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Star Wars Rebels

Iron Squadron (Star Wars Rebels - S03E08) - Animated Series

Series: Star Wars Rebels

Title: Iron Squadron

Season: Three

Episode: 8

Original Air Date: November 19, 2016

Runtime: 22 minutes

Credits: Review & Text: Mike Taber; Page layout & Design: Chuck Paskovics

“Sounds like a ship full of Ezras." SPOILERS. 

Star Wars Rebels hit a new low this week. Yes, it was even worse than the space whales episode. The space whales episode was bad, but it didn’t try to be anything more than it was. It kept the scale small and told a self-contained story that didn’t involve a major villain. “Iron Squadron” was a severe miscalculation. Even when this episode tried to do something interesting, it didn’t follow through. I’m getting tired of describing episodes of Rebels as missed opportunities, but it’s unavoidable. This episode was abound with missed opportunities. In the end, it was a complete waste of time.


The episode began when the Ghost crew watched Iron Squadron take out an Imperial transport. Apparently, Iron Squadron was led by Sato’s brother until his death when his son Mart Mattin took over. Thrawn ordered Admiral Konstantine to take a single cruiser himself and defeat the rebel threat. I read the scene as Thrawn giving Konstantine one last chance. He was either going to succeed or die. It was a promising set up that was undercut by a refusal to follow through, but more on that later. Mart refused to evacuate even though an Imperial fleet was on the way so Ezra and Sabine stayed behind to fix Iron’s Squadron hyper drive. Nothing about Iron Squadron worked. It was a whole ship full of that annoying teenager who ruined your favorite TV show. Iron Squadron produced enough eye roll worthy moments for an entire season. They were painfully irritating. Jonner was responsible for gems like “What does evacuate mean?” and “This better be debrief.” Gooti didn’t really add anything to the episode. Which brings me to Mart, who might be the show’s most annoying character so far. I think the writers wanted to juxtapose Mart with Ezra to demonstrate how much Ezra has grown since the first season, but it didn’t work at all. Ezra’s characterization has been wildly inconsistent and renders any comparison pointless because Ezra could be as childish and stubborn as Mart next week. The “stubborn teenager who refuses to follow orders and gets humbled” is a done-to-death plot point and this could be the sloppiest representation of that I’ve ever seen. Why the writers would choose to waste time on Iron Squadron when the main characters are still underdeveloped after three seasons is beyond me.


When Konstantine’s forces arrived, Mart allowed the others to evacuate but refused leave. He took on the entire Imperial fleet himself, but don’t worry he was fine. Konstantine decided to use him as bait and set a mine on his ship. Konstantine has always been incompetent, but he was completely useless in this episode. Sato arrived with reinforcements and the rebels used the mine to damage Konstantine’s ship. So they followed through, right? Konstantine died? Nope! Don’t be ridiculous, he was fine. Did Thrawn at least make an example out of him? Nope! Thrawn basically said he was disappointed in Konstantine and that was it. Thrawn arrived and made contact with Commander Sato. Oh, so this was all a play to draw Sato out. Great! Then Thrawn let him go. I’ve been a defender of Thrawn’s inaction in the past, but it is growing tiresome, repetitive, and unrealistic. There is a difference between playing the long game and artificially using that excuse to allow the rebels to escape every week. This should have been Thrawn’s statement episode. If Thrawn had killed Sato, it would have made sitting through the unbearable Iron Squadron scenes worth it. It would have established Thrawn as a true threat and demonstrated the consequences of Mart’s actions in this episode. More than ever, Star Wars Rebels feels inconsequential and lifeless. The lack of consequences has been a chronic problem on Rebels, but it has never been more obvious than in this episode. What did Mart’s selfish stubbornness cost him? What did Konstantine’s incompetence cost him? Nothing. Everything was setup to turn this filler story into an impactful episode, but they didn’t follow through. This episode was a waste of time and damaged Thrawn as a character. Thrawn’s inaction in the past was about intelligence gathering. What did he learn here? That an uncle will try to save his nephew. Groundbreaking information.


I have never been more frustrated by Star Wars Rebels. Was there at least something redeeming about this episode? The space battles were decent and well-staged. I enjoyed Zeb’s line about Iron Squadron being a ship full of Ezras. That’s about it. This episode exemplifies everything that is wrong with Star Wars Rebels. The lack of consequences, the incompetence of the Empire, the awkward dialogue, the filler story, the missed opportunities, and the lack of coherent character development all have plagued the series in the past and were painfully obvious in this episode.

What Worked

  • Decent Space Battles?

What Didn’t Work

  • Iron Squadron Missed
  • Opportunities Filler
  • Story and Lack of Consequences
  • Thrawn’s Inaction Growing Tiresome
  • Awkward Dialogue
External Links:
Added: November 27, 2016
Category: Star Wars Rebels
Reviewer: Mike Taber
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