Is this the bleakest chapter of Star Wars yet? Things seem pretty hopeless this week as everyone in Andor struggles with their own prison cells. Cassian (Diego Luna) is staring down a six-year sentence for looking at a guard the wrong way, and the show locks him down in one of the most frightening prisons in sci-fi.
Now called “Keef” (which is still pretty funny for British viewers), Cassian is inducted into a work gang on Narkina 5. This is a floating factory in the middle of the sea – with automatic pain sensors in the floors for anyone who breaks the rules. Chilling in its inhumanity, the whole place looks like it might break anyone, and Cassian’s few glances at escape routes quickly change to desperation as he gets used to the routine. King of the ward is Kino Loy (Andy Serkis), and he makes sure no one has time to focus on anything but their work quota – something Cassian gets pretty good at after 30 days pass in near silence.
But he’s not the only one who’s desperate to escape. Syril Karn (Kyle Soller) is going mad stuck in his cubical at work, and his constant reports filed about Cassian finally bring him to the attention to Dedra Meero (Denise Gough). She’s been busy building up a clearer picture of the rebels, and now has enough of a lead from Karn to ask for resources on Ferrix to start picking up Cassian’s trail. All of which, unfortunately, points back to Bix (Adria Arjona).
Now doing what she can to look after Maarva (who is determined to be the galaxy’s best OAP rebel), Bix uses her secret radio to contact the antique shop on Coruscant. We already know that Kleya (Elizabeth Dulau) is something more than a shop assistant, but we now see that Luthen (Stellan Skarsgård) doesn’t exactly know it. Clearly playing two different sides, Kleya cuts off the radio link with Bix – but only after Luthen spills her name – giving her what she needs to put Vel and Cinta (now finally, thankfully, confirmed here as the first gay couple in live-action Star Wars) on the same trail.
Is might all be too late though. As soon as Bix finds herself cut-off from Coruscant, Meero arrests her and starts strapping her to a chair to have Cassian’s location beaten out of her. Back in the city, Mon Mothma (Genevieve O’Reilly) isn’t doing much better as she loses sight of her new secret backer at another awful cocktail party.
Is all hope lost? Maybe not. Ending with the not so big reveal of Luthen meeting Saw Gerrera (Forest Whitaker) on Segra Milo, the scrappy infighting between rebel factions gives a glimmer of something bigger brewing – not least with the two clearly visible X-Wings parked in front of Saw’s base.
Better still, a brief prison chat around the feeding tube tells us that news of the heist on Aldhani has somehow made it to the cells. The inmates might be literally killing themselves for the Empire, but nothing opens locked doors like the spark of rebellion.
- This isn’t Andy Serkis’ first role in Star Wars. He also played Supreme Leader Snoke in The Force Awakens.
- Luthen’s insistence that Saw meet with “Anto Kreegyr” gives us a new name – billed here as another separatist bigwig who’s surely going to play a big part in the rest of the series.
- Saw’s live-action debut shows him here without the breathing mask and robotic legs we see him with in Rogue One. Is Andor planning on revealing how he got his injuries?
‘Andor’ releases new episodes on Disney+ every Wednesday