Last time, Cassian agreed to take on a job for Luthen, helping a ragtag group of rebels to take down the quarterly payroll for an entire sector. But he is still a wanted man. Can he trust this new crew? Can he trust the leadership of Vel? And what about the people like Luthen, who seem to be perfectly fine with others risking life and limb for this new rebellion?
Recap of Andor Episode 5: The Axe Forgets
We open with Syril getting the passive aggressive riot act read by his mom on his return from working in the Corporation’s security group. She essentially says that he has no options, that he should have let her visit when he was on the up track of his career and it is now time to call “Uncle Harlo” for their favor. Syril doesn’t seem to be too excited about the idea.
When we shift to Cassian, he is waking up in a hammock and suddenly realizing some of his stuff is not with him. Arvel Skeen, a member of the the crew that Cassian has joined, has taken his stuff and checked on it, on direction from Vel. In doing so, he has become even more suspicious of Cassian, in part due to Cassian having a Corporation weapon among his gear.
The two of them discuss this and some information about the rest of the crew, including that Arvel has a tattoo from Krayt Head, which from the discussion sounds like some kind of prison or containment facility and also a tattoo that marks him as “By the Hand”, which is less clear. Cassian talks about his own time in a youth detention facility.
Arvel then drops the quote that the episode draws its title from “The axe forgets but the tree remembers,” meaning that the rebellion is like the tree, remembering all the past things done to them, and the reason for their involvement.
Meanwhile, Mon Mothma is shown at home, having an issue with her daughter and husband. The daughter doesn’t want to ride with her, and uses her teenage superpower of sarcasm and insight to really hurt her mother’s feelings, pointing out that most of what her mom does is out of wanting to appear to be a loving parent without doing the actual work of being a loving parent.
But Cassian gets a better reaction from his younger crew member Nemik, who geeks out with him about a navigational tool, an older model. Karis then gives a hint to why he is involved in the Rebellion: the Empire and their technology have made people weaker, making them rely on Imperial tech, while forgetting their own ways of living and doing things. Nemik is evidently working on a treatise and lays out part of it.
When Skeen pushes on Cassian to get more about what he believes, Cassian doesn’t offer much except that he knows what he believes. But they are interrupted when Cassian is called to meet with the leaders.
As they discuss the plan, Cassian realizes that the team doesn’t have an idea on how to make adjustments for weight on their get away vessel. They argue some before Cassian lays down the truth: they needed him for this mission and he should be the one flying it out, since he understands the ship in ways that they did not. And he goes out of his way to give Vel the ability to say it is her decision, without a need to undermine her in the eyes of the rest of the crew.
At the base, Lt. Gorn gives some soldiers a major tongue lashing, as they have not prepared the remains of the Temple for the coming festival. He also has a conversation where it is revealed that the Empire is going to destroy the valley where they are based, in order to make a larger base.
Later in the episode, he finds another reason to not have the lessened number of crew on-site during the coming meteor storm, giving in when he is pushed by his subordinate leaders, as they know how much it will mean to the others to see the accompanying light show. It is a nice piece of maneuvering that will give him political cover after the heist has occurred during the coming Eye.
When the crew at camp practice being a rebel group, Cassian eventually points out several things they are doing wrong, namely putting a left handed person on the wrong side. When the crew pushes him on his other observations, he pretty quickly impresses by giving a list of attributes and things he has noticed about each of the crew members. When they are frightened by a ship coming through the valley they are training in, you can see that it rattles the team.
On Ferrix, we see the work of Lt. Supervisor Blevin, as he has decided that the world now needs a constant set of soldiers, as he is taking over a hotel and setting up the base, leaving it in the hands of a deputy official. It would seem, the hand of the Empire now stretches back into the world Cassian called home.
But at the same time, Dedra Meero cannot help but think that a bunch of random missing items are not a coincidence but part of a larger plot, one that she and one of her men are working hard to piece together.
But Syril also cannot seem to let go of what happened on Ferrix, after overhearing his mother’s conversation with Uncle Harlo. We know that he cannot seem to let it go, when we see him staring at the hologram image of Cassian Andor on his device.
When the crew begins to burn their model and camp, they are prepared. The next morning they start their trek, quizzing each other about the details. Vel reveals that Lt. Gorn is involved because of how he lost a local woman he loved. When they stop, things erupt, when Skeen attacks Cassian, revealing the kyber crystal that he has.
Cassian admits to the crew the hard truth: he is being paid for his work on this rebel operation. Cassian then gives the crew a speech about how the day before always is hard, with too much time to think and worry. Vel gets the crew to then make it to the camp, where they can each decide if they are in or out.
Once they arrive, they signal Lt. Gorn and then each of them has to decide. Skeen’s choice comes when he tells Cassian the story of his brother’s death, a farmer whose land and trees were taken from him by the Empire; in the midst of the depression that followed his brother rowed out in a boat, where he jumped over the side, with his pockets filled with stones.
Thoughts on Andor Episode 5: The Axe Forgets
This episode is really about the why and how of a team. From the get go, we get the questions and issues about why everyone is involved in the Rebellion and this effort in particular. The hatred of the Empire is unique and different for each of them but it is all rooted in their lack of freedom and being overrun. Skeen’s story is particularly moving and helps cement the reason that he is there.
It was an interesting scenario that happened in the discussion between Vel and Cassian over the ship and their get-away. It felt almost like the difference between people who have learned on a simulator (Vel and her team) and an actual pilot (Cassian).
There is also a little bit of levity in the episode as Cassian is suddenly seen by Vel as a threat, not to their mission or their rebellion but to her relationship with the other woman in the party, Cinta.
I genuinely cannot wait to see what happens next. Will the plan work the way that they all hope it will? What happens when and if pieces of it fall apart? And what are Cinta and Vel doing, as they have left the rest of the group without really explaining what their part of the mission will be?