It’s the top of Andor’s first season, and all roads result in Ferrix. Dedra Meero is there, main the Imperial garrison in its try to entice their quarry at his mom’s funeral. Luthen Rael and his lieutenants Vel and Cinta are there too, hoping to kill him quicker than the Imperials can query him. Syril Karn and his outdated pal Linus Mosk are there too, determined for revenge in opposition to the person he blames for his collapsed profession, in hopes that stated revenge can assist kickstart a brand new profession as a substitute. And positive sufficient, Cassian Andor is there too, however to not attend his mom Maarva’s funeral service as everybody anticipated, however to rescue his good friend Bix from Imperial captivity.
They have been all so near getting what they needed, however ultimately, solely Cassian Andor pulls it off. Maybe that’s what makes him the hero of this story, the title character, the lynchpin round whom the remainder of the story revolves. He as soon as informed his erstwhile Rebel comrades “I’m right here to win and stroll away.” Maybe now he’s simply right here to win and carry on profitable till the battle is over.
Written by Tony Gilroy and directed by Benjamin Caron, the episode creates pressure by expertly cross-cutting between absolutely twenty completely different viewpoints and characters as they converge: Cassian, Luthen, Vel, Cinta, Bix, Dedra, Syril and Mosk, two separate Imperial commanders, an undercover ISB officer, a neighborhood informant, three completely different native Rebel sympathizers (together with one we’d by no means seen earlier than, who spends a number of temporary scenes engaged on some type of engineering undertaking earlier than we notice he’s constructing a bomb), two completely different funeral processions headed for a similar vacation spot (considered one of them taking part in mournful music that turns rousing because the sequence progresses, a particularly shrewd scoring alternative), Cassian and Bix’s good friend Brasso, the droid B2EMO, even the man who strikes that big bell-like anvil within the city’s clocktower. It’s like watching somebody assemble the items of a puzzle, spreading them out in entrance of you earlier than snapping all of them into place.
The image that emerges as soon as the puzzle is assembled is considered one of near-spontaneous insurrection in opposition to the Empire. I say “close to” spontaneous as a result of clearly a number of key figures knew what was coming, although crucially none of them are a part of the Empire, which will get caught flat-footed. A funeral speech from Maarva, delivered through a hologram recorded previous to her loss of life, turns right into a rabble-rousing declaration of conflict in opposition to the Imperials, prompting a riot that claims many lives on each side of the struggle till the order is given to open fireplace on the protesters.
We see folks we care about escape and folks we care about gunned down. At one level the digital camera lingers on a useless insurgent’s face for second after painful second to remind us of the human value of the Rebellion.
Dedra Meero will get knocked down by the rioters and carried away, screaming and trembling with concern of what’s going to be carried out to her. (I don’t need to say that one thing…untoward is being implied right here, not on a Star Wars present, not even this Star Wars present, however Denise Gough’s efficiency conveys that terror nonetheless.) Fortunately for her she’s not being captured, she’s being rescued, by Syril Karn. “I ought to say thanks,” she tells him, unused to being grateful to anybody for something, a lot much less to a worm like this dude. “You don’t need to,” he says, so clearly in some mixture of affection and awe that it’s wonderful he doesn’t simply drop to his knees and lick her boots proper then and there.
With all his pursuers caught up within the chaos of the riot or observing it frustratedly from afar like Luthen, Cassian is free to infiltrate the resort getting used because the Imperial jail and garrison — now largely empty of guards, who’re all getting used to pacify the riot — and free Bix. She’s barely cell, barely lucid, however “barely” is sufficient for him to get her out of there and onto a ready ship.
But reasonably than take off along with her, Brasso, B2EMO, the bomber child, and a pacesetter of the native civic group the Daughters of Ferrix, Cassian has different plans. He’s seen Luthen exterior the funeral, and he’s realized what Rael is there to do. So he tracks down the Rebel chief’s ship and waits there, surrendering to him when he arrives. He presents Luthen with a alternative, both possibility for which it’s clear he’s keen to just accept on this intense second: “Kill me…or take me in.”
It solely lasts for a break up second, however Luthen — not Luthen the glad-handing antiques supplier, however Luthen the ruthless Rebel commander — smiles. What a notice to finish the season on, and what an indication that Cassian is destined for excellent issues.
There are different attention-grabbing indicators for the longer term, too, if you already know the place to look. In her temporary scenes Mon Mothma appears largely involved in regards to the prospect of kid marriage for her daughter, whom she’s tempted to betroth to the teenage son of that sleazy banker man so as to safe his assist in plugging the holes in her sketchy monetary state of affairs. However, she additionally picks a struggle along with her husband Perrin about his obvious playing dependancy, a behavior he swears — convincingly, to my ears — that he has left behind. The approach she steels herself earlier than the dialogue makes me imagine she’s nicely conscious that her driver is an Imperial informant reporting again to the ISB about her doings…and that she’s framing her personal husband so as to clarify her lacking cash. Cold, however it’s straightforward to see why this might be preferable to her than sticking her child right into a regressive socio-religious association, and at any charge conflict is a chilly enterprise.
It’s these particular person, emotional moments that resonate the strongest on this episode. Mon’s guilt, Dedra’s terror, Syril’s abject admiration of Dedra. Maarva’s defiance from past the grave, Bix’s brokenness, the bomber’s wordless willpower. Mosk ingesting alone because the mud settles, Luthen realizing his plan gained’t work, the Imperials celebrating the slaughter of Rebel commander Anto Kreegyr and his forces again on Coruscant with out realizing they’ve been had. Vel operating via the smoke and fog looking for her lacking girlfriend Cinta, Cinta stabbing the undercover cop to loss of life as against the law of alternative, the informant’s ignominious loss of life within the bomber’s explosion. The closeup on the useless man’s unseeing eyes, the closeup on Mon Mothma as she prepares to speak to Perrin, the closeup on Luthen as he hears Cassian’s provide, the closeup on Cassian as he makes it with out understanding what the older man will do.
If something ties Andor collectively, it’s this: a conviction that nice issues are produced from small items, painstakingly assembled. It was true of the bomb, it’s true of no matter they have been constructing in that jail, it’s true of the rising Rebellion, and it’s true of Cassian Andor himself, a lowlife who’s gone from scrambling to outlive to combating for one thing a lot bigger than himself. It’s wonderful to see a Star Wars story this thoughtfully constructed, including brick to brick to brick till probably the most spectacular story that universe has seen in twenty years is correct there earlier than our eyes.