The battle between the rebellion and the Empire continues in this week’s Rebels. Things get underway with Iron Squadron. Written by Matt Michnovetz, it first aired on 19 November, 2016, and sees the Ghost crew coming to the aid of Commander Sato’s (Keone Young) nephew, Matt (Zachary Gordon).
It seems Matt, about the same age as Ezra (Taylor Gray) and his equally young teenage pals, have been causing some problems for the Imps in orbit around their planet in their YT-2400 (which eagle-eyed fans will recognise from the Special Edition of A New Hope, and its model would serve as the same type of vessel that Dash Rendar would fly, as the Outrider, in The Shadows of the Empire – now no longer canon).
Ezra and the rest attempt to lend a hand, but Matt isn’t willing to leave, until he realises that the problems he is facing are insurmountable unless he asks for help.
It’s a simple story, and while it’s fun to have lots of space battles, this is a bit of a weaker story as far as the series goes. While it’s cool to see the YT-2400, christened Sato’s Hammer, take on the Imperials, and show that the rebellion isn’t relegated for adults only, but anyone who wants to fight, it just isn’t as involving as some of the stories that have played out.
It’s still fun, just not as engaging as some of the other adventures our heroes have been on.
On the plus side, that devious villain, Grand Admiral Thrawn (Lars Mikkelsen) makes an appearance and it’s very interesting watching his character develop on the series.
The Wynkahthu Job sees the return of Hondo Ohnaka (Jim Cummings) – again – and he has Azmorigan (James Hong) in tow. Written by Gary Whitta, this story debuted on 26 November, 2016.
Ezra comes to the Ghost crew with a proposition that he created with Hondo. It seems an Imperial carrier filled with supplies, weapons, including proton bombs (which the rebellion desperately needs) and purportedly stolen treasure from countless worlds, has been left to a planetary storm, its crew evacuated.
The plan is to get aboard the ship and lay claim to as much material as they can before the storm pulls it deeper into the atmosphere and destroys it. So it ends up being a bit of a ticking clock episode, made all the more tense by the presence of Imperial sentry droids.
A cool idea, but honestly, I’m getting tired of Hondo showing up and having Ezra just go along with him, and thinking he’s an alright guy, if a little shady. I think by the episode’s end the young padawan is starting to catch on to that, but honestly, I thought the kid was smarter than that and would have had it figured it out a while ago.
There’s fun to be had in the episode, and any time James Hong shows up anywhere is a good thing (and he and Cummings have some laugh out loud dialogue), but its not quite what we’ve come to expect three seasons in. The action beats are great, but the characters should be smarter about who to trust by now. But maybe that’s the point. Ezra’s still just a teen, doesn’t have much of a family now outside of the Ghost crew, and will defend those he sees as his friends no matter their faults, which is admirable, but is going to bite him in the backside pretty soon, I’m sure.
The final episode this week is An Inside Man and sees our heroes returning to Lothal, where Ezra is less than happy about the Imperial’s increased presence on his homeworld.
First airing on 3 December, 2016, this episode was written by Nicole Dubuc. Ezra, and Kanan (Freddie Prinze jr.) meet up with Ryder (Clancy Brown) who reveals that there are people working at the local Imperial manufacturing plant that are sabotaging the products produced. Kanan and Ezra infiltrate the plant to have a look at a new weapon- the TIE Defender-, but trouble arrives in the form of Grand Admiral Thrawn and ISB agent Kallus (David Oyelowo).
Thrawn shocks everyone when he orders that each product will be tested by those who worked on it, and the results will speak for themselves. But it seems there’s an unexpected ally to be had, when the identity of the new Fulcrum is revealed…
It seems his experiences with Zeb (Steve Blum) in the season two episode, The Honorable Ones, has had an effect on him, and he’s choosing a new path, a new side, and is working within the Empire to funnel information to the rebellion, and in this case, help Ezra and Kanan escape!
The battle rages on next week in a galaxy far, far away. Until then, may the Force be with you…