Andor: “Nobody’s Listening!”

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 9: “Nobody’s Listening!”.

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Plot Summary

Dedra Meero begins to question Bix, telling her that Paak gave up the details of how he came to have the radio transmitter in his yard, and how Bix uses it, and has had multiple face-to-face meetings with her mysterious buyer. Bix refuses to give any more information, so Dedra allows Dr Gorst to take over the interrogation, using a new torture method: playing the recordings of a dying population from Dizon Fray, whose calls had been found to affect people’s minds.

On Narkina 5, Cassian and his table, Table 5, are working their shift. Cassian, who has been paying attention to everything, notes that Table 3 are a man down so a new prisoner will be arriving today to fill the spot. The team push on with their work as they have the potential to win the day, which sees Cassian swap places with Taga to better cope with Ulaf slowing the work down due to weakness in his hands. Kino comes over to speak with Ulaf, who has 41 shifts remaining, the next man in the room’s shift due to go home. As they continue with their work, Cassian notices from the movement of the guards above that the new prisoner is about to be introduced, so feigns needing to use the refresher. Instead, while he is in there, he continues to file away at a pipe in the wall, while using the stoppage in work as the prisoner arrives to discuss escape tactics with a worker from another table. As the shift goes on, Ulaf continues to worry the table as he appears to suffer bouts of memory loss.

Having successfully got information from Bix, Meero orders her to be kept imprisoned as a witness, but agrees to Captain Tigo’s request to hang Paak as a message to the locals.

“Our first responsibility is to the citizens who have sent us here. Our second vow is to protect the power and independence of this remarkable chamber.

In the Imperial Senate, Mon Mothma speaks out against the new public safety legislation, but many others present shout over her or stop paying attention. Returning to her transport, she is informed by her driver that her cousin has arrived at her residence.

During the shift change, both shifts are held in the connecting tunnels longer than usual. A number of the prisoners are communicating via sign language to other rooms and floors, and they get the message that something has happened on Level 2. As they discuss this, the power in the tunnel momentarily cuts out. Kino attempts to keep order among is shift, even after an alarm begins blaring, noting that with all the people any message from Level 2 would have to go through to reach them, the message would have been distorted. The shift change is eventually completed. 

Mon returns to her home, where she finds Leida with Mon’s cousin… Vel. While Leida goes to change into a new outfit that Vel has bought her, Mon and Ve talk about where she has been, with Vel stating that the Rebellion comes first, though she does agree to return home for a while. Mon is worried that they have got in over their heads, but Vel reminds her that they took a vow,and Leida’s return stops and further conversation on the matter.

In the bunks, Cassian talks to Kino about trying to escape and asks him how many guards are on each level, though Kino refuses to get involved and warns him to back off. Cassian continues trying to push, convincing him that the guards don’t care about them enough to be listening in on their conversations, but has no luck.

Reporting to Major Partagaz, at an ISB meeting, Meero admits that they have been unable to identify Axis from Bix’s interrogation, but that they were able to get a list of every piece of gear that came through Ferrix as part of Axis’ operation, and states that they believe to have already matched one item to goods found at a rebel safehouse that had belonged to Maya Pei. She also reveals that Andor returned to Ferrix with money just days after the Aldhani heist, before going on to confirm that Bix stated he had shaved off his beard during this time, while 2 witnesses at Aldhani had noted a similarity between one of the thieves and the reference image of Andor. It is agreed to leave Maarva as bait rather than take her in for questioning.

As the shift swap commences, Cassian’s day shift begin hearing rumours from the night shift that all of Unit 2-5 were killed—both shifts, 100 men in total. One of the maintenance techs had gone down there and told Zinska (Cassian’s room’s night shift’s version of Kino) what he had seen. As they prepare to go in to work, Kino addresses that all they have is a rumour, but to act as if they have heard nothing until they have more info.

While Syril Karn has his breakfast, his mother notes on changes to his appearance and he tells her that he has been promoted at work, much to her delight, though he is also unhappy that she has been snooping on him.

As Mon, Vel, Leida and Perrin dine together, Perrin notes how Tay Colma is now a frequent visitor. Speaking together privately later, Mon tells her it is to help with providing the money. While Mon seems hesitant about what they are doing, Vel stands firm that they are doing the right thing, and the pair part company.

“What have we done, Vel?”

“We’ve chosen a side. We’re fighting against the dark. We’re making something of our lives.”

As Meero makes her way into ISB Headquarters, she runs into Karn, who has been waiting for her. He thanks her for her previous good word helping him secure a promotion. Karn tells her that her work against Andor has inspired him to keep going. However Meero warns him to stay away from her. Arriving at her office, she is informed that a Rebel pilot has been picked up after using a stolen Imperial masking unit. Dr Gorst has already been sent to the Star Destroyer off Steergaard where the pilot is being kept, and Meero arranges to interrogate remotely to save time.

Tay Colma hasa meeting with Mon Mothma due to the precarious position they are in, as missing credits will need to be papered over to pass any upcoming Imperial audits. Colma suggests a loan from a Chandrilan banker with large business: Davo Sculdun. Mon is unhappy with the suggestion as he is a “thug” but Colma suggests there is no other option. He has already made enquirires on Mon’sbehaf, but Sculdun wants to meet her at her residence.

Meero and a few other ISB agents brief Major Partagaz on the interrogation of the Rebel pilot. The Imperial masking unit is confirmed as having been stolen from Lozash a year earlier, and the pilot was unable to contact any allies with a warning before being captured. The Rebel is part of Anto Kreegyr’s group and has given up details of a planned raid on the power station at Spellhaus. In order to avoid Kreegyr being spooked by the disappearance of a pilot, Meero suggests killing the pilot but in a way that allows them to make it look like the pilot’s ship had an issue and that is what caused their death, and Partagaz agrees.

As the shift comes to an end, Ulaf’s condition has worsened and he struggles to stand. As the shifts are swapped, Ulaf collapses in the tunnel. Kino calls for a med-tech and sends the rest of the shift into the bunks while he and Cassian stay with Ulaf. The med-tech arrives and notes that Ulaf has had a massive stroke, all he can do is euthanise him. An odd statement from the med-tech as he does so Ulaf catches the pair’s attention and they ask about what happened on Level 2. With the guard out of earshot chasing up a bag and trolley to remove Ulaf’s body, the med-tech reveals that the people in charge made a mistake, and that a man who had just been released from Level 4 was put onto Level 2 the very next day, and as word got out everyone in the room (both shifts) were killed. Cassian realises that Melshi’s cynicism was right and nobody is getting out. As Cassian and Kino make their way to the cells, Kino reveals to Cassian how many guards are on each level.

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They’ve done it again! They’ve managed yet another fantastic episode that managed to simultaneously feel like Star Wars and something completely new at the same time!

So let’s start with the main man’s storyline, and while it may feel slow and repetitive the last few weeks, I think that it is meant to feel somewhat like that as that is the life for them, while it also allows us to see how Cassian has still been paying attention to his surroundings in order to try and escape, while we also then get to see how the prison work wears down the workers with no care for them, while also allowing time for a meaningful turn for Kino. I thought his turn was handled so well, with him feeling pressure as the day-to-day order began to crack around him, while then seeing Ulaf die so near to his release date, and then finding that there is actually no release for any of them sent him over the edge and made him probably cassian’s biggest ally in the prison. I look forward to seeing his role next week, but can’t help feel that he may end up sacrificing himself for others to escape.

Moving onto Mon’s story, and the reveal of Vel as her cousin was the perfect surprise, while also giving a reason as to how they both fell in with Luthen Rael. Much like how I’ve longed for a story of Satine and Bo-Katan Kryze and how they ended upon different sides, I now want the story of Mon Mothma and her family. Were her and Perrin ever happy? What was Vel like? What put them both on the path to Rebellion and how did they meet Rael? I also loved how Vel used a line that Cinta used on her last week when discussing how the cause came before any personal relationships. And to then move on to her meeting with Tay Colma, I love how her reticence to involve anyone from the start has now left her in a situation where she is now is such a bad position she must reach out to undesirable people to help her, which is probably going to lead to her eventually working with more militant rebels like Saw Gerrera as well as politicians like Bail and Leia Organa.

And finally we look at Dedra Meero’s storyline, and boy was this enthralling. While early episodes may have left you thinking that Syril and Dedra were just doing their jobs, as the show has gone on, the true depravities of the Empire have started to become clear. The admittance that the Empire has killed an entire population was dark enough, but to then use the sounds of that population dying as a form of torture shows how truly evil they are, as did the agreement to hang Paak as a warning to the population. But I also love how capable the ISB is now appearing compared to how we usually see the Empire. They are cold and calculating, deciding how best to hide their capture and interrogation of the pilot so that the attack on the power station continues as planned, except with the Empire ready to strike back and deal with the attack.

So what will happen next? Well it certainly feels like we will have the prison break next week, and I think that we will also see some public reaction on Ferrix to Paak’s hanging, while it also wouldn’t surprise me if the ISB make more inroads in dealing with Kreegyr’s rebel cell. Oh and maybe Syril will finally do something of note for the first time since episode 3. With only 3 episodes remaining in the season, surely all of these stories need to start joining together…

“She’s the only one we’ve got who can identify Axis.”

A few final thoughts on the episode:

  • I noted last week about how Leida seemed suspicious, but she was so much more natural this week. Maybe Vel had asked her to keep an close eye on her mother…
  • Whoever made the decision to only give us silence (and eventually Bix’s screams) as Bix is tortured is a genius. Describing the origins and effects of the sound, but not the sound itself—and then not letting us hear it—allows our imagination to run wild and imagine something much worse than even the most talented sound engineer could create, while Adria Arjona’s acting sells it completely

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Moments in Canon

  • Kreegyr’s pilot was on his way to the Rings of Kafrene, where Cassian met with Tivik in Rogue One. It seems like this may be a regular meeting point for rebels

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What did you think of the episode?

Thanks for reading. Rebellions are built on hope….

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