For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.
It’s not just one of Newton’s laws nor just something you learn in school, it was the through line for the seventh episode of Andor, titled “The Announcement.”
WARNING: Spoilers ahead, so if you have not yet watched this episode perhaps you may want to pause and go watch the episode first.
The successful attack and robbery on Aldhani have made a quick impact on the lives of all of our characters and really on the lives of every being throughout the galaxy.
Immediately we see Wullf Yularen, a character from The Clone Wars and later Rebels, at the ISB talking about the lengths the Empire will go to so everyone in the galaxy knows not to steal from the Empire. He says the only question is how much will the Empire tighten its grip. He says effective immediately the Empire will institute the P.O.R.D., which will assess penalties to any sector seen as supporting partisan activity and treating an activity seen as anti-Imperial being a level one offense. Supervisor Meero takes note of this emergency act and we’ll see later in this episode that she uses it to get the data she needs to go back to her theory about rebel activity that got shot down a few weeks back. When Supervisor Blevin tries to level a charge against her for continuing on with this theory despite it being shut down, she argues effectively and upon delivering her argument Major Partagaz surprisingly sides with her and gives her control over Ferrix as she has desired, but privately warns her later to watch her back.
Meanwhile, we see how Mon Mothma reacts to the Aldhani mission. She goes to Luthen’s shop and immediately asks him if he was behind it while again utilizing outstanding spycraft and coded language to have their rebellious conversation in plain sight. Luthen for a moment denies it, but eventually reveals that he was in fact behind it and that it was needed. Mothma is upset and worried about the Empire’s reaction to the rebels’ action and how innocents will be affected, but Luthen says it was, in fact, needed. He says people were becoming too complacent until the Empire’s thumb and they need the fear to make people want to rise up against Palpatine. I said last week that I thought perhaps Luthen’s methods could cause a splintering in his alliance with Mothma due to her less extreme beliefs and it appears we could be at the beginning of that path. Luthen notes that there are no rules now, and that once again seems to be more in line with the extremist philosophy of Saw Gerrera, who we still have yet to see in this series, rather than that of Mothma or Bail Organa, who want freedom but are more concerned by collateral damage.
That leads us to the dinner party, where Mothma lifts the veil ever so slightly to an old friend from Chandrilla, Tay Kolma. At the dinner party, Kolma quietly makes his disdain for the Empire clear and when she attempts to reveal a truth known to only three people in the galaxy he stops her and warns her his politics may be a bit strong for her these days. In another case of for every action there is a reaction, Mothma says, on the contrary, this frees her to be more open with him. She reveals to him that her public persona is a lie, simply a front to conceal her true intentions and efforts from prying eyes. If she’s viewed as an irritant, an indecisive and ineffective politician it will allow her to do her true work. In fact, she says she’s learned from Emperor Palpatine of all people, saying that “If I show you the stone in my hand you miss the knife at your throat.”
It is here that she walks right up to the line of bringing Kolma into the nascent Rebellion’s inner circle. She needs Kolma, who runs the Bank of Kolma on Chandrilla with his sisters, to help her access her family’s fortune more easily now that she can’t because she’s under constant surveillance. She says she will name him as a chairman for one of her charitable endeavors, which will allow for him to travel to Coruscant and meet with her frequently without raising too much suspicion. He asks what she’s really up to and she says she can’t and won’t tell him for his own safety and returns his barb about her politics being too strong for his tastes. Oh, and don’t tell her terrible husband Perrin, he doesn’t know about any of this and is not to be trusted.
We also see the reaction to Cassian’s action last week to take his cut and run after the Aldhani heist. We see who I think is Luthen’s assistant Kleya surreptitiously meet with Vel and after admonishing her for reaching out to Luthen in the first place tells her that Cassian is a loose thread and has to be taken care of. Vel correctly responds that she is being asked to kill Cassian and Kleya notes that they can’t have Cassian walking around with knowledge of Luthen in his head.
And that brings up back to Cassian. He returns home to Ferrix and learns that the reaction to his action earlier in the series has brought the Empire’s grip upon his homeworld. Not only that, but Bix lets him know that people blame him for bringing the heat upon them after killing two Corporate Security officers and then coming home to hide. He tells her not to worry, he’s leaving — which we learned a few minutes earlier that he plans to take off with Maarva and B2. However, Cassian is surprised to learn that Maarva won’t come with him. Her reaction to the rebels’ action on Aldhani is to remain behind and stoke rebellion on Ferrix.
Through flashbacks, we see that perhaps the reason Andor is not as inclined as we believed going into the series to join the rebellion. When the then-nascent Empire has Clone Troopers march through town and the locals are riled up, Andor’s adopted father Clem tells him it isn't their fight. Clem tries to diffuse the situation but ultimately pays the price as the still Clone Troopers turn around and only see him leading to him being hung. This is an important context in that after hearing of the Aldhani heist Maarva is emboldened to go to a part of town she had avoided after Clem’s hanging.
Maarva wants Andor to understand why she says he can’t stay but she can’t leave, but he says he can’t. He tries to tell her she can’t beat them, but she retorts that she can’t beat them if she runs away. Ominously, Maarva tells Andor that while he may not understand right now, he will. As they part, Maarva tells Andor to stop searching for his sister and that it wasn’t his fault. It’s the first time this has been brought up since the series opener and feels like an effort to keep this plotline in people’s minds for it to become important at some point again this season.
We finally see Andor attempt to forget it all by basically going to space Cancun. He goes to a party resort and we see him walking on the beach to go to the store for his companion when we see an unrelated chase ensue. Andor starts looking around and a shoretrooper notices him and stops him for questioning. Despite having done nothing wrong, the shoretrooper basically decides Cassian is with the rebels and has a K2 droid “hang” with Andor – which the droid takes a bit too seriously and literally has Andor “hang” by choking him above the ground.
In the final bit of reaction to action, we see Andor, who has done nothing wrong in this case, get sentenced to SIX YEARS in prison again thanks to the Empire’s new punishment regulations following the attack on Aldhani. He’s going to be going to prison not because of his role in that major heist, but his punishment is directly related.
For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction, indeed,
- Andor isn't the only character looking at time in “prison” in this episode. We see the favor that Syril’s Uncle Harlo calls in is for him to go to work at the Bureau of Standards. After seeing more nagging from Syril’s mother, we see him once again obsessed with the murder of the two Corporate Security officers and clearing his name. The episode ends with Syril looking less than thrilled with his new role in Fuel Purity and dying just a little bit inside thanks to his space cubicle life. However, perhaps this job will bring him into Meero’s orbit and will lead to their eventual team-up.
- We also get a brief look at what Cinta is up to back on Aldhani. She sees a Star Destroyer overhead and takes a speeder to the local terrain. Vel asks after her, but Kleya notes that unlike Vel she’s doing what she’s been told to do. It feels like a near certainty that we’ll see her again at some point.
- The show plays with expectations nicely in having our first glimpse at K2 droid have nothing to do basically with K2-SO from Rogue One. It will be interesting to see if either this season or the confirmed second season of Andor address whether this interaction makes Andor skeptical of his eventual right-hand droid and requires him to get past this trauma.
- The music in this episode was on point. The score while we follow Kleya ratchets up the tension significantly, while the almost dance music/party vibe on Niamos feels unlike anything else we’ve ever heard in the Star Wars universe.
- It will be interesting to see how much Mothma’s husband Perrin plays a role in the action going forward. The show has made clear that he does not seem to be as upset with life under Imperial control as his wife is. One wonders if at some point in the series he discovers her true work and attempts to betray her.
- I think it’s also fair to wonder whether Blevin attempts to sabotage Meero’s efforts in a bid for workplace supremacy. Despite both being on the same side, it seems like a lot of time is being put into their workplace rivalry. It will be interesting to see how that plays out.
Let me know your thoughts on this week’s episode and the series as a whole on Twitter, my handle is @a_silva32. May the Force be with you!