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Star Wars Rebels - Iron Squadron - Review: "Now That's a Star Destroyer"

Star Wars Rebels Season 3 Episode Guide:
3.01 Steps Into Shadow Part 1 - Review
3.02 Steps Into Shadow Part 2 - Review
3.03 The Holocrons of Fate - Review
3.04 The Antilles Extraction - Review
3.05 Hera's Heroes - Review
3.06 The Last Battle - Review
3.07 Imperial Supercommandos - Review
3.08 Iron Squadron - Review
3.09 The Wynkahthu Job - Airs November 26
3.10 An Inside Man - Airdate TBC
3.11 Visions and Voices - Airdate TBC

Star Wars Rebels 3.08 "Iron Squadron" Review:
Directed by Saul Ruiz & Written by Matt Michnovetz

Unfortunately this was the first disappointing episode of Star Wars Rebels so far. Not because it was bad but it kind of really lacked the appeal that the other episodes had, serving mostly as a standalone that seemed to remind us why this show is on Disney XD and not another network, because we have to get another kid character who is easily one of the most annoying additions to the series so far.

Director Saul Ruiz is responsible for directing several episodes of Star Wars Rebels including the awesome Antilles Extraction, but neither he or writer Matt Michnovetz (who has again, several episodes of Star Wars: The Clone Wars as well as24 to his name), but unfortunately the two can't continue the form of the third season here. The Ghost crew this time around are helping Imperial dissidents when they find out that they don't really appear to need their help at all, as Commando Sato's rebellious and anti-authoritan nephew Mart leads the remnants of the Iron Squadron against the Empire.

And this is where the problems begin. Because Mart is essentially just another Ezra, annoying as he was back at the start of the series. It's like Michnovetz decided that now Ezra is a bit darker there needs to be another optimistic kid on the show, and that's something that doesn't work at all here and unfortunately he's easily the weakest new addition to the series so far. Here we find a valiant but ultimately foolish attempt at resisting against the Empire, as the inexperienced crew of the Ghost quickly learn just how out of their depth they are when they try to go after significant Imperial ships.

It doesn't help that there's a gag about Mart believing every Imperial ship that he sees is a Star Destroyer. It's a joke that doesn't quite work as well as it was probably intended to do. If only the crew of The Ghost had followed Zeb's advice about aborting the mission when he speculated that the ship was full of Ezras, because that was something that he pretty much turned out to be right about.

Ezra, Sabine, Hera and Chopper head to meet up with the Iron Squadron and run into a team that's organized like a less-experienced version of their own. There's a R3 droid with as much inexperience as them. The youths have no idea about the full might of the Empire as previously they haven't brought their best forces to bear against the team, but Mart is determined to remain in the area and believes that only cowards run from a fight. Admiral Constantine is assigned by Thrawn to take out the Iron Squadron, preferring not to get involved himself.

Whilst the rest of the Rebels aid with the planet's evacuation, Sabine, Chopper and Ezra are able to fix the Iron Squadron's hyperdrive but are unable to convince them to leave. Mart himself is pitted against a light cruiser, but even this is too much for Gooti and Jonner, his teammates, who leave. But Mart isn't willing to give up so easily and tries to use his cargo bombing tactics against the cruiser, but that backfires.

Initially reluctant to follow Hera's instructions about leaving Mart behind the Rebels eventually decide to help him out anyway despite the fact that the Empire knows that they will come to his aid. Eventually the Rebels are able to get the mine planted by the Imperials on one of Mart's cargo crates, fooling the Empire. However, the Empire brings their ace in the hole into play, Thrawn's Star Destroyer, forcing the Rebels to evacuate in order to survive. After reuniting with Sato the episode ends, and at least gives the Rebels a small victory against the Empire. It's nothing big but the fact that Mart was able to get away from them will no doubt irk Thrawn. But Thrawn himself will undoubtedly be prepared for this.

Hopefully though Mart doesn't stick around for much longer or at the very least, if he does stick around, he improves. So far Rebels has been pretty good at creating standalone characters with the potential to become regular series guest stars further down the line, but Mart is the first one who I haven't wanted to stick around. It'll be interesting to see whether the writers decide to bring him back or not but again, ideally this was just a one-off occasion.

Either way, we'll have to wait and see what's going to happen next. There's still lots of unrealized potential that Star Wars Rebels has to offer so hopefully it isn't shying away from tackling that after an initially promising start. I guess we'll find out on Saturday. In the meantime though, what did you think of the episode? Did you like Mart's character? Let me know in the comments below.

Overall Episode Verdict: C
+Zeb's Team of Ezras Joke.
+The Ghost crew surprising the Empire...
+...Only for Thrawn's dramatic entrance.
-Mart's belief that everything is a Star Destroyer.

About the Author - Milo MJ
Milo is an Arsenal FC supporter and loves TV shows like Battlestar Galactica, Justified, The 100, The Americans and Person of Interest. He reviews Black Sails, Elementary, Murder in the First, Narcos, Preacher, Star Trek Discovery, Star Wars Rebels, The Shannara Chronicles, Silicon Valley and Veep for Spoiler TV. He also occasionaly writes book reviews at his own site, The Fictional Hangout and ontributes to comic reviews on a weekly basis for All-Comic. He also regularly watches and reviews films on Letterboxd, and you can find his ever-changing list of 250 favourite movies here.
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