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Recap / Star Wars Rebels S3E06 "Iron Squadron"

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On a mission to evacuate the rebel dissidents of Mykapo, Ezra and Sabine work together to tame a stubborn young pilot ace and his crew who are foolishly risking their lives to defend their home. It's a race against time to fix their hyperdrive and escape the system, before the Empire arrives in full-force.

Tropes in this episode:

  • Ace Pilot: The captain of the Iron Squadron, Mart. Or at least that's what he thinks of himself.
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  • Bait-and-Switch: Thrawn's dialogue at the beginning implies he's looking for more information on the Ghost crew. The ending reveals that the mission was actually to gain more information on Sato, who has family on the planet.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Sato shows up with reinforcements to help Mart escape, refusing to let him be alone, since they're the only family they have left.
  • Blatant Lies: When Thrawn calls Konstantine after his Wounded Gazelle Gambit has backfired spectacularly, Konstantine lamely tries to claim that the Rebels were driven off. Thrawn immediately corrects his obvious lie, and admits that he only sent Konstantine to test how Commander Sato would react.
  • Breather Episode: Despite the presence of Thrawn (who doesn't show up that much in this episode anyway), this episode is relatively calmer than previous episodes.
  • Call-Back:
    • The new Fulcrum is brought up once again, having informed the rebels about how the Empire is locking down the world of Mykapo.
    • Ezra explains how he had to leave his world and home behind once the Empire came in force.
  • Canon Immigrant:
    • The Iron Squadron has a YT-2400 freighter, the same model as the Outrider from Shadows of the Empire. However, this is subverted in that the YT-2400 was originally created as a background ship for the Special Edition of A New Hope, and the Outrider was an Early-Bird Cameo for the model.
    • Grand Admiral Thrawn's Star Destroyer, the Chimaera, makes its on-screen debut here.
  • Child Soldier: The Iron Squadron is actually made up of three kids and their astromech, and they have no idea what they're in for.
  • Critical Research Failure: In-Universe, Mart and co mistake the light transport they fight at the beginning of the episode for a Star Destroyer, and Sabine has to correct them. When Konstantine arrives on his light cruiser, they then mistake that for a Star Destroyer, and Sabine has to correct them a second time. Only when Thrawn arrives at the end of the episode do they realise what a Star Destroyer actually looks like.
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  • Excessive Steam Syndrome: Mart's ship has steam venting everywhere, to show just how haphazard their repairs are.
  • Foil: The Iron Squadron crew are expies of Ezra and Sabine pre-Season 3, being young and having potential, but inexperienced.
    Kanan: It sounds like a kid!
    Zeb: More like a ship full of Ezras.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: The mine Konstantine attaches to Mart's ship is repurposed to take out Konstantine's light cruiser by attaching it to one of Mart's exploding cargo containers.
  • Hope Spot:
    • It seems that Sabine's got the Iron Squadron's ship up and running... and then the engines and lights flicker off again, because power is being rerouted to the guns and the shields.
    • In-Universe, Mart thinks his explosive cargo trick worked on Konstantine's light cruiser... but when the smoke clears, there isn't even a scratch thanks to its shields. The audience is well aware that his attack failed due to seeing the vast majority (if not all) of the containers destroyed due to point defense systems.
  • I Choose to Stay: Mart detaches the Phantom II and stays on his ship. It ends up being in vain, as his attack run does nothing and the others are forced to leave without him when his ship is disabled.
  • I Shall Return: Ezra promises they'll come back for Mart when they have no hope of staging an immediate rescue.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: When trying to persuade Iron Squadron to leave, Hera says that they would have been screwed had the Ghost and Phoenix Squadron not shown up, though Mart points out that they actually handled that situation fine on their own (though it doesn't help his argument when he mistakes the transport for a Star Destroyer right after). The rebels didn't really do anything besides shoot down the TIEs.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: Iron Squadron fights the Empire in a single freighter loaded with exploding cargo containers, confident that they can handle themselves. Mart's comrades start to lose faith when Konstantine's light cruiser shows up, though Mart himself only realizes his folly when his bombing run fails to damage to the tougher cruiser.
  • Meaningful Name: "Iron" sure fits for the stubborn-headed Iron Squadron.
  • Mood Whiplash: In the ending, as Iron Squadron celebrates, it appears that the episode is about to end there, but Chopper suddenly slaps R3 and there's an audible clang a second before the title card fanfare plays.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Konstantine has a bit of trouble taking in what Thrawn just ordered him to do, which was to go confront the Ghost crew without any reinforcements.
    • Mart's crew freaks out when a light cruiser with two transports and some TIEs show up, even as Mart gets excited, once again mistaking the light cruiser for a Star Destroyer. He still insists on fighting it, though, while his crew wisely understand that they're outmatched.
    • Mart looks like he's about to shrink in his seat when he sees what a Star Destroyer really looks like.
      Sabine: Now that is a Star Destroyer.
      Mart: Okay, then. Let's get outta here.
  • Percussive Maintenance: Ezra promises Hera that Chopper and Sabine can get the hyperdrive working on Mart's ship. Cut to Chopper whacking it with a pipe, which actually works.
  • The Reveal: Commander Sato has family; his brother was also a military man killed in action, and he lost communication with his nephew after that.
  • Running Gag: Mart not knowing what a Star Destroyer looks like, so he mistakes every lead ship for one. He learns the third time.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: Zeb doesn't want to bother with a "ship full of Ezras", so he joins Kanan to help Rex and Phoenix Squadron evacuate the locals.
  • Secret Test of Character: Just like his plan in "Hera's Heroes" was about figuring out Hera and seeing what makes her tick, this time Thrawn is trying to learn more about Jun Sato. And like the battle on Ryloth, Thrawn does it by threatening his homeworld and surviving family.
    Thrawn: Commander Jun Sato. I wondered what it would take to motivate your return to Mykapo.
    Sato: And now you know, admiral. Until we meet again.
    • It's implied he was also testing Admiral Konstantine, seeing how the admiral handled himself in a combat situation with fewer resources than usual (a light cruiser and a pair of transports, rather than a squadron of Star Destoyers). Unlike Sato and the rebels, Konstantine botches the mission badly.
  • Summon Bigger Fish: Mart is convinced that the transport they took out was a Star Destroyer. He mistakes a light cruiser for a Star Destroyer later, then he almost shrinks in his seat when he sees what a Star Destroyer really looks like, and that's not a mistake he'll make again any time soon.
  • Those Were Only Their Scouts: In ascending order of ship size that Iron Squadron goes up against includes a Gozanti-Class Carrier, and an Arquitens II-Class Light-Cruiser; both times were they thinking that they were the much-dreaded Star Destroyers.
  • Trap Is the Only Option: Konstantine's trap is transparent to everyone, but Sato isn't about to abandon his nephew so they attempt it anyway. Ezra essentially points out that knowing it's a trap only makes them more prepared.
  • Underestimating Badassery: When Konstantine arrives at Mykapo, he sees the lone ship of the Iron Squadron and says that Thrawn underestimated them (keep in mind both of them already know that the Ghost crew was seen over Mykapo, so Konstantine shouldn't have made the assumption that the Iron Squadron was still alone by this point)... after he already shown discomfort at going to Mykapo to confront the Ghost, Iron Squadron, and other rebels with only a light cruiser. He's underestimating Thrawn's deduction skills and the competent fighting skills of the rebels.
    • Mart likewise has no idea how outmatched he is by a Light Cruiser, having only fought transports previously.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Thrawn never intended for Konstantine to succeed in the mission. He just wanted the situation to get bad enough for Sato to pull a rescue and confirm a theory he had about his weak points.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Konstantine has a mine attached to Mart's ship and allows him to broadcast a partial distress signal, reasoning that the Rebels will attempt a rescue. When they do, he'll detonate the mine and take out both Mart and whoever tries to rescue him. It fails to work out since it's an obvious trap and the Rebels act accordingly.
  • You Are Not Alone: Sato in his Big Damn Heroes moment reassures Mart of this word for word.
  • You Keep Using That Word: Mart constantly refers to anything bigger than a TIE Fighter as a "Star Destroyer", ranging from military transports to light cruisers, much to the Ghost crew's annoyance. Fortunately, he got the habit thoroughly scared out of him when Grand Admiral Thrawn showed up in an actual Star Destroyer, dwarfing Sato's own carrier.