Welcome to my weekly review of Andor, where I will be walking us through each episode and giving my thoughts on the show. My reviews will follow my usual format: an overview of the plot (so be aware, there will be spoilers!), my review of the show, then a few “Moments in canon” – references that link to other media and the galaxy as a whole. Today, we’ll be looking at Episode 4: “Aldhani”.
Cassian and Rael make their way away from Ferrix in Rael’s ship and jump to lightspeed, heading for Aldhani. While Cassian treats a blaster wound that he suffered when attacked by the first team of corpos at the meeting point. Rael explains that he wants Cassian to help in a theft. Cassian refuses initially, especially when realising that Rael is part of some form of “useless” resistance against the Empire. Rael reveals he knows much of Cassian’s past, and that he came to Ferrix for Cassian not the Starpath unit. Rael explains that the plan is high-stakes and will involve Cassian working as part of a unit, but that he will be paid 200,000 credits, before revealing that they are stealing the quarterly payroll for an entire Imperial sector.
On Coruscant, Lieutenant Dedra Meero arrives at an ISB briefing. As those present give updates on their sectors, she hears an update about the events on Ferrix and the recovery of a stolen Imperial Starpath.
Casian and Rael arrive on Aldhani. Cassian agrees to go by the name Clem while they are there. The woman that Cassian will be working for, Vel arrives, so Rael goes to meet her and tell her of the plans to use Cassian while he stays on the ship. Before going out, Rael hands him a down payment: a Kuati Signet made of blue kyber and sky stone, advising him to not take less than 50,000 credits for it, but to know it is more valuable to Rael. As Cassian watches on from the cockpit, Rael explains to Vel that Cassian is joining her team. She is not happy with this, as it is a last minute change to all the plans her team has made, but Rael eventually convinces her by telling her that he was going to call off the mission otherwise. Rael tells Vel that as far as the rest of the team are concerned, this was always part of the plan.
It took the combined ingredients of idiocy, ineptitude and total disengagement for this farce to have reached the full apex of incredulous disaster.
At Pre-Mor Security, the inspection team is stood down following the debacle on Ferrix, as the Morlana system is put under permanent Imperial authority, bringing an end to Corporate independence.
Vel and Cassian make their way back to the place where Vel’s team are camping, avoiding a TIE fighter patrol on the way. Vel tells Cassian that he must stick to the story that she brought him into the team, and not make any mention of Rael. Vel reveals that the target of their mission is the military garrison on Aldhani, and that (including the two of them) they will be a team of 7.
As Meero looks through the reports from Ferrix, she finds details of the Starpath unit, and is confident that this is the one stolen from Steergard. Feeling that this gives her jurisdiction, she tries to take over the case from Lieutenant Supervisor Blevin, however he refuses, unwilling to help her rise up through the ISB. Meero escalates this to Major Partagaz, however he sides with Blevin, refusing to believe Meero’s feeling that this is a step on a path to an organised rebellion—a feeling that she has due to a series of other thefts.
Rael arrives back at Coruscant. While the ship lands, he washes and re-clothes himself (including a wig) to create his public persona that is seen in the capital.
Cassian and Vel reach the team’s camp. The team are not happy at the unexpected arrival of another member, but Vel explains that she did not speak of “Clem” before as she was not sure he could make it, introduces them and has Cinta deal with Cassian’s blaster burn.
Cyril Karn returns home, where he is welcomed by his mother. Elsewhere on Coruscant, Mon Mothma visits Rael’s galleria, looking for a gift for her husband’s Day of Days (a Chandrilan custom). While Rael’s assistant Kleya distracts Mothma’s new driver by showing him some artifacts, Rael takes the senator to the back room under the pretense of showing her some prospective gifts. Mothma is having issues moving money around for Rael as she is being watched closely. However she has found someone that she wants to bring into the circle. Returning out to the front of the galleria, Rael and Mothma wrap up their purchase, with the coded subtext of their words being Rael’s acceptance of Mothma’s plan.
“I feel under siege.”
The final member of Vel’s team, an Lieutenant Gorn, an Imperial who is their contact at the garrison, arrives at the camp. Like the rest of the group, he is unhappy at the late change of plans, but is calmed down by Vel. Vel asks about the earlier TIE patrol and Gorn explains that an Imperial engineer is arriving from Coruscant.
Mon Mothma returns home to find that her husband Perrin has arranged a dinner with some old friends, many of whom she notes are people who hate her and consistently work against her.
That evening, Cassian is filled in on the plan: to fill a Max-7 Rono freighter with the payroll from the vault and using a rare natural phenomenon in the atmosphere to allow them to escape without being caught by TIE fighters. With 3 days until the task, Cassian is given all the schematics and a series of local phrases to memorise by the next morning.
This is some damn good Star Wars! It may not be what we are used to, but I am absolutely loving it!
While it does feel like the beginning of a new arc in the story (Cassian’s first job for the Rebellion), it does not feel separate from the previous episodes, which was something I was a little worried about when hearing about the arc structure. Instead, it felt like a natural progression of the story for Cassian, while using already established characters in Luthen Rael and Pre-Mor security to now introduce Vel’s team, Mon Mothma and the ISB and flesh out the series more.
And firstly to mention Mon Mothma, it’s always great to see Genevieve O’Reilly return as the future leader of the Rebellion, having been cut from Revenge of the Sith but invited back for Rogue One and Rebels. She does a great job and I’m already loving getting to see these different sides of her: the wife and the covert rebel, rather than the leader of the Rebellion that we have always seen her as. This was a great introduction to her and I can’t wait to see more of her story unfold.
And now onto the ISB. We’ve seen officers in live action before, but besides Moff Gideon (who we have seen after his time with ISB) they have always been nothing more than extras, while Rebels included them a bit more, so it is great to see them finally getting their moment in the live-action spotlight rather than another series of facing off against stormtroopers. I also really appreciate how even now, we’re seeing the infighting that will help bring down the Empire, as Blevin cares more about stopping Meero’s ascent through the ISB than doing the right thing, which is going to allow the Rebellion to grow.
And finally we need to talk about Vel’s squad, and they really interest me. While they all seem (understandably) angry at Cassian’s late arrival and distrusting, there were moments between some of them that made me think they will come across much more likeable as Cassian gets to know them, from Skeen ribbing but also teaching Nemik about falling asleep on watch, to a quick knowing half-smile between Cinta and Gorn as Nemik gets far too technical about the Eye of Aldhani.
Of course one thing that was absolutely stunning in this episode was the scenery for Aldhani, with these lush green valleys and forests. As great as the Volume is, Andor is reminding us just how great filming on location is!
So where will things go from here? Well I’m going to predict that something goes wrong with the mission that leads to Cassian taking a bigger role, and I have a feeling that the arrival of the engineer from Coruscant will be behind this, leading to some change in the expected protocols that catches the team out.
“I’m seeing signs of coordinated activity over a number of sectors.”
A few final thoughts on the episode:
- One scene that did feel out of place in this episode was Karn’s return home. I’d be very interested to know how the show was edited, as so far it very much feels like each arc was one long episode then cut into 3
- While I’m loving the score, it’s not really sticking with me in the way most Star Wars scores do. I wonder if part of this is also due to a different variation on the main theme during the opening each week, whereas in The Mandalorian, that main theme was used frequently to the point that it was immediately recognisable
- I absolutely loved the scene of Luthen Rael changing as he arrived back on Coruscant. Not only was there the complete change of appearance, but I also loved how for a moment he affected the much more open and happy mannerisms off his public persona, before going back to his private one. It’s early days, but I’d be shocked if Stellan Skarsgård is not nominated for any awards for this role
- There was an absolutely beautiful early shot as if flying just above the skyscrapers of Coruscant that felt as if we were flying over New York, that is how real they managed to make this feel
Moments in Canon
- One of the planned dinner guests at Mon Mothma’s home is Sly Moore, who is often seen alongside Palpatine and Mas Amedda in the Prequel Trilogy
- Skeen mentions Saw Gerrera when talking about other rebel groups
- So an interesting one here as this may be a nod to future canon stories. Rael states that his Kuati Signet celebrates the uprising against the Rakatan invaders. The Rakata have only been mentioned in passing so far in canon, but in Legends they were a galaxy-spanning empire that conquered, ruled, and decimated other species through the dark side of the Force, which collapsed over 25,000 years before the events of the movie
- One of the items in Rael’s galleria is a partial set of Mandalorian armour,while also present are cracked stone tablets with symbols representing the Mortis Gods (introduced in The Mortis arc of The Clone Wars), as seen in the Rebels series 4 episodes “Wolves and a Door” and “A World Between Worlds”
What did you think of the episode?
Thanks for reading. Rebellions are built on hope….