Andor: The Eye
October 12, 2022 12:55 AM - Season 1, Episode 6 - Subscribe

With cover from a spectacular local festival, the Aldhani mission reaches a point of no return.
posted by EndsOfInvention (87 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
 
This show is like every Star Wars table-top RPG game I ever wished I could play.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 1:24 AM on October 12, 2022 [13 favorites]


I had to take a fifteen minute pause to gather myself before the imperials got into the hangar. What a tense episode.

If the all-the-worst-people dinner party had been on screen as well, I might have imploded from stress.

Also, I wasn’t expecting quite such a simplification of the character gallery at the end. I’ll miss them, but I’m glad I got to spend time with them, every single one was compelling.
posted by Kattullus at 1:37 AM on October 12, 2022 [6 favorites]


On the edge of my seat for the entire episode. What a ride.
I thought Nemek might not make it but they faked me out when he was able to avoid getting shot. I hope Vel and Cintra can reunite. Did I miss Gorn getting shot or was he left behind?

Will Cassian go back to Ferrix?
posted by EndsOfInvention at 2:13 AM on October 12, 2022 [1 favorite]


Thought Nemik was safe when he saved Andor; nice fake out. Skeen being the true mercenary was a nice touch, as was Andor's reaction. Still a lot to unpack with him. I too lost track of Gorn.

Funny to me that for all the tech of the Empire, payroll is still a physical item. Thought they'd at least have direct deposit if not crypto.

Most interesting choice of the episode was our merry band of Rebels putting a gun to the kids head. Of all the things I didn't expect in Star Wars - a brothel, someone stopping to pee - that is perhaps the biggest.
posted by nubs at 3:30 AM on October 12, 2022 [7 favorites]


I think Gorn was shot when he was trying to tell Corporal Kimzi that this was a secret mission.
posted by Kattullus at 3:54 AM on October 12, 2022 [1 favorite]


Ah yes, I think that's him getting at 33:50, right after the shooting starts. You don't see his face but it's a figure in an Imperial uniform getting shot standing outside the freighter.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 4:13 AM on October 12, 2022 [1 favorite]


At least he got to go out with a sick, sick burn.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 4:50 AM on October 12, 2022 [10 favorites]


So what do we think--did Cinta kill the hostages? I say yes.
posted by orrnyereg at 5:21 AM on October 12, 2022 [4 favorites]


When I realised the plan was always that Cintra gets left behind, I thought she was going to take them all out (and potentially herself) with a bomb, so it wouldn't surprise me. "Child murder seems a bit dark for this" I thought before remembering Anakin, quite famously, does that himself.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 6:01 AM on October 12, 2022 [5 favorites]


I expect if she did it will come out in the news reports sparking "we shouldn't kill hostages!" vs "we must destroy the Empire at all costs" debate amongst the Rebel factions (hi Saw).
posted by EndsOfInvention at 6:02 AM on October 12, 2022 [2 favorites]


That was fine, but disjointed. I had no real idea if the stakes or what was going right or wrong. The natives and the festival of the eye seemed particularly meaningless.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:50 AM on October 12, 2022 [1 favorite]


The River Ivel: fantasy space wizard franchise

I’ve been thinking about this phrase a lot today. I’m born in 1981, and my parents didn’t get a VCR until I was in my early teens. Growing up, I saw the original trilogy maybe two or three times each. But I did read my share of Star Wars novels. My Star Wars is that Star Wars, which is part of why I haven’t really liked many of the post-original trilogy films (except Rogue One and most of Last Jedi), they really leaned into the space wizard aspect. The various novels tended to be about what it was like living inside the world depicted in the original trilogy. Andor is the first time I’ve seen that kind of Star Wars storytelling on screen and I can’t help but be transported back to “my Star Wars”.
posted by Kattullus at 9:28 AM on October 12, 2022 [21 favorites]


I had no real idea if the stakes or what was going right or wrong. The natives and the festival of the eye seemed particularly meaningless.

I think this might be one of the problems with the structure of Andor - the episode where we got the best high level sketch of the heist plan was really in episode 4 (infiltrate, load the money, fly away during the Eye), so it's now two weeks stale; we never got many details about each of those stages either. To some extent, it's the show treating us like Andor - we came into this late, we don't know all the exact details, and we're a bit in the dark as to what it all is going to look like.

In terms of the people of Aldhani coming to celebrate, it was a great way of underlining the Empire-as-colonialist-power in terms of the contempt/paternalism depicted; but I do agree the cutaways to the ceremony didn't add much. I did like the elder shooting a dirty look at Gorn when he didn't accurately translate his words - it indicates a power dynamic that isn't quite what the Empire thinks it is. But I think the ceremony was intended to convey to us that things are on the clock and that it is ticking down (both for the heist and the people), but without knowing what the end stage of the ceremony & the Eye look like, it didn't feel like it added a lot - I think there's better ways to do it.

Build-up took too long and I skipped through the rest of the episode.

Between last week and this, I've been thinking a lot about the pacing of this show, and it is really different. I started a rewatch of Rogue One, and it moves along really fast from set piece to set piece - Andor lingers in places and on things the rest of Star Wars doesn't, and as much as I'm enjoying it, I'm wondering how it will all feel in the end.

I really think the key moment in this episode, in terms of understanding how and why Andor becomes part of the Rebellion is not in him getting Nemik's manuscript - it's the choice he made to kill Skeen.
posted by nubs at 10:53 AM on October 12, 2022 [16 favorites]


The natives and the festival of the eye seemed particularly meaningless.

I think at its core, Star Wars is always on some level about the conflict between cold technology and faith (in oneself, in the Force, in one's friends, in the goodness of even your greatest enemy). The first movie, after all, comes down to a choice between Luke trusting the targeting computer or trusting the Force.

If you squint, you can see how that theme organizes the rest of the movie: the Empire is the picture of technological inhumanity. Therefore, the main bad guy is a cyborg, and the bad guys' base is a dead, mechanized planetoid. To create dramatic contrast, the good guys' base is a literal temple in a jungle, teeming with life, and they use a religious valediction ("May the force be with you") in military briefings.

In Andor, where the Empire is strip-mining worlds to build the Death Star, they flesh out the colonial dimension of this conflict to deepen the world and extend the theme. The way the Empire treats the Dhanis tells us a lot: powerful as it is, the Empire isn't strong enough yet to outright crush the native population; they've been accommodating them. The Commandant's distain for the Dhani reminds us that the Empire are racist, genocidal fascists--not cool-looking bad guys or a morally neutral faction that the show will "both-sides." The translation scene shows us that the Dhani, far from the Empire's characterization of them, are canny operators: they understand Basic just fine, as shown when the lieutenant mistranslates the Chieftain's warning to the Commandant. And by taking production time to stage and shoot the festival from the point-of-view of the Dhanis, I think the show is trying to respectfully honor the metaphysical themes of Star Wars without bringing in Jedi and the Force.

And of course, the Empire was ultimately brought down by the indigenous population of Endor. I think Andor is planting seeds to suggest that wasn't a one-time incident.
posted by reclusive_thousandaire at 10:57 AM on October 12, 2022 [34 favorites]


Oop, while I was writing, I see nubs said what I said but more eloquently.
posted by reclusive_thousandaire at 10:59 AM on October 12, 2022


The way the Empire treats the Dhanis tells us a lot: powerful as it is, the Empire isn't strong enough yet to outright crush the native population; they've been accommodating them.

I think it was established that the Dhanis are a useful labor source. I suspect that some imperial colony ops org has figured out the right recipe of accommodation, co-opting, and domination that will maximize this resource.
posted by Sauce Trough at 6:04 PM on October 12, 2022 [6 favorites]


Cheered out loud when Cassian shot his shot.

Expected that this had to end with him shooting someone on the team, it’s kind of his whole thing they’ve been building up that he’s forever regretting not taking the shot in flashbackland, but I thought it might be Cinta.

This puts Andor more or less back where he started, a bit richer, but with less friends and support. I wonder if he’s going to try to go back to Ferrix and settle up with Bix, we know the show’s going to go back there with the setup they’ve done.
posted by rodlymight at 7:35 PM on October 12, 2022 [2 favorites]


more generally: loved the episode, but found it wasn't as crisp in terms of visual storytelling as the best of Star Wars is.

I'm not sure why it dwelled on the TIE launch as much as it did -- I was expecting one of the TIE pilots to be Cinta in disguise making her exfiltration but no they were just standard issue TIE mooks. And yeah, like others I missed Gorn getting shot and had to rewatch to nail down his fate.

but it also gave me characters whose fates I cared about, which is a rare thing, and I think Andor is Han Solo's meaner nephew. Diego Luna is a great centerpiece to the show and he's even getting an EP credit, which is cool and surprising. Normally when you see a leading actor as an EP it's a giant star or someone with big tenure on the show.

I hope I get to see the Cinta / Sartha reunion.

ps. Cinta totally killed the hostages.
posted by Sauce Trough at 7:43 PM on October 12, 2022 [3 favorites]


This was the best episode so far in a series that has been so good that I'm more than a little shocked that it's Star Wars. I really love how deliberately paced it is and how comfortable it is with forcing us to wait so long for the heist. Most D+ shows seem so rushed and out of breath that it's a gift when they finally give one a chance to breathe.
posted by octothorpe at 8:32 PM on October 12, 2022 [10 favorites]


I hope Vel and Cinta can reunite.

I will be quite upset if both of my favorite rebelesbians don't make it out.

Good, nuanced ending: of course they all don't make it out and of course one of them is a traitor, but they also didn't get all the money. And Skeen isn't even so much a traitor as someone who figures that he finally won the lottery. He reminds me of the old joke about the dog that ends, "Well, I've never had $20, either."

Tough to call just where Cass goes from here. He might take a bit of a break from adventuring to pause and process, and maybe read a bit of Nemik's manifesto. I had to check to see how long the season was, and found out that we're only halfway through the season; the pace might be too leisurely for some, but I thought that the series taking its time added a bit more weight, in the way that Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul would linger on a scene.
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:05 PM on October 12, 2022 [6 favorites]


I thought Nemek might not make it but they faked me out when he was able to avoid getting shot. I hope Vel and Cintra can reunite. Did I miss Gorn getting shot or was he left behind?

He was shot after asking (somedude) to cover him, and running to help Vel. He got shot 2/3rds of the way to her after cover-dude only fired once and bottled it
posted by coriolisdave at 9:48 PM on October 12, 2022


He was shot after asking (somedude) to cover him

That was Skeen, I think. Which was a good signpost for where he was going later.

I'm a bit bummed out that both black guys got killed. Nemik was a goner from the start, of course. But at least they didn't kill off their gays?

If I'm not mistaken at least one of the TIE pilots was a woman...
posted by suelac at 10:40 PM on October 12, 2022 [3 favorites]


Did I miss Gorn getting shot or was he left behind?

He was shot after asking (somedude) to cover him, and running to help Vel.

That was Taramyn (the former stormtrooper who led the infiltrators when they were in disguise as a squad of Imperial garrison troops). Skeen was the guy who was (supposed to be) covering him. Gorn is the turncoat lieutenant helping the assault from the inside. Gorn appeared to get shot earlier in the scene, near the start of the fighting. But he was facing away from the camera, maybe allowing for some ambiguity/plausible deniability later.

One question: when the commandant was talking about how the pilgrims started as 500 people, but with the various inns and such that the Empire had set up along the way, fewer than 60 made it all the way to the temple – were those pilgrims who didn't make it merely temporarily waylaid by temptation, or are we to understand that they were being permanently disappeared by the Empire? The latter would explain why pilgrimage attendance has dwindled so quickly, faster than might seem plausible by cultural attrition/erasure alone.
posted by skoosh at 11:03 PM on October 12, 2022 [2 favorites]


Not interested in catching up with this dour, humourless excuse for ‘realism’ in fantasy space wizard franchise.

I, however, am quite enjoying a Star War which isn’t Keeping Up With The Skywalkers, so, y’know, different strokes and all
posted by Jon Mitchell at 1:44 AM on October 13, 2022 [28 favorites]


I'm very much on Team Gritty Heist Drama -- I thought that Rogue One (although flawed in many ways) was the most promising of the movie spin-offs, and this is exactly where I wanted it to spin off to.

A minor but important point: I'm digging the retrofuturist sideburns and moustaches on some of the men; this is stylistic continuity with the original series, and it looks neat.
posted by confluency at 2:20 AM on October 13, 2022 [15 favorites]


Similar to Kattullus, the Star Wars of my youth is partly the original trilogy and partly expanded universe stuff like:
Star Wars RPG source books (heavy on the workings of the Rebel Alliance, light on Jedi)
Star Wars novels (specifically the X-Wing series about fighter pilots)
Star Wars short stories (about bounty hunters, rebels, and other "background" characters)
The X-Wing and TIE Fighter space combat video games (where you perform or defend against raids on Imperial shipyards and Rebel prisoner extractions)

Decades of dreaming about the gritty rebellion happening in the background while the Jedi and Sith have their duels with their flashy swords. Seeing it brought to life in Rogue One was amazing, and seeing it examined in much more detail here is just delicious. Yes, give me the scrappy band of disparate insurgents. Give me the bold heists. Give me the inner workings of Imperial bureaucracy.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 2:29 AM on October 13, 2022 [32 favorites]


+1 to that. And to think some people's takeaway of Andor is that it isn't lowering itself to "fan service". Well, when your definition of fan service is "what if Boba Fett rode a rancor against battle droids" then yeah, this isn't that. This is going so much deeper. Loving it. Just loving every second.
posted by Molesome at 2:37 AM on October 13, 2022 [10 favorites]


Star Wars RPG source books (heavy on the workings of the Rebel Alliance, light on Jedi)

I think this is a good point. Back when playing the West End Games RPG, Jedi stuff was mysterious and often unknowable (and hadn't been explained down to the last detail by the prequels and associated media). It was very slow and difficult to level up a Jedi character. Most of the rest of the game, as you say, was about doing Rebel Stuff and fighting the Empire.

There are a whole lot of people in the Star Wars universe who are Not Fantasy Space Wizards, and this series is their story.

And to think some people's takeaway of Andor is that it isn't lowering itself to "fan service". Well, when your definition of fan service is "what if Boba Fett rode a rancor against battle droids" then yeah, this isn't that. This is going so much deeper. Loving it. Just loving every second.

One of the things I hated about Solo, for instance, was the stupid reveal at the end with "It was Darth Maul all along, muahahahahaha!" Bloody hell, it's a huge galaxy, let some adventures happen without having to connect the dots to literally every other corner of the franchise. Characters living in that universe organically is fine without having a familiar face pop out of every background scene.
posted by Fleebnork at 5:30 AM on October 13, 2022 [14 favorites]


Interesting that the same episode shows that the Empire are fascist scum, *and* that even individual fascists are capable of some sort of valor while still being scum. The corporal who figures out that Something is Wrong is basically Imperial John McClain. And when the Colonel gets the drop on the rebels, his first demand is for them to “let the boy go!” Hard to argue with that. The Imperials all deserve the gallows, but *they* think they’re the good guys, and the show lets you see why.

I also love that, during the exchange-of-furs ceremony, the Dhani fur is so much *better* than the Empire’s offering. It’s neatly wrapped and fluffy, while the Empire’s fur just kind of looks like shit. It’s a neat, split-second bit of production design that illustrates a broader point: The Empire doesn’t understand Dhani culture nearly as well as they think they do.
posted by Mr. Excellent at 6:55 AM on October 13, 2022 [20 favorites]


I enjoyed the Imperial officer gloating about his successful 10-year effort to demoralize a tribe highland of highland shepherds.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 7:42 AM on October 13, 2022 [16 favorites]


The Imperials all deserve the gallows, but *they* think they’re the good guys, and the show lets you see why.

I think the show has set out to explore how radicalization works on both sides of a situation - primarily we're examining how Andor goes from apparently self-interested, only in it for the money, to a captain in Rebel Intelligence (and while the Han Solo analogue is obvious, Han comes around because he has a heart of gold and won't abandon his friends; Andor (I think) is starting from a deep seated loathing of the Empire that he has plastered over with a cynical "only in it for the money" facade). But it's showing us a lot of different facets of why people got involved, and it's also showing us how the Empire uses things like ambition - the base commandant gloats over displacing the locals and paving over their holy site because it's how he sees his path to advancement and getting off this backwater planet - or petty jealousy (like Timm) - or even just inertia; I doubt the engineering Colonel (who pulls his blaster and demands they let the kid go) is really a true believer, just some guy who got a job because of his skills and training and is just getting compromised because it's easier to go along. I think there's a certain "banality of evil" piece in the mix here.

And by taking production time to stage and shoot the festival from the point-of-view of the Dhanis, I think the show is trying to respectfully honor the metaphysical themes of Star Wars without bringing in Jedi and the Force.

I think this is an important point; one of the big points with the Jedi & the Force is that it is based on a connection to life & to nature, not cold technology. I've also been thinking about the choices of color palettes - our time on Aldhani has been pretty drab all around, and the Dhani are dressed in bright colors, and the Eye itself is amazingly bright and multi-colored. There's a vibrancy there that I think is important.
posted by nubs at 8:07 AM on October 13, 2022 [14 favorites]


I think Andor is getting goodwill from me because of its lack of Jedi.

After Book of Boba Fett, I'm kinda sick of Jedi. CGI Mark Hamill didn't come across as serene and grounded; he comes across as flat and affectless, like he is completely saturated with space benzos.
posted by Sauce Trough at 10:56 AM on October 13, 2022 [1 favorite]


The Mandalorian was fun but suffered from some seriously scattered plotting and the tone was all over the place and The Book of Boba Fett was just a total mess in five different ways. Obi Wan was almost instantly forgettable.
posted by octothorpe at 11:00 AM on October 13, 2022 [3 favorites]


Wow. I just can't get my head around how good this is. In every way. I think the pacing has been flawless. I also thought the visuals of the Eye were just stunning. Way better than I expected.

What's the deal with the three Gilroy brothers involved in this? I've been aware of Dan and Tony, but then I saw that there's a third brother, John, who edited this episode. Is the Gilroyness of this why the show has such a unity of vision across all its various parts?
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 11:41 AM on October 13, 2022 [5 favorites]


like he is completely saturated with space benzos

An interesting new direction for the SW universe!

Count me as another who finds the lack for Force-stuff refreshing. Space magic and its practitioners are only interesting when used very, VERY sparingly.
posted by orrnyereg at 1:15 PM on October 13, 2022 [6 favorites]


Is there a chance that Andor is actually Sauron in disguise? Oops that’s the other episode of prestige television titled The Eye that aired this week.
posted by autopilot at 1:51 PM on October 13, 2022 [8 favorites]


I think this might be one of the problems with the structure of Andor - the episode where we got the best high level sketch of the heist plan was really in episode 4 (infiltrate, load the money, fly away during the Eye), so it's now two weeks stale; we never got many details about each of those stages either.

Andor isn't a TV show. It's a 10-ish hour (very, very good!) movie sliced into 12 bits.

And that's fine, but it makes the weekly release schedule a real chore. As good as Andor has been week-to-week, it's going to be MUCH better when binged, and I'm looking forward to doing just that. But I do wish Disney+ had dropped the whole thing at once.
posted by Frayed Knot at 4:35 PM on October 13, 2022 [1 favorite]


Andor isn't a TV show. It's a 10-ish hour (very, very good!) movie sliced into 12 bits.

The structure so far seems to be groups of three episodes - first three an introduction, next three the heist, presumably the final three the aftermath. I'm digging it
posted by coriolisdave at 5:25 PM on October 13, 2022 [3 favorites]


Wow. I just can't get my head around how good this is. In every way. I think the pacing has been flawless. I also thought the visuals of the Eye were just stunning. Way better than I expected.

The shot of them swimming underwater while a meteor streaked by was breathtaking.

I really hope that they continue make projects at this level after Andor ends. Sure, keep making the Favreau/Filoni stuff, but tell stories like this, too.
posted by jimw at 7:25 PM on October 13, 2022 [17 favorites]


the final three the aftermath.

Well we still have six to go, but yes - the aftermath! After Ferrix, the Empire took over from the Corpos and started establishing a presence. Now there's an emergency meeting of the ISB and it sounds like the activation of response plans on multiple planets...which I think is exactly what Luthen wants; not just the credits to fund the Rebellion, but the over-reach on the response to create more recruits.
posted by nubs at 8:57 PM on October 13, 2022 [3 favorites]


I just don't even have anything to say in these threads other than "I love this show so much" but man I love this show so much!!
posted by potrzebie at 9:21 PM on October 13, 2022 [13 favorites]


Mandalorians are kinda almost as bad as Jedi.
I don't really want super soldiers and fate of the galaxy stuff. It's good to have characters who will die if they get shot. A single imperial soldier is a threat in a way that it flat out isn't with a Jedi or a Mandalorian.

The characters are heroically fighting an unstoppable juggernaut and they're heroic because they don't have space magic or super armour. Also, most of the characters die, because the rebellion isn't built on laser swords, it's ultimately built on sacrifice.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 2:37 AM on October 14, 2022 [16 favorites]


In a truly well-written story or screenplay, every scene will inform a major (or minor) theme or idea of the author(s).

In other words there should be no filler or throwaway scenes that don't serve a purpose (or sometimes multiple purposes!). A lot of "prestige tv" or whatever the heck we're calling it, fails at this, IMO.

Andor is doing an excellent job, however, and it's personally very enjoyable to watch. Take the scene with the imperial Commandant with his family. His son is sick and his wife suggests they don't need to go with him to the ceremonial offering, but his father demands it for appearance sake.

So on one hand, this illustrates the character of someone who is able to rise to the top of the Imperial power structure. Their ambition snuffs out everything else, including being a kind compassionate father/husband. The guy's an asshole racist, not exactly a revelation, lol.

But the scene subtly points to another practical plot point. During the heist, the lives of his family are the primary leverage the Rebels have over the Commandant to open the vault. What if he had acquiesced to his wife's wish to keep their sick son at home? No leverage, and the Rebel's timetable is severely screwed. If they had unlimited time, they surely could have come up with a way to force him to obey, but they didn't have that luxury.

For me at least, it's the strength of these subplots that enhance the major themes of the story, and I'm loving the way the writers are doing it.
posted by jeremias at 4:32 AM on October 14, 2022 [27 favorites]


My wife is reacting rapturously to all the actors she's seen on the London stage. Like, most of them are fresh from The National or The Bridge or The Donmar or wherever.

This is actually, properly good, in a way that the progeny of hackneyed I.P. aren't supposed to be. At the same time it's actually, properly Star Wars, if that meant not only light sabres and tie fighters but also the strange, twisted, yet impassive face of a tie fighter pilot's mask (weirdly the image that's stuck with me from seeing Star Wars in 1978); and the gun-metal film stock; the implied, teetering pile of bureaucracy that was the Death Star.

I honestly wasn't expecting the Rogue One spin-off to be the one that was actually, properly good.
posted by Grangousier at 4:46 PM on October 14, 2022 [14 favorites]


+1 to the comments highlighting the colonialist critique. And +1 to the call-out on the gorgeous visuals of the Eye - I particularly liked the TIE fighters readying to launch with that in the background; and I actually started tearing up a little when they made their final exit through it. And +1 to the double twist of Skeen gone bad (at first I thought he was going to do a "finally accepting you into the fold" speech) and the hand-over of Nemik's manifesto. Stellan Skarsgård was awesome in his little spot at the end. As Grangousier said, "actually, properly good". Loving it!
posted by domdib at 4:53 AM on October 15, 2022 [4 favorites]


Mr Corpse and I thought that was the end of the season; it felt like it could be, with a lot of unresolved stuff but also a good place to pause. Delighted to hear there's more!

I laughed out loud at the SX-70 popping up in either this episode or the previous one (I watched them back to back). It even sounds the same as the one I grew up with.
posted by The corpse in the library at 6:56 AM on October 15, 2022 [3 favorites]


It follows the Star Wars tradition of cannibalizing vintage cameras for props since some of the lightsabers were build out of Graflex flash units.
posted by octothorpe at 7:16 AM on October 15, 2022 [4 favorites]


I’ve been thinking about this phrase a lot today. I’m born in 1981, and my parents didn’t get a VCR until I was in my early teens. Growing up, I saw the original trilogy maybe two or three times each. But I did read my share of Star Wars novels. My Star Wars is that Star Wars, which is part of why I haven’t really liked many of the post-original trilogy films (except Rogue One and most of Last Jedi), they really leaned into the space wizard aspect.

As a fan of slightly older vintage, one of the things that bothers me is when people say that Star Wars isn't science fiction, it's really "space fantasy". And like, maybe after The Clone Wars gave us The Father, The Daughter, and The Son it tipped fully over into fantasy, but Star Wars (1977) is a movie about:
Two starships having a laser battle above a desert planet in a binary star system, during which electronic plans are stored in the memory of an artificially-intelligent robot that takes an escape pod to the surface. There it is captured by junk scavengers and sold to farmers who rely on machines that extract moisture from the atmosphere. Later they leave the planet on a tramp starship that travels through hyperspace to a space station the size of a moon where the robot hacks into the computers and they manage to turn off the power to the tractor beam. They escape to the Rebel Base on the moon of a gas giant where they read the plans and decide to attack the space station with small fighter craft, and against all hope score a direct torpedo hit down the exhaust port leading to the main reactor and blow up the station. Hooray!

Oh, and three characters have (mild) psychic powers.
Um, that's a SCIENCE FICTION story—granted, it's partway down the space opera spectrum, but it's not even all the way at the end.
posted by The Tensor at 1:24 AM on October 16, 2022 [4 favorites]


A More Civilised Age - Andor episode 6
Wow, what a season. From the opening at the rainy PreMor leisure district to the climactic conclusion in highlands of Aldh-

What's that? You're saying this is only the halfway point of the series? The halfway point of the first season of the series?

No, that can't be right. You're saying that after this—perhaps the best pound-for-pound filmmaking we've covered on the podcast—we get... more?
posted by EndsOfInvention at 1:10 AM on October 17, 2022 [6 favorites]


I can't get over how good this show is. Like, it's just really, really good.
posted by cooker girl at 7:50 AM on October 17, 2022 [7 favorites]


Even more impressive is that two other very expensive, prestige genre TV shows based on preexisting IP premiered at the same time, and Andor is putting those shows to shame, and making it look easy.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 10:02 AM on October 17, 2022 [7 favorites]


I've been listening to A More Civilized Age for these episodes, and it inspired me to go back and listen to their episodes on Phantom Menance and Attack of the Clones; there's a lot of discussion about how those movies depict the Republic and the Jedi on the brink of destruction without really being all that aware of how deep the problem is, or how they got there. Which has me thinking about Andor, and how it's showing us the rot present in the Empire already (its employees are venal and not very diligent), and just doing such a better job than the prequels of demonstrating the political situation in the galaxy from the ground level.

Coming back to a different prestige show, this is about how the smallfolk suffer while the powerful play the game of thrones.
posted by nubs at 10:12 AM on October 17, 2022 [7 favorites]


Kattullus: “I had to take a fifteen minute pause to gather myself before the imperials got into the hangar. What a tense episode.”
I should have done this. The tension in this episode was just off the charts.
posted by ob1quixote at 10:19 AM on October 17, 2022 [2 favorites]


I had to pause a couple hours in the middle of the episode and it may have skewed my experience a little, unfortunately.

I feel like they spent a leetle too much time on showing the Aldhani milling about, and the quickly-load-the-ship peril stuff.. I felt a little cheated by a lack of development with all the stuff on Coruscant; feel like there should have been more development to NaziBoi, Skarskård, and Mon Motha and CIA HQ. I was expecting some resolution to point back at them and have impact and complications. Like probably somebody's capture. Those stories barely budged at allll, and I'm sad I didn't even get the dinner party.

But I guess that is the format we have here, little mini-arcs that may not be fully satisfyingly resolved as Andor hops from one to the next, joining stories and leaving wreckage behind him, a wandering figure. That can be fine. The next thing should probably be a new, third, different thing, bc like, I feel like they are making a little bit of a mess with each one. Plz just don't go back to Ferrix, even if I do miss B2EMO.

I did not watch Boba Fett or Obi Wan because I have zero interest in those characters, and I did not hear anything good about them, nor did I expect anything good after Mando S2. But during this show I was like, "Where's Leia??" like Where's Wallace. I heard she shows up in Obi Wan but no I mean central figure, and like.... now that someone's finally shown they can actually write and produce some fuckin Star Wars -- that's what I want.

were those pilgrims who didn't make it merely temporarily waylaid by temptation, or are we to understand that they were being permanently disappeared by the Empire?

I think the implication was that they removed some of the taste of religious sacrifice to it -- that's the topic they are discussing when this bit comes up IIRC: hardship & the willingness to accept it. They sullied the pilgrimage by easing the way, by putting the stink of Imperial assistance on it.
posted by fleacircus at 1:47 PM on October 17, 2022 [2 favorites]


They sullied the pilgrimage by easing the way, by putting the stink of Imperial assistance on it.

I took it more as they have populated the way with temptations - places to rest, with cheap drinks and food, so that the pilgrammage loses participants as they go because people drop out because (e.g) they tie one on, and are too hungover the next morning.
posted by nubs at 2:14 PM on October 17, 2022 [13 favorites]


I feel like they spent a leetle too much time on showing the Aldhani milling about, and the quickly-load-the-ship peril stuff..

They spent so much time showing them that I was expecting the Aldhani to rise up and attack the Imperial soldiers, which would either mess up or help the heist being perpetrated by Our Heroes (depending on which story they wanted to tell).

I was also surprised by the AMOUNT of money in the vault. Was the original plan to steal ALL of those cylinders? Because it seemed like that would take hours AND not fit into that ship.
posted by The Tensor at 2:44 PM on October 17, 2022 [3 favorites]


Yeah, considering the Scrooge McDuck quantities of cash in the vault, security was surprisingly lax.

The Empire really needs to move to electronic banking instead of hauling megatonnes of metal currency around. Hell, even bills would be an improvement over paying people in ingots. Then again, what do I know, maybe they only recently moved from Island of Yap stone disk style currency and this is a ground-breaking advancement in galactic monetary policy.
posted by fimbulvetr at 3:39 PM on October 17, 2022


so that the pilgrammage loses participants as they go because people drop out because (e.g) they tie one on, and are too hungover the next morning

I thought there had to be more to it than that; the commander dude is talking about (perceived) pride being their weakness, and I don't think pride that would decline transport on a journey to a sacred event would then lose 92% of their people merely to gettin' tipsy and sleeping through the alarm.
posted by fleacircus at 10:45 PM on October 17, 2022 [1 favorite]


On re-watch, I noticed that when Taramyn asks Keen to cover him in the hangar, Keen fires only one (admittedly effective) shot, but then retreats to cover himself, leaving Taramyn uncovered. So Keen's colours were showing through already.
And I also noted the delicious little irony of the exchange where Commandant Jayhold asks his wife Roboda to stop dressing Leonart and come help HIM dress.
The music is pretty good too!
posted by domdib at 12:47 AM on October 18, 2022 [2 favorites]


“I noticed that when Taramyn asks Keen to cover him in the hangar, Keen fires only one (admittedly effective) shot, but then retreats to cover himself, leaving Taramyn uncovered.”

I repeated that scene a couple times when I was watching just to see if he was responsible for Taramyn getting shot and my read was that the only suspicious thing was his hesitation, which could merely have fear and raising his nerve. But him ducking back into cover is basically simultaneous with a shot hitting the wall where he shot from — my conclusion was that he didn't have any choice to only shoot a few shots and duck back into cover because of the return fire that would have hit him if he hadn't.

I don't know that he did ever reveal that he might betray them; I just think that the show established that he was a jerk who was constantly evaluating everything and everyone.

“The music is pretty good too!”

It is, isn't it? It sets the mood well.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 2:42 AM on October 18, 2022 [3 favorites]


I repeated that scene a couple times when I was watching just to see if he was responsible for Taramyn getting shot and my read was that the only suspicious thing was his hesitation, which could merely have fear and raising his nerve

OK, here's what bugs me about the entire thing: Vel is pinned down, and Taramyn's attempted solution is to run towards her? He's running into an area the enemy has well covered, when it seems to me the solution is to establish a position with a field of fire that provides cover for Vel to move to safety.

I mean, they were in trouble from the jump because the security forces had the high ground on the unpainted gantry, but it seemed like a bone-headed move to me.
posted by nubs at 5:23 AM on October 18, 2022 [3 favorites]


it seemed like a bone-headed move to me

To be fair he was a former stormtrooper, who are not generally known for their tactical nous, and had to be put right on how to carry weapons in a previous ep., so it doesn't seem out of character.
posted by sarble at 6:55 AM on October 18, 2022 [8 favorites]


Yeah, I just don't feel this show wants to buy into the "ha-ha, incompetent stormtroopers" trope the rest of Star Wars now does (e.g., the Mandalorian); in this episode a small group of guards and three TIE fighters was a high threat level.
posted by nubs at 7:16 AM on October 18, 2022 [3 favorites]


I'll admit that the shootout scene wasn't very coherent, either in conception or execution. Not up to the standards the show has established. The exception was the struggle in the vehicle and the one guy waiting to take the shot.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 7:23 AM on October 18, 2022 [2 favorites]


The exception was the struggle in the vehicle and the one guy waiting to take the shot.

Nemik took the shot, which I felt was part of some great work with the character this episode; he's worried about not being at his best for the mission; the engineer gets the drop on him and just misses him; and then in the firefight, Andor is in trouble, Vel is pinned down, and blaster shots are everywhere around Nemik - this is the moment when our cute little ideologue freezes, right? No, he nails the shot to save Andor and gets on with it, only to be crushed by the money during takeoff; and then he still displays enough strength to navigate them the fuck out of there.

Nemik. Hero of the Rebellion.
posted by nubs at 8:50 AM on October 18, 2022 [19 favorites]




If true, that doesn't exactly surprise me, given the few negative reactions here. The bigger audience for the Star Wars franchise is space wizard stuff. Wide-eyed wonder and all that. It's been done so far as mediocre at best and mostly badly at worst, but I'm not sure the mass audience cares.

I've really been hoping that Disney has learned something from how much better Andor has been but, really, they didn't learn this lesson from Rogue One and that they've gone with JJ Abrams so much is revealing of what they prefer. And maybe their estimation of the audience is correct.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 9:47 AM on October 18, 2022 [2 favorites]


Yeah, I just don't feel this show wants to buy into the "ha-ha, incompetent stormtroopers" trope the rest of Star Wars now does (e.g., the Mandalorian); in this episode a small group of guards and three TIE fighters was a high threat level.

I want to expand on this thought, because I've been thinking about it a lot: when my family finally caught up on the Mandarlorian, the joke in the house was that life is cheap in the Star Wars universe - the body count in some episodes was crazy high, and lots of people just get gunned down, eaten by the creature of the week, or die through other misadventures. Baby Yoda spends an episode and a bit eating the eggs of another species, as a joke. And honestly, that's been Star Wars for a while - lots of people in the background die, with very little thought or attention to that fact.

Andor is far more personal about death, going back to the opening sequence. The firefight in the hanger here is our six versus about the same number of guards? And while no-one's death in the firefight gets lingered on (Gorn is gone so quick many of us missed it, and Taramyn is somewhat similar), there's still a weight to the firefight (and every action sequence in Andor) that I find missing in Star Wars - the stakes feel real, the people on both sides are real (I think a part of the choice to not have them be stormtroopers at this point - we can see everyone's face; and even the TIE pilots are shown struggling in their cockpits during the flight). Violence and conflict in Andor are serious business with consequences that often stretch beyond the immediate moment.

I'm left thinking this may be part of why the audience numbers aren't high; people want & expect Star Wars to be easy on a lot of fronts, violence included, beyond the space wizards. It isn't supposed to make you think, or to have to dig beyond the surface of what's said or what's happening.
posted by nubs at 9:48 AM on October 18, 2022 [21 favorites]


“I'm left thinking this may be part of why the audience numbers aren't high; people want & expect Star Wars to be easy on a lot of fronts, violence included, beyond the space wizards. It isn't supposed to make you think, or to have to dig beyond the surface of what's said or what's happening.”

I strongly agree with your entire comment. Well written.

And, yeah, I think this is why the reception of Rogue One was lukewarm even though critics generally liked it, and it's especially a big part of the backlash against The Last Jedi. Most people want Star Wars to be light — it's widely seen as family fare.

There is a market for more serious and realistic Star Wars, as is evidenced by the ubiquitous high praise in the threads here. But we're a minority, I think. If Disney keeps throwing money at this franchise and it remains a big tent, they'll provide more content for us, given that Andor has been very successful on its own terms. But if money gets tight, as I think it already has, Disney will abandon this minority audience.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 10:00 AM on October 18, 2022 [1 favorite]


Well, as one data point, everyone in my house loves Star Wars and all the other new series, but my kids think Andor is boring and my wife gave up on it after a couple episodes because she said it moves too slow and she kept falling asleep.

I like it, though.
posted by fimbulvetr at 7:23 PM on October 18, 2022 [2 favorites]


When I understood this episode was a heist episode, I got very excited; I eat up heist movies like popcorn. This did not disappoint. This series is so good, just as Rogue One was good. I have no problems with Jedi in particular...they are a part of the universe, too. But a universe is supposed to work this way. Just like habitable planets shouldn't especially have a single ecology, so a galaxy should have more than one sort of story in it.
posted by lhauser at 8:37 AM on October 19, 2022 [8 favorites]


Well they certainly paid off the first half season of this show! I love that they had 5 episodes that were relatively slow, not a lot of action but great writing and character building. Then this, an incredibly intense and exciting heist that unfolded both exactly as we expected and yet totally differently.

Andor fucked up shooting Skeen. I mean sure the guy was awful, but Andor coulda just said "nah" and Skeen wouldn't have tried it alone. Worse he screwed himself by not having any evidence for why he killed Skeen, Vel has no reason to trust him, barely knows him. I appreciated the explicit nod to that realization on screen as Andor decides to flee. And then leaving the money and the crystal; maybe he redeems himself with Vel afterall.

Poor Nemik. We knew he was going to die, but crushed to death by the money? Oof. Worse in some sense he's crushed by Andor: we see him adding more thrust, then the cargo slides under the inertia and crushes Nemik. Sure it wasn't deliberate but it was still a direct result of his actions. Awful.
posted by Nelson at 10:59 PM on October 20, 2022 [4 favorites]


I watched this again a second time and it is really just fantastic television. The pacing is terrific; a whole lot of excitement but at a tempo that makes it all understandable.

And individual. That's one of the best things about Rogue One, the way it's a story about the Rebellion vs. the Empire distilled to the individual actions of particular people we care about. Andor succeeds in doing that too, at least with Cassian and Vel and Nemik and Cinta and Skeen. (Taramyn and Gorn get a bit of short shrift in this episode, their deaths in the firefight are a bit confusing and that may be a small flaw.) Each person's story comes together really nicely. Particularly bookended with the very last scene, Luthen laughing in exhilaration when he learns the heist was pulled off. a bit of manic joy and personal triumph.

I watched the episode particularly with this comment in mind: The natives and the festival of the eye seemed particularly meaningless.

I don't think so. The Dhani are not important in a mechanical plot sense. The heist would have unfolded much the same way without the ritual. (There is a throwaway line about "some highlanders may join them" that makes me think the writers might originally have had in mind an alternate infiltration for one or two of the crew.)

But the Dhani are a terrific framing device. The Eye, the cosmic spectacle, is absolutely a valuable part of the episode. The writers could have just made that an abstract phenomenon. But having the Dhani there celebrating, this third faction totally separate from the heist, frames everything in a context that makes it feel grander and more important. Also an echo of politics, the way the Commandant and Lt. Gorn both have earned the contempt of the Dhani (Gorn, ironically). The whole purpose of this heist is to trigger an Empire overreaction and thus spark a rebellion. The Dhani are one of the peoples who are going to rebel, I'm certain of it. Their presence in this episode grounds the larger story.
posted by Nelson at 8:54 PM on October 25, 2022 [9 favorites]


Andor fucked up shooting Skeen. I mean sure the guy was awful, but Andor coulda just said "nah" and Skeen wouldn't have tried it alone.

When Skeen started talking, I thought we were getting the classic scene where the least-high-minded members of the team look wistfully at all that gold and say, "Ya, know, we could just take this and go be rich..." but of course they're not actually gonna do it.

And then as he persisted, I thought he was doing the thing where the cynical guy tempts the hero to prove his thesis that Actually, Everybody is Selfish, followed by grudging respect when the hero passes the test.

And then Andor just up and killed him and I'm still not certain whether Skeen was really ready to betray the others and run off with the money. But whatever he was thinking, he sure wasn't expecting that reaction. I kind of like the idea of him dying with his last thought being, "Wait...I was just, you know, hypothetically playing the Devil's Advocate here..."
posted by straight at 3:28 AM on October 29, 2022 [5 favorites]


I was surprised, too, but it felt to me like Skeen really was suggesting they split the money and run (and that Skeen would kill Andor as soon as possible).
posted by The corpse in the library at 11:53 AM on October 29, 2022 [3 favorites]


I thought Skeen, who was so big on loyalty tests, was just pulling another one on Andor. But maybe this was meant to be one of those The Lady, or the Tiger? type ambiguities which we'll never know.

It's amazing how all of Star Wars forgot that blasters have a stun setting since the very second scene of the original movie. So many instances could have used it.
posted by Apocryphon at 2:18 PM on October 29, 2022 [4 favorites]


I wonder if it varies gun to gun. Mostly we only see stormtroopers and clonetroopers using the stun setting I think (in A New Hope and the Clone Wars series)? Maybe it's a fancy high-spec add on, like having a tazer attached to your pistol, that most people don't bother getting.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 2:49 PM on October 29, 2022 [3 favorites]


I think Skeen's loyalty tests were his way of 1) making himself seem like a true believer and 2) his way of sussing out who might be on board to help him double-cross the others.

Funny to me that for all the tech of the Empire, payroll is still a physical item.

In the previous episode, Vel said something like, "We're going to steal the crates of payroll," and I was like, huh? Because, you know, payroll isn't normally a countable item. Hey, how many payrolls do you have? I've got 7 payrolls over here, waiting for a shipment of 10 more payrolls.

And then in this episode we see that they are literally payrolls, cylinders of rolled up gold bars or something. lol.

It's another example of the funny mix of high- & low-tech in Star Wars. They can travel faster than the speed of light, manufacture gigantic space craft and artificially intelligent robots, communicate from one solar system to another instantaneously, but their computer screens have sub-Commodore 64 graphics and control their targeting systems and other tech with knobs and dials and sometimes even steam-filled hoses.
posted by Saxon Kane at 12:15 PM on November 6, 2022 [12 favorites]


Which is awesome.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 2:29 PM on November 6, 2022 [7 favorites]


I've been thinking about it and the "classic" Star Wars tech level is like "things you could imagine in the 1970s and things you could build a physical prop for". FTL, laser guns, and holograms, yes. Monochrome monitors and clunky switches and levers, yes. The internet, complex displays, touch-screens, digital currency, no.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 5:00 PM on November 6, 2022 [14 favorites]


their computer screens have sub-Commodore 64 graphics and control their targeting systems and other tech with knobs and dials and sometimes even steam-filled hoses.

As Ivan Fyodorovich says - "Which is awesome." :-)

I think the monitors and switches could be justfied in the same way that not every car on the road right now has a Tesla-style cockpit - degrees of luxury/age. And there may also be something to do with robustness too - a mechanical switch might be less likely to stop working than an electronic one. Plus the Empire is huge and needs to standardise (cf. the identical units being maufactured in the later prison episodes) and wouldn't necessarily standardise on the highest or latest tech, given that full adoption might take years.

What I do know is that there is a distinctive SW UI aesthetic, particularly for Imperial gear, just as there is for Star Trek, and it strongly contributes to the overall sense of inhabiting the world in a good way.
posted by domdib at 5:26 AM on November 8, 2022 [5 favorites]


Strictly in terms of planning -- the Dhani and the light show were part of the reason so few people were at the garrison when the heist occurred. But more importantly, cutting to them throughout the episode looked cool.

I think the pilgrimage centers really were "just" lodgings with plentiful food and cheap drinks. The Imperial leader was so smug about how the local population was easy to manipulate, and bragged that a fraction of people made the pilgrimage compared to when they first came to the planet. I think the show is pointing out how a patient enough power (a country, or, more likely for us, a corporation) can get a population to accept something that would have been anathema to their culture a few years earlier.

The evening in the sacred valley was clearly a cornerstone to the local people, and for whatever reason the Empire plopped a garrison right next to it. Presumably the Empire would have faced serious unrest if they cut off access when the soldiers first arrived. So they instead set out on a manipulation campaign to change the local culture, intentionally introducing hurdles for those who make the journey (like being escorted to the top by an armed squad of their oppressors) and treats for those who drop out early. Eventually they get whole sections of the population to decide that this pilgrimage is just too much work, until there's a big enough dropoff that the Empire can permanently block access to the Valley and only upset a small fraction of the population. And then -- well, the people who were making the journey at that point were the ones who already hated the Empire the most.

The idealistic young revolutionary getting killed by a giant, unsecured pallet of money was very on-the-nose! But still, poor Nemik.
posted by grandiloquiet at 2:17 PM on November 14, 2022 [9 favorites]


Mostly we only see stormtroopers and clonetroopers using the stun setting I think (in A New Hope and the Clone Wars series)? Maybe it's a fancy high-spec add on, like having a tazer attached to your pistol,

Makes sense. In our galaxy (a long time later) guns and tasers are completely different technologies and tasers are mostly used by law enforcement.
posted by straight at 8:24 AM on November 15, 2022


The Dhani were there to show that joy and ecstasy are still possible under rising fascism and ongoing oppression. I enjoyed that, and didn't mind when it became clear they weren't going to be part of the heist plot beyond it.
posted by mediareport at 3:00 PM on November 24, 2022 [3 favorites]


Andor fucked up shooting Skeen. I mean sure the guy was awful, but Andor coulda just said "nah" and Skeen wouldn't have tried it alone. Worse he screwed himself by not having any evidence for why he killed Skeen, Vel has no reason to trust him, barely knows him. I appreciated the explicit nod to that realization on screen as Andor decides to flee.

What's great about that moment is that it's a moment of pure instinct on Andor's part. Some of it may be the instinct of self-preservation: He finally has confirmation that Skeen is as low-down and untrustworthy as he suspected. But I think some of it is moral outrage. Right before he shoots him, Skeen says,
Don't play the high mind with me. You're not here to save anybody but yourself. I saw it the first minute you came into camp. You're just like me, we were born in the hole, and all we know is climbing over somebody else to get out.
Andor is instinctively furious that Skeen describes him as operating out of pure selfishness. He's begun to feel something deeper, and Skeen's cynicism offends him deeply.
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 12:22 AM on November 28, 2022 [2 favorites]


coming really late to the discussion. regarding audience numbers, it took 2 friends to convince me to start this at all and even then i gave up after 2 episodes until 1 of those kept at it and episode 3 hooked me. i grew up with the original star wars and after the two subsequent trilogies and endless mediocre (from word of mouth) TV series, i had no confidence that a prequel of a prequel would be worthwhile (and i liked Rogue One), and yet here we are. so, nothing to do with a lack of Jedi, and more to do with Disney running the franchise into a mountainside like an out of control X-Wing.
posted by kokaku at 10:38 AM on December 2, 2022 [3 favorites]


socialist revolutionary crushed by pile of gold. ouch

may the force rififi be with you!
posted by lalochezia at 8:10 PM on December 3, 2022 [2 favorites]


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