A Rebel transport ship, escorted by A-Wing Starfighters, is on a supply run for the people of Teralov. However, the transport is suddenly ambushed and attacked Imperial forces before reaching its destination. TIE Interceptors are deployed and engage the Rebels. Despite their best effort to fight back, the Imperials are victorious, leaving no survivors. Word of the attack gets out to the Rebellion which leaves them concerned. At the rate it is going they will have no pilots left to fly for the Rebellion. However, Comander Sato has received word from a Fulcrum agent that there are a few Imperial Cadets at the Skystrike Academy who wish to defect to the Rebels. Their names are unknown but require assistance to escape. Hera hands the mission over to Sabine, who will go undercover as one of the Cadets attending Skystrike. Ezra and Kanan meanwhile will wait in the shadows until they are needed to help her and the defectors escape.
Sabine arrives at the Skystrike Academy with other TIE Pilot cadets. She almost does not get past security when her ID card does not check in, but manages to get through when she gets them to check it again after she cleans it. Sabine, under the name of "Ria Talla", is now inside the Academy among with the other cadets. The next day, Sabine takes part in simulated combat training with another cadet known as Wedge Antilles. Piloting simulated pods, Sabine and Wedge intercept four Y-Wing Starfighters. Each pilot takes out two, the enemy is eliminated. Next they are ordered to intercept and unarmed transport ship and destroy it. Sabine is reluctant to carry out her orders, but then they are suddenly taken out by a simulation of the Ghost. The simulation is over and Sabine and Wedge emerge from their pods. Sabine is the first to complain about the ship used to attack them, only to be told by Captain Vult Skerris that Rebel forces will fight with any ship using any methods necessary to undermine the Empire’s authority. A lesson that the cadets should imprint; follow orders without question or their insubordination will get them killed.
Skystrike Academy receives an unexpected visit from Governor Pryce and Agent Kallus who have come to inspect the cadets. They have word about the cadets who are planning to defect to the Rebellion. Despite Instructor Relik’s assurance of the loyalty of his cadets’ Governor Pryce none the less will still carry out the investigation with full cooperation. Meanwhile, Sabine overhears three cadets having a private conversation. They are worried about being discovered as traitors, which makes Sabine suspect that those three pilots are the defectors who want to escape. Sabine follows Wedge to the hanger and they have a private conversation about their choices in joining the Empire. Wedge only joined because he thought it would be more exciting than hauling parts across the galaxy like he use to do. But after realizing what he was being trained to do, Wedge’s view on the Empire had changed. He would rather fight against the Empire than serve it. Sabine reveals herself as the Rebel who has come to help him and his colleagues escape. She recommends that they leave immediately before they are discovered.
Meanwhile, Kallus reports to Governor Pryce that he has nearly completed his investigations and so far there is nothing out of the ordinary. So Governor Pryce decides to take a more direct approach in finding their traitors. On her orders, Relik orders Squadron twenty-two to report to their fighters for a simulated dog fight using actual fighters. On the way, Wedge introduces Sabine to two other pilots who wish to defect; Rake and Hobbie. Before boarding their fighters, Sabine tells them that a Rebel ship is waiting for them and when she gives the signal they make a break for it. The cadets board their TIE Fighters and take off from the hanger with TIE Interceptors in follow. As the cadets approach space, Relik informs them that they will be using numb lasers and any hit they take will be registered and scored. Then on Relik’s command, the simulated dogfight begins. The cadets try to shoot one another using numb lasers, and any pilot that is Hit is out. As the simulation goes on, Sabine meanwhile is looking out for Ezra and Kanan to arrive. Their ship emerges from hyperspace and Sabine, Wedge, Hobbie, and Rake make a break for it. Governor Pryce orders them to return to base but they refuse. But just as they are even close to dock with the Rebel ship, they suddenly lose their wings and power at the touch of a button back at Skystrike. Their fighters were rigged. Governor Pryce then orders Captain Skerris to destroy one of the pods and he kills Rake. Next they move in on Ezra and Kanan’s ship and attack. They take on heavy damage and despite Sabine’s plea to retreat; Ezra refuses to leave her behind. But apparently they have no choice and are forced to retreat, leaving Sabine and the other pilots to be captured by the Imperials.
Governor Pryce meets up with Sabine, Wedge, and Hobbie in the interrogation room and would like to know which one of them is the Rebel agent. The three of them say nothing, but when Pryce threatens to torture Wedge Sabine reveals herself as the Rebel agent. Pryce has Agent Kallus escort Wedge and Hobbie to their cell while Sabine remains with her for further interrogation. Sabine is almost put in the interrogation chair, but as soon as the Stormtroopers remove her bindings she breaks loose and engages Governor Pryce in a physical confrontation. Both are equally trained but Sabine overpowers her and takes out the Governor with the interrogation chair’s shock tool. She then grabs a blaster and breaks Wedge and Hobbie out of their cell. The Imperials sound the alarm as the three of them escape to the hanger. Sabine, Wedge, and Hobbie end up trapped in hallways when the Imperials seal the exits, but they receive unexpected help from Agent Kallus. He unseals one of the blast doors and tells them to avoid certain levels and make their way to hanger twenty-four. Sabine is cautious and asks Agent Kallus why he should by trusted, only to be told to deliver a message to Garazeb Orrelios that they are now even. Sabine, Wedge, and Hobbie make it to the hanger and escape in a TIE Bomber. However, they are pursued by Skerris. The bomber is slow, giving Skerris an advantage to keep up with them. He takes two shots at them and Wedge tries everything to shake him off. Pretty soon the bomber suffers major damage, and just as Skerris is about to finish them off Ezra and Kanan return. The bomber docks with their ship and escape to hyperspace back to Atollon. The Rebels make it safely back to base and Wedge and Hobbie are welcomed to the Rebellion.
- Taylor Gray as Ezra Bridger
- Vanessa Marshall as Hera Syndulla
- Freddie Prinze, Jr. as Kanan Jarrus, Imperial Technician, TIE Cadet #1
- Tiya Sircar as Sabine Wren
- Steven Blum as Green Leader
- Nathan Kress as Wedge Antilles
- Keone Young as Jun Sato
- David Oyelowo as Agent Kallus
- Corey Burton as Bridge Officer, Argin Relik, Rake Gahree
- Mary Elizabeth McGlynn as Female Civilian, Arihnda Pryce, TIE Cadet #2
- Dave Filoni as Green Five, Imperial Officer
- Trevor Devall as Derek Klivian, Rebel Captain, Transport Captain
- Mario Vernazza as Vult Skerris
- The TIE Interceptors, first seen in Return of the Jedi, make their Star Wars Rebels debut appearance in this episode.
- This episode marks Wedge Antilles and Derek "Hobbie" Klivian's debut appearance in the series.
- After Sabine arrives on the academy with the other cadets and they are dismissed, some of the cadets in the background start idly chatting about a new speeder model called an S-40: this seems to be a nod to a similar moment in A New Hope when Obi-Wan Kenobi is shutting down the tractor beam, and Stormtroopers on guard duty are overheard idly chatting about VT-16's. The Sequel Trilogy included a similar nod, when in The Force Awakens on Starkiller Base two Stormtroopers are again heard mundanely discussing a new speeder model.
- During early development, the episode was originally titled "Darklighter" and dealt with the defection of Biggs Darklighter into the Rebel ranks, but timeline complications with his backstory meant that Wedge was the better candidate.
- Sabine's alias "Ria Talla" is a leftover name from an early version of Rogue One.