Iron Squadron: Rebels Season 3, Episode 8 Review
While evacuating Rebel sympathizers from Mykapo, the crew of the Ghost encounters the Iron Squadron. The Iron Squadron is made up of one Corellian freighter, which is crewed by three kids and an astromech droid. Can the Ghost crew convince Iron Squadron to retreat before they are overwhelmed by Imperial reinforcements?
The Corellian freighter flown by Iron Squadron captures the audience’s attention from the moment it appears on the screen. In a time when the value of nostalgia is being debated, it is similar enough to the Millennium Falcon to be recognized as the same type of ship and different enough to signify an older or newer model. As good as it is to see the imaginative differences in the ships of a well-populated galaxy, seeing a familiar favorite rekindles the joy of the first trilogy.
Not only are the ships similar, so are the pilots. Although much younger and from a different star system, Mart Mattin seems comparable to Han Solo. The flight patterns echo scenes from the big screen. Giant loops and quick flips remind one of the Millennium Falcon navigating an asteroid field and then landing in a cave to hide from TIE Bombers. Ezra’s shock in seeing Iron Squadron attack an Imperial transport “head on” is like watching Han charge a Star Destroyer. Han’s decision to float away with the rest of the trash resembles the make shift bombs Mart uses. Both have the same trouble keeping their hyperdrives motivated. (I supposed we know which movie the writer watched before creating this episode.)
Another good part of the story was Grand Admiral Thrawn, who is great whenever he is on the screen. His methodic way of speaking fits perfectly the way he methodically toys with his adversaries as well as his subordinates. He is constantly gathering information to best decide how to fight as well as who he can trust with important tasks. Unfortunately, we don’t really learn much of anything new about Thrawn, except for the fact he is aware of whom Commander Jun Sato is. Sato is the type of Rebel for whom Thrawn is really fishing. The way they speak to each other, it seems they even may have some history between them. We will see if that is explored in future episodes.
The Iron Squadron crew fits in both categories of “working” and “not working.” What works is how stubborn they are. This season has a theme, which was stated by Governor Pryce in the first episode; the Rebels fight so hard to gain so little. Iron Squadron’s determination to fight for their planet against all odds makes them ideal Rebels.
What Didn’t Work
What doesn’t work about Iron Squadron is they are clichés. They are headstrong teenagers who think they are more self-reliant than they really are. Like Dak, they want to take on the Empire by themselves. (This episode keeps returning to The Empire Strikes Back.)
The rest of the episode is a by the numbers adventure. It is not bad. It does not, however, break any new ground.
This is the first episode of the season which feels like filler. It continues the narrative that the Rebels are scrappy. We see that Thrawn is patient and is not yet ready to crush this rebel cell. I enjoyed the episode but was not blown away.
3 Death Stars out of 5.