Andor: Reckoning
September 21, 2022 5:59 AM - Season 1, Episode 3 - Subscribe

Cassian's desperation to avoid arrest leads him to a mysterious man with unknown connections.
posted by EndsOfInvention (35 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
This is what Kenobi and BoBF ought to have been. That scene at the end with the speeder going over the salt pans! Maarva realizing she's never going to see her brown-eyed boy again! It really felt like watching a movie.
posted by orrnyereg at 6:10 AM on September 21, 2022 [16 favorites]

Goddamn, Fiona Shaw is good at being slightly daffy and coldly terrifying at the same time.
posted by Mr. Excellent at 11:05 AM on September 21, 2022 [26 favorites]

This is the resistance I always wanted to see from Star Wars - not space wizards with Lazer swords, but the working class defying authority by any and all means available.

Brasso stalking away from West team's landing craft was just excellent foreshadowing for a beautiful payoff.
posted by Molesome at 1:45 PM on September 21, 2022 [17 favorites]

Is this the first "shit" in Star Wars?

Anyway, really enjoying it so far - the characters, the scenery, the props/effects, the story - all engrossing and interesting. None of the clunky mis-steps that Boba Fett and (to a lesser extent) Obi-Wan Kenobi had. I wonder if we're done with the flashbacks now we know how Cassian's origin on Kenari links up with Maarva, or if they'll continue and we'll find out about his "father".
posted by EndsOfInvention at 4:29 PM on September 21, 2022 [4 favorites]

This was so good. I really liked that ominous feeling of being outnumbered, and the smart thinking of nearly everyone. Nobody screamed-and-charged, you know?

Nearly every question I asked myself out loud was answered a few moments later: like "I thought he was from Fest?" and "Don't forget the box!" and so forth.

That was maybe slow paced for the first two eps, but this one really picked up, and it just felt smart and not pandering. Really well done.
posted by suelac at 9:05 PM on September 21, 2022 [4 favorites]

“It really felt like watching a movie.”

It did!

I did that thing (is this just me?) where at the end credits when I'm moved and feeling pensive and just wanting to soak in the moment I let the credits play out all the way. I only do that very rarely when I've really enjoyed something. (Excepting other reasons to watch the credits, like a stinger or something.)

This is easily the best and most promising beginning of a Star Wars streaming series. If only more of the franchise content pouring from these streaming firehoses was this good.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 9:47 PM on September 21, 2022 [8 favorites]

Yes, first "shit," to be sure. These aren't characters that would use cute Huttese translations.

I wonder if we're done with the flashbacks

I doubt it, because we don't yet know how his sister got off Kenari (unless I missed some hint).

I did that thing (is this just me?) where at the end credits when I'm moved and feeling pensive and just wanting to soak in the moment I let the credits play out all the way.

Heh, not just you!

This is easily the best and most promising beginning of a Star Wars streaming series.

Yeah; one example: a more traditional SW outing would've made Timm a one-dimensional rival/villain, and would have forgotten about his corpse not long after he dies, as if to convey "good riddance."

I've been avoiding reading reviews, but I'd bet at least one of them uses the phrase "Star Wars for grown-ups" and it is apt. And that's the sort of thing we've been waiting for for a long time. (So much so that I'm actually running a Clone Wars-era TTRPG campaign right now that's focused on Republic Intelligence—aiming for kind of a SW version of Bourne/le Carré. Weird timing for us that this show drops now!)
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 3:53 AM on September 22, 2022 [4 favorites]

I'm finally getting around to watching the last season of The Americans and was interesting to me how similar in tone both shows feel right now - slow burn buildups, conflicting loyalties, desperate actions. This is the advantage of doing this as a TV series rather than a movie - there's time to flesh out Timm, and even the leader of the Corporate Security team isn't a one dimensional villain. This show feels really good after three episodes and I hope it continues in this vein - the human stories of the Rebellion.
posted by nubs at 6:24 AM on September 22, 2022 [6 favorites]

What I hadn't realized is that Tony Gilroy wrote Michael Clayton...
posted by suelac at 8:10 AM on September 22, 2022 [3 favorites]

When I saw that they were dropping the first three episodes all at once, I internally groaned because I thought it meant the pacing was off and it would take three episodes to get any coherent storyline.

I was absolutely right, yet it was still enjoyable, in its totality. Those first two episodes absolutely were slow, but everything gelled together nicely by the end of the third episode. Could those earlier episodes been shortened or revealed in later flashbacks? Yes, but having spent time with characters and setting, we have a better understanding of the motivations and why they'd want to rebel. Plus that long immersion in this different feeling of Star Wars really sets an engaging tone. Here's hoping the good stuff continues!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:20 PM on September 22, 2022 [6 favorites]

This show is stacked with incredible writers - Tony Gilroy (Bourne movies, Michael Clayton, Rogue One), Dan Gilroy (Nightcrawler, Velvet Buzzsaw), Beau Willimon (House of Cards) and Stephen Schiff (The Americans).

I loved the slow pace of these first three episodes that do all come together to make a satisfying opening to the 12-episode season. Will be interested to see where the series goes from here - does it remain a slow burn, do the stakes get higher? I expect there will be time jumps, too. I believe this season takes place over the course of a year.

Complicated characters and motivations. Really strong performances. Feels so different from every other Star Wars property, even Rogue One. This is what I want from massive franchises, though - try new things and see what happens. The problem with Marvel is that for a long time they all felt so blandly similar. SW has had a similar problem because Lucasfilm thinks that a SW property needs all the elements but sometimes you just need a few, which this show proves.
posted by crossoverman at 7:50 PM on September 22, 2022 [8 favorites]

Fiona Shaw is a treasure.
posted by porpoise at 10:49 PM on September 22, 2022 [2 favorites]

For anyone who lived in the UK or Ireland in the 70s or 80s this episode will be very resonant. In fact, I'd make a healthy bet that the direction to the mainly-British and Irish cast was "bad day on the Falls Road."

The early days of the Rebellion as The Troubles.
posted by Major Clanger at 1:59 AM on September 23, 2022 [17 favorites]

I believe this season takes place over the course of a year.

I read somewhere that the series was to end right before Rogue One. But I don't remember where, so that may well have been inaccurate.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 3:58 AM on September 23, 2022

Disney did the same thing they did with The Mandalorian (IIRC), and only released the episode titles a day or so after the episodes dropped. Will get a mod to update the posts.

I read somewhere that the series was to end right before Rogue One. But I don't remember where, so that may well have been inaccurate.

Season 2 will lead directly into the events of Rogue One.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 4:03 AM on September 23, 2022

I loved the slow pace of these first three episodes

Me too! Being able to soak in the details of the world was really refreshing (in stark contrast to Obi Wan, which zipped around at whiplash speed and all of it was ultimately forgettable IMO).

In preparation for Andor, I watched Rogue One again for the first time since it was released, and came away even more impressed than when I saw it for the first time. That movie holds together extremely well, not just as a "Star Wars movie" but as a well scripted heist-action film. If you haven't given it a rewatch (or seen it at all) I highly recommend.

There's a lot I loved about these first 3 episodes, but to keep this post short: digging into the world of "corporate Star Wars" pays off here with a rich gold mine of storytelling opportunities.

For me it's because the fantasy world of Star Wars (the Force, aliens, lightspeed travel, etc.) is entertaining when done well, but I don't always connect emotionally with it. However, it turns out the corporate mentality of Star Wars and our world are not that far off, hmmm.

To wit: Deputy Inspector Syril Karn is the best villain I've seen in a long time, because his character was extremely well developed. The theme of ambition=evil runs through much of the Star Wars stories, but it's often pretty vague. Even in the tentpole movies, there's seldom a real motivation for the meanies actions, they either want to rule the universe or are just in it for the steady paycheck I guess.

But Karn's motivations are crystal clear: he's ideologically pure in his sense of justice and order. He's stuck in this backwater corporate outpost with a boss who's just phoning it in and he wants out.

As a viewer, it's refreshing to see a villain who has something to lose, not just the protagonist. In his case, if Karn doesn't catch the criminal, he's absolutely fucked, and in fact we see this played out at the end.

I love that shot after the failed ambush as he's standing in the street dazed and in shellshock: the camera lingers on Karn's face longer than you would expect. We see a number of different emotions play out, and while you never exactly feel sorry for him, you can at least empathize. Haven't all of us gone a step too far with something that we suddenly realize was massive mistake?

If this series can continue to plumb both sides of "good" and "evil" (as well as the murky gray area in between) for emotional resonance, it might end up being my favorite Star Wars project.
posted by jeremias at 9:21 AM on September 23, 2022 [23 favorites]

Ugh, that firefight was not the payoff to the grim two-and-a-half episodes that preceded it.

First off, why did the writers think that we needed that 2.5 episodes of grim? Could they not simply open in media res, with the cop types coming in and Andor - the main character! - being forced to trust a stranger? “Come with me if you want to live”, for instance, drives the plot along, unless you’re watching a Gaspar Noe film.

Secondly, why didn’t they just have droids doing this planet’s ship breaking? Is the entire universe a work scheme for humans? I was unwilling to suspend my disbelief for the economic motivations of the main character/s because this is part of the space wizards franchise, and that’s really about belief in a magic force, or freedom, or bigger ideals. Showing me a planet full of people who had got the economic boot didn’t do much for me; I experience much the same on this planet.

Not sure I’ll come back for more episodes. Maybe this will turn into an awesome spy drama, but I think the writers are too in love with the ‘gritty realness’ set dressing of original SW without noticing that it was really a more symbolic story.
posted by The River Ivel at 2:53 PM on September 23, 2022

Rats get blats!

I was kind of expecting the guy Andor owed money to who tried to shake him down would be another roadblock but he joins in the clanging, you love to see it.
posted by rodlymight at 6:51 PM on September 23, 2022 [5 favorites]

Allthough I'm unclear on why it's necessary to suspend dozens of large rusted machines on chains from the ceiling, that whole chaotic and visceral sequence felt very inspired and fresh. Those heavy chains under tension and the swinging, plunging masses of metal were terrifying.

Also, something from episode one impressed me: the madame in the brothel was so well acted and so fully realized that I assumed she was going to be a continuing character. Nope! Several minor characters were like this. That's a reliable indicator of quality.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 9:03 PM on September 23, 2022 [21 favorites]

I thought this was superb. I’m glad they did the three episode dump, but that’s greed, rather than any concerns over pacing. I’d have definitely been back a week after the first episode 1 as it was so compelling.
posted by chill at 11:06 PM on September 23, 2022 [3 favorites]

I’ve been pleasantly surprised by Andor. None of the other Star Wars series piqued my interest, but something about the vibe of the ad on Disney Plus made me check it out.

Like others have mentioned, I find the villains interesting, with Karn and Mosk both clearly Imperial true believers, which I don’t remember seeing before in Star Wars. The Empire has always just been “the baddies”, but suddenly we’re spending time with characters who buy into the whole thing. It’s uncomfortably realistic, which isn’t something I expect from Star Wars.

My main problem with the series is Cassian. And it’s not that he looks distractingly like Paul McCartney in Get Back, but that’s certainly something I always thought the first time I saw him on screen in each episode. He’s supposed to be likeable, which he is thanks to the innate charm of Diego Luna, but everything he does in the series puts other people in danger. I never understood why anybody, except Maarva and B, gave him the time of day, as he’s clearly nothing but trouble. That said, his backstory is fairly resonant, and the search for his sister is a good hook for him as a character.

In case that sounds like a major complaint, it’s not, it’s just something that was playing in the back of my mind. The world-building has been top-notch, really giving a sense of place and society to a created world that often feels like a set of matte paintings for characters to stand in front of.

I’m absolutely hooked on Andor.
posted by Kattullus at 2:16 PM on September 24, 2022 [5 favorites]

Timm is a new kind of bad Star Wars name.

The acting is pretty good. I didn't care about Diego Luna in Rogue One but he's doing great in this. I loved B3EMO's introduction; I was a little disappointed it receded to being just an extension of the mom character. I think I like what they're doing with the bad guys. Kinda hope they're setting up a Javert.

It's fun to watch a decently written Star Wars show. Lots of the scenes are decent. It's watchable. It's not all roses; the flashbacks have been shit, it took forever for those fucking kids to do anything. The kids were portrayed too lovingly and preciously (though not as bad as the 'villagers' in the Seven Samurai episode of the Mandalorian who were like pristine California suburbanites slumming it at a theme resort or something, it was awful). Star Wars is at its shittiest when it is cradling its younglings; it's all soft and stupid and irritating and it gets everywhere.

I loved the noir candy coating for this but it dissolved pretty quick. I appreciate the show indicating that Cassian is twice over a little shithead who fucks things up and needs to be rescued by sheer luck, and Luna makes it work, but I mean, I don't actually like it as a story lol. I feel like Rogue One is like... not a good movie... and I hope this show doesn't get weighed down too much servicing it. Still, I'm probably in for the whole season!
posted by fleacircus at 2:46 PM on September 24, 2022 [2 favorites]

So, next episode shifts to Tatooine, right? If we don't have everybody's favorite desert world, the punters might not realize they're watching a Star Wars show.

I'm enjoying it, thank god I'm not the only person thinking he looks like a young Paul McCartney.
posted by Kyol at 5:09 PM on September 24, 2022 [3 favorites]

I did exclaim "why do we even have this room?" when the machines were dropping off of chains.

This series feels the least beholden to the original trilogy in a way I appreciate.Yeah, maybe because we haven't been to Tatooine. And bringing in the Corporate Security instead of just stormtroopers again.
posted by RobotHero at 9:49 AM on September 25, 2022 [10 favorites]

Will be interesting to see what more recognisable elements they introduce. There's some other more iconic things seen in the trailers but still no major legacy characters. In fact, much of the stuff still to come is more in line with Rogue One than any of the film trilogies.
posted by crossoverman at 4:33 PM on September 25, 2022

Watched all three last night.

I am tired of flashbacks, but I did like the paired shot s of Young Andor and Old Andor staring up into the cockpit as someone else drives him to a new life.
posted by Sauce Trough at 6:28 AM on September 26, 2022 [3 favorites]

What a breath of fresh air! Or really a slight draft of stale, suffocating air laced with smoke and dust. Such a dismal world, such a grim town. And the show all the better for that, I enjoy this. It's not grimdark fantasy, it's just run down and sad and compelling.

All the townspeople banging on metal to raise the alarm; is that taken from some previous movie or TV show? It worked great but it also felt very much like a trope, something I've seen somewhere else. My most immediate thought was maybe Black Hawk Down; certainly the hostility from the people around you, the sense you were not welcome there. I don't recall the metal-banging in that movie though, but maybe the sudden silence?

The factory fight with machines and chains was indeed a ridiculously set piece but hey, it was fun. Again I wonder if I've seen something like that before. Maybe one single weight / chain, but probably not a whole room full of them.
posted by Nelson at 9:55 AM on September 27, 2022 [3 favorites]

My main takeaway was how happy I was to see Alex Ferns as the sergeant here--I thought he was just aces in Chernobyl as the leader of the miners in episode 3. He's a scary true believer, absolutely, which is usually a character type I don't like, but his bellicose enthusiasm for taking down threats to the empire was perfectly played.
posted by kitten kaboodle at 6:35 PM on September 27, 2022 [5 favorites]

It made me think of the clothes on chains you get in some work change rooms. But then so did the wall of gloves, which is maybe more apt because it is something you wear.

My Bloody Valentine did a scene in a change room with the work clothes dropping from the ceiling, if you need a movie reference. But that was used more as jump scares rather than any danger of being crushed.
posted by RobotHero at 10:34 PM on September 27, 2022

All the townspeople banging on metal to raise the alarm; is that taken from some previous movie or TV show? It worked great but it also felt very much like a trope, something I've seen somewhere else.

'71 (relevant clip here), hence my comment above about Northern Ireland and the Troubles.
posted by Major Clanger at 11:26 AM on September 28, 2022 [16 favorites]

Nice catch Major Clanger! It certainly seems it could be a tribute. And it brings extra resonance to the general sense of realism.
posted by domdib at 12:32 PM on September 28, 2022 [1 favorite]

'71 was a good movie, BTW.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 7:27 AM on September 29, 2022

I loved the scene with the machinery and chains. I've seen a lot of shootouts in warehouses (in movies, my real life is not that intriguing) and I don't remember ever seeing one like that before.
posted by The corpse in the library at 8:18 PM on October 11, 2022 [6 favorites]

This was GREAT. Am excited for more.
Fiona Shaw IS a fucking treasure
posted by lalochezia at 6:56 AM on November 30, 2022 [3 favorites]

> "Allthough I'm unclear on why it's necessary to suspend dozens of large rusted machines on chains from the ceiling"

Star Wars -- consistently the WORST health & safety regulations of any universe.
posted by kyrademon at 9:20 AM on December 4, 2022 [8 favorites]

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