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 8: “Narkina 5”.
Having been sentenced, Cassian and a number of other sentenced prisoners are put onto a ship making its way to Narkina 5, where they are taken to an offshore facility.
Syril Carn is taken in for questioning by the ISB after using his new position to file for information on Cassian Andor six times in less than a month. While interviewing him, Dedra finds out that Carn was not allowed to read Bevins report before signing to confirm its authenticity, so she has her aide give him a copy to read while she attends a meeting with Colonel Yularen. In her meeting, she explains to Colonel Yularen about the theft of the Starpath Unit from Steegard that was found on Ferrix. With the support of Major Partagaz, she explains that this item was stolen by Cassian Andor, who was transferring it to an unknown criminal they have named “Axis” as he is central to an organised rebel effort to acquire specialized Imperial gear. She requests a number of support packages for Ferrix to find Andor and track down Axis. Returning to Carn, Meero finds that much is missing, though Carn can give her little extra information to assist. Carn tries to make a point that he was in the right and offers himself as an asset to find Andor, but Meero turns him down.
Cassian and the other prisoners are offloaded on the offshore facility, where they will spend their sentences as laborers in a factory. Cassian is sent to his working room, where Kino Loy (the shift’s unit manager) explains to Cassian the work that is done and the productivity expectations, before introducing him to his table.
“Breathe deep, brother. This may be the last fresh air we ever taste.”
Mon Mothma and Perrin are hosting another event at their Coruscant home. Mon is hoping to win votes to stall the latest “overreach” by Palpatine. Tay Colma visits and warns Mothma that new banking regulations are making things more difficult than expected. Mothma later talks with a group of senators about the new public order P.O.R.D. legislation, with the group having a range of opinions.
With their shift over, the other workers at Cassian’s table show him to his cell for his off shift time, showing him how everything works and explaining about the security in place. The group note that all of their sentences were recently doubled under the new P.O.R.D. legislation and ask Cassian what the people outside prison are saying about the new directives, but realise that he has never even heard of the decree. Melshi warns Cassian that the Empire will make sure he never gets out, but is stopped by Kino.
Casian begins the daily cycle of being on-shift and off-shift, with the monotony only being broken by someone from one of the other tables committing suicide during the night.
On Ferrik, Brasso and Bix visit Maarva, who is ill and has recently fallen. Speaking secretly after leaving, Bix tells Brasso that Maarva is now a Rebel, and was seeing if old tunnels were still open that would allow the Rebellion to sneak inside the Imperial-held hotel complex. The pair are unaware that they are being watched by Vel and Cinta. Though Vel argues, Cinta chooses to stay to watch out for Cassian’s potential return, while Vel continues to go searching for him.
Bix goes to visit Paak’s shop, where she uses the communicator out the back to contact Rael. However it is Kleya who receives the message, and she convinces Rael that a message from Bix asking for news on Cassian as Maarva is ill is just as likely to be the Imperials trying to bait them to respond, resulting in Rael and Kleya shutting down the line.
Bix emerges from her home in the morning to hear the warning sounds being beat through the town again, and finds the Imperials ransacking Paak’s yard, while Brasso tells her that Paak was taken for questioning during the night and hasn’t returned. One of the officers notices Bix and and recognises her. As she runs away, Brasso “accidentally” gets in the way of the chasing stormtroopers, however Bix is still eventually captured.
“Whatever our final version of success looks like, there’s no chance any of us can make it real on our own.”
Rael leaves Coruscant and travels to Segra Milo, where he meets with Saw Gerrera and his Partisans. Rael offers Saw some equipment, on the proviso that he teams up with Anto Kreegyr for a job on an Imperial power station on Spellhaus, however Saw refuses.
Bix is taken to the hotel, where she sees Paak, who has been tortured by the Imperials. Bixis forced into the chair as Meero prepares to interrogate her.
I’m running out of positive openings to this section, which is not good news as I am loving this show more with each episode!
The main story was very much a follow-on from last week, with Cassian now finding himself in what is basically a clean and sterile labour camp. And can I just say that I absolutely love the design of this place! By already being out in open water, it makes escape so unlikely, and yet the setup inside looks so simple yet deadly with its killer floors and all the inmates having to be barefoot, kudos to whoever thought up the idea that allowed these workers to go around with open cells, no restraints and minimal guards, while the idea of extra punishment for the poorest-performing tables and treats for the best tables is a great way to keep everyone in line during their shifts as one man not pulling their weight will cause problems for their whole table.
And as for the people we’ve met here, I’m so glad to see Andy Serkis getting another role in Star Wars as he is a fantastic actor, and this is a chance to let him show his quality directly rather than as the performance capture for a CGI character. And given his role, as a fellow inmate but one who has been given power over the rest of his unit, I’m so excited to see whether he becomes more of an ally or antagonist in future episodes. But it wasn’t just the arrival of Kino Loy who got me excited, as the working line also introduced us to Ruescott Melshi, who some of you may have recognised from Rogue One (see my Moments in Canon below for specifics). Melshi was a character that I thought it would be great to see in the series, but I honestly thought that season 2 was more likely as that will be when we see Cassian spending more time with the Rebellion as we are used to seeing them, so getting to see these 2 former comrades’ first meeting here is very exciting and makes me think that we will be getting some form of jailbreak in the coming weeks, likely with some rebel assistance (more on that later).
Of course there was another much more noticeable cameo from Rogue One in this episode with the inclusion of Saw Gerrera, and I love how this show is really getting in so many characters we know, but in a way that feels like it is growing the show by seeing the familiar characters in a way we haven’t really seen below. We’re seeing Mon Mothma as the Imperial senator and undercover rebel, while now we’re seeing Saw and one of the Two-Tubes brothers (I believe it’s more likely to be Benthic) away from Jedha reminds you that they were a cell who worked around the galaxy. As someone who loves looking at Star Wars as a whole, this is doing Star Wars right and I love it!
Finally we must take a moment to look Vel and Cinta, and I love how their relationship is getting more and more time as the show goes on. To see not just an interracial relationship, but a LGBTQ+ one at that in a major franchise is vital for representation, so I love that they are getting the time to show this and make it an important part of their character—this episode really showed how Vel prioritises the people she cares about over the cause, but Cinta puts the cause first—and I hope we continue to get more, and would also love a story about Vel before this show, as it certainly seemed that Cinta’s quip of pretending to be a “rich girl running away from her family” was a dig at Vel’s past.
So what will happen moving forwards? Well I think we’re getting a jailbreak at some point. To me, there was too much focus on Cassian hearing all the details about guard shortages, while it certainly seems that the security measures would easily become null and void if the prisoners can get the special boots the guards wear. But will it just be the inmates escaping on their own, or will they get outside assistance? And if so, who from?
“Don’t ever slow up my line.”
A few final thoughts on the episode:
- These quick moments with Leida Mothma at parties when Mon is with Tay Colma are starting to feel a little odd. I could have initially understood a child not wanting to be there, but now I wonder if she is in fact spying for someone, especially considering how often Perrin appears to be watching Tay and Mon when they are together
- I love how the characters from the early episodes on Ferrix have not been forgotten about and we are still seeing how Cassian is affecting their lives even after he has gone. With Luke, Jyn and Rey, this was never possible (and it was limited for Anakin), so I’m loving getting to see the story of those left behind and people just trying to live their lives under Imperial rule
Moments in Canon
- Among the items that can be found at Luthen Rael’s galleria is what appears to be a Jedi Temple Guard’s mask, something which Grand Admiral Thrawn also has in his office on his flagship
- Ruescott Melshi was the rebel who led the rescue of Jyn Erso from Imperial custody on Wobani, before volunteering to join Rogue One
What did you think of the episode?
Thanks for reading. Rebellions are built on hope….
2 thoughts on “Andor: “Narkina 5””
I was wondering about Leida, too. She’s just too conspicuously nervous, so there’s something up with her. This show just gets better and better!
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I’m glad I’m not the only one thinking it, and of course Mon is oblivious! Thanks for reading
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