“Andor” Episode Six Review

Poster art for “Andor”. Source: IMDB

The build-up toward the heist on Aldhani in Andor has been slow and methodical. The writers and showrunner have taken the time to allow us as an audience to become attached to each member of the crew. But, like all good things, there must come an end to the story. Episode Six, titled “The Eye”, takes us into the heart of the heist and one of the most visually stunning sequences from a Star Wars property that I’ve ever seen.

Spoilers ahead, so don’t read this if you haven’t watched the latest episode of Andor.

“The Eye” takes place almost entirely on Aldhani, with the ending of the episode shifting back to Coruscant as news breaks of the theft. Dan Gilroy (the writer for the episode) and Susanna White (the director) spend the first half of the episode setting up the new players in the game while ratcheting up the tension slowly. Commandant Beehaz, an overweight and foppish Imperial commander is seeking to impress the newly arrived Colonel Petigar. Beehaz even goes so far as to browbeat his family into presenting a good show in the hopes that Petigar will promote Beehaz off Aldhani. The Commandant definitely fits the bill of the decadent and inept Imperial officer that has been firmly established across various Star Wars media over the years.

We also get some quiet moments near the beginning with Cassian Andor and Nemik, the true believer out of the entire group. Everyone else has personal reasons for taking part in the heist. Nemik, on the other hand, firmly believes in the primacy of the rebellion, even though Cassian approaches this strictly as a mercenary gig. While Andor doesn’t share Nemik’s idealism, Nemik is nonetheless grateful for Andor’s presence in the group.

When the heist does get underway, it starts off bloody and ends bloody. There really was no other way for this to go, to be honest. When Colonel Petigar tries to fight back, he is quickly put down by Cinta, while the rest of the group binds and gags Beehaz’s family. Vel makes it clear to the Commandant that any further resistance will result in the deaths of his family, including his young son. Given the grim faces on all of the rebels (with the exception of Andor and Nemik), I felt that Vel and the others would absolutely follow through on that threat.

My one major gripe about this sequence is the deaths of two of the rebels. For a show that has touted itself as being racially diverse, the fact that both Lieutenant Gorn and Taramyn (the two black actors in the group) were the main first to die felt hollow to me. The Walking Dead had a similar problem in their middle years starting around Season Three where they would have one black cast member, only to kill that cast member off so a new black actor or actress could join the group. Out of all of the rebels, I was hoping to see more of Lieutenant Gorn and Taramyn, since there was precious little time spent with them up to this point.

The heist did have some other casualties as well, especially among the Imperials. Commandant Beehaz keels over from an apparent heart attack after being worked mercilessly by the thieves. The plan to have the Imperial dock workers load crates full of Imperial credits onto the skiff was rather than ingenious move. It would have been impossible for Vel and the others to cart off so much money on their own. And even with the Imperials helping (at gunpoint), they still only managed to take a fraction of the wealth that was stored in the base.

Out of all the casualties in the episode, Nemik’s hit me the hardest. During the getaway, a crate of Imperial credits came loose and smashed into Nemik, pinning him against another crate. The immediate aftermath was Nemik losing all feeling from the waist down, indicating a spinal injury. Despite this, Nemik was able to provide Cassian the exit flight plan they would need to take, which took them straight into the Eye.

From the descriptions of The Eye in the previous episodes, I was expecting something similar to a fireworks display. Instead, we get a captivating display of shooting stars passing through the night sky. The craftmanship of the visual effects team for this sequence is exquisite. I found myself replaying the start of the event a couple of times just to soak in the spectacle. Too often, visual effects are used simply to provide eye candy and nothing else. The Eye felt like something that the people of Aldhani would treat as a deeply religious experience.

But the final twist was yet to come. After taking Nemik to surgeon the group had on stand-by, Skeen and Andor sit outside and chat. It’s here that we see Skeen’s true colors. The story he told about his brother losing the family farm and killing himself was a lie. The presence of 80 million Imperial Credits is too good an opportunity to pass up. Skeen tries a hard sell on Andor, claiming the two of them could take the ship, split the loot fifty-fifty, then go their separate ways. Given what we’ve seen of Cassian Andor up to this point, it seems like this would be an enticing offer, one he wouldn’t refuse.

But Andor does refuse. And for good measure, he kills Skeen on the spot. I can’t say I was surprised by this turn of events. I figured someone from the group was going to be a turncoat at some point. Skeen or Vel were the two candidates that I figured would try something like this. When Andor confronts Vel (moments after Nemik dies on the operating table), there’s a brief moment where I wasn’t sure how things were going to end. Andor, clearly spooked by his interaction with Skeen, tells Vel that he’s taking the 200,000 Credits owed to him for the job and is taking the surgeon’s ship to leave. He tosses Vel the crystal Luthen gave him and tells her to give it back to Luthen the next time she sees him.

Back on Coruscant, we get a quick series of scenes that are in reaction to the events on Aldhani. First up is the Imperial Security Bureau, who are placed on high alert and have to present the Empire with methods for finding out who was responsible for the theft. In the Senate, Mon Mothma stands alone, pleading for relief for the Ghormans to the apathetic Senators (who leave in the middle of her speech). The episode ends on Luthen, who upon hearing of the theft’s success, privately celebrates in the back room of his antique shop.

Aside from the impromptu deaths of two of the POC characters in the show, the majority of “The Eye” was a good episode. I’m intrigued to see how things play out now that Andor is trying to escape back into anonymity. I doubt that’s going to work out too well for him but it’ll be interesting to see how it plays out. The theft on Aldhani is going to have wide-ranging consequences for everyone involved. The Empire is going to be on the prowl now, searching for who was responsible. It’s only a matter of time before Luthen, Mothma, Vel, and Andor find themselves in the crosshairs of the Galactic Empire.

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