‘Andor’ Episode 7 Review: Cassian Faces the Consequences of Action & Inaction
Notably absent from last week’s Aldhani heist episode, Syril Karn (Kyle Soller) opens Episode 7 of Andor at home with his mother (Kathryn Hunter). Once more, their conversation takes place over breakfast, with his overbearing mother needling him about the alterations he has made to his brown suit—a high collar must mean something negative, right? Uncle Harlow has managed to pull a few strings for Syril and Eedy is worried her son’s lackluster appeal might reflect poorly on her. Yet, even with the mess on Ferrix casting a long shadow over his resume, Syril manages to secure a new position pushing numbers in the Star Wars equivalent of corporate cubicles.
Elsewhere in Coruscant, Mon Mothma (Genevieve O’Reilly) makes a last-minute stop by Luthen Rael’s (Stellan Skarsgård) shop to accuse him of being the mastermind behind the heist on Aldhani that has started a domino effect across the Empire. While they carefully craft their words and conceal their true meaning behind a façade meant to distract her ISB-backed driver, Mon and Luthen say enough to make it clear that the robbery on Aldhani is being viewed as an “announcement” across the galaxy, for both the Empire and the rebels alike. This idea of a single action by a rag-tag group of rebels being viewed as an “Announcement” becomes the thesis of the episode, as its ripples are felt in the lives of Andor’s entire cast of characters.
Within the ISB, Dedra Meero (Denise Gough) sees the attack on Aldhani as the fuel that she needed to drive her investigation into the scattered rebel attacks across various sectors and how they connect to the theft of Imperial weaponry. While her investigation is still technically unsanctioned, Dedra utilizes the Emergency Act in the wake of Aldhani to order the reports she needs to finally connect the dots between each of the allegedly unconnected rebel attacks—proving her theory that there is an organized movement working behind the scenes. Dedra flies a little too close to the sun in the episode, yet even with Blevin’s (Ben Bailey Smith) accusations against her, she manages not to get burnt. Instead, her perseverance in the face of refusal is praised and Blevin is stripped of his sector assignment. However, Dedra’s success comes with an ominous warning to watch her back. As Andor has shown previously through Syril’s plight: Imperial officers do the bare minimum and thrive within the concept of the status quo.
It has been no secret that Luthen’s concierge Kleya Marki (Elizabeth Dulau) is just as involved in the turning wheel of the rebellion as he is, but she is shown in a whole new light in the episode as she makes her way through the brutalist halls of Coruscant to rendezvous with a cleaned up Vel Sartha (Faye Marsay). Kleya might work for, and alongside, Luthen, but it’s clear that she has strong feelings about how he goes about puppeting the rebellion, particularly where Cassian Andor is involved. She refers to Cassian as a loose end with Luthen’s voice in his head that needs to be taken care of and even Vel seems surprised that Kleya wants an asset like that dead. Cassian truly can’t win: the Empire wants him dead and the Rebellion wants him dead.
Previous episodes have given audiences a broad look into Mon Mothma’s life on Coruscant, but Stephen Schiff’s script and Benjamin Caron’s direction give a much more intimate look into the duplicity she is forced to maintain to achieve anything, both personally and professionally. As her husband Perrin (Alastair Mackenzie) lounges around, shmoozing with the guests at the illustrious party, Mon has found an ally in an old friend and fellow Senator from Chandrilla. Like with every conversation that Mon seems to have in the series, there are layers to their carefully chosen words, especially as Tay Kolma (Ben Miles) tries to feel out where Mon’s political alliances lay. Her public persona has clearly worked, seeing as Tay thinks she wouldn’t mesh well with his more extreme views towards the Empire—but little does he know that Mon is courting him to help her fund the rebellion. With the Empire and their spies keeping an eye on Mon’s bank account, she concocts a clever plan to create a charitable cause with Tay so that he can dip into her Chandrillian bank account without drawing suspicion.
The “Announcement” underscores how much of an ensemble Andor is, but its titular Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) does play a larger part in the second half of the 52-minute episode. With the financial score that Cassian made for his part in the Aldhani heist, he decides to make a quick trip home to Ferrix to see Maarva (Fiona Shaw) and convince her to run away with him. Ferrix has changed in his brief absence, the Corpos have been rooted out of their jobs and replaced with a heavy Imperial presence, which everyone views as Cassian’s fault. Cassian leaves Maarva to consider his offer to escape Ferrix and makes his way to see Bix (Adria Arjona) one last time. She’s less than thrilled to see Cassian again, and he is surprised to see that she faced violence at the hands of the Empire because of him. There’s a lot left unsaid between them, particularly where Timm’s deceit and death are involved, but Bix makes it pretty clear that she’s done with Cassian, and maybe for good this time.
Despite being left with Nemik’s manifesto, Cassian hasn’t reflected on his part in the rebellion in the short window of time between last week’s episode and today’s. He is still fueled by his own self-interests and self-preservation, and it is a shock to his system when he learns that Maarva has been inspired to join the rebellion by the heist on Aldhani. He tries to diminish the impact of the heist, brushing it off as nothing more than a robbery, but he never tells her that he was part of the spark that has lit the fire within her heart. In brief flashbacks, Cassian revisits the death of his father Clem (Gary Beadle) at the hands of stormtroopers for doing nothing more than trying to stop the residents of Ferrix from throwing rocks at the stormtroopers and inciting an incident. It’s clear that this moment in his life left an impact on young Cassian. He witnessed his father get shot and hung because of the rebellion in others—and it forced him to take the backseat to anything that might draw attention to himself.
Cassian is still so far from the man that audiences first met in Rogue One, but the end of the episode puts him into a position where he is forced to realize that no matter where you run, the Empire will always be there. He makes his escape to a beachside resort on Niamos, using his stolen credits to enjoy the high life as a tourist, with a beautiful woman in his bed, as one does when they’re trying to forget about everything that came before. No matter where he goes, Cassian is still profiled by the Empire as a troublemaker. A quick stroll to the store gets him cornered by a shoretrooper who is convinced he is up to no good, because obviously anyone who sweats on a hot beach is suspicious. There’s some irony in the fact that he’s nearly choked out by the K-2 unit when the droid is left to “hang out” with him, considering Cassian will eventually have K-2SO as his constant companion.
Andor draws to a close with Cassian being sentenced to six years in jail for speaking out against the Empire—something he didn’t do—and he is entirely unaware that his actions on Aldhani led to the Empire increasing that particular sentencing from six months to six years. But clearly, Cassian Andor isn’t going to jail for six years, because he doesn’t have six years left to live. The cliffhanger leaves the remaining episodes in a unique position to motivate Cassian into action.
New episodes of Andor premiere weekly every Wednesday on Disney+.