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It seems strange to me that one act of helping Poe escape would enable The Resistance to trust a former soldier of the First Order. He could have easily been a spy sent to gain their trust and then turned on them in the last minute to help the First Order win — like

Joe Pistone in Donnie Brasco.

After saving Poe, Finn helps Rey, but at that point she had nothing to do with The Resistance, so that really does not prove anything.

Was there another defining action or event that made The Resistance trust him?

  • Both helping Poe & leaving the bad guys (& blowing up their ships) would count in his favor. Besides, it seems to be a pretty clumsy way to try and plant a spy or saboteur. – Andrew Thompson May 3 '16 at 9:52
  • @AndrewThompson, any chance to penetrate The Resistance would be worth a couple of ships, especially when almost all ranks of the first order were expendable. ie, Especially the scene when the lieutenant abandons his post when the Starkiller in the final scenes, shows that they even know they are expendable. – KyloRen May 3 '16 at 9:59
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    @KyloRen: "any chance to penetrate the Resistance would be worth a couple of ships...." Citation needed. The Resistance is really small potatoes compared to the Republic or the First Order. In fact, the Resistance appears to be even smaller than the Rebellion was during the days of the Empire. Why would the First Order even care about the Resistance when they can really only field a few light fighter craft? – Ellesedil May 3 '16 at 17:22
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More importantly than helping Poe, he also helps bring BB8 and the star map to them.

As this was one of the things most desired by the First order, if he was going to betray them he would have done so as soon as he had that.

Edit to clarify the situation when Finn meets the Resistance.

At this time, the first order have just destroyed the Republic with their giant super laser, so they need any info or help they can get.

  • Finn is with Han, who is known, and possibly trusted, by the Resistance.
  • Finn is known to have helped Poe the Resistance ace pilot
  • Finn is known to have been involved in the recovery of BB8

Those are three pretty big things in his favor.

It is also worth noting that Rey is a nobody as far as the Resistance is concerned at this point, Finn is the only one interested in saving her. Finn is the only connection with BB8 and the map who is present.

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    They do not know that he helped in bringing BB-8 to the resistance, only that he helped Rey and that resulted in BB-8 falling into the hands of the resistance. – KyloRen May 3 '16 at 12:12
  • Also, Han may have recounted to resistance leadership how Finn wanted to escape the First Order and had actually left, believing it would be impossible to beat the First Order, but was stopped by the attack. His desire to now help attack Starkiller just to help his friend Rey, plus Poe and Han vouching for him gives him a lot of credibility. – Geoff May 3 '16 at 16:50

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