REVIEW: ‘Andor,’ Episode 9 – “Nobody’s Listening!”

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Andor Episode 9

Anyone who’s ever been a Star Wars fan knows that the Empire is synonymous with evil in a galaxy far far away. The series has steadily been exploring the depths of that evil, and Andor Episode 9, “Nobody’s Listening!” takes it up a notch. Cassian (Diego Luna) continues to toil away on Narkina 5 but soon learns that freedom isn’t coming for him or any of his fellow prisoners. Meanwhile,  Dedra Meero (Denise Gough) continues to tighten her grip on Ferrix and Bix Caleen (Adria Arjona) suffers in the process. And Mon Mothma (Genevieve O’Reilly) continues to navigate the intricate web of politics and rebellion while running into more than a few obstacles along the way.

I don’t mince words when I say that Andor Episode 9 is a hard watch. Bix is tortured for information and left a catatonic wreck in the process. Cassian works his hardest, but he sees firsthand what happens to prisoners that the Empire doesn’t deem useful. Mothma is forced to set up a meeting with a less-than-savory individual in order to continue funding for the Rebellion. Writer Beau Willmon, who penned this episode as well as last week’s installment, is clearly intending to show the struggles that normal people face in the Star Wars universe. And since there’s a way to go before the Rebellion becomes a formidable fighting force, that struggle is going to be extremely long and extremely hard.

Director Toby Haynes keeps the narrative moving at a steady pace, shifting from scene to scene with a fluidity that other shows would be envious of. The high-pitched whine of a sonic device leads into the whir of machinery as the prisoners on Narkina 5 go about their business. As Mon Mothma makes an impassioned speech at the Imperial Senate, the rise of voices gives way to a silent shot of her sitting in her hover-limo, looking utterly dejected. It’s a masterful bit of editing that shows there’s more to directing film/TV than just making pleasant images. You have to keep the narrative moving in a way that keeps the audience’s attention, and Haynes’ understanding of that concept is what helps Andor stand out from the pack.

When it comes to the acting side of things, the MVP of Andor Episode 9 is Gough. The opening scene of the episode seals it, as Meero interrogates Bix about Cassian’s whereabouts. Throughout the scene, she makes various analogies to the Empire “casting a net” when it comes to the Rebellion, hoping to stomp it out with overreach. She prefers a more direct approach. Throughout the scene, I was on the edge of my seat as Gough spoke. Her icy stare and the cruelty underlining her words only makes a tense situation even worse. It’s also nice to see that between Meero and Reva in Obi-Wan Kenobi, villains in Star Wars stories are growing more lethal and competent. You should be scared whenever an Imperial shows up, and Gough’s performance lives up to that.

Matching her scene for scene is Arjona, who like Luna lets her facial expressions do the talking. Up to this point, Bix has mostly been in the shadows – but with Cassian’s disappearance, she steps into the spotlight. And through her refusal to talk, as well as her stubborn glare, it’s fairly clear that she’ll end up joining the Rebellion. I hope that Arjona continues to play a bigger role throughout the remainder of Andor, as the events of Ferrix are yielding plenty of story potential and she’s been a solid presence so far. If she gets more to do she could easily be one of the series highlights.

Andor Episode 9 highlights the cruelty the Empire is capable of, leading to one of the series’ tensest hours. This series is continuing to explore a new side of the Star Wars universe, and I have no doubt that the final three episodes will continue to live up to that expectation.

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


Andor Episode 9 — "Nobody's Listening!"
  • 9/10
    Rating - 9/10
9/10

TL;DR

Andor Episode 9 highlights the cruelty the Empire is capable of, leading to one of the series’ tensest hours. This series is continuing to explore a new side of the Star Wars universe, and I have no doubt that the final three episodes will continue to live up to that expectation.

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