Andor: Aldhani
September 28, 2022 12:33 AM - Season 1, Episode 4 - Subscribe

Out of options, Cassian is recruited for a dangerous mission to infiltrate an Imperial garrison.
posted by EndsOfInvention (46 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
I'm glad the scope has widened from Ferrix to the ISB, Aldhani, and Coruscant. Looking forward to the heist next episode.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 1:45 AM on September 28, 2022


Luthen's "shop" deals in antiquities. Dare I hope for a Dr. Aphra connection?
posted by garrett at 2:57 AM on September 28, 2022 [2 favorites]


I was worried that, when the scope of the story would expand, that the tautness of the storytelling would go slack, but I was again pleasantly surprised.

I'm excited that Mon Mothma appears to be a major character, I was really surprised she didn't appear in the recent trilogy (though I didn't watch the last one) as she was always one of the more interesting side characters in the original trilogy, and from what I recall, made fairly regular appearances in Star Wars books.

Speaking of, Andor reminds me of the best of the Star Wars tie-in books from way back. I didn't read that many of them, but the ones I liked always had a focus on the characters, and how it felt to live in the Star Wars world.

Also, I was really happy to see Ben Bailey Smith. Having heard him many times on the Kermode and Mayo podcast through the years, I could just imagine his glee at getting cast in Star Wars. Though to give him and the show full credit, I didn't actually realize it was him until his final scene, because I was too caught up in the story.
posted by Kattullus at 3:23 AM on September 28, 2022 [2 favorites]


What? Star Wars with well-written, clever dialog? My brain is having so much trouble adjusting to this?
posted by 1970s Antihero at 5:02 AM on September 28, 2022 [19 favorites]


So, who from the heist crew doesn't make it?
This was the piece missing for me in Rogue One - when it became a heist movie, the crew was just whoever happened to be around the hanger at that moment.
posted by nubs at 5:20 AM on September 28, 2022 [2 favorites]


Also, looking forward to the next installment of ISB: Internal Turf Battles.
posted by nubs at 5:25 AM on September 28, 2022 [9 favorites]


Possibly I'm reading too much into this but I thought it was interesting how the heist gang demonstrated their plan using an actual, physical model rather than the usual holo-map. Could it be a commentary on over-reliance on CGI rather than practical effects?
posted by orrnyereg at 6:49 AM on September 28, 2022 [12 favorites]


Had to get this out of my system
posted by EndsOfInvention at 7:07 AM on September 28, 2022 [11 favorites]


Dare I hope for a Dr. Aphra connection?

God I hope so. I've been beating the Dr. Aphra drum for years.
posted by fiercekitten at 8:06 AM on September 28, 2022 [1 favorite]


Talking of practical effects, I imagine the following on-set discussion:

DIRECTOR: We'll put some animal pens here and CGI in some vaguely weird-looking livestock. You know, black, extra horns, whatever.
GAFFER: No need mate, we're shooting in Scotland, I'll get some Hebridean Sheep.

And a near-overt reference to the Highland Clearances, which encompassed the countryside those scenes were filmed in, nicely following episode 3's allusions to Northern Ireland. They really are leaning in to the whole "the Empire is the British" theme, aren't they? (Even down to Anton Lesser's character using the British pronunciation of Lieutenant.)

looking forward to the next installment of ISB: Internal Turf Battles
I would happily watch a stand-alone series of this. Spooks meets Line of Duty but on Coruscant.
posted by Major Clanger at 11:18 AM on September 28, 2022 [23 favorites]


I know the Book of Boba Fett had a lot of problems, but there’s one thing that show and Andor both do well: Humanizing fascists without redeeming them. Boba Fett had the friendly, helpful truck driver who would turn you over to the stormtroopers in a heartbeat. And Andor has Lesser’s character - a tough-but-fair boss who demands the best from his subordinates and gives them the tools to produce it, all while “the best” is nightmarish sapient rights abuses at scale. There are New York Times articles that don’t do nearly as good a job at remembering that, while fascists are human, they’re still utter shit.
posted by Mr. Excellent at 12:03 PM on September 28, 2022 [21 favorites]


Also: I like Andor’s sly sense of humor. This is a dark series, but it has realistic people in it, and people are sometimes thoroughly goofy. The bit with the ISB lieutenant dressing down the corporate security folks is hilarious, but it’s also entirely in-character for all involved.
posted by Mr. Excellent at 12:16 PM on September 28, 2022 [4 favorites]


I too am loving the internal turf battles, and the wider sense that not everyone on the Empire's 'side' is singing from the same hymn sheet - the way Blevin shut down the Corpos was brutal; and the sense that also on the Resistance side, there are wheels within wheels, and a necessary isolation of cells. And so far, every single actor is excellent, and the dialogue feels very believable. Love it!
posted by domdib at 12:22 PM on September 28, 2022 [5 favorites]


> Also, looking forward to the next installment of ISB: Internal Turf Battles.

There's a lot that Lucas can be justifiably criticized for, but the man's awareness of politics has always been remarkably canny. He used Nazi imagery extensively in Star Wars - sometimes in unexpected places - and the way he portrayed internal struggles for power in the Empire's vast bureaucracy directly referenced how the Nazi leadership acted under Hitler: internalizing the fascist drive for "superiority", Göring, Himmler and the rest were constantly undermining each other, seizing portfolios, and betraying rivals. Arguably, the in-fighting and lack of direct communication (without clear directives, Nazi leadership was constantly "working towards the Führer", trying to second-guess Hitler's intentions) helped defeat the Nazis as much as anything else. It was nice to see that internal conflict extended in Rogue One, and here as well.

Very nice pickup on the Highland Clearances reference, Major Clanger: the Empire's moves on Aldhani were a familiar colonialist trope, but I suspected that there was something more specific lurking in there.
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul at 4:11 PM on September 28, 2022 [11 favorites]


I am wondering if our disgraced security boy will find his way to the Rebellion by way of being tossed out on his ear and betrayed by the Imperials?
posted by Fleebnork at 5:05 PM on September 28, 2022 [2 favorites]


I totally enjoyed this episode, but did find it funny that the episode ended on “and do all this homework reading tonight.”
posted by snofoam at 6:08 PM on September 28, 2022 [7 favorites]


Skarsgard putting on his Coruscant art dealer persona and the little flourish at the end was *chefkiss*
posted by rodlymight at 8:50 PM on September 28, 2022 [22 favorites]


I'm loving this show a lot. I am amazed at the cast of characters is continuing to expand and scattered further across the universe. I am so glad that we're spending time on Coruscant outside the Jedi Temple, though I look forward to scenes in the Senate chamber. Stunning that the legacy character we're going to see lots of here is Mon Mothma, though of course she ties directly to Rogue One, too.

I am hoping Tony Gilroy stays away from major legacy characters for this show but there is always something exciting about coming face-to-face with a recognisable character when you least expect them. So maybe a cameo here or there.

I think I'm on board with this show in the same way I am enjoying Rings of Power - I like the universe, I sort of know where it's going, but there's still so much room to play.
posted by crossoverman at 3:06 AM on September 29, 2022 [10 favorites]


This show continues to canonify all kinds of fun stuff from West End Games' SW RPG:

Ars Dangor was first mentioned in WEG's Imperial Sourcebook and went on to be depicted in the 2nd edition main rulebook, where he helps teach the game system to the reader.
• "Medpac" is originally a WEG term, I'm pretty sure. (I've never heard of the "med-booze" or whatever he called it, but I suspect it was less an actual curative and more of a subtle joke.)
• What we have learned here so far about Chandrila ("Legends" link; Mouse canon link) fits with what WEG and subsequent pre-Disney sources established. (IIRC it may have appeared in an old Rogue Squadron comic book.) Chandrila was first mentioned in WEG's Star Wars Sourcebook. WEG also named its capital, Hanna City, which got a namedrop in this episode.

West End also invented the Imperial Security Bureau, but Rebels made it Mouse-canon via the character Agent Kallus.

They really are leaning in to the whole "the Empire is the British" theme, aren't they? (Even down to Anton Lesser's character using the British pronunciation of Lieutenant.)

Yeah—too bad about Denise Gough's pronunciation of "ensign," but at least this is Star Wars, where you can head-retcon almost anything. It'd be harder to explain it away in Trek.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 5:05 AM on September 29, 2022 [8 favorites]


I am wondering if our disgraced security boy will find his way to the Rebellion by way of being tossed out on his ear and betrayed by the Imperials?

I had the exact opposite thought: that he'll become the prime antagonist, trying to redeem himself in the eyes of the Empire.

I'm enjoying the hell out of this show. Every episode the same thing keeps popping into my head "I wish this wouldn't end." Dropping those first three episodes in a chunk was a gift, but when the credits rolled on this week's episode, it was agony. I just want to watch MORE.
posted by rocketman at 5:45 AM on September 29, 2022 [9 favorites]


I was really disappointed when the screen went to black, this episode felt far too short!
posted by suelac at 1:48 PM on September 29, 2022 [4 favorites]


I had the exact opposite thought: that he'll become the prime antagonist, trying to redeem himself in the eyes of the Empire.

This is my feeling, too. If anyone is going to flip on the 'pire, I reckon it's gonna be Lieutenant Bigbritches. Her zealousness in chasing the lost datatapes hypermagic unit could also be a move to cover her collaborative arse.
posted by coriolisdave at 4:34 PM on September 29, 2022 [4 favorites]



Possibly I'm reading too much into this but I thought it was interesting how the heist gang demonstrated their plan using an actual, physical model rather than the usual holo-map. Could it be a commentary on over-reliance on CGI rather than practical effects?


You may be on to something there, because I am incredibly impressed at the production design so far. It's as if someone said, "You know what? We're going to apply our budget towards practical set design instead of CGI".

The major benefit of this is the freedom for the camera to linger in certain scenes and soak up details that get lost when you're faking everything with graphics.

More importantly, this freedom actually serves the script and the fleshing out of characters. I feel like with CGI, everything has to be so tightly planned in advance that you lose the organic feel of a real world and by extension the characters get lost in the mix. CGI also influences editing choices: if you have lots of shitty cgi, you lean into fast paced editing to help smooth over mistakes.

Go back and watch the scene where Skarsgard is changing into his costume. There's a lot of interesting details: the mirror, the tiled patterns of the wall, even the clothes hanger is freakin cool and it's only on screen for a split second.

Turning to plot themes: I mentioned in a previous post that ambition was a subject that has always been part of the Star Wars narrative, but was often treated in one-dimensional fashion. I'm seeing it being treated more interestingly here than ever before, and think it's such a good decision to focus on: there's a lot of gold in them thar hills.
posted by jeremias at 7:24 PM on September 29, 2022 [16 favorites]


“What? Star Wars with well-written, clever dialog? My brain is having so much trouble adjusting to this?”

This is easily the best written SW series yet. A class above.

“And so far, every single actor is excellent, and the dialogue feels very believable. Love it!”

In terms of not just one or possibly two leads, but the entire cast, this is the best acted SW series yet. A class above.

“You may be on to something there, because I am incredibly impressed at the production design so far. It's as if someone said, 'You know what? We're going to apply our budget towards practical set design instead of CGI'.”

Mon Mothma's home was particularly great. The production and particularly the set design is the best of all the SW series yet. A class above.

“I'm enjoying the hell out of this show. Every episode the same thing keeps popping into my head 'I wish this wouldn't end.'”

I won't belabor my thing, but in this episode especially the pacing and editing were very good. Taut. Was really disappointed that it ended.

As y'all can tell, I'm super-impressed and really enjoying this show.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 10:07 PM on September 29, 2022 [10 favorites]


God, I wish Mon Mothma and Padme had ever just sat down and had some Real Talk about their shitty, weird relationships!

I love this show so much. Just so happy to be along for this ride. If we're placing bets on who dies in the heist, my money's on the kind and friendly guy who built the architectural model. He's just the sort to eat it in a heist scenario.

Did anyone know if the brutalist building Karn's mom lives in is a real place or CG?

And OMG do not get my hopes up for Dr Aphra, my heart can't take it
posted by potrzebie at 11:52 PM on September 29, 2022 [2 favorites]


Shout out to my favourite podcast, A More Civilised Age, which has pivoted away from discussing The Clone Wars to discussing Andor while that's on. It's a great podcast because they give insightful and interesting analysis of Star Wars while still being entertaining and funny. They love Star Wars but are very happy to point out it's (frequent*) deficiencies. The first podcast episode covers the initial three episodes of Andor, after that I think it will be weekly, discussing one episode at a time.

(*very frequent, in the case of the prequels and The Clone Wars)
posted by EndsOfInvention at 2:19 AM on September 30, 2022 [3 favorites]


Did anyone know if the brutalist building Karn's mom lives in is a real place or CG?


It 100% looks like one of those real life brutalist buildings they find in London and use barely altered (Canary Warf tube station featured as the Scarif base interior in Rogue One) so with no confirmation I'm almost certain it's real.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 2:21 AM on September 30, 2022 [1 favorite]


I also guessed London, just because the riff that came to mind was "He's gonna go live in a Pink Floyd album cover!"
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 3:54 AM on September 30, 2022 [4 favorites]


Anton Lesser as the head of the ISB is the dream casting I didn't know I wanted. Everyone and everything about this show so far has been excellent. Star Wars as prestige television, even.
posted by The Nutmeg of Consolation at 4:24 AM on September 30, 2022 [13 favorites]


I am wondering if our disgraced security boy will find his way to the Rebellion by way of being tossed out on his ear and betrayed by the Imperials?

I had the exact opposite thought: that he'll become the prime antagonist, trying to redeem himself in the eyes of the Empire.


You're probably right, but I think it would be more interesting if he turned against the Empire.
posted by Fleebnork at 4:57 AM on September 30, 2022


I feel like his thirst for revenge could send him either way, depending on whether he thinks Andor or the ISB fucked him over the most (but I think it will be Andor).
posted by EndsOfInvention at 5:25 AM on September 30, 2022 [1 favorite]


If anyone is going to flip on the 'pire, I reckon it's gonna be Lieutenant Bigbritches.

I feel like his thirst for revenge could send him either way, depending on whether he thinks Andor or the ISB fucked him over the most (but I think it will be Andor).

I very much see security guy getting sought out by Lieutenant Bigbritches as she pulls at any loose ends she can in her investigation of the stolen Star-Macguffin. I can see him being sacrificed down the road in service of her ambition.
posted by nubs at 11:03 AM on September 30, 2022 [10 favorites]


It 100% looks like one of those real life brutalist buildings they find in London and use barely altered

As noted in this tweet, you got it in one - it's the Brunswick Centre (I thought it looked familiar). 1960s London Brutalism for the win!

Meanwhile the scenes in Coruscant Spaceport were based on - although it seems not actually filmed at - the McLaren Technology Centre just outside my home town of Woking. (In a nice sci-fi twist, it sits on the edge of Horsell Common, where the first Martian Cylinder landed in H G Wells' The War of the Worlds.)
posted by Major Clanger at 12:27 PM on September 30, 2022 [12 favorites]


I am SO glad I didn’t drop this after that first episode. This has gotten interesting.
posted by rrrrrrrrrt at 8:55 PM on October 1, 2022 [2 favorites]


Oh boy this was a fun episode. I'm glad to be shot of Ferrix. TBH I just like watching Stellan Skarsgård. And so many sets to look at I hope it keeps up this tone and complexity. I think I could watch the burgeoning alliance against the shitty empire forever...

Still though it's funny every time a TIE fighter screams across the screen it puts all of the spaceship designs of modern SW to shame
posted by fleacircus at 3:02 AM on October 2, 2022 [5 favorites]


I'm really intrigued at how the first three episodes were sort of their own mini-season and this episode almost feels like it's a new season. I wonder if they planned that because they had intended to drop all three episodes at once or of they realized afterward that they worked as a unit?

Anyway, this was a great episode and I'm really loving how the show is really digging into the mechanics of how fascism works and how it sustains itself. It feels very relevant right now.
posted by octothorpe at 6:29 AM on October 2, 2022 [3 favorites]


I wonder if they planned that because they had intended to drop all three episodes at once or of they realized afterward that they worked as a unit?

If I recall correctly, they originally only planned to drop the first two episodes at once, but due to the release being delayed they upped it to three (presumably to keep the rest of the schedule on track).
posted by EndsOfInvention at 4:12 PM on October 2, 2022 [1 favorite]


I was living in Perth, Scotland last year during lockdown and heard that Andor was being filmed nearby. I was tempted to have a gawk, but thought it would be irresponsible.

Loved the unaltered sheep and reference to the clearances - they stand in neat contrast to Sergeant Linus Mosk, the capable Corpo sarge. (Scottish contributions and attitudes have an interesting dynamic within the British Empire)

Thank you for identifying Brunswick Centre. I thought it might have been Barbican (not enough pebble-dash) or one of those terraced estate monstrosities like Rowley Way (too leafy) that feel like they inspired Mega City One.
posted by Molesome at 2:46 AM on October 3, 2022 [5 favorites]




Also, I was really happy to see Ben Bailey Smith.

The New Rockstars breakdown of the episode’s Easter eggs mentions the scale model the rebels create for the attack and Erik Voss refers in passing to Doc Brown’s model of the town square in Back to the Future. It’s pretty clear Voss is unaware of what Smith’s stage name is.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 11:46 AM on October 5, 2022 [2 favorites]


> Lesser’s character - a tough-but-fair boss who demands the best from his subordinates and gives them the tools to produce it, all while “the best” is nightmarish sapient rights abuses at scale

I am so ready for the Star Wars / Endeavour crossover.
posted by The corpse in the library at 3:12 PM on October 14, 2022 [1 favorite]


I appreciate that there's stuff for you all who have read the books and played the games etc, but the series is also working really well for me, who is much less seeped in the lore. I love the three big movies and have seen the rest but don't really know who's who -- yet I can still follow along. I'm sure there's tons of depth I'd appreciate but it isn't necessary to enjoy it.

My vague understanding is that this all happens right before Rogue One, which happened right before Star Wars. My even vaguer understanding is that one does not call that movie "Star Wars" any more but I saw it in the theater when it first came out and I will not budge. Right?
posted by The corpse in the library at 3:16 PM on October 14, 2022 [6 favorites]


I appreciate that there's stuff for you all who have read the books and played the games etc, but the series is also working really well for me, who is much less seeped in the lore...My vague understanding is that this all happens right before Rogue One, which happened right before Star Wars.

The first episode gives us a date of 5BBY, which means 5 years Before the Battle of Yavin, aka when Luke blew up the first Death Star. Rogue One concludes mere days before that happens (if I understand how the conclusion of that film fits the timeline correctly, Princess Leia flees Scariff with the Death Star plans with Vader in hot pursuit, leading to the opening sequence above Tatooine in the first Star Wars film).

So the events we are watching are 5 years prior to that; the Rebellion is still nascent, with multiple factions out there (Andor references a few), and the Empire still consolidating power.
posted by nubs at 3:52 PM on October 14, 2022 [2 favorites]


You'll take the Star Wars out of my cold, dead mouth. When I say "Star Wars," I mean the first film from the 70s. Don't care that people call it "A New Hope" now. It's Star Wars.
posted by cooker girl at 6:47 AM on October 17, 2022 [10 favorites]


This was remarkably good. Particularly the Coruscant production design. And I love the grim plot of the Rebels complete with Space Fireworks.
posted by Nelson at 1:10 PM on October 17, 2022


what if ww2 spy movie but in space

great stuff
posted by lalochezia at 8:07 PM on November 30, 2022 [2 favorites]


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