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 5: “The Axe Forgets”.
Syril Karn is spending time with his mother, who has observed that the Ferrix incident has left him with future job prospects. She plans to call in a family favour and contact Uncle Harlo, who could find someone to hire him.
Cassian wakes on Aldhani to find his weapons missing. Leaving his hut, he finds Skeen searching them, which he has done on Vel’s orders. From the scarcity of weapons and Cassian’s blaster burn, Skeen surmises that “Clem” left wherever he was in a hurry.
Mon Mothma is at her home, preparing to take her daughter to her morning class. However her daughter reveals that her father will be taking her to school as she does not have a morning class. As Mothma had pre-arranged this, she tries convincing her daughter (while her husband quietly refuses to get involved) but leaves after her daughter accuses her of using her for her own agenda.
While resting by the fire, Karis Nemik shows Cassian a navigational tool that he has been building so that he doesn’t have to depend on Imperial tech. Nemik tries to talk to Cassian about freedom, and the Imperial “thought machine” hiding their atrocities, but Cassian is not interested in making conversation. Cassian joins Vel and Taramyn in the hut with the model of the Imperial garrison, and as they quiz him on how much weight their escape ship can carry, he realises that they don’t know how to take off inthe ship, only to fly it. Cassian however does have the knowledge, and insists on them letting him pilot the ship. Cassian prepares with the team, practicing drilling so that the men can pass as a group of Imperials, during which time Cassian uses his experience and his observations to suggest small amendments. The group are almost caught out by an unexpected TIE patrol through their valley, but they manage to hide their weapons in time.
On Ferrix, ISB Lieutenant Blevin oversees the clearance of damage caused by the Ferrix incident. Captain Tigo clears out guests from a hotel, which the ISB has taken over as their new headquarters.
“It’s too random to be random.”
Dedra Meero and Attendant Heert continue investigating looking for reports of missing Imperial objects, but are having little luck. Meero has a moment of doubt but Heert reassures her that he also sees the pattern of stolen items and notes that they are being spread out deliberately in order to look random.
At the Aldhani garrison, 2 of Lieutenant Gorn’s subordinates request that the bare minimum staffing be allowed the next day so that as many of the staff as possible can see the Eye of Aldhani, to which he agrees.
The team begin making their way to the Imperial garrison. During a rest part-way there, Skeen catches Cassian by surprise and steals his Kuati signet. Noting it’s incredible value, Skeen accuses “Clem” of hiding his past. An Imperial shuttle passing nearby calms them down as they look to avoid suspicion, and Cassian admits that he is being paid to do the job. While the team are not happy that Vel lied, they agree to continue with the plan.
“Make a choice. Don’t use me as an excuse.”
Mon Mothma and Perrin travel home following a meeting with Gar Tarfeed. Perrin notes that Tarfeed knows more about what Mothma is up to than he does, and asks when she was planning to mention her new foundation, to which she notes that he would not be interested as it is for charity.
While Carn waits at home to find out what Uncle Harlo can do to help him, he pulls out a holoprojector, on which he looks at the image of Cassian from Imperial records.
The team arrive in the valley housing the Aldhani Garrison and send a fire signal to Gorn that night. While Vel and Cinta leave for their part of the mission, Skeen and Cassian come to an accord, and Taramyn takes control of the remaining members of the team.
At the galleria, Rael is waiting for secret transmissions, but does not hear anything and is convinced to switch it off by Kleya. He admits that he may have taken too much risk in bringing Cassian into the mission. With clients planned for the next day, the pair close for the night.
Well, I’m happy to say that I am still loving this series, I do have one little issue, so I’m just going to get that out of the way before getting into my positives.
As I’ve predicted in earlier reviews, with the series supposedly split into 4 arcs, it looks like each one may follow the same format: episode 1 introducing the situation and the people, episode 2 getting everyone prepared and in position, and finally episode 3 where (for lack of a better description) everything happens. And while that is fine, and I can set that expectation of having 2 build-up episodes then a climax, I can’t help wonder if people will notice this pattern and choose not to watch until a full arc is out, so that they can then watch the whole arc in one go. As nice as it is to have a slightly longer show than we have been getting, part of me does wish that this was actually just 4 longer episodes, which it often feels like it was scripted as.
Moving on to the positives, though, and where else can I start but the visuals. Each an every environment felt unique but real. From the opulence of Mon Mothma’s residence, to the dirty town on Ferrix, from the clean blandness of the ISB headquarters to the beauty of the valleys of Aldhani. It is a visual treat and reminding me just how important it is to still have sets and location filming rather than relying on blue/green screens or the Volume.
“Who brings a treasure to a robbery?”
But equally stunning are the characters we are seeing here. With everyone now introduced who is of note, we are able to dig deeper into their lives. While I was expecting to start seeing more of Mon Mothma the senator rather than Mon Mothma the Rebel, I certainly wasn’t expecting to see Mon Mothma the wife or Mon Mothma the mother! And to see these familial issues that she is having just make her more human, while I also wonder what events are down the road as we have not heard of them before to my knowledge, so will something bad happen to them as a result of her actions, or will she deliberately separate herself to keep them safe?
And it’s not just Mon Mothma, as the Aldhani team’s characters were largely expanded upon in this episode, making them much more than a group of moody rebels, and I absolutely loved how the group turned out to not be as prepared as they initially appeared, which is allowing Cassian to have a positive impact on the mission by using his own experience and observations. And then at the very end, it was great to see even Rael having a moment of doubt, having looked so confident and in control until now. Star Wars is giving us complex and very real characters, and I’m here for it!
There isn’t really much else to say about this episode as it really is a continuation of last week, but I am very excited for next week, which feels like it will be very action-heavy with the Aldhani heist, and I can’t help but wonder if the poster I’ve used above is actually teasing us with who successfully makes it out of the mission alive, while I’m sure that this will be the moment that gets Dedra Meero more involved in the chase, though how Carn fits in I’m still not sure.
“To the rebellion.”
A few final thoughts on the episode:
- I love how the show uses the scene around the fire to make clear that Cassian is not in this for the Rebellion… yet. I’m looking forward to seeing what changes his mind, but can’t help feel that the Imperial presence on Ferrix (which he has caused) will play a part
- The continued mentions of the engineer arriving from Coruscant must surely be important for some reason, it feels like it’s been mentioned too much to not have some impact on the next episode
Moments in Canon
- Among the items that can be found at Luthen Rael’s galleria are a pair of holocrons: a Jedi holocron (cube) and a Sith holocron (pyramid)
What did you think of the episode?
Thanks for reading. Rebellions are built on hope….