REVIEW: ‘Andor,’ Episode 5 – “The Axe Forgets”

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Andor Episode 5 - But Why Tho

Andor continues its mix of political intrigue and espionage with its latest episode, “The Axe Forgets”. Having been inserted into a group of Rebels by Luthen Rael (Stellan Skarsgård), Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) is working to help said Rebels steal an Imperial payroll. But friction rises within the group when Cassian points out the flaws in their plan, and many of the members don’t trust him. Meanwhile, Mon Mothma (Genevieve O’Reilly) deals with friction in her own household.  Syril Karn (Kyle Soller) deals with unemployment. And Imperial Security Bureau officer Dedra Meero (Denise Gough) continues to track the fledgling Rebellion.

If that sounds like a lot, it is, but “The Axe Forgets” manages to juggle it with relative ease. A recurring form of criticism about the “golden age” of TV is that most story beats are artificially stretched out over a number of episodes when they could have been resolved in just one. Or there’s the classic “hour-long movie” claim, which always baffled me. It’s a television show, not a movie – you should treat it as such. Andor avoids this trap by giving each of its subplots equal attention and showcasing how they all intersect.

Karn lost his job at  Preox-Morlana Authority Corporation due to his pursuit of Cassian, and that pursuit has turned into an obsession. Mothma and Rael’s efforts to help the Rebels have left her unable to connect with her daughter and him properly paranoid. And Meero starts to see a pattern in weaponry being smuggled from Imperial-occupied planets. Even though other ISB officers tell her that it’s nothing but a coincidence, she (and by extension, Star Wars Rebels fans) know that Rebel cells are popping up all over the galaxy – which will become a problem later on. Writer Dan Gilroy and director Susanna White spread out these threads in a way that keeps Andor Episode 5 moving at a steady pace. And considering it’s an hour-long episode that’s an impressive feat.

Andor Episode 5 also keeps the tension ramping up between Cassian and his Rebel allies, as none of them trust him. Especially Arvel (Ebon Moss-Bachrach), who questions him at every turn. But Cassian turns out to be a welcome asset – he knows Imperial machinery, which will come in handy during the heist, and is quick to notice how everyone carries their blasters. The episode even gives Luna a chance to deliver a fiery speech, which is part of what I love about Cassian. Even at this point in his life, he has strong beliefs that he adheres to. And he hates the Empire as much as the Rebels do.

In fact a large part of what makes Andor work is how it depicts the Empire’s grasp on the galaxy, and how it’s slowly stripped away what people care for. The Rebels are being helped by a high-ranking Lieutenant, Gorn, whose dedication to the Empire cost him the love of his life. And Arvel has his own personal reasons for wanting to destroy the Empire, which explains his aminosity towards Cassian. He doesn’t want anyone interfering in his revenge. It’s a surprising turn from Moss-Bachrach, who’s mostly been utilized in comedic supporting roles. But it’s also a welcome one: the man is a genuinely great actor!

Andor Episode 5 juggles multiple plotlines with ease, as Cassian navigates working with the Rebel Alliance. The next episode should be fun, as Cassian and his Rebel cell will finally pull off their big heist of the Imperial payroll. It remains to be seen if they can successfully pull off the said heist, but at the very least fans are starting to see the beginnings of Cassian Andor, the Rebel leader.

New episodes of Andor will be available to stream Wednesdays on Disney+.


Andor Episode 5 - "The Axe Forgets"
  • 8.5/10
    Rating - 8.5/10
8.5/10

TL;DR

Andor Episode 5 juggles multiple plotlines with ease, as Cassian navigates working with the Rebel Alliance. The next episode should be fun, as Cassian and his Rebel cell will finally pull off their big heist of the Imperial payroll. It remains to be seen if they can successfully pull off the said heist, but at the very least fans are starting to see the beginnings of Cassian Andor, the Rebel leader.

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