The latest episode of Andor is intensely thrilling and the direction of this band of rebels swiftly changes gears. Cassian Andor is nothing more than a hired gun for the cause. We’ve seen Cassian make mistakes and then find a way to run to escape them. He calls in favors, searches for enough money to help him “lay low” long enough before eventually coming back home. Though, everything changes in episode 6, “The Eye.”
Andor is a launching point for a group of rebels put together to complete a daring heist. Stealing over “80 million” (according to Arvel Skeen in the episode), this rebellion is attempting to cripple the Empire as they rule across the galaxy. A dedicated band, plus one hired Cassian gun, and this show has the making of a trial by fire – when will we see Cassian Andor decide to believe in something other than his own salvation?
Why does Cassian Andor change and care for someone other than himself?
Cassian expressed his true intentions in episode 5 on who he is and why he’s on their rebel mission. “I’m being paid; paid to be here. You need to know; that’s it.” A few short lines explain Cassian Andor’s purpose throughout the course of those first five episodes. There’s also fear and determination mixed into those characteristics, but things don’t always go to plan as we’ve learned in the Star Wars realm.
As Cassian makes connections with those around him, including Skeen and Karis Nemik, he realizes there’s more to these missions than just stealing money. There’s loyalty to a cause and doing something together, because the sum of their parts is greater than one person standing alone. As if Rogue One were screaming through this episode, as if matching the devastation and intensity filling the screen, purpose finds its way into Cassian and change happens in an instant.
First, the plan does not go to plan. This isn’t shocking news, but the execution of this plan tightly holds each viewer and doesn’t let go, doesn’t let one breathe until the very last moment. We see some members of the team fall during their escape and we wonder if they’re dead. Then, there’s one devastating sequence where lines are drawn and death takes hold, while Cassian deals with the ramifications of his altered moral center.
After their escape with casualties, Skeen suggests bringing Nemik to a doctor as part of their contingency to the plan, if needed. Right then, Cassian makes a decision to think of the young rebel who helped him escape the grasp of a guard and then gave coordinates to help them all escape the planet. Cassian puts himself back at the helm of the ship and unequivocally decides what happens, “How do we get to the doctor?”
Such a simple statement, but it changes what we know about the main character. Self-interested and deliberate, Cassian chooses a path away from the former. He believes in Nemik, cares for him or perhaps both, but this line changes everything. It makes him realize there’s purpose to what they are all trying to achieve, but another action shortly thereafter makes him realize this and he runs scared from who he is becoming.
As Nemik undergoes surgery, Skeen approaches Cassian alone in an attempt to run off with the 80 million to split it between the two of them. An offer is made to give Cassian the ultimate payout to secure a safer future for himself. Now, do we know if Skeen would’ve backstabbed Cassian? Was Skeen bluffing in an attempt to make sure Cassian was still loyal? All that’s known is the response: rage upon learning of this betrayal to the team.
Cassian instantly pulls out his blaster, fires and kills him (presumably). He acted towards malicious intent with fury, and upon realizing he acted for the good of others, he becomes scared. Cassian Andor realized in that moment he did something for another person, or the team as a whole, and it wasn’t self-interested. The notion he put others before himself frightened him enough to flee. Determined to make sure he only looks out for himself, he goes to team leader Vel Sartha to earn his cut and walk away.
But, it’s already too late. He’s acted for the rebellion. He felt something for those he worked with, and when someone acted self-interested (like looking in a mirror), he didn’t like what he saw and blasted it down. Change is possible. Despite running away, the cracks of self-preservation will slowly start to crumble in an effort to bring the greater good to the galaxy.
What are your thoughts of “The Eye” and how Cassian Andor changed in this episode? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
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