Andor – the much awaited prequel to the film Rogue One – begins as we follow the adventures of Cassian Andor, learning what drives him to join up in the quest of the Rebellion to overthrow the Empire.
Recap of Andor Episode 1.1
The show opens with Cassian Andor as he steps into a rather nice intergalactic brothel. While he is there, he is hassled by two sentry guards of the Corporation but, despite his attempts to have the lady helping him deal with them first, she refuses.
Ultimately, we learn that Cassian is there not to be a customer but instead he is looking for his sister who he thinks may have worked there. It turns out she disappeared some time ago and he leaves empty handed.
But, unfortunately, the two guards follow him and decide to make trouble. He lures them in with a promise of credits in his pocket, using their proximity to fight them. In the midst of the struggle, Cassian kills one of them by accident in hand-to-hand combat. When the second guard attempts to lay out a story to give him cover for the first guard’s death, Cassian uses the blaster he picked up in the battle to kill the second guard, then he runs away.
On the free planet of Ferrix, we get a little comedy as a droid we come to know as B2EMO is heading for home, driving through what is essentially a massive junkyard. He comedically defends himself when a massive hound-like creature attempts to relieve himself on B2EMO. But eventually, B2EMO makes it to Cassian who is asleep on a cot in the wreckage of a ship. B2EMO gives Cassian a run down of the people he missed before Cassian makes him promise to tell a lie, stating that B2EMO doesn’t know where Cassian is.
The next scene is on the planet Kensari, Cassian’s home world and it is of him and his little sister. There is a large gather of children who seem to be living in very simple, primitive shelters. He has an encounter with his little sister that ends as they see a wounded ship, clearly heading to crash and burn on their world. As it crashes, they all react in surprise and awe, and we get the impression that this is some that they have never seen or dealt with before.
But in current events, Cassian meets up with Brasso, one of the people that B2EMO said was looking for Cassian the night before. He and Brasso quietly work out an alibi for Cassian for the night before, which includes an explanation for the wounds he has from the fight with the guards. Brasso is clearly someone Cassian trusts.
But on Morlana One at the corporate security headquarters, Syril Karn is reporting on the death of the two sentries that occurred the night before. But his boss has figured out what has happened: they chose the wrong person to harrass and paid the price. As the chief is heading to some kind of managerial conference, he orders Syril to make up a story for how the two somewhat gallantly died and cover up the actual goings-ons. This clearly doesn’t sit well with Syril, as he has a lead from the brothel of the report of a dark Kensari male being present and a likely suspect.
Cassian, recognizing he is in a bit of trouble, visits his mechanic friend Bix. They clearly have worked together before but Cassian needs her to help him sell an untraceable NS-9 Starpath unit, all intact. Bix tries to put him off, to become a partner in the deal, all the while Timm, who works with Bix and we learn is a romantic interest stares and has a concerned look.
In the second flashback to his childhood, an older girl returns, from some kind of hunt. The children celebrate and begin to apply some kind of tribal paint; the inference is that they are about to go investigate this crashed spaceship. But Kassa stopped when he tries to add his paint on, the older girl defends him and he smiles as he gets to put it on his face.
Back in present time, the investigator Syril is looking through space charts and determines that they have an unknown ship he wants followed. The radar tech seems incredulous but Syril is very direct in ordering him to do so or he will find someone who will. The same plays out later when he orders them to put out an edict on Ferrix, even though the corporation doesn’t really have a presence there.
But on Ferrix, Cassian runs into Nurchi, who he owes some money. Nurchi wants his money and comes to scare Cassian with a large alien named Vetch. But Cassian knows Vetch and works out pretty quickly that he won’t actually hurt him.
Around the same time, Bix leaves her work, but interested boyfriend Timm follows. Timm loses her when he bumps into someone. And Bix shows up at a scrap yard, asks for a certain part which we see is a ruse for getting to a hidden communication tower, where she signals what we presume is the buyer Cassian wanted her to connect with, using a special code.
Meanwhile, Cassian is making a swap of chip logs on ship he borrowed, working to better cover his tracks and build a better alibi for the two sentry guards he killed.
And the episode ends with one last flashback, as we see the younger Cassian, heading out with the older youth, face freshly painted. The episode ends as he turns his back on his younger sister and heads out.
Thoughts on Andor: Episode 1
So you cannot talk about a new part of the Star Wars franchise without talking about how you think and feel about the parts that came before it. I am a Star Wars kid. One of my earliest memories is seeing the first movie multiple times with my Dad in the theater as a 4 year old.
Since then, there have been good and bad parts of the franchise. In general, I fall into the camp that thinks the new Star Wars material is at its best when it widens and expands the galaxy and the characters we know. (I am that rare fan who LOVED Rian Johnson’s Star Wars movie.) So with that in mind, what do I think of Andor?
Like the film that it is a prequel to, Andor is a fantastic expansion of the Star Wars world. Yes, it ties back to the Rogue One film, which unpacks some things and has an important pivotal tie-in to the first movie, but it is shows us new things and parts. So, while we are getting the Cassian Andor backstory, it is also expanding the scope and galaxy.
Obviously, with Disney’s resources, the show is well funded, and it looks great. The cast is excellent but mainly newcomers to me at least, which I think helps us be immersed more quickly into the story. Given the rumors of Tony Gilroy having to work hard to save Rogue One with re-writes and re-shoots, it feels like we are in good and capable hands as he is the showrunner and writer for this series.
Overall, the first episode does good work in a short package, establishing some key plot lines, introducing us to an ensemble of characters and pushing forward into a new Star Wars story. Very excited to see what comes from this series!