As Cassian heads to “Aldhani” to meet more Rebels, a new Imperial threat takes form.
Hello friends and welcome to another episode of Andor! Before we start this week, a mea culpa: The ship that Cassian/Kassa and his friends tried to scavenge back on Kenari appears to have been a Separatist ship. Also, Maarva warns that a Republic ship is incoming, not an Imperial, as I said. That said, we do still hear that the Kenari mining incident (which happened before these events) was an Imperial accident. So we’re still a little shaky with backstory and where exactly these flashbacks are happening on the timeline.
Another point ripe for discussion is Maarva’s taking of Kassa off Kenari. It was easy in the last recap to refer to this as a “rescue.” Maarva, after all, seems convinced that Kassa would be in danger from the incoming ship if he were left behind. From Kassa’s point of view, though, he’s just been ripped away from everything he’s known, from his only family, by a pair of strangers whose language he doesn’t even speak. That’s not a rescue. That’s an abduction. Granted, we haven’t heard Cassian’s thoughts on the matter yet, but until that time, it’s a tricky situation. Let’s see where this week takes us!
Leading us in from the very jump, one can’t say too much about the music of Andor by Nicholas Britell. The theme is powerful and perfect amounts of musically-induced drama punctuate every scene. It’s one of the strongest Star Wars television scores thus far.
And now, time for Episode Four of Andor, “Aldhani.” (As the action moves around quite a bit from Aldhani to Morlana One to Coruscant, we’re going to go storyline by storyline). Cassian (Diego Luna) and Luthen (Stellan Skarsgård) are heading to the planet Aldhani after fleeing Ferrix. Being dropped off and left to his own devices is Cassian’s pick, but Luthen has other ideas. There’s a plan (stealing an Imperial payroll) going down within the next few days—very dangerous—but if Cassian helps and makes it through, Luthen will give him 200,000 credits.
Well, with that sort of encouragement, Cassian is in. Luthen meets with Vel (Faye Marsay), the Rebel group leader stealing the payroll, once they land on Aldhani. Vel is none too pleased by the prospect of adding an unknown to her crew. Nevertheless, Luthen insists this mission has to be a win and calls Cassian “disposable.” Rude, Luthen.
Vel and Cassian (known as Clem to the Rebels, his adoptive father’s name) head back to where her group is waiting. There Vel makes it very clear that they’re not to mention Luthen, and they’ll be claiming adding Clem to the team was all her idea. Oh, and it also comes out that the payroll is kept in an Imperial armory. Naturally, Cassian isn’t too thrilled to hear this.
[D]espite the cavalcade of names, there’s no confusion or feeling overstuffed.
They meet up with Vel’s crew (Skeen, Taramyn, Nemik, and Cinta), none of whom wants a random joining up. Lieutenant Gorn, their Imperial spy who arrives to do a practice run with the team, feels the same. Their plan is relatively simple: sneak into the armory, load the payroll onto a freighter, then use an every-three-years planetary, cosmic event (like a meteor shower, but thousands of crystals) as cover to make their escape. They give Cassian a bundle of information and tell him he has to learn it all that night. Welcome to the team, Cassian. Let’s see how this goes.
After dropping Cassian off on Aldhani, Luthen returns to Coruscant, the galaxy’s capital planet, changing his clothes, putting on a wig, and practicing his Coruscant personality in a neat little bit of acting from Skarsgård. In this life, Luthen runs an antiquities gallery with his assistant Kleya. Their first customer upon his return is Senator Mon Mothma (Genevieve O’Reilly). Kleya distracts Mothma’s driver as Luthen and Mothma head to the backroom under the pretense of choosing a present for her husband.
In reality, Mothma is there to express difficulty in moving money around for the Rebellion. Imperial surveillance is on the rise, and she wants to bring someone new into their circle who might be able to help. Luthen is against the idea, but they part with the understanding that Mothma will do what is best for their cause. Arriving home, Mothma learns that her husband Perrin, apparently an ardent Imperial, is hosting a dinner party just chock full of Imperials and other higher-ups who are anti-Mothma. She’s having a terrible day.
Also on Coruscant, Imperial Lieutenant Dedra Meero (Denise Gough) heads to a meeting of the Imperial Security Bureau. As other ISB personnel report to boss Major Partagaz (Anton Lesser), Meero hears about the events on Ferrix, namely the discovery of the Starpath unit that Cassian stole. The unit came from a port under her jurisdiction, so she seeks to get all of the Ferrix reports from fellow Lieutenant Blevin (under whose authority Ferrix rests), but Blevin refuses. The pair take it to Partagaz, who shuts down Meero’s request and tells her, effectively, to stay in her lane.
And last, but never least, over on Morlana, Lt. Belvin reads One Karn (Kyle Soller), Linus, and their poor commanding officer the riot act. Thanks to Karn’s actions on Ferrix, the Morlana system is now under Imperial control. Dismissed from his position, a defeated Karn goes home to his mother.
Directed by Susanna White and written by Dan Gilroy, “Aldhani” is another exceptionally crafted episode, leading us into the next arc of the show. Debuts happen for multiple characters this week, but despite the cavalcade of names, there’s no confusion or feeling overstuffed. Each introduction fits perfectly into the narrative as a whole. Seeing the other side of the Empire, the paperwork side, the bureaucracy side (something also done well in Rogue One) has been refreshing. It’s not all Sith lords and Death Stars. It’s also meetings and quarterly reports. We got to see a bootlicker lose his job! Interoffice bickering! There’s no “humanizing” the Empire, but it’s a side of evil too often overlooked, especially when there are lightsabers around.
Andor continues to build its world in each episode, and we wait to see how our reluctant Rebel becomes the man we know in Rogue One. Who is the mysterious person Mon Mothma wants to bring into the inner circle? Is Karn really going to give up that easily? Where’s Saw Gerrera? We’ll have to wait until next week to see, and Andor isn’t making the waiting easy.
• Luthen gives Cassian a Kuati Signet (a kyber crystal) as a financial backup; I’m sure Cassian’s keeping it a secret won’t lead to any issues with the crew.
• At the ISB meeting, one of the updates involved increased construction heading to Scarif. Yeah, I bet there is.
• Cassian served on Mimban (six months as a cook despite his claims), and guess who else did too? None other than one Han Solo. It’s where he met Chewbacca!
• As Vel and Cassian travel across Aldhani to meet her people, she lends him her poncho, a Star Wars classic. As a friend said this week, “What is Star Wars if not ponchos persevering?”
• Luthen tells Cassian that Cassian will “die fighting these bastards.” Tell us something we don’t know, Luthen.