Warning: This recap contains spoilers for the Star Wars Rebels episode “Iron Squadron.” Jump into hyperspace and away from this page if you haven’t watched the episode yet.
If you saw any previews for Star Wars Rebels’ “Iron Squadron,” you might have noticed a ship resembling Dash Rendar’s Outrider. It was the same model, but instead of belonging to the smuggler from Shadows of the Empire, the ship was home to a trio of kids–as Zeb pointed out, “a ship full of Ezras.” He wasn’t far off the mark.
“Iron Squadron” was an entertaining enough episode. It did successfully illustrate the scrap and spunk of some of the youth in the galaxy. When there are movements of resistance and rebellion, statements about teaching the children so they can continue to light the way are common, and these kids took it to the extreme. Mart, Gooti, and Jonner had spirit, but their attitude meant they made rash decisions from a place of overconfidence. It’s part of being a kid. I definitely had season one Ezra flashbacks while watching the kids in action.
The Ghost encountered the Iron Squadron when they went to evacuate Rebel sympathizers from a planet. They watched the freighter bomb an Imperial transport and were surprised to learn the crew was comprised of only three young individuals. (Mart, as it turned out, was Commander Sato’s nephew.) They were bratty, with Mart being the most obnoxious of them all. I admired how they all wanted to fight, but in the face of teens and an adult who wanted to assist them and save their lives, they were all impetuous. They haven’t had a ton of experience in battle–it came up a couple of times that they didn’t even know what an Imperial Star Destroyer looked like. There were a few points when it seemed ridiculous that they weren’t listening.
Gooti and Jonner eventually realized they were in too deep. After Hera left with the Ghost before the Empire arrived in force, Ezra, Sabine, and Chopper stayed behind with the Phantom II to help fix Iron Squadron’s hyperdrive. When their repairs didn’t work and Mart was willing to fly straight into an entanglement with an Imperial light cruiser and a small squadron of TIE fighters, they decided to leave. Well, Mart tricked them into leaving by getting everyone into the shuttle and disengaging from them. He seemed to have a desire to prove himself as a hero.
One ship can’t stand against so many enemies, though, and it wasn’t long before Mart’s vessel was damaged. Admiral Konstantine planted a mine on the ship, let Mart get a transmission to Phoenix Squadron, and sat back to wait for Ghost to fly into the trap, which they did. Somehow, I imagine Grand Admiral Thrawn saw every piece of this puzzle when he sent Konstantine to deal with the problem. We’re not getting quite as much Thrawn as I’d like (I’m greedy and impatient and I’m not ashamed to admit it), but from what we’ve seen, Thrawn is testing his subordinates as much as he’s testing the Rebels. He toys with and manipulates other Imperials. I wouldn’t use the word competent to describe Konstantine, so I’m particularly curious about Thrawn’s plan for him.
Anyway. Despite the obvious trap, Hera and the Ghost crew returned to rescue Mart. The action was the highlight of the episode because it showcased Hera’s exceptional leadership and piloting skills. Her quick thinking saved everyone’s skins. While she was giving smart orders while keeping the Ghost from being destroyed by the Empire, Chopper and the Iron Squadron’s droid, R3, provided comedic relief. They removed the mine from the freighter (Konstantine was going to use the mine to explode both the freighter and Ghost) and placed it on cargo. They grumbled along the way, and Chopper got in plenty of hilarious, sassy arm waving.
Ghost successfully locked onto the freighter and got everyone out in one piece. The end was on the saccharine and goofy side, but in the scheme of things, a story like the one we see in Star Wars needs the occasional moment of joy. I can let it slide even if it’s silly enough for me to roll my eyes. On the Empire side, things weren’t anywhere near cheesy. Thrawn called Konstantine out for screwing up. I really expect the Admiral to be a janitor next time we see him.
Did “Iron Squadron” resonate with you? Let me know in the comments.
Images: Disney XD