WARNING: The following contains SPOILERS for Andor Season 1, Episode 4.
Andor has fully taken flight, and the next mission will see him tethered to the burgeoning rebellion.
Kassa, better known as Cassian, was taken (rescued?) from his home world of Kenari at a young age, and the first three episodes (directed by Toby Haynes) do a great job of establishing his choice (however desperate it may be) to join up with the rebels. Episode 4, written by Dan Gilroy with Susanna White making her directorial debut, takes us to the planet of Aldhani; where Andor is brought up to speed on the master plan by Luthen and his agent Vel (Faye Marsay).
Where the series opener established Cassian as a formidable thief who excels at stealing from the Empire, the object that allowed Bix to broker the deal with Luthen was not the ultimate goal and was consequently left behind in the skirmish on Ferrix. The real mission, to ‘put a real stick in the eye of the Empire and get paid for it’, is seemingly impossible in nature not unlike the exploits of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. A small crew of seven is expected to infiltrate an Imperial garrison and take the quarterly payroll for an entire sector of the Empire.
We are also transported to the familiar planet of Coruscant, the galaxy’s capital (the whole planet is a city!), where the Imperials are conducting routine business. Supervisor Meero (played by Denise Gough) is introduced as a Lieutenant who appears invested in the incident on Ferrix as she is aware of the dangers of a Starpath unit falling into the wrong hands. She is ambitious to climb the ladder over her colleague Lieutenant Blevin (Ben Bailey Smith), but is reminded by Major Partagaz (you might recognize Anton Lesser as Qyborn – Cersei’s caretaker of The Mountain from Game of Thrones) that she must stick to facts and tend to her own sectors.
Luthen tells Cassian to choose an alias and he chooses Clem, which just so happens to be the name of Maarva’s partner (possible father figure?) from the flashback on Kenari. He also gives him a Kuati Signet made of blue kyber crystal that he expects will be returned after the mission, however, he advises Andor he can get 50,000 credits for it as collateral for the 200,000 credit payment upon success. He assures Vel that Clem is qualified (speaking languages such as Alarin, Myo, and Nari), not afraid to kill, and also disposable as he is only a rental.
The boys in blue (a.k.a. the Pre-Mor officers Hyne, Karn and Kostek) are reprimanded for the mess on Ferrix. Blevin tells them they’ve ‘rung the final bell on corporate independence’ as the Empire will take over operations in the Morlani system. A crushed and defeated Syril Karn pays a visit to his mother, who initially slaps him but ultimately invites him inside.
A pleasant surprise sees the regal arrival of Mon Mothma (reprised by Genevieve O’Reilly of Rogue One) to Luthen’s showcase of rare artefacts. Luthen (now donning an epic hair-piece and robes) whisks her away to the back room to discuss more rebellious matters while his assistant distracts Mon Mothma’s driver. Mon Mothma also mentions bringing in a key confidant (I wonder if she is referring to Bail Organa…) and insists that she is aware of the risk, stating that she would be the first to fall if their conspiracy were to come to light.
Meanwhile, on Aldhani, Cassian is introduced (by Vel) to other members of the seven that are supposed to pull off this grand heist against the Empire: Skeen, Taramyn, Nemik, Cinta, and Lieutenant Gorn (who appears to work at the garrison). There is mention of more ruthless factions of rebels (including Mossy, Garvish, and Saw Gerrera), and it is clear that this crew is apprehensive of bringing in new blood this late in the game. Cassian learns of their cover, a bizarre force of nature Mak-ani bray Dhani (likened to meteor showers) that momentarily lights up the sky once every three years, and is told he only has several days to learn the schematics before they need to strike.
Tony Gilroy has embarked on a special journey with Andor, and through one third of this season the tension has been building consistently in this noir (Blade Runner-esque) look at a galaxy far, far away. It is stated that Cassian has been in the fight since he was six years old, however, the mission presented is his first foray into the Rebellion that we will come to know in Rogue One and A New Hope. The wealth of well-developed and nuanced characters that have been introduced thus far combined with the unravelling mysteries of Andor’s past and present make this one of the most compelling series on Disney Plus, whether you are already invested in Star Wars or not.