As we approach the home stretch of the first season of Andor, the heat is getting turned up on just about everyone in “Nobody’s Listening!”
WARNING: Spoilers ahead, so if you have not yet watched this episode perhaps you may want to pause and go watch the episode first.
We’ll get to it all in a moment, but let’s start here — Syril Karn is a full-on creep! After having something of a subdued, almost dead-eyed personality for the entire series, this episode sees Karn go full-on stalker here. When he first told his mother of his promotion earlier in the episode, I had assumed it was a front for him continuing is off-the-books investigation into Cassian Andor. But no, we learn later in the episode he is, in fact, trying get a glimpse of ISB Supervisor Meero.
He admits that he comes to ISB HQ hoping to get a glimpse of her and that he thought he had ruined his life but after meeting her, seeing her agree that Andor is dangerous, just being in her presence he’s realized life is worth living. He’s realized if nothing else there was justice, and beauty in the galaxy and if he just kept going perhaps his deranged belief that there was something better fated for him in the future was a dream worth clinging to.
Naturally, Meero is put off by all this talk and tries to walk away, but he grabs her by the arm and stops her. She says she could have him arrested, but he says he wants what she wants. He senses it, he knows it. Meero says Karn’s out of his mind, she’s already given him a second chance and tells him that if he comes near her again, if he pursues any of this she’ll have him in a cage on the Outer Rim. I had a theory that perhaps we were headed to a Dwight-Angela from “The Office” type romance between these two extreme law-and-order types, but I didn’t see this turn coming. It will be interesting to see how Karn’s new apparent obsession with Meero will play out in the story ahead.
With that out of the way, the walls are closing in on our heroes. When the episode starts, we pick up right where we left off with BIx last week. Meero sits her down for her interrogation. Denise Gough is particularly threatening in her exchange with Bix here, getting up close and personal, bearing her teeth and sneering through all the information she says Paak revealed under their “interrogation technique — Paak only met Axis (Luthen) once before Bix became his contact; Bix was the only one to use the radio at Paak’s shop, which was the reason the Empire became interested in him. Meero tells Bix is caught in her net, but is she a fish or a thief? Bix notes that Meero is seemingly enjoying this, but Meero presses on that she wants to know about Andor, the buyer (Luthen) and the stolen Imperial equipment. Bix says she won’t believe her anyways, so Meero gives the go-ahead to Dr. Gorst to use his “interrogation” technique, which we learn is more psychological torture than physical torture. Bix screams as it begins and Meero wants Bix kept alive as the only witness who can ID Axis (Luthen), the local Imperial wants to hang Paak and Meero says fine and basically doesn’t care.
Later in the episode, Meero reveals at the ISB that they still haven’t identified Axis, but through Bix’s interrogation, they’ve learned more about the network and Andor’s role in it. Meero has begun to connect Andor to Aldhani. Her assistant notes Andor was clean-shaven the last time he was seen on Ferrix and the rebels on Aldhani were clean-shaven. He also notes the guards at the garrison saw some resemblance between Andor’s stock photo and a clean-shaven Andor. Major Partagaz seems to think a connection to Aldhani would amplify interest and is pleased with Meero’s work and the returns he has received from putting his trust in her. When asked about interrogating Andor’s mother, Meero says she decided to wait and see what happens, noting that she’s too old and frail for anything serious and if nothing else she’s bait. She also notes that they’re on her full-time.
Meanwhile on Narkina 5, we see Andor pushing his table to “win” the shift, and for the first time in the episode we see his stablemate Ulaf struggling. We see Andor make a trip to the bathroom and he tries to start cutting at a pipe but has to stop when a new prisoner is brought to the floor. He and another inmate take note of the procedure, including that the elevator isn’t electrified. Andor says he has a new plan. Later, the prisoners are held in their tube. Something is wrong, they think on Level 2 based on their sign language conversation, and then power goes out briefly followed by an alarm. Kino gets really frustrated with prisoners worried about what’s going on Level 2, but then they begin to move.
Andor later asks Kino if he’s ever thought about escaping, but Kino tells him if he wants to get out of there alive to turn that part of his brain off. Andor wants Kino to tell him what he knows before he gets out (such as how many guards there are), but Kino says no. Throughout Kino keeps his voice low and Andor dismissively if he thinks they’re listening and says he knows they don’t need to care and that they only care about keeping their numbers rolling. “We are nothing to them,” Andor says.
During shift swap, rumors fly that a whole bridge on level two was fried. They supposedly got fried because the guards heard they were making trouble. Kino starts to freak out, fighting with Melshi, but Andor subdues him telling him they can’t let the guards know they are aware of anything. Kino says that for now it’s a rumor and they have to go on like any other day — another day, another shift and they keep their heads down ... until they know what’s going on. This is the first crack in Kino’s facade of helping Andor.
At the end of the episode, Ulaf has to be carried off the floor and helped in the tube because he’s in so much distress. Another inmate who appears to be a doctor is brought in and says he’s had a stroke. Andor asks what happened on level two, and the doc tells Kino he’ll want to keep his men in line. The doc euthanizes Ulaf, saying that there’s nothing he can do for him and that they’ll be wishing they could go out peacefully like Ulaf. Kino this time asks what happened on level two and after the guard steps away the doc says they made a mistake, a man who was just released on four ended up back on two the next day. Word got out on the floor and they killed them all. Andor says no one is getting out are they, and the doc says not now, not after this.
Andor again asks Kino again how many guards are on each level. This time, Kino answers, never more than 12, indicating we may be in for a prison break in the near future.
And of course, Mon Mothma is not exempt from all this tension and worry in this episode. After another depressing session of Senate where Mothma’s attempts to make a difference are more or less ignored, she is informed by her driver that her cousin has arrived at the Chandrilan embassy.
Upon returning home, Mothma sees her daughter Leida has been gifted a dress by her aunt — Vel, yes the same Vel who led the Aldhani mission. Mon says Leida will have to ask her father if she can wear it, to which the daughter icily replies that her father lets her do anything she wants. Mother-daughter relations still remain frosty in the Mothma household. After Leida steps out of the room, Mon asks Vel what she’s been up to, noting that she’s worried, but Vel parrots Cinta’s line from the prior episode about the Empire not resting and that the Rebellion comes first and they take what’s left. Mothma asks Vel what does HE (aka Luthen) have her doing, but Vel defects and notes that Mothma is one to talk trapped and boxed in on Coruscant.
Mothma wants Vel to tell her she’s being careful, but Vel doesn’t sugarcoat it saying there’s risk, there’s no other way. Mothma says she is beginning to think they’re in over their heads, but Vel tells her to stop and reminds her she took a vow.
Later on at the family dinner table, Perrin presses Vel on finding a husband and insulting says she’ll need to find a widower since there’s no one of any value left at her age. Vel more than holds her own in the verbal sparring with Perrin, eliciting a smile from Mothma and even Leida.
Also during the dinner, Perrin, somewhat jealously, brings up Tay Kolma — who for the first time is referred to as an old boyfriend, which Mothma quashes — and afterward, Mothma tells Vel that he is her money man. Before Vel departs, Mothma tells her that upon her return to Chandrilla to be a spoiled rich girl for a while, remind people that’s who she is (or at least who she wants them to believe she is). Mothma’s crisis of faith continues as she asks Vel what they’ve done, Vel says they’ve chosen a side, they’re fighting against the dark and they’re making something of their lives.
Speaking of Kolma, he says he wishes Mothma called him sooner. He says if they plan on making any future “donations” they have to make sure the work Mothma has done so far can’t come back to haunt her. Kolma notes that there’s a 400K withdrawal that is a bit of a problem. It appears on the ledger and then it vanishes. He says it needs to be papered over and that the easiest way would be with a deposit. Mothma notes that if she had that much sitting around she wouldn’t have gotten him involved.
Mothma asks how much trouble she is in, he notes that she’s only in trouble if they scan the accounts, which she notes they are about to do, and he says time is not unlimited. She needs a loan, a certain kind of loan. Kolma says they need a Chandrilan banker with treasury relationships and a book of business that’s incomprehensibly huge. She notes that he has someone in mind but is afraid to say who it is — Davo Sculdun. Mothma is visibly angry, noting that he is not a banker, but a thug. Kolma notes that he is the wealthiest thug of them all. Kolma says Sculdun is insistent on meeting on Coruscant and although angry, Mothma seems resigned to it. This is sure to bring more drama and problems for Mothma as the season enters the home stretch.
And to add more fuel to the fire, the ISB has pinched a rebel pilot — one of Anto Kreegyr’s pilots. Of course, Luthen had asked Saw Gerrera to meet with Kreegyr in last week’s episode and Gerrera strongly refused to do so. The pilot was arrested during a customs check and found with stolen Imperial tech. The pilot spilled that there is a raid planned on the power station at Spellhaus — the very mission Luthen had talked to Saw about last week. The ISB brain trust discuss how to move forward and catch Kreegyr in their net now they know where he plans to strike, and Meero earns more plaudits for her plan to sabotage the rebel’s ship, make it look like a mechanical issue with the pilot dead in the cockpit. She says the ship would have to list into traffic, where it would have to be towed to Kafrene, but doing would avoid triggering Kreegyr’s suspicion. Partagaz gives his support to this plan and says it must be carried out quickly and quietly with no trace of their efforts present.
All in all, not a great week for our heroes, but it does open up several interesting avenues to go from here.
- It was surprising to see Andy Serkis return to the galaxy far, far away last week as the floor supervisor Kino. It seemed as though he was a man who grabbed onto what little power he could and became a tyrant with it, but this week showed that perhaps he is open to fighting the Imperials now that it looks like all hope is lost for light at the end of the tunnel.
- Last week’s episode was not my favorite of the season, but I have to say that Andor has done excellent coming up with these multi-episode arcs that feel connected to the overall story the season is trying to tell. It will be interesting to see when this imprisoned arc ends and where that leaves Andor in his journey toward his eventual role in the Rebellion.
- Mothma potentially having to compromise her ideals in dealing with this “thug” as she calls him is an interesting development. In all other appearances of the character in past Star Wars media she seems more pure than that, although this whole series has had a theme of nothing being completely black and white — a theme that was echoed in Rogue One. It is also somewhat surprising to see this crisis of faith she has. She has never displayed this before, either in the Clone Wars or Rebels animated series or in Rogue One. Perhaps all of these events of this season/series will be the inciting incident to her forging strong bonds with Bail Organa and developing the Rebellion we see in Rogue One and the Original Trilogy.
- I didn’t pick up on it initially, but one of Andor’s tablemates is Melshi, who was part of his team on the beaches of Scarif in Rogue One.
- Kyle Soller plays into Karn’s delusions well in this episode. He has seemed tightly wound throughout the series, and it seems that meeting Meero and finding what he considers a kindred spirit is what he needs to give him hope — whether that hope helps or hurts him, in the long run, remains to be seen. He’s playing a dangerous game, chasing after an ISB supervisor like this. Something tells me we haven’t seen the last of his infatuation with Meero. We’ll all be on the edge of our seats to see where they take this plotline.
- No Luthen this week, but his presence is felt through the fallout for Bix on Ferrix and in the meeting room at the ISB. It will be interesting to see if Luthen has to fully bring to light his true nature sooner rather than later and what that will mean for Mothma, Andor, Vel, Saw and others.
- All the episodes of this series have been roughly equivalent in length, but this week’s episode felt like it moved at a sprightly pace, as opposed to last week’s episode which felt like it dragged a bit. This may have been my favorite episode of the series thus far, and it feels like we could be approaching a strong sprint to the end of the season.
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!