WARNING: The following contains SPOILERS for Andor Season 1, Episode 1-3.
Andor was everything I wanted and more. I eagerly devoured the first three episodes, delighted with the show that my Rogue One-loving heart had waited so long for. One of the elements I was immediately drawn to was the Preox-Morlana Corpos, because the Force knows I love villains. Everything in that group from the bureaucratic red tape from the higher-ups to the lackeys just trying to get through the day, I ate up like those blue ramen noodles.
But as the credits rolled at the end of the third episode, it dawned on me who these guys reminded me of.
The Corpos in Andor are essentially the mall cops of the galaxy.
I worked retail in a variety of stores in a mall for fifteen years. Whether it was a corporate store like my Hot Topic or the locally owned comic book store that I managed, we store workers were all the same in the eyes of the mall cops who roamed around the shopping center.
To understand this analogy, I also need to describe the mall office people as well. The mall office is essentially the Empire in this scenario. They were the rule makers and would bring down all the red tape against us store workers. They were unsympathetic to us in so many ways. If the mall was open during holiday hours until 11 pm, we were forced to be open despite us losing money by burning payroll when we were lucky if we got one customer that late. If we closed early, we were fined.
We had tape on the floor in the backroom to mark off the path to the back door in case of emergency. No boxes could be in this area. During inspections, one of our boxes was touching the tape. It didn’t cross it. Just touched it. The mall office fined us a couple of hundred dollars. Employee cars would be towed if they were one lane over into the wrong parking lot. The mall office would move the “less desirable stores” to the end of the building away from the more trafficked area around the food courts. Many of these stores were owned by people of color or the store where teenagers hung out like Hot Topic and Spencer’s Gifts.
And you better believe we all noticed the mall office’s behavior and treatment. Like the people of Ferrix, all of us store workers talked to each other. We were all in the same predicament trying to make a living day in and day out. When the mall office removed all the coin machines, our stores banded together as our own coin machines. We would exchange dollars for rolls of quarters, hundreds for tens, the twenties for fives. We looked out for each other. We store workers would share customers with those around us. If we didn’t have an item, we’d send them to the right area. If one of us was stuck in a twelve-hour shift with no lunch break, another one of us would run to the food court for them to make sure they ate. It was our own little network of employees trying to make it by under the ludicrous rule of the mall office.
It was the security team of mall cops that would enforce the mall office’s rules just like the Corpos in Andor.
There were two kinds of mall cops that I worked with.
The first kind was pretty chill. My bud Mike comes to mind, and I knew him for many years. Mike worked there as his second job. He was only there to make ends meet to support his wife and kid. He understood his job was basically pointing people in the right direction and making sure no one was climbing up the fountains. He wasn’t a showy guy. All he wanted was to get a paycheck and go home.
But Mike was one of the mall cops that were part of our network. All the stores knew which mall cops were like Mike and would buddy up with them. He would share info with us store workers. He’d come out to join us for a smoke and would slip to us a heads up when mall office inspections were coming before we would get the official announcement. It would give us an extra day or two to prepare, make sure our back rooms were up to code, and get our paperwork together. We’d also give him heads up if the occasional problematic customers would come by. Surprisingly, church summer camps often caused us trouble. The story of the boy who got caught stealing a Bible from Waldenbooks was an infamous tale swapped among us store workers and the chill mall cops.
Mike was doing his job. We were doing ours. But when our mall office overlords were going to start poking around, we swapped our own intel. Mike never liked having to accompany the mall office on inspections. When the office people would be rude, it was Mike that would come back and apologize to us later.
Mike was like the lower-level Corpos that worked under Syril Karn. Like the blue ramen noodle-eating guy. Or the guy who pulled up the ship tracking records and didn’t want to work there all night. They seem like the kind of people who are there to get a paycheck. As Karn started his investigation, it was clear that people around him were annoyed and taken aback at him going the extra mile to find just one dude in the galaxy being Cassian.
There is also the unmentioned agreement between the Corpos higher-ups and the people of Ferrix. It’s part of the reason why Karn’s boss, Chief Inspector Hyne, wanted to blow off the murders of two of his men and make it look like an accident. Ferrix wasn’t causing him trouble. He wanted to appease the Imperials he worked for. It’s an unspoken secret that each group would stay in their lanes. Hyne wanted to keep the Empire out of his hair and jurisdiction so everything would remain calm.
Then, there were the rest of the mall cops.
These people were the bullies who thought they were real cops. They would proudly ride on their segways to patrol the walkways and ride into our stores to bump into our displays. They would idly threaten our stores with rules we knew they could not enforce. It didn’t stop them from trying. They would poke around in our backrooms or demand sales on our merchandise. They would boast stories about stopping shoplifters. Keep in mind all of us store workers talked so we knew which were lies and which were true. Many of them were lies. One mall cop even said he couldn’t wait to be a real police officer so he could have a gun and actually shoot people which is, frankly, a terrifying thought.
I have far too many horror stories about these guys, but I’m going to name a few to give you an idea.
There was the time I locked my keys in my car at night. I flagged down the mall cop driving around and asked him for help. He said he wasn’t allowed and needed to stay on schedule. He drove off, leaving a late-20s woman along in a dark parking lot. It was other store workers that stayed until almost midnight to help me jimmy my window down, get a hanger in there, and pry up the door handle.
These mall cops would often police customers for nonsense things too. I came across one telling a group of teenagers to move along from outside the sporting goods store. The group was well away from the door, they were not blocking the stairs, and they were minding their own business. They explained they were meeting a friend there and the friend was running a few minutes late. This mall cop had timed them, saying they had been there more than exactly ten minutes. Therefore, they were loitering and needed to move along. I came over and asked the kids if they were going to commit a crime. They looked at me strangely until I explained that it’s only loitering if there is intent to commit a crime. Since they were waiting for their friend, I told the mall cop they were not loitering. He got all huffy and marched off, but he lingered just across the parking lot to watch us. I stayed with the teenagers until their friend showed up. That same mall cop came into my store to berate me for doing his job. He only left when I threatened to report him to HR.
Those weren’t the only group of teenagers that these mall cops would push around. Like I get some teenagers acting out and stuff. But many of my young customers, especially at Hot Topic, would tell us about rude comments from the mall cops for doing stuff like, get this, walking too slowly. Also gross, one mall cop would flirt and hit on the teenage girls.
Yeah, he didn’t last long.
Smoking Guy was the Syril Karn of the group. He was a new mall cop that showed up one day and he was ready to enforce justice or whatever. For years, my Hot Topic manager and I had a spot for our smoke breaks. It was well away from the doors with ashtray poles that the mall had put there. No one bothered us for years until Smoking Guy came along.
One day, he told me and my manager to move because we were too close to the door. We explained we were outside the range of the door and were mall employees. He didn’t care and cited some mall rules with the number citations and everything. As the two of us were about finished anyway, we just went back in.
Days later, Smoking Guy found us again and told us the same thing. Only this time, he came prepared with—I kid you not—a tape measurer so he could measure the distance from our bench to the door. The bench crossed six inches into the space.
So, my manager and I did what any sane person would do. We scooted down the bench so we were officially out of the range before staring innocently at him. Smoking Guy’s face turned so red, but he technically couldn’t do anything. He stomped off without a word snapping up his little tape measure along the way.
The stories of Smoking Guy began to spread around the stores. The anime store across from us said he would follow employees through the back hallways to the parking lot to make sure they didn’t loiter after hours. The tuxedo rental shop next door mentioned Smoking Guy would patrol the dumpster to make sure only proper things were thrown in there. He would give Spencer’s Gifts lip and threaten to report them for selling adult items, something that had been a staple of Spencer’s for years. He only knocked it off when the Spencer’s manager threatened to get her own corporate overlords into the argument by calling the regional managers and CEOs, which would absolutely make the mall office look bad.
Eventually, the Syril Karn of mall cops lost his job, and peace was restored once more to all of us store workers.
The Corpos of Andor are absolutely mall cops. Their little corporation works to appease the Empire and keep everything in line. They’re more of a security force. The Preox-Morlana corporation only has a flimsy at best rule over Ferrix. It’s technically their jurisdiction but everyone knows they don’t have real power there. They’re there to prance around in their outfits to give a sense of order. They try to boss the citizens around, but everyone on Ferrix knows where the real power lies. These guys are not real Imperials. They’re not stormtroopers. No one takes them seriously.
The moment the Corpos show up on Ferrix, the people are ready for them. They unify against the security forces. The citizens protect their stores. They defend their livelihood and way of life. They see the Corpos take Maarva and ransack her home. They scream back at the Corpos. They rally together through their network of communication. There’s no way that the people of Ferrix are going to let a bunch of space mall cops come in and tell them what to do.
And in the end, the Corpos are absolutely useless against the people of Ferrix. They’re in over their heads as everything escalates and falls apart for the blue coats.
Going by the trailer of what’s to come with the Empire eventually stepping in on Ferrix, I have a feeling these space mall cops and Syril Karn are going to start to see how little power they truly have after all.
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