It’s been eight episodes since the start of the season (seven, if you consider the premiere a single episode), and it’s pretty clear what the producers have building for this half of the season. They’ve been crafting a bigger Rebellion, increasing its numbers by gathering more and more allies. Now, after "Imperial Supercomandos" and "Iron Squadron", the unified resistance against Empire got even bigger.
(Spoilers beyond this point.)
Our primary focus for the two episodes are Ezra, Sabine and Ghost’s astromech droid Chopper, though the second episode features the rest of the crew more heavily. In "Imperial Supercommandos" the trio assist Fenn Rau, the leader of the Protectors of the Concord Dawn turned prisoner of the Rebels, in investigating a sudden loss of contact with his people. First introduced in the second season, Protectors were a Mandalorian (Star Wars’s "proud warrior race people") faction controlling a crucial hyperjump spot the Rebellion needed to find their new base planet. Their position and skill were so good, the Empire bribed them to keep anyone from passing near Concord Dawn. But the Imperials, being who they are, always want to take full control over everything. That’s what Fenn and the Rebels find out upon reaching his base — which they find completely destroyed. The Protectors were wiped out by other Mandalorians, ones openly and completely allied with the Empire, led by Gar Saxon. More importantly, they are of House Vizsla, Sabine’s people — in fact, her defection to the Empire is the primary reason for that alliance.
The episode definitely is setting up Sabine’s future subplot, especially with the mention of her mother, and her burgeoning rivalry with Gar over House Vizsla. It’ll be exciting to see more of it — as exciting as the episode’s action sequences. Generally speaking, the ground level fights in Rebels are not the show’s most spectacularly choreographed ones, unless they involve Force users. This time, we have Mandalorian aerial combat with jetpacks, and it’s a sight to benhold; dynamic, creative, and thrilling. It’s a damn shame we won’t see it for a while, after Sabine’s jetpack gets destroyed by the end. Sigh.
The next episode, "Iron Squadron", introduces a new group, the titular squadron. Under the impressive name hides a trio of teenagers and an astromech, fighting the Empire in a cargo ship in such a bad shape, it makes the Millennium Falcon look like a Star Destroyer. The group’s leader is Mart, revealed to be the thought dead nephew of the Rebel fleet leader, Commander Sato.
Mart and his friends start out — there’s no other way to put this — annoying as hell. They’re basically a trio of Ezras from the first season, thinking themselves a big thorn in the Empire’s side when they barely made an impact. In fact, after Thrawne sends a light cruiser to mop up any resistance in their system, they’d be dead. Thankfully, the Ghost arrives and with the help of first Sabine, Ezra and Chopper — and later the entire crew and Sato’s cruiser — everyone manages to get out safely.
The episode helps develop the thus far very static character of Commander Sato. Sato spent the entirety of last season and the previous episodes this season as the authority figure to the Ghost crew, as someone to send them on missions and react to some of their more insane plans. "Iron Squadron" gives him some depth; a brother lost to the Empire, a nephew thought lost, and what sounds like a history with Grand Admiral Thrawn. The last one especially looks like it’ll be important in future episodes.
Finally, the episode shows how far Ezra’s come since the start of the show. By contrasting him with the teen members of the Iron Squadron, we can appreciate his development. Especially after his short speech, during which he attempts to convince them to leave with the Ghost. The words "How we choose to fight is just as important as what we fight for" sound like something Hera and Kanan would say to him in the earlier episodes. The kid, and the show, have come a long and satisfying way.
And now, an announcement: as of next week, I will be leaving the coverage of the show in more competent hands. As much as I love the show and the Star Wars universe, I’m not an expert in it, which I think could be felt in the previous posts. Thus, I leave in the Stephanie Maynard’s hands, and can’t wait to read her reviews. I’ll see you in other recaps.
Dominik Zine is a nerdy demisexual lad from northeastern Poland and is generally found in a comfy chair with a book in hand.