Much like the Rebellion enjoyed a victory in Episode 6 (not unlike A New Hope or Rogue One before it), the Empire will surely strike back in this latest Episode 7 of Andor titled ‘Announcement’. The Imperial Security Bureau (ISB) is ready and eager to respond, implementing a tribute tax five times the amount stolen on Aldhani for any sector that harbours partisan activity (which is labelled a Class One Offence). The executive that Partagaz reports to claims to have spoken with Emperor Palpatine himself, which in itself gives them some weight as very few gains audience with Palpatine and lasts very long thereafter.
The Bureau establishes a Public Order Resentencing Directive (PORD), but supervisor Meero thinks the Empire is playing right into the Rebel’s plans. She mentions to her assistant that this heist on Aldhani was more of an announcement to the rest of the galaxy than it was a robbery. Between Dedra Meero and Syril Karn (who was staring out of the window of his mother’s middle class Coruscant apartment in the opening scene of this episode), there are certainly some fleshed-out characters who represent the Imperial side to where it’s not just an emotionless unstoppable force of nature.
Mon Mothma meets with Luthen to confirm that he was behind the robbery of the Imperial garrison, who tells her “Turning back will be impossible.” Luthen no longer wants to hide who he is, which makes sense given that he has been playing an antique dealer on Coruscant so he can get close to his conspirators. He tells Mon that he needs the Empire to overreact to ignite the Rebellion from this revolution, posturing “Has anybody ever made a weapon that was never used?”
Mothma also meets with Tay Kolma later on at an elegant function, where she imparts to him that she is not who she puts on to be (indicating that her political guise is just a front). She also reminds him that her husband knows nothing and appoints Tay to back the foundation of a Chandrilan charitable shell corporation that can be used to access her family fortune. As Tay sips Perrin’s Embassy Punch, Mon Mothma advises that she learned from Palpatine she can “show you the stone in my hand, you miss the knife at your throat.”
Cassian returns home to Maarva and Bee on Ferrix, which is now under Imperial authority. Maarva confirms it was Timm who sold Andor out, but that Bix had nothing to do with it. Cassian wants to use his newfound wealth to get his family off-planet, and he wants to leave first thing in the morning.
As he moves through the city avoiding stormtroopers, he is reminded of when he was younger and his father figure Clem was caught in the square with some protestors and hung by the Empire as a consequence. Maarva tells Cass that he can’t stay but she can’t go as they agree to part ways. She also cautions him to stop looking for his sister (citing it a fantasy and claiming there were no survivors on Kenari) as he assures her of his return.
Luthen’s assistant Kleya Marki walks through Coruscant, following symbols to a meetup with Vel who insists the loose ends are done and buried. Kleya says Luthen had doubts about Skeen and wants Vel to take care of Cassian as well (stating “this is what revolution looks like”). Cinta locates her speeder on Aldhani as she watches a Star Destroyer take over the sky above.
The ISB convenes and Blevin accuses Meero of over-reaching, though she claims the evidence obtained through using the Imperial Emergency Act in the wake of the Aldhani heist is instrumental in the advancement of integrated Imperial security. Dedra admits to Major Partagaz that she used unfiltered data across all sectors to determine the Rebellion’s umbrella questioning of the Bureau “you really think the rebels care about the lines we draw on maps?” Much to Blevin’s dismay, Partagaz assigns the Morlana sector to Meero with compliments; but warns the ambitious Supervisor to watch her back.
Niamos is revealed to be a coastal location where Kassa has been hiding out as Keef Girgo. While running an errand for his local girlfriend, he is mixed up with some thieves (much like Clem was earlier in the flashback) and sentenced to six years for his crimes against the Empire – after being throttled by a terrifying K-2S0 droid! This is of course teasing the inevitable partnership of Cassian Andor and the K-2S0 we know from Rogue One, who has been programmed to fight for the Rebellion.
Meanwhile Syril Karn has gone on an interview for an Imperial corporate desk job despite the mockery from his mother at his tailored ‘popped-collar’ brown coat. His superior shows him the ropes and admits to striking his past grievances from the record before signing him into his new post in ‘Fuel Purity’ (this is just like Chief Hynes attempting to sweep things under the rug in Episode 1). The episode closes on a sea of Imperial desk-jockies in a shot that is reminiscent of Severance (another sci-fi thriller that deals with corporate slavery).
Andor continues to tell an intriguing tale of espionage, political thriller, and a Rebellion founded on revolution. Cassian is a major piece of the seemingly impossible puzzle; but Mon Mothma, Luthen, Maarva, and even the Empire itself all have their part to play in this intricate spy drama. Even though it seems inevitable that The Empire Strikes Back, there is nuance inside of character development that gives personal stakes to antagonists such as Partagaz, Meero and Blevin (even Jung who is expected to give a full report on Ord Mantell). The bureaucracy mixed with the harsh reality of characters such as Clem and Cassian getting punished without so much as due process for being in the wrong place at the wrong time (“What do you think you’re doing? You keep looking around… because you’re a part of it.”) make for an exhilarating viewing experience as we charge precariously into the second half of the season.