With most Star Wars content, the element of fear is displayed by Stormtroopers decimating towns and explosions, killing everyone in sight. But once again, Andor proves that extreme violence doesn’t always equal fear. Sometimes, the greatest way to elicit terror is by showing the smaller details of the Empire’s disdain for human life.
That’s exactly what we received in this week’s episode. Between interrogations, a collapsing Senate, and chaos in the prison complex, things are ramping up for a huge battle in future episodes. So, let’s dive deeper into the atrocities that happened this week.
Dedra is the One We Should Fear
Star Wars is known for its villains. Vader, Palpatine, and Darth Maul are standouts in the series, but a new villain is rising, and she’s ready to become a household name. Over the course of the show, Dedra has been busy collecting data on stolen Imperial technology to prove her worth within the ISB. Now, with Bix Caleen as her prisoner, she sees an opportunity to extract information from Bix, by whatever means necessary.
Audiences witness Dedra’s evilness firsthand in her treatment of Bix. She’s a calculated character who knows exactly what to do and say to get what she wants. Her desire? To get a detailed list of stolen equipment and the people involved with transporting it. While Bix remains headstrong and determined, Dedra knows how to break her down with a few simple threats.
The very worst thing you can do right now is bore me.”
“You’re not gonna believe me anyway, are you?”
“No, I suppose not.”Dedra to Bix, Andor Episode 9
Torture has been the Empire’s strong suit, and they use rebel insurgents as guinea pigs for their latest experiments. Dedra doesn’t bat an eye as Bix is subjected to a new type of sound torture. Her screams fill the halls and frighten those watching, but in the end, Dedra gets exactly what she wants. With this newfound information, Dedra is set to make her mark within the ISB.
A Simple Warning
Even amongst those that praise Dedra’s actions, she’s still scary as hell. We find out that with all of Syril’s free time, he’s been keeping a close eye on Dedra. He is in awe of her strength and determination of seeking “justice.” However, he might’ve bitten off more than he could chew. Once Dedra finds out about his stalking tendencies, she makes it clear to Syril that if he oversteps one more time, he’ll be sent to the outer rim for eternity.
One of the main takeaways from this episode? Don’t mess with Dedra. She is a character that we’ll have to keep an eye out for in future episodes. She’s already planning on using Maarva as bait to trap Cassian in her grasp. With no care for human life, Dedra is the true villain of this series.
Hiding in Plain Sight
Mon Mothma has done a great job at hiding her true allegiance, for now. But at her latest council meeting, we see that things aren’t going well in the intergalactic Senate. As Mon Mothma speaks out against the Emperor’s new “public safety” legislation, there are shouts of “Long live the Empire,” and booing drowns out Mothma’s warning of Imperial overreach.
This moment of separation is represented both orally and visually. While the shouts from others distract Mothma, it’s the lights fading in Senate boxes that speaks volumes. Nobody is listening to what she’s saying. But Mon Mothma is resilient, and continues with her speech, even though she’s speaking to a sea of darkness.
Mon Mothma hasn’t been the only one hiding where everyone can see her. In an exciting turn of events, we find out that Vel and Mothma are cousins. Now in the extravagant world of Coruscant, Vel is simply trying to find her footing. Encouraged by Cinta in last week’s episode, Vel tries to reassure her anxious cousin that they’re fighting the good fight. It was nice to see a moment of calm in between all the chaos and uncertainty for these characters.
However, I’m not so sure this will end well for the two of them. Throughout the series, I’ve been extremely suspicious of Perrin and Leida. Whenever Mon Mothma is having an important conversation, they seem to interrupt at the opportune time. So, I’m calling it now, Mon Mothma’s daughter, Leida, is going to be the one who turns in her mother.
An Uprising in the Making
As much as I loved seeing the wickedness of Dedra and the two cousins reuniting, my heart still goes out to Cassian. Just like the other main players in this episode, Cassian is trying to find out information about the prison. Throughout small clips, we see that he’s been working with other prisoners to form an escape plan. From cutting pipes to talking with Melshi (Duncan Pow) in the late hours of the night, the prisoners certainly have something up their sleeve.
This is the Cassian we’ve all been waiting to see. He’s fed up, angry, and determined to combat the inhumane conditions the Empire has put them in.
We’re cheaper than droids and easier to replace.”Cassian to Kino, Andor Episode 9
But to do that, he needs inside information. The only person that has that type of knowledge, is Kino (Andy Serkis). In last week’s episode, Kino was stern, authoritative, and overbearing, certainly not a guy that would cooperate with rebellion.
But the Empire has ways of breaking down even the strongest of characters. As the episode progresses, there’s a strange tension in the prison. In the holding hall, Taga (Tom Reed) communicates with the other levels using some sort of sign language. He discovers that something happened on Floor 2, but a sudden lockdown cuts the conversation short.
The Empire’s Mistake
It’s confirmed that all 100 men on Floor 2 were killed, but nobody knows why. Mayhem ensues at this news. Kino has never had to deal with outrage like this, and it’s Cassian who keeps him calm and collected. When Kino speaks to his crew to stay in line and keep on working, it’s almost as if he’s saying it to himself, trying to save his mind from going to the dark reality behind the situation.
If that weren’t bad enough, the oldest member of Cassian’s group, Ulaf (Christopher Fairbank), has a stroke during the middle of their shift. This is where we see a different side of Kino. He becomes protective, caring, and worried for the safety of the other men. Kino and Cassian lay with Ulaf as the medic finally arrives, but he only brings bad news.
There’s nothing they can do to save Ulaf, and he’s quickly euthanized. Grief and rage take over Kino as he demands the medic tell them everything he knows about what happened on Floor 2. The medic explains that the guards made a mistake. A man who was released from prison on Floor 4 ended up back on Floor 2 just a day later. When everyone found out, they were immediately killed. Their worst fears have come true at this moment, nobody is ever leaving this bleak hell.
Broken, grieving, and betrayed, there’s nothing that holds Kino back anymore. In a stunning last line of the episode, Kino finally gives in to Cassian’s request.
How many guards are on each level?”
“Never more than 12.”Cassian to Kino, Andor Episode 9
This episode of Andor was packed full of emotions, turmoil, and sadness. But from that rage comes action. I know I’m not the only one who can’t wait to see how Cassian and the prisoners retaliate against their oppressors.
Star Wars: Andor airs every Wednesday at midnight PST. Tune in next week for another thrilling recap! Until then, get caught up with last week’s episode here!
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