resistance and a foil to Tam and Synara (Nazneen Contractor) as a young woman whose terrible background drew her to serve an unscrupulous side. While Nena’s helpfulness turns out to be a facade, her demureness and grudging reaction to Kragan (Gary Anthony Williams) and his pirates were real. Her exterior is soft, but she also reveals tough-as-nail colors. Just as Synara’s savviness exposes an ugly truth, Neeku’s openness does genuinely warm her to the point where she tries to pull a “come with me” to Neeku. Nena is a saboteur for the First Order, not out of belief, but out of survival by picking the “winning side.” Nena told Neeku the truth about her backstory: Pirates trafficked her and sold her into slavery under the Hutts.

Directed by Bosco Ng, this episode runs at a speed that can be advantageous and disadvantageous. It does feel like Neeku’s time with Nena is well compacted enough that she’ll bond with a guy like Neeku in this short amount of time, all while I wanted more breathing space on Nena’s short stint on the Colossus and felt it could have been more long-term than regulated to one episode.

Granted, when Nena flees, it doesn’t seem to be the last we will see of her, since her fate is up in the air when Agent Tierny (Sumalee Montano) decides to execute her in their next encounter.

Neeku’s Background 

Fleetingly, but meaningfully, Neeku tells of his background that informs his personality: He was the child of bantha herders who didn’t understand his mechanical inclinations but still supported his dreams.

There’s poignancy to how simple this backstory is with some downplayed angst. Neeku didn’t come from a well-off or harrowing background like many other Star Wars leads. He is not in the best situation now on the Colossus either. Even before the First Order stepped onto the Colossus in season one, his blue-collared life as one of Yeager’s mechanics was not particularly remarkable. But he’s happy at where he is. And having an emotionally sound support system in his background and his present helps compliment his comradeship with Kaz.

Neeku and Kaz’s Friendship

“The Engineer” leans on its character focus, Neeku’s likability, and Nena’s layered predicament to keep you engaged through the by-the-numbers beat. But the heart that’s easy to overlook is how it delineates the maturing rapport between Neeku and Kaz and how they have grown more in sync, even if their mechanical abilities don’t match.

Kaz demonstrates he has grown into more of an attentive listener to Neeku, on the mechanical field when he repairs the sabotage under Neeku’s instruction, and on a personal level when he asks more about Neeku’s life underneath the very sky projection Neeku built last episode. He assures Neeku that it’s okay for him to hold onto his optimism after what happened with Nena. It’s the message that Neeku needs to hear.

Tidbits

  • Funniest moment: Where a sleeping pirate berates Kaz and Synara’s argument.
  • Hooray, Oppepit got his floor-sweeper back!
  • Not a large focus, but there’s competitive intrigue between Tierny and Commander Pyre.
  • When Neeku muses about other friends–a chair, Buggles, Bibo–I was saddened that Neeku does not seem to mention or contemplate Tam’s departure at all. Or if her absence does haunt him and he doesn’t admit it, there’s little indication in his performance that he’s concealing it. It will be a disservice if future episodes do not address his feelings about Tam’s departure, especially considering that Tam had a real rapport with him before her departure.
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