TV Review: Andor Season 1, Episode 4


By Matthew Moorcroft

Highest Recommendation

  • Directed by Susanna White
  • Starring Diego Luna, Kyle Soller, Genevieve O’Reilly, Stellan Skarsgard
  • TV-14

While it’s explosive three-episode premiere showcased Andor‘s slow burn approach and how effective it is, Aldhani slows things back a bit to sit down with the cast. So far the strength of Andor has been it’s quieter, more introspective moments, giving time to let the characters breath and just tell the story with dialogue and flow rather then lumbering from one plot point to the next.

This isn’t to say that sort of “and then” style of storytelling doesn’t work for Star Wars – in fact it’s roots in serials and old pulp science fiction make it one of the few things that can get away with it. But, as this episode shows, Andor‘s approach to the material is more clinical and realistic, honing in on the shady dealings made behind the scenes and the unexpected, and sometimes reluctant, alliances made in the pursuit of rebellion. Both Cassian and Mon Mothma, fully introduced in this episode, have parallel stories here that run thematically similar to each other. Both characters are forced to work with individuals they find otherwise unsavoury or have disagreements with, and both of them are also forced to put up a façade in front of others for protection. In the case of Cassian, it’s an alias in order to hide who he really is, while with Mothma it’s more mental. This duality goes a long way to make them feel integral to the whole rather then disconnected parts.

It’s Mothma’s segments I ended up finding the real fascinating ones of the bunch in particular. Outside of a ton of fun easter eggs for fans like myself – anybody who said this series “doesn’t have fanservice” is lying, it just has properly implemented fan service – the political undercurrents here are tantalizing stuff. Mothma’s husband appears to be a opportunist himself, more interested in looking good with the Imperial higher ups, and my hope is that series leans into those veiled threats in later episodes as Mothma’s position becomes closer and closer to being revealed. This is clearly before she is the center of the Rebellion at large so this could give us a good look as to her own story as to how she becomes that center.

And in the middle of all of that is the ever illusive Luthen, who is a mysterious figure in his own right. It’s clear he has connections with Rebel forces across the galaxy, but to what end we don’t know yet and his loyalties seem unclear. One thing is for certain though, and that is that Stellan Skarsgard is killing it here, playing what is essentially a dual portrayal with ease and showcasing why he’s one of the best actors working today. If anything, his story is the one I am most curious about going forward, especially as the story seems to be setting up discord among the rebel sects as a way to lead into the uncertainty of Rogue One.

Dan Gilroy takes over writing duties from his brother Tony here but he has the same sizzle and pop that he does, and this especially shows during the Imperial segments which straight out of something like Nightcrawler in their visceral bite. If Andor is truly supposed to be adult, then the Imperial portions of the story are the most adult it gets with it’s discussion of quarterly reports, system management, and backstabbing. And it’s all engrossing as all hell – it’s great to Star Wars officially embrace what makes storytelling truly great. Which is, of course, hushed whispers and people dramatically saying “give me more time”. So good!

Obviously we still have two weeks left to go become this story wraps up, as Andor’s three-episode arc based structure means we are likely in for another slower time next week. But if it ends up as good as this one, then it’s possible we might be in for something truly special going forward. Love this show!


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