At the start of Star Wars Rebels, Ezra Bridger was the rogue, hotshot kid the Ghost team needed to tame. In “Iron Squadron,” we are introduced to another young kid who needs to learn to work with others.
Ezra and Sabine find themselves trying to stop a young pilot and his crew from carelessly fighting the Empire without any help. Iron Squadron’s reckless fighting will pique Grand Admiral Thrawn’s interests, bringing the brilliant military tactician back into the series after staying away for a couple of episodes.
Let’s dive into “Iron Squadron.”
Rebel, Rebel, Your Ship is a Mess
At the start of the episode, we find our Rebel heroes coming out of Hyperspace and arriving at Mykapo. Fulcrum (the secret agents working for the Rebel Alliance) told them that the Empire was planning on invading the planet. Commander Sato also said that there were Rebel sympathizers on the planet who wanted to escape.
The Rebels thought they arrived before the Empire, but it looks like they were too late. They spot a group of TIEs going after a freighter and Hera orders the Phoenix Squadron pilots to help protect it. Ezra sees that the pilot is going right after an Imperial transport, so Hera gets the pilot over the commlink and tells them they are here to help. The brash young pilot tells them that they are “Iron Squadron” and they don’t need the Rebels’ help.
The freighter is clear to escape, but the pilot refuses to. Instead, they drop their cargo into space, using the crates as “bombs” to strike the Imperial transport. Sabine is surprised and the young pilot yells in celebration.
After the Rebels title card, the Ghost team sees the Empire retreating Mykapo after Iron Squadron’s actions. The cocky pilot invites Hera over to show off a few tricks. “Sounds like a ship full of Ezras,” Zeb says. Kanan will go down to the surface to help out in the evacuation while Hera files her report.
Inside the Ghost, Sato tells Hera Iron Squadron’s backstory. The squadron was his brother’s detachment. He assumed that his brother and his nephew, Mart Mattin were both dead. Hera seems to suspect that Mart is the Iron Squadron pilot they spoke to before. Sato asks Hera and Ezra to make sure Mart makes it safety to Atollon with other refugees from Mykapo. Ezra vows to help.
Hera, Ezra, Sabine and Chopper head over to Mart’s ship, which is fully manned by kids Ezra’s age. It could also use a little work. (“What a piece of junk!”) When they spot their hyperdrive malfunctioning, Ezra offers to let Chopper work on it, but their R3 unit (with an R4-style head, but I guess those numbers don’t mean as much as they used to) refuses to let Chopper work.
Gooti and Jonner, the other two members of Iron Squadron, introduce the team to Mart, who is just as sarcastic as Ezra used to be. Mart sees evacuation as cowardice and would rather force the Empire to do the evacuating. Hera tries to give Mart a reality check, but it’s not going over too well. Mart actually thought that the cruiser they chased away was a Star Destroyer, but it was just a simple transport. Iron Squadron refuses to give up Mykapo to the Empire.
Meanwhile, on a real Star Destroyer, Thrawn seems a bit puzzled about Mykapo’s strong resistance. An officer explains how the Ghost team helped the single Iron Squadron ship to chase away a transport. While some creepy, Universal Horror-style music plays in the background, Thrawn theorizes that the Ghost team is trying to evacuate Mykapo’s citizens (which is true). Thrawn orders Admiral Konstantine to personally go to Mykapo in a single light cruiser.
“You would send me in one ship?” a puzzled Konstantine asks.
“Unless you’re not up to it,” Thrawn replies.
Konstantine agrees to leave immediately, as the sinister music picks up.
Fooling the Empire Once is Easier Than Fooling Them Twice
After the break, more Rebel transports are arriving at Mykapo and Captain Rex reports that they have cleared out everyone who wanted to get off the planet before the Empire comes back. Hera is ready to give up on Iron Squadron going to the Rebel fleet with everyone else, but Ezra and Sabine try to convince her to let him take another shot at convincing them to join and let Chopper fix their hyperdrive. Hera reluctantly lets them go and orders them to go back to the fleet if Iron Squadron doesn’t want to leave.
They tell Ezra that they don’t want to leave and want to fight the Empire. Ezra is trying to convince them that the leaving their homeworld isn’t cowardice. The Empire wants them to fight because it makes it easier to destroy them. “How we choose to fight is just as important as what we fight for,” Ezra tells them.
Meanwhile, Chopper and R3 appear to have fixed the hyperdrive, but it then shuts off. It’s because Mart has switched all the power to the shields and cannons. Mart then orders everyone to their battle stations over the comm. A new Imperial light cruiser has just arrived, with Konstantine aboard. He’s convinced that Thrawn overestimated the Rebels.
Sabine and Ezra try to convince Mart that they need to leave and Gooti and Jonner agree. But Mart wants to stay and fight again… and that’s exactly what he does. Konstantine has more TIEs with him than usual, so Mart agrees to rush back to the Phantom shuttle. This is just a distraction though. He lets his friends go with Ezra and Sabine, but stays on the Iron Squadron ship to fight!
In the Phantom, Ezra and the others are stuck watching Mart as he fights the Imperials head-on. Ezra insists that he has to leave, but Mart tells them to escape while they still can. Instead, Ezra follows Mort, who has just tried his cargo drop trick again. It didn’t work this time, though, and the TIEs blast Mart’s engines. Mart tells Ezra to go, which he does. Ezra promises he will come back to save Mart.
We Keep on Playing Those Mine Games
In the next act, we find Mart struggling to get his ship running again. A TIE Bomber then attaches a mine to the ship and Konstantine lets Mart send a distress signal. The idea is to bait the Rebels to come back to Mykapo.
In the Rebel command center, they watch Mart’s message. They have him surrounded, but aren’t firing on him yet. Sato offers to go to Mykapo to save his nephew, but Hera thinks Sato is too far away. “I am all the family he has left,” Sato says. But Hera offers a quick plan to use the Ghost to save Mart, and Sato agrees to let her go.
Gooti and Jenner think going back is a bad idea because it’s so clearly a trap to lure them in. Ezra believes that going back as a team on the same page will give them a fighting chance, though. They agree and join them on the trip back to Mykapo.
Konstantine is excited. He’s got a chance to destroy both Rebel ships with the mine on Mart’s. That makes saving Mart a little tricky, so Jenner is told to get Chopper and R3 outside to dismantle the mine. While the droids go to work, the Ghost team tries to fend off the TIE Fighters. R3 and Chopper pull the mine and detatch it to one of the cargo crates. The Empire doesn’t sense that the mine has changed positions.
The Ghost swings back in to rescue Mart and connect to his ship. Konstantine tries to have the mine explode, but an officer has some trouble with it. The Ghost is taking heavy fire during all this, when suddenly, Sato’s ship arrives at Mykapo! (Seriously, can we go one episode of Rebels without a last-second surprise rescue?) Sato helps cover the Ghost team as they pick up Mort.
Hera pilots the Ghost, now with Mort’s ship attached, towards the Imperial cruiser to drop off the cargo box with the mine onto the cruiser. This all works, but suddenly another unexpected guest arrives: Thrawn’s Star Destroyer. Thrawn continues to play the long game, letting the Rebels escape (again). He does not seem happy with Konstantine’s performance.
Back at Chopper Base, Sato and Mart have a happy reunion. Gooti and Jenner are also happy that they’ve all made it out of their situation alive.
What’s Next for the Ghost Crew
The next episode of Rebels airs on November 26 at 8:30 p.m. ET. It’s called “The Wynkathu Job” and involves more pirates. “The rebels team with a pair of unscrupulous pirates to salvage a freighter full of weapons for the rebellion, but the mission ends up being far more dangerous than anticipated,” the episode description reads.
Overall, “Iron Squadron” was a fun episode, but it introduced even more new characters. Clearly, this episode was meant to show how much Ezra has grown over three seasons by having him meet a boy who was almost exactly like himself when he was younger. Also, it is already getting a little tiring seeing Thrawn let the Ghost team go. He had a perfect opportunity to take out Sato and the Ghost team, but did not take it. Hopefully Thrawn takes a swing at some point.
Previous Rebels recaps can be found here: