Andor Episode 7 Review: Star Wars Finally Reveals the Dark Side of the Rebellion
As the Empire begins striking back and Cassian returns home, Andor justifies its slower pacing with a cleverly layered mid-point episode.
This Star Wars: Andor article contains spoilers.
Andor Episode 7
The story of Cassian Andor has reached the point of no return. We’re beyond the halfway mark in Andor season 1, and if you’re still into this aggressively different Star Wars show, you’re certainly not going to stop watching now. The tone of episode 7, “Announcement,” seems to reflect this feeling, as the events in this episode all reinforce the same theme: the status quo of every single character is in flux, and everything has already changed irrecoverably.
In a somewhat unsurprising, but refreshing move, Cassian’s first decision after ditching the Rebels in “The Eye” is to return home to Ferrix and pay off his debts. Cassian’s homecoming is pretty horrible, and both Bix and his adoptive mother Maarva tell him to get lost for his own sake. The Empire is now on the planet in a big way, and everyone in town blames Cassian for that. This is quietly profound simply because we’ve never really seen this kind of thing in Star Wars before. While Obi-Wan Kenobi played with the notion that Owen blamed Ben for attracting trouble on Tatooine, all of that was, for canon reasons, kept a secret. In Andor, everything can be out in the open, which makes you wonder if any of Luke’s childhood friends or neighbors resented him for the increased Imperial presence on Tatooine once he became a Rebel hero. We tend to think of the Rebels as freedom fighters, but what this episode of Andor elucidates is the fact that the consequences of creating an open Rebellion are far-reaching and affect much more than those directly involved. The repercussions are never so black and white, either.
On Coruscant, this theme is meticulously unpacked in three separate conversations. Mon Mothma and Luthen debate about the ethics of forcing the Empire’s hand. Mon thinks Aldhani was a step too far, while Luthen thinks it was unavoidable. Later, Luthen’s assistant Kleya meets with Vel and tells her that Cassian is a “loose end” and needs to be killed to preserve all of their covers. Kleya coldly remarks that “this is what revolution looks like.” If you squint, Kleya in this moment kind of looks like Carrie Fisher did in the classic Star Wars films, which makes Kleya a kind of dark shadow of Leia herself. Both fight for the “good guys,” but Kleya seems to be making some down-and-dirty decisions that it seems hard to imagine coming from Leia. In fact, if there’s one missed opportunity for fan service, perhaps it’s right here: instead of having a 10-year-old Leia in Obi-Wan Kenobi, maybe in Andor, Kleya should have been Leia. Imagine how differently we’d feel about the machinations of the Rebellion if this were Leia putting a hit on Cassian Andor for the good of the revolution?
Which leads to the third big conversation along these same lines: Mon Mothma hits up her old school friend Tay Kolma (Ben Miles), who is a banker from her home planet of Chandrila. If there’s one thing the previous episodes of Andor made clear, it’s that the Rebellion needs money. Luthen wants to steal it from the Empire directly, while Mon Mothma wants to launder money through apparently “legitimate” means. Now, while breaking down the finances and the logistics of the Rebel Alliance might have been a fun thought experiment for Star Wars fans in the past, Andor is actually making this subtext of the Original Trilogy the text of this series. It shouldn’t work, but it absolutely does.
Everything in Andor is about logistics, and data, and minutiae, and the stakes for not being able to interpret that information are ridiculously high. In what might be secretly the biggest shift in the episode, Deedra successfully convinces her boss at the ISB (Imperial Security Bureau) that the Rebels are launching a coordinated effort to steal Imperial technology. Is Deedra just really good at her job, or is there more going on there? Because Andor is obsessed with realism, every single person who works for the Rebellion also has another identity, which seems to align with the Empire. Could this work the other way? We got one Imperial turncoat in the form of Lt. Gorn (Sule Rimi) already, but what about Deedra? Is this a character who is presented to us as one of the “bad guys,” but is actually working for the Rebels? There’s a moment in this episode, where she seems upset by the new measures the Empire is taking to crack down. Her assistant, Heert (Jacob James Beswick), notes that she’s “not pleased.” Her response makes her sound like she’s loyal to the Empire, saying she thinks they’re “playing straight into their hands.” Technically, this is accurate. And exactly what Luthen wanted, for the Empire to strike back, and for the actual star war to begin.
The episode ends with Cassian having left Ferrix and on the run on some kind of party planet called Niamos. There, he runs into trouble with shoretroopers and a KX security droid that looks just like K-2SO from Rogue One. The episode ends with Cassian being imprisoned and likely being logged into the Imperial system where the ambitious Syril Karn can finally track him down. Don’t expect the former Pre-Mor officer to stay at that desk job at the Bureau of Standards (the worldbuilding on this show is stellar) for too long.
Overall, this episode looks a lot more like the Star Wars we’re all familiar with (we even get stormtroopers!), and that’s because Andor is literally taking its first steps into a much larger story. It’s been a slow burn, but now that we’re here, it all feels worth it. The calm before the storm is over. The storm is starting.