After dropping three episodes to kick off the series last week, Andor is getting into its normal cadence of one episode per week on Disney+. How did not having multiple episodes in a row to tell its story play out? Read on to find out.
WARNING: Spoilers ahead, so if you have not yet watched this episode perhaps you may want to pause and go watch the episode first.
No one is happy in this episode. Now, that is to be expected during an era in which the Empire is in full ascendency with the Rebellion still in its nascent stage. But it was especially true for all parties — heroes and villains both — this week.
We start the episode in the aftermath of Cassian and Luthen’s escape after last week’s third episode. Now that they’re not running from the authorities — more on them later — Luthen and Cassian address the elephant in the room of what happens to Andor now. Luthen makes the hard sell for Andor to join his cause and take a mission. Initially Andor is resistant, but Luthen makes a strong pitch — “I’m offering everything you want all at once — to put a real stick in the eye of the empire … and get paid for it.”
After cutting through the bravado and bluster of Andor’s time fighting on Mimban at age 16, Luthen stokes Andor’s hatred of the Empire and uses it to his advantage, saying “I imagine that no matter what you tell me or tell yourself, you’ll ultimately die fighting these bastards. … Wouldn’t you rather give it all at once to something real than carve off useless pieces till there’s nothing left?” This seems to get Andor on board, and Luthen reveals the mission is “big stakes, big danger” — stealing the quarterly payroll for an entire Imperial sector. Thus, Luthen is prepared to pay Andor 200,000 credits if he survives and delivers. Luthen also gives him a “down payment” – a Kuati Signet blue kyber sky stone and says he wants it back at the end of all this.
Eventually, Luthen and Andor arrive on Aldhani, where we meet Vel, the leader of the team running the mission Andor – who has taken on the name of his adoptive father, Clem — will join. Vel is none too pleased with an outsider joining the team at this late stage. Luthen extols Andor’s skills, notes that he increases the chances of success dramatically but Vel worries it will tear the team apart. Luthen tells her she’s vulnerable and she knows it, he’s buying her critical redundancy. Vel picks up on “buys,” and is very dismayed at the notion of a mercenary joining the team. Luthen says they need this to work, failure would be devastating and threatens her by saying take Andor or call the operation off.
Vel acquiesces to taking Andor. She tells him on their trek back to camp that they’re going to tell everyone that adding him was her idea and that it had been planned all along with no mention of Luthen. She reveals they are robbing an Imperial armory, which Andor did not know and is displeased. Andor is not well received when they arrive at camp. They stick to the story that this has been planned all along and Vel powers through any objection. Later on, Taramyn, Skeen and Nemik meet with Vel and express their concerns while Cinta patches up a wound on Andor’s arm. Nemik, who had been the most accepting of Andor upon arrival, says his main concern is that Andor is a true believer in the cause and Vel, knowing he’s basically a mercenary, deflects by saying she trusts him.
Later, another member of the team, Lt. Gorn, an imperial mole and contact at the garrison comes and is very unhappy about the addition of Andor. Vel says they needed another hand and he knows it, to which he replies that he should have been consulted and on that Vel agrees. Eventually, the group goes over the plan, which reveals that much like Andor’s home of Kenari, the Empire has ruined Aldhani. Andor calls the mission a suicide run, which is the point of the whole exercise since the Empire won’t be expecting it. They plan on using a celestial event, the Eye of Aldhani as cover for their escape. Nemik notes that from the ground it’s a thing of beauty, from the sky it’s chaos. Vel asks if Andor is in all the way and he says let’s get to it. Later that night over the campfire he is given what he needs to learn and is told to learn it that night.
Meanwhile, Luthen makes his way back to Coruscant. We see him put on his public facade, entering a secret compartment on his ship to put on a wig, finer clothes and adopting new mannerisms to further emphasis his public persona. He seems disgusted to have to do this, but it’s what needs to be done.
Eventually, we see Luthen at his front — a high-end antique gallery where he is visited by Mon Mothma. They put on an impressive little show discussing a gift for her husband for his Day of Days, allowing Luthen’s assistant to distract her new driver, before getting down to their real business. They fight over money for their rebellious activities, with Mon Mothma saying the money is there but it’s getting harder to move it around around, noting that the Empire watching is her now. She says they’re everywhere — there’s a new spy every day at the Senate, all new faces at the bank and that she feels under siege.
Mothma says she found someone she thinks can help her, which Luthen immediately is against. It’s ironic considering it’s basically the same thing that he just did with Andor. Luthen says we need funding, not more people to worry about, but Mothma says don’t lecture her on vulnerability, no one is more at risk than her.
Going back to their cover story of getting Mothma’s husband a gift, Luthen uses doublespeak to seemingly agree, noting “it’s a daring choice, but I trust you’ll have the courage to turn back if it should be a bit much.”
In another unhappy note, we follow Mothma home where her husband Perrin is setting up a dinner party — filled with her political enemies. He is unsympathetic to her feelings and says not to worry she’s not seated near them, she’s with the boring people these people are fun. She brings up the latest atrocities the Empire has committed, including the closing of shipping lanes that will lead to many starving, but notes that perhaps they can laugh about it over the third course. Her righteous indignation frustrates her husband, who dismissively asks must everything be boring and sad, indicating perhaps it’s not the happiest of marriages and bringing into question whether he can be trusted with her true activities.
Also on Coruscant, we meet Lt. Dedra Meero of the Imperial Security Bureau, whose career ambitions are fully on display. She is a lot like Deputy Inspector Syril Karn in this way, exuding a lot of “assistant to the regional manager” energy. She perks up at the mention of a recovered starpath unit in the Ferrix incident.
Speaking of the Ferrix incident, following that meeting Lt. Blevin goes and shuts down the Corporate Security forces that caused all of these issues, telling Karn, “you’ve rung the final bell on Corporate independence.” Morgan’s system is now under permanent Imperial authority. Karn travels to Coruscant and ends up on the doorstep of his mother, who slaps him at first sight, but then cries and hugs him. All the while, he looks miserable and like his dreams have been crushed. It will be curious to see what path this disappointment will lead him upon, especially now that he’s on Coruscant.
Meero, meanwhile, has been doing all in her power to get access to the Ferrix reports, but Blevin has been steadfast in his refusal. Eventually, they plead their case to Major Partagaz. Earlier in their larger meeting, Partagaz says the ISB are healthcare providers, ID symptoms, locate germs (either from within or outside) and the longer they wait to idenify a disorder the harder it is to treat the disease. Thus, it is somewhat surprising that he so quickly dismisses Meero’s suspicions that the stolen starpath unit is part of a pattern of incidents leading to the development of an ongoing rebellion. Partagaz does give her a small pat on the head at the end, saying he has been impressed with her detention numbers and is likely to send more of that work her way. It seems unlikely that will mollify Meero’s clear desire for upward mobility, but we shall see.
In the end, no one leaves this episode feeling upbeat. How that will play out in future installments remains to be seen, but the seeds have been sown for a number of intriguing possibilities on both sides.
- After not providing many callbacks to the Star Wars canon in the first three installments, we get a few easter eggs this week. First, Mimban was of course seen in Solo: A Star Wars story where Han is part of a ground assault and where he meets Chewbacca. Then Luthen ends up foreshadowing Andor’s eventual death in Rogue One during his hard sell for Andor to join the mission. Speaking of Rogue One, Scarif itself receives a mention. And in the antique gallery, Luthen shows off a relic from Utupau, which we saw in Revenge of the Sith and is where Obi-Wan defeated General Grevious before his forces turn on him as a result of Order 66.
- Perhaps Luthen’s high-culture standing as an antique dealer is what allows him to acquire all his information. Once again, knowing Andor’s true background and nature of his time on Mimban seems to show that Luthen prides himself on being a step ahead at all times.
- This episode really turned up the dial on the political intrigue. Luthen and Mon Mothma’s coded doubletalk was an excellent use of spycraft and leans more into the spy/thriller intrigue that has been promised for this series. I am looking forward to seeing more of this, especially with regard to Mothma.
- Who is the person Mothma is referring to during his discussion with Luthen? There are a number of potential established canon candidates, but based on what we’ve seen so far it feels like it could be a completely new character.
- This series has a completely different look than all the other Disney+ Star Wars series, and that is a good thing. Don’t get me wrong, I think the Volume is great and has worked well for the most part, but using real-life locations definitely gives Andor a different visual identity that works for the story it’s telling.
- We didn’t see any of our characters from Ferrix this week, but it feels as though we haven’t seen the last of them yet. It will be interesting to see how they are re-incorporated into the action.
After a bit of a slow start, I think the last two episodes have really got the series cooking. Do you agree? Let me know on Twitter, my handle is @a_silva32. May the Force be with you!