Star Wars Rebels Review by John Keegan

Star Wars Rebels 3.08: Iron Squadron

Star Wars Rebels 3.08: Iron Squadron

Written By:
Matt Michnovetz
Directed By:
Saul Ruiz

At this point in the season, it’s interesting to note that many of the plot elements from the season premiere have all but disappeared.  Instead, the emphasis is very much on building up the Rebellion, which makes a certain amount of sense, but also robs the series of some of its progression.  I’d like to see more with Ezra’s struggle with the dark side or what happened with the holocrons.  The episode’s strength is ironically emblematic of this: the story essentially comes down to a chess match between Admiral Thrawn and Commander Sato, with the action here representing the movement of pawns.    

 


 

Running into a “ship full of Ezras” meant for some colorful personalities and a chance for Ezra to see how far he’s come from the brash child he used to be, but the writers didn’t exactly do as much with that as I would have hoped.  Iron Squadron is also operating out of fear rather than a well-reasoned plan, which could have given Ezra a lot more to work with when considering his own psychological state.  The episode never quite got there.

 

Star Wars Rebels has also made a habit lately of introducing a lot of new characters without giving them much depth, and this takes a little bit of time away from fleshing out the existing cast.  And they all seem to arrive at the same place: discovering that the Rebellion is their true calling or “family”.  It’s becoming a bit predictable in that sense.  Other than Mart, the rest of Iron Squadron is pretty much a set of cardboard cutouts.  Motivations are scarce, and even Mart’s motives are flimsy at best.  This feeds into the overall sense, by the end, that they are pawns in a larger game.

 


 

And that is the saving grace of this episode.  Thrawn is using the situation to poke and prod at the Rebellion, studying everything about his enemy’s reactions while also testing his own allies to weed out the weak and ineffectual.  His conversation with Sato is particularly revealing, as brief as it is.  It felt like two predators circling each other, and that added to the sense that the real battle had nothing to do with Iron Squadron.

 

As mentioned earlier, this is both good and bad.  Bad, in the sense that it renders the main cast a bit smaller in the scheme of things, but good, in the sense that it shows there is a wider perspective to be revealed.  There is still the implication that the pawns can be the most important pieces on the board, given opportunity, but that concept is a bit lost in the muddle.




Our Grade:
B-
The Good:
  • The chess game played by Thrawn against the Rebellion
The Bad:
  • The motivations of Iron Squadron are a bit weak

John Keegan aka "criticalmyth", is one of the hosts of the "Critical Myth" podcast heard here on VOG Network's radio feed Monday, Wednesday & Friday. You can follow him on twitter at @criticalmyth

Star Wars Rebels by - 11/22/2016 8:37 AM126 views

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