Andor Episodes 1 - 3

Season 1, Episodes 1 thru 3

I sat down Wednesday night and watched all three episodes in one setting as many of you did. My first takeaway was this show is not for children. Like Rogue One, Andor is raw, gritty and visceral. The show puts a microscope on the prolific devastation perpetrated by the Empire and those that benefit from Imperial rule. The show is well cast and well written. Andor has excellent pace thus far as there was a fair amount of background story to tell. Disney was wise to release the first three episodes at once. The third episode ends at a natural breaking point. It gives you a feeling of, “now we can get on with it.” The “it” is the five years leading up to the destruction of the first Death Star.
For the uninitiated, BBY means before the battle of Yavin. I recognize that a lot of folks may come to Star Wars thru merely watching this show so there may be some terms that are not immediately familiar to you. I will try to anticipate those and explain them as briefly as possible.
Andor does an excellent job of highlighting the scale of the Empire. The show’s initial setting is in the Morlani System. This system is allowed to be governed by a local corporate law enforcement agency. No storm troopers were garrisoned in place. Either the Empire trusts the Corporation to govern its area of influence, or the Empire lacks the resources to dedicate any troops to the Morlani System. Within its area of influence, the Preox-Morlana has a free trade center. The economy seems to be based on scrapping. The economy also centers around all the various businesses that feed the vices of blue-collar workers such as bars and brothels.
The first three episodes of Andor center on two timelines telling a parallel story roughly 20 years apart. We see Cassian Andor as a young Kenari boy, living as an abandoned orphan on his home planet. We learn that during the days of the Republic, his planet was abandoned due to a massive mining accident. One can only surmise that the parents of the children left behind were killed as a result of this accident. The children are living in a tribal society as if they were the Star Wars version of Lord of the Flies. Additionally, one can surmise that the devastation occurred within a few years, given the age of Cassian’s younger sister.
Cassian was born well in advance of the Clone Wars. It appears that he was rescued from Kenari either right before or during the Clone Wars themselves. It is quite fitting that a smuggler and scrapper named Maarva Andor opted to take him off planet. Fearing for his safety, she and her husband Clem were fearful that Republic forces may kill him if he was discovered. Are Maarva and Clem separatists?
Parallel to this story, we watch a lengthy drama unfold as adult Cassian Andor needs a significant windfall to get off planet. Preoccupied with finding his sister, he finds himself in a compromising position. Though he seems to have an aversion to killing, he is quite deliberate when the time comes. It is this deliberateness that requires him to find a way out of the system.
Cassian has developed a reputation for being a purveyor of Imperial technology. It seems that he is a human version of a Jawa. He steals tech from the Imperials and sells it to anyone that will buy it. It appears his larceny exploits have caught the attention of Luthen Rael. It is clear that Rael is the leader of a Rebel cell and is looking for recruits. He is also experienced in the ways of spy craft and combat. It remains to be seen how plugged in he really is. I suspect we will learn more of his origins and motivations in the coming months.
Andor highlights and develops themes that we are all familiar with. Betrayal is a central theme in the first three episodes. Cassian had developed a friendship with Bix Caleen. They had a business relationship, and, perhaps at one point, something more. Bix was also in a relationship with someone she worked with, Tim Karlo. Timm became jealous of Bix’s association with Cassian, thus setting in motion a series of tragic events culminating in his own death.
Though eager for combat, the Corpos did not seem to be up for it. A squad of twelve were bested by Rael and Andor. The overly ambitious young officer led his men into carnage that neither he or his men were ready for. Though the crusty Sergeant seemed to anticipate possible trouble, he was not ready for it. The people of Ferrix chaff under Imperial and Corporate rule. They live for themselves. They work together. Their reaction helped Rael and Andor escape.

The artistry and planning that went into telling the stories of the first three episodes is exquisite. We see the young Cassian leave Kenari as we see the adult Cassian leave Ferrix, flying into the unknown towards an uncertain future. We can only imagine what was going thru his mind as he left his home planet with an unfamiliar family. As an adult, he is left to wonder what will happen to his adopted mother and his friends. Will he be able to continue the search for his sister?

 

Andor is truly a stand-alone Star Wars story set in the larger galaxy of Star Wars that we all know and love. I look forward to the coming episodes.

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