I said it last week, and I am going to say it again: “Andor” is currently the best “Star Wars” property since “The Last Jedi.” And it’s one of the best sci-fi shows of the year, in general. Susanna White, Toby Haynes, Dan Gilroy, Diego Luna, and the whole team’s work should’ve been viewed on the big screen because what they’ve pulled off up to now is nothing short of spectacular. So, in the previous episode, here’s what happened: Cassian (Luna) realized how integral he is to the mission when Vel (Faye Marsay) and Taramyn (Gershwyn Eustache Jnr) essentially revealed that they are attacking the Aldhani Garrison based on bookish knowledge. He finalized the fact that he would be the one to get the freighter through the Eye, and the group started their journey to the outskirts of the Garrison. On their way, Skeen (Ebon Moss-Bachrach) got the drop on Andor and outed him as someone with ulterior motives. Cassian didn’t deny it and said that he wanted to get the job done for the money. If the Rebels could live with that, he was willing to stay on. Else, he was ready to walk away from it all.
Major Spoilers Ahead
Taramyn, Andor, Skeen, And Nemik Invade The Garrison
Nemik (Alex Lawther), who is still feeling betrayed by the fact that Andor is not on the mission for the cause and just wants the money, starts rambling about his sleeplessness because he is nervous about the invasion. He talks about “The Role of Mercenaries in the Galactic Struggle for Freedom” and how weapons are tools, and those that use them are, by extension, assets that one must wield to their best advantage. He says that since the Empire has no moral boundaries, one should take every chance they get to show the fascists how an insurgency adapts. Andor kind of deflates him by saying that the Empire doesn’t care enough to learn from their critics. For the Empire, everyone who is under them is meaningless. Nemik retorts by assuming that Andor thinks people should submit to the powers that be because it’s pointless to fight. Andor responds by reminding him that he’s still there fighting for the right cause. Nemik accepts that response by saying that he’s thankful that he’s doing something, no matter what his reasoning is. Andor assures Nemik that he’s going to fare well on the mission and sleep peacefully as well.
Commandant Jayhold Beehaz (Stanley Townsend, Lt. Gorn (Sule Rimi), and Col. Petigar (Richard Katz) mock the Aldhani group, led by their Chieftan (David Hayman), for continuing their tradition of coming to the temple to watch the Eye. They essentially explain to the audience how fascism works and how fascists force people to choose between honor and sacrifice. But, like most fascists, Beehaz and Petigar lack the self-awareness that their ego blinds them, thereby making them susceptible to attacks from anyone with a spine. Taramyn, Andor, Skeen, and Nemik, dressed as Aldhanis, proceed towards that group of pilgrims to mingle with them and then disrobe to pose as Imperial guards. On their way, when Andor asks why Taramyn loves to give orders, Skeen reveals that he used to be a Stormtrooper. Andor is visibly upset by it because they are known for thoughtlessly committing genocide. Skeen says that Cinta (Varada Sethu) had a more visceral reaction to the same revelation because her family was slaughtered by Stormtroopers. I am not sure if he’s insinuating that Taramyn was one of the Stormtroopers who did the deed because that must be devastating.
Anyway, while Taramyn, Skeen, Andor, and Nemik disguise themselves as Imperial guards to welcome the Aldhani pilgrims, Vel and Cinta prepare to enter the Garrison via an underwater route. The meeting between the Chieftan and Beehaz goes “well” on the surface. Because as soon as they part ways, the Chieftan burns the ceremonial goat skin for obvious reasons. It also looks like Gorn is partially to blame for it because he mistranslates the Chieftan’s words to make it more palatable for Beehaz. While all this is going on, Vel and Cinta climb up the dam, install the communications jammer, and proceed to rappel down it (after some hesitation from Vel, probably because of her vertigo) so that they can meet the rest of the group when they ambush Beehaz, his family, and Petigar. As for the ambush, it goes smoothly until Petigar decides to be a hero and holds Nemik hostage. Cinta gets the drop on Petigar and shoots him down. Beehaz pretends that he isn’t the one who can give them access to the Imperial payroll. Vel calls his bluff and holds his family hostage to motivate him to cooperate.
The Rebels’ Plan Is Discovered, And They Suffer Heavy Casualties
Corporal Kimzi (Nick Blood) is the only one who manages to figure out that there’s something wrong because the comms aren’t working. The Rebels put Cinta in charge of looking over the hostages, and Nemik educates her on which buttons to touch and which buttons to stay away from (the Alkenzi Air Base one). Vel and the rest order Beehaz to accompany them to the storage and threaten him with his family’s death. Beehaz says that Vel is surely going to kill his wife and son even if he helps the Rebels. Vel explains the basic difference between the Rebels and the Empire by saying that they aren’t hypocrites, and they’ll leave everyone unharmed if they get what they want. Before leaving for the storage, Vel and Cinta touch hands and wish each other to stay safe. Yes, it’s a hint that they are a couple. Yes, it’s 2022, and Disney is still limiting lesbian representation to the touching of hands. The gesture is obvious enough to be obvious. At the same time, it isn’t obvious enough and can be ignored. But since it’s not the focus of the story (yet), I can give it a pass (for now).
After getting to the flight deck – which doubles as the storage unit for the payroll – the Rebels hold the guards hostage and order them to load as many canisters of Imperial credits into the nearby freighter as they can. Andor and Nemik start to fire up the freighter while the rest of them start loading it up. Kimzi tunes into the line between Cinta and Nemik and hears him say that the vault has been breached, and they are preparing the freighter. Cinta changes into Imperial gear, and as soon as she hears some chatter on the radio about the attack, she shuts down the lights of the entire Garrison. The Aldhanis continue with their ceremony while Gorn heads towards the vault through the tunnels, and Kimzi leads a small troop of soldiers in the same direction. As the meteor shower (or the explosion of billions of crystals, as Nemik explained) commences, Gorn reaches the freighter first and shocks Beehaz. He says that Gorn is going to hang for this betrayal. Gorn says that for doing what he has done for seven years – and that too under Beehaz’s orders – he deserves a punishment that’s worse than that.
The Alkenzi Air Base scrambles three Tie Fighters in order to stop anyone from escaping. Kimzi finally arrives at the flight deck, and he and his soldiers start to surround the place. Gorn tries to keep up appearances and orders Kimzi to stand down. He even coaxes Beehaz to parrot his order. But as soon as he faints, Kimzi and his men start firing, and the Rebels fire back. Gorn gets shot, and he dies. Taramyn falls next. Vel, Skeen, and Nemik run into the freighter, and Andor fires it up. The forward motion of the freighter does send the guards shooting at them, flying backward. But it also has the same effect on Vel, Skeen, and Nemik. And while Vel and Skeen don’t suffer any major injuries, Nemik gets crushed between two heavy carriers loaded with the payroll. When Vel and Skeen pull him out of there, Nemik says that he can’t feel his legs, thereby indicating that his spine has been damaged. Vel gives him a shot of adrenaline so that he can guide Andor through the Eye. Then we get a dazzling chase sequence where Andor flies the freighter through the exploding crystals while the Tie Fighters crash and burn in the sky.
‘Andor’ Episode 6: Ending Explained: Is The Rebels’ Mission A Successful One?
After escaping the Tie Fighters, Skeen, Vel, and Andor find themselves staring at two options. One, letting Nemik die and taking the payroll to the designated spot where they’ve to deliver it in order to get resources. Two, taking Nemik to the doctor – thereby taking a detour from the mission – and then going about their plan. Andor decides for the whole team and asks Skeen to direct him to the doctor because he wants to save Nemik. Doctor Quadpaw (Aidan Cook) starts working on Nemik while Vel looks on. Outside the operating hut, Skeen tells Andor that there are eighty million Imperial credits in the freighter. They can split it two ways and leave. He says that Andor can fly the freighter to a safe place that he knows, and they can divide the money and live freely. Andor questions his allegiance to the Rebellion. Skeen admits that he’s a Rebel, but he’s selfish as well. Andor asks about his brother and his revenge mission. Skeen says that he never had a brother. I think that piece of information makes Andor realize that this isn’t a test, and that Skeen is actually a traitor. So, he shoots and kills Skeen.
Andor proceeds to the operating hut and finds out that the operation has been an unsuccessful one and Nemik has died. He asks Quadpaw to give him his ship so that he can get out of there. He tells them that Skeen was about to betray Vel and the mission and that he’s dead. Vel expresses her disgust and informs Andor that Taramyn did warn her about him. That said, Andor surprises her by saying that he’s going to take the amount he was promised (200,000 credits) and leave whatever’s there in the freighter for her. He even gives back the Khyber crystal and tells Vel to pass it on to Rael (Stellan Skarsgård). If he was a fiend, he could’ve kept it with him and sold it away for some more cash. But no. Andor proves that he isn’t dishonorable and that he is willing to keep his side of the bargain. On some level, Vel does understand that, which is why she requests Andor to take Nemik’s manifesto with him because Nemik wanted him to have it. This makes Nemik’s death all the more painful and gives a melancholic touch to Andor’s departure from the mission, as he reluctantly takes the manifesto and leaves.
Major Partagaz (Anton Lesser) calls an emergency meeting and tells everyone that no one is going home for the night because he wants every Star Sector and Planetary Retaliation plan ready for presentation by midnight. This indicates that news of the attack on the Aldhani Garrison has reached Coruscant. And the news is so galaxy-shattering that it forces Mon Mothma (Genevieve O’Reilly) to pause her address to the Senate and take a look at it. Finally, the information reaches Rael as a customer lets him know about the attack on the Aldhani Garrison. He goes into his storage room to heave a sigh of relief because he thinks that the Rebels have succeeded. But is it a success, though? Andor is probably on the run. Vel and Cinta are the only survivors of the mission. Vel is stranded on some moon with Nemik and Skeen’s dead bodies and the payroll, which is on a freighter that she can’t fly. Cinta is stranded in Aldhani, where she has to moonlight as an Imperial officer or as an Aldhani pilgrim. The Empire is going to identify Taramyn and Gorn (whose dead bodies are in the Garrison) and probably trace them back to their allies. So, despite the dazzling escape through the Eye, things feel appropriately bleak at this point in the show. That said, this is just the halfway point of “Andor.” Things can get way worse for our characters, thereby giving us an intense viewing experience.