“We win or everyone dies” as the Rebels make their move on Aldhani in a dazzling heist episode.
Hello friends and welcome back to another episode of Andor! This week is the big heist on Aldhani. But we’ve all heard about the best-laid plans, right? Another episode directed by Susanna White and written by Dan Gilroy (swiftly becoming the Andor dream team), “The Eye” is a tense little number with some of the most dazzling setpieces Star Wars has shown us. It’s also doubling down on heartbreak, so let’s get right to it, shall we?
The boys of the Aldhani cell are having some caf before heading down towards the garrison. Nemik (Alex Lawther) is still uneasy with Cassian (Diego Luna), given the recent revelation that Cassian is a mercenary. However, he notes that he updated his Rebel manifesto to include the use of mercenaries. Nemik admits he couldn’t sleep the night before, but Cassian assures him that he’ll sleep when it’s done. Oh, Nemik’s going to die, isn’t he? The boys make radio contact with Vel (Faye Marsay) and Cinta (Varada Sethu), hiding across the lake from the garrison. Vel and Cinta swim to the dam while the boys head down to the Dhani temple to take their places as soldiers.
In the garrison, the local Imperial commander Jayhold and the visiting engineer make some racist small talk about the Dhani people before Jayhold, his wife and son, the engineer, and Lieutenant Gorn (Sule Rimi) head down to the temple to greet the Dhani who have traveled for The Eye (the big cosmic event). Vel almost can’t bring herself to say “Go” on the mission, but she manages. The boys escort Jayhold and company back inside while Vel and Cinta set up a device to scramble the garrison’s comms and rappel down to the door.
Once inside, the boys pull their weapons on the commander and his family. They hit an unseen snag when the engineer pulls a blaster, however. He holds Nemik at blaster-point, but Cinta dispatches him as she and Vel arrive. Vel tells Jayhold that he’s opening the vault for them, “We win, or everyone dies.” Cinta is left to guard Jayhold’s family while Vel, Cassian, Nemik, Taramyn (Gershwyn Eustache, Jr.), and Skeen (Ebon Moss-Bachrach) take Jayhold to the vault. Jayhold opens the vault, and the gang–along with Jayhold and the vault guards (under duress)–begins to load the freighter with credits. Unfortunately, a bit of conversation between Nemik and Cinta is overheard by comms officer Kimzi up in his tower. He gathers some soldiers to check things out as the celebration of The Eye begins.
[A] tense little number with some of the most dazzling setpieces Star Wars has shown us.
An alarm notifies the nearby airbase that something is up with the vault, so they begin dispatching TIE fighters as Cinta turns off the garrison’s power. Gorn arrives at the vault, aghast that they’re still loading, revealing his part in the plot to Jayhold. Kimzi and his men show up in the vault, and Gorn tries to order them off. His attempt fails when Jayhold simply keels over. Too much stress and manual labor! Kimzi and his men open fire, sparking a full-out blaster fight. Gorn is shot and falls.
“The Eye” truly sings in these moments where everything goes wrong. We’ve watched the Rebels plan for this moment, painstakingly. Yet, they’re running behind, the commander just dropped dead, and now they’ve lost Gorn. It’s nice to see a Star Wars plot that doesn’t begin and end with “and then we steal their uniforms.”
Cassian ducks inside the freighter to start it up, nearly taken out before Nemik saves him. Taramyn gets shot running to help a trapped Vel. Vel, Skeen, and Nemik board the freighter, taking off. Since no one has decided to strap themselves in, the three go flying around the hold as the ship takes off and a flat of credits crushes Nemik. Vel gives him a shot, allowing him enough energy to turn on his navigation tool and tell Cassian to climb. They fly into the crystals, which is simply stunning, both from inside and down on Aldhani’s surface, as the Dhani weep and sing. The TIE fighters succumb to the crystals as the freighter breaks above them and heads into space.
They land on a quiet planet where a doctor works on Nemik with Vel’s help while Skeen and Cassian wait outside. If this wasn’t enough trouble, Skeen offers to leave and split the credits with Cassian. His story about his brother? It was a lie! Skeen tries to convince Cassian that they’re the same, but Cassian shoots Skeen mid-sentence. He enters the operating room in time to see Nemik’s face being covered. I knew it. Cassian wants his cut so he can leave. He tells Vel about Skeen’s treachery, but she doesn’t believe him. He gives Vel the kyber crystal to return to Luthen. Vel, in turn, gives him Nemik’s manifesto, which he wanted Cassian to have. I think maybe it’ll work on him, Nemik.
“The Eye”…[is] a nailbiter of a heist story that ties up the Aldhani arc while kicking up a whole new batch of troubles for our Rebel friends.
On Coruscant, the ISB headquarters is aflutter as Dedra Meero (Denise Gough) and others pour into the meeting room where Major Partagaz tells them he wants all retaliation plans ready for presenting by midnight. Uh oh. Elsewhere, Mon Mothma (Genevieve O’Reilly) gives a speech to a largely empty Senate, and those in attendance aren’t paying attention to her. She checks her datapad to see news that startles her. And over at Galactic Antiquities and Objects of Interest, a customer interrupts Luthen (Stellan Skarsgård) mid-sales pitch, jokingly asking if he has anything from Aldhani since there was just a major Rebel attack there. Luthen excuses himself to the backroom, where he laughs in open relief. Well, he doesn’t have all the news yet.
“The Eye” easily settles as the best episode of Andor thus far, a nailbiter of a heist story that ties up the Aldhani arc while kicking up a whole new batch of troubles for our Rebel friends. The Empire is out for vengeance, Cassian is on the run again, and I’m not entirely sure Vel knows how to get that freighter off of that planet. “The Eye” continues Andor’s unrelenting portrayal of the Empire as a collection of power-hungry bureaucrats and cold efficiency. All this and nary a hint of the Force to be found! It’s refreshing, really, as much as we fans of Star Wars do love our space magic. Will Cassian return to his quest for his sister next week, or will he find himself back with the Rebels? The heist may be over, but the repercussions have just begun.
- RIP Gorn, Taramyn, Nemik, and Skeen. Yes, even Skeen.
- The doctor the gang takes Nemik to has four arms and is named “Dr. Quadpaw”. Star Wars, I love you.
- Um, is anyone going to get Cinta?
- We learn as an aside from Skeen that Taramyn was a stormtrooper and that Cinta did not take that knowledge well, as stormtroopers slaughtered her family. So uh…do we know how Cinta left those hostages?