Finally, after what feels like weeks, we’re back with more Andor! We’re not even halfway through this show but as I said last week I’m already digging its grounded and gritty style. I’m excited to see where the latest episode, titled “The Axe Forgets,” goes, particularly since we left Cassian amongst a group of rebels who planned to take out an Imperial garrison. This should be great!
Let’s get to it.
What Happened in Andor Season 1 Episode 5
We open on Syril with his mother, who pours some blue milk into what appears to be Captain Crunch whilst chastising the man for slouching. She asks if he has any future prospects following his failure on Morlana 1, a question he refuses to answer. “I’ll call Uncle Harlo,” she says matter of factly. He can give the kid a chance. Syril’s mom slides a plate full of treats toward him and we get a sense of why he is the way he is.
We return here later and learn that Uncle Harlo never thought police work suited Syril.
Also, these scenes look like they were shot in the 1970s. I mean that in a good way.
Cassian wakes up and is startled to see all of his belongings are gone. He rushes out of his hut and finds a shirtless Arvel Skeen fumbling with them nearby. “What the hell,” Andor says.
“Relax, this stuff is junk anyway,” Arvel says. “Where you came from, you left in a big hurry.”
Andor notes a barcode tattoo on Arvel’s chest. “Krayt’s Head,” he asks, which I assume is a prison because otherwise Wookieepedia says it’s literally just a Krayt’s head. Arvel points to more markings. “By the Hand,” Cassian says, which might have something to do with Grand Admiral Thrawn.
“What about you?” Arvel asks.
“Sipo. Youth center,” Cassian says and Arvel seems disappointed.
“The axe forgets, but the tree remembers,” Arvel says. He then points out the rest of the motley crew and explains how each is all in for the cause, but he still doesn’t trust Cassian.
“I’m here to win and walk away,” says Cassian.
“Wouldn’t that be lovely,” Arvel replies.
Later, Cassian speaks with young Karis Nemik, who has had far too much coffee and is keen to word vomit his personal ideology about the Empire and the rebellion. Luckily, Taramyn pulls Cassian away before Karis can really get cooking.
We get another planning sequence in which our ragtag group use pieces of wood to visualize their target. Vel and Taramyn are curious about how to calibrate the weight of the freighter they plan to fly out of the garrison. Cassian quickly realizes they don’t know what the hell they’re doing and calls them out on their BS, and then states: “I’m flying it. It’s my ass on the line here.”
They reluctantly agree and he’s quite flabbergasted. “What would you have done if I wasn’t here?”
“We would’ve figured it out,” Vel says.
Later, we see Star Wars goats (they have multiple horns)! Taramyn tries to teach Cassian “Don’t Touch Me” Andor and the others how to walk like a soldier. Vel and Cinta scowl nearby. Cassian suggests Skeen switch his weapon to the other side of his body because he is left-handed. At first, Taramyn scoffs, but Vel steps in and quizzes Cassian on his knowledge of, um, the group’s shooting habits. He knows whether each of them is right or left-handed and even points out that Nemik favors right but shoots left.
Before they can hoist Cassian in the air, a tie fighter approaches. The tiny ship does a fly by, which freaks everyone out and causes Karis to spout more Art of War nonsense.
The group heads back to camp, where Arvel again messes with Cassian’s stuff. “Bruh,” our hero snaps, “don’t touch my shit!” Arvel clearly doesn’t trust our rugged hero. (Cassian also kinda sorta flirts with Cinta, which Vel doesn’t seem to like.)
These scenes are intercut with bits at the Aldhian Garrison nearby, where we see double agent Lieutenant Gorn making his rounds and berating his men for their sloppy detail. At one point, one of his officers suggests the green planet is much better without all the nasty Dhanis running around. Gorn flinches at this comment.
We also have a brief scene with Mon Mothma engaging in a family dispute with her daughter Leida while Perrin — her husband?! — watches with silent amusement. Eventually, Mothma has enough teenage angst for one day and exits stage right.
Meanwhile, dutiful Imperial supervisor Dedra Meero burns the late-night oil to continue her investigation into her rebellion theory, supported by her very loyal assistant. He thinks she’s onto something, even though all of the information suggests a bunch of random occurrences on different planets. “If I were them, this is how I’d do it,” she snarls.
“It’s too random to be random,” he agrees.
The next morning, Cassian quizzes Vel on Lieutenant Gorn, who allegedly lost his woman and his taste for the Empire all in the same day. “Everyone has their own rebellion,” she notes.
Speaking of which, Gorn continues his manipulation of the men at the Imperial base. He pretends to be a hard-ass and even orders a pair of officers to paint a structure during the Eye ceremony. They meekly suggest allowing everyone to experience the all-important ceremony, explaining that it’ll be good for morale.
“Ugh, fine,” Gorn says. “Everyone can go and leave the base mostly empty, but be here all the earlier the next day.” Everything is proceeding as he has foreseen.
We jump back to our ragtag heroes who traverse Middle-earth to get closer to the garrison. At a rest stop, Arvel pulls a knife and snatches Cassian’s Kyber Crystal. “Ah, now, come on,” Cassian says, pulling his own weapon. Everyone shouts at someone and an Imperial shuttle kills the mood.
“Stay this madness,” Vel shouts. “We can kill each other later.”
For no reason at all, Cassian relays his reason for being there. “I ain’t doing this for your rebellion, I intend to be well paid — I’m in it for the money.”
This revelation rocks our ragtag team to the core. Particularly, Karis who is all rebel ideology all the time. “You’re just here for the money?”
“You should have told us,” Taramyn tells Vel.
“Why,” Cassian says. “If she had it would’ve just been something else. The day before is always hard.” Basically, you’re all just scared and looking for a reason to worry.
“You’re scared of the mission too, Clem,” Arvel says.
“Sure I am,” Cassian says. “But there’s being scared and losing your nerve. Don’t make me your excuse.”
“You’re just here for the money,” Karis says.
Back with the Mothmas, we get a cool shot of a deluxe car rolling through Coruscant. Things aren’t going too well between our Rebel leader and Perrin. I’m not sure what he’s thinking, but he doesn’t like it.
As everyone settles into their positions the night before the attack, Arvel reveals that Imperial soldiers killed his brother. That’s why he hates the Empire. This is something unique to the Rogue One universe — it’s our only view of what it’s like to live under Imperial control. Films like the original Star Wars hinted at the turmoil caused by the Emperor’s reign, but we never really saw the pain inflicted by the bad guys.
Tony Gilroy is all about such details. We see a planet overtaken be legions of Stormtroopers in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and get a continuation of that tension here on Andor. It’s a small but crucial detail that actually raises the purpose of the rebellion seen in the original trilogy even more. Cool stuff.
We cut to Luthen nervously fidgeting about his shop, clearly distressed by the upcoming mission. His coworker tells him to calm the hell down. Nothing can be traced back to them, except the thief Andor.
“It’ll all be over this time tomorrow,” she says.
“Or it’ll just be starting,” he says, a tinge of excitement on his face.
“Or that,” she agrees, smiling slightly.
Final Thoughts on Andor Season 1 Episode 5
I figured we’d get a few filler episodes at some point or another during this season. And yet, I didn’t hate this episode. We learned quite a bit about our characters, and the plot at least felt like it was moving towards an objective, even if we could have nixed the episode entirely and jumped straight into the actual mission that will likely take place next week.
Still, when a show is this good, I have no problem spending more time learning smaller details, motivations, and character quirks. That just means the payoff will be even more spectacular and emotional, which is something I haven’t said about a Star Wars show in a long, long time.
Until next week, folks — when the fun really begins!