Last time, Cassian sought to get his family to move and leave Ferrix, using his share from the heist on Aldhani. But with Maarva’s refusal to leave and the revelation that he is now hated in Ferrix – thanks to the stronger discipline his actions brought the planet – Cassian settles on a strange and sunny world only to discover that the long arm of the Empire reaches even there, as he is arrested.
What will happen to him now with his newly minted 6 year sentence? And with Dedra Meero finally having been given the authority to investigate this rebellion properly, will she discover Cassian’s role in the heist?
Recap of Andor Episode 8: Narkina 5
And Meero is hard at work now, working to figure out all the pieces that have been working behind the scenes to craft disgruntled people into the Rebellion. Despite some skepticism from her boss’s boss, she proceeds forward. But one of the key pieces is the investigation about what happened on Ferrix.
This leads into an interesting scenario has Syril – in the desk pushing job he has now – has created 6 different false tickets in an attempt to get Cassian Andor found. Merro comes for him, interrogates him, and learns that Syril has never seen the actual report of what happened, as he was forced to sign it previously.
Once she lets him read it, he is able to provide some more context but he isn’t able to help her much with the identity of Luthen, who she has codenamed “Axis.” Certain that Axis is at the center of these rebellion efforts, Merro is looking to close the loop on him and be a part of the crushing of the Rebellion, even as she dismisses Syril and sends him back to his desk job.
In the meantime on Coruscant, Mon Mothma is hard at work trying to raise funds and, gently, build some political support for the work she is doing. It is clear that some people are perfectly fine with the tightening noose that the Empire has enacted. And while some people discuss the problems that such actions may uphold, they seem more interested in the drinks and snacks at this party than they are with the causes that they seem to espouse.
And when Mothma connects with her banking friend Tay, she discovers that there are more issues coming, as Tay isn’t certain that he can move around the funds in the way she wants to support her “charity” work of supplying the Rebellion.
Meanwhile, over the course of the episode, we see Cassian Andor move along the prison labor pipeline of the Empire. He is sorted on the planet where he was arrested and sent to Narkina 5, a prison base on a planet.
He sees it is surrounded by water and he quickly learns that the prisoners there are made to work 12 hours shifts, with each table assembling the necessary items of the Empire’s needs.
The tables all work against each other in their room, and each room works against itself and it is a horribly efficient labor pool, there they are striving to have taste added to their gruel (what the best table gets each day) versus being shocked and pained through the electronic floors that damage their naked feet (which is what the worst team gets every day).
Over the course of 30 days, Cassian eventually seems to fall in line, working to help his team at least avoid punishment, even as they have to cover for an ailing older man on the team. But in his time there, he does learn that the sentence of everyone in the prison was increased when the heist on Aldhani happened.
The punishment is just too much for some, as at the end of one day, a prisoner commits execution by floor, by stepping out of his cell at night, choosing to end it versus being a part of the Empire’s forced labor pool.
But on Ferrix, Maarva is cared for by Bix and Brasso, but they are unable to convince her to go find a better place to rest. Instead, Bix reveals that Maarva is all in on the Rebellion, with her recent injury having happened when she was working to discover if the tunnel underground into the hotel, which the Empire took over for their new base, still exists. But Bix is worried so she takes the risk of signaling Luthen, looking for any information about Cassian.
She isn’t the only one looking for Cassian as Vel and Cinta from the Aldhani heist have made their way to Ferrix and are looking for Cassian as well. The couple have a rather intense conversation where Cinta has to remind Vel that nothing will be more important to her than the Rebellion, not even their relationship. And Cinta gets a room near Maarva’s and starts to wait for Cassian.
That plan is stretched when Meero arrives on Ferrix, having intercepted the communication with Luthen. And after she tortures Pak, the man who owns the yard where the equipment was hidden, Bix is brought before her.
But Luthen is held back from replying by Kleya, his assistant. In the end, he agrees and shuts down the communication channel but then heads out and visits Saw Gerrera, who you may recognize from the Rogue One film. Saw and Luthen have quite a heated conversation, where Saw refuses to work with a man Luthen recommends, due to their differences in terms of why they are a part of the Rebellion.
Thoughts on Andor Episode 8: Narkina 5
This episode should be used as a masterclass in world building over a short episode. There is so much that is stacked up and put together.
First, we get a full look at the industrial complex of the Empire and its labor source. Cassian wasn’t unaware of it before now; we know his planet and its people were essentially mined for parts. But now he sees it up close and becomes aware of its brutal efficiency.
Even though we aren’t given a clear idea of what they are making, the system is designed to do it incredibly well. Teams are pitted against teams in the same room. Rooms are led by chief inmates and rooms compete against one another. The glimpse we get when we see Cassian notice a man communicating via hand signals with another man from a different room is startling; there must be thousands of men in this prison camp where he is.
And he saw many of the bases as they arrived at Narkina 5. In the past, there have been many a joke in pop culture about how the Death Star was built and the labor around it. This episode gives a clear glimpse into a painful reality of prisoners and forced labor.
The evolution of Syril is still intriguing to me. The easy out for the writers room would be for Meero to embrace his over the top idealism and enlist him in her plan. But he was thrown out by her, just as he had been by others. I am starting to wonder if there won’t be a rebel crafted inside him for much different reasons than someone like Cassian.
Also, we keep getting little glimpses of Mothma’s daughter, Leida. I wonder what role she will have going forward? Is she secretly a rebel at heart too, confused by her mother’s actions that support the evils of the Empire? Or is she more a puppet of the Empire and going to turn on her mother when things come to a head? It is a curious character that they keep working into scenes but without much resolution thus far.