Andor episode IX review – Nobody’s listening!

(L-R): Cassian Andor (Diego Luna), Kino Loy (Andy Serkis), Ulaf (Christopher Fairbank) and Jemboc (Brian Bovell) in Lucasfilm's ANDOR, exclusively on Disney+. ©2022 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.
(L-R): Cassian Andor (Diego Luna), Kino Loy (Andy Serkis), Ulaf (Christopher Fairbank) and Jemboc (Brian Bovell) in Lucasfilm's ANDOR, exclusively on Disney+. ©2022 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved. /

The Empire showcases their brutality in several different ways in Episode 9 of Andor (aptly titled ‘Nobody’s Listening!’), which is building to a breaking point in the next episode, ultimately setting the stakes for the final two episodes of the season.

The episode opens on an antagonistic Dedra Meero searching for answers (not unlike Episode IX of The Skywalker Saga where we see Kylo Ren searching for a Sith wayfinder a.k.a. holocron) by interrogating Bix on Ferrix.  The effect of the Rebellion on the people of Ferrix through Luthen’s machinations and Cassian’s involvement is really starting to take its toll (though one would argue that was by design, according to Luthen).

Diego Luna’s prisoner Keef Girgo (our titular protagonist Cassian Andor’s alias) is working hard building machine parts with his crew, when one of the older members (with the shortest ‘timer’ as in time left on his sentence) is starting to show fatigue.  Kassa cares for his found family within the prison and does what he can to pick up the slack.  Kino Loy (Andy Serkis) keeps a keen eye on the floor and is very aware of Ulaf’s slowing state, but also that he only has 41 shifts left as opposed to his own sentence of 217.

Mon Mothma is trying to appeal to rest of the Galactic Senate, however, it is clear that this is not the thriving political platform from the prequel trilogy, and not many senators are showing up to do their duty.  This resonates with what we know from The Clone Wars and more recently Tales of the Jedi, which highlights several senators who have succumbed to greed and forsaken the people they were elected to advocate for.  Mothma leaves the failed forum (some screamed for the Empire, others for democracy, but most just tuned out altogether), and is informed by her driver that her cousin from the embassy has come to visit.

Supervisor Meero has always had a nasty ambition to climb the ranks of the ISB (Imperial Security Bureau), but her actions sanctioning the torture of Bix and the subsequent hanging of Paak really solidify her propensity for evil.  The Imperial Doctor (Dr. Gorst) charged with ‘interviewing’ Bix seems eerily gleeful about what he is about to do.  He excitedly tells her about the helmet he is placing on her head, which has been engineered to inundate the wearer with shrill sounds of screaming alien children among other despicable things.

All of the protagonists of Andor are reaching a boiling point in their individual varying degrees of hell.  Similar to Episode 5, there is plotting and planning among each of the rebels as they prepare for another revolt against the Empire.  Mon is trying to stay afloat politically while avoiding the watchful Imperial eyes on Coruscant, Bix is struggling to keep her silence and survive the Empire’s torture on Ferrix, and the Imperial factory facility on Narkina 5 (Andor’s prison) is experiencing unrest as Cassian calculates that they are running out of time to organize a breakout.

There is a significant reveal that Mon Mothma’s cousin is actually Vel of the Aldhani heist’s crew.  While catching up at her residence, she pleads with Vel to keep playing the role of spoiled rich girl to remind everyone of who she is supposed to be.  They will both have to tread carefully if they are to succeed in doing their part to ignite the Rebellion (Mon also shares with Vel that she has been in contact with Tay Kolma).

Meero is accosted on Coruscant by Karn who just wants to thank her for the indirect promotion he received (having just informed his overbearing Mother of this over cereal); letting her know that he feels strongly that they are of the same mind.  Though she is initially alarmed by his stalking her and overstepping his station (threatening to put him in a cage in the Outer Rim), the seed has been planted for a villain team-up of sorts down the line.  They certainly share a common ambition (much like her assistant who informs that they have captured a rebel pilot), demonstrating the willingness to bend the rules for the sake efficiency.

Andor has been tampering with the machinery (presumably the hot floor) inside the prison at every opportunity.  When questioning Kino about the guards on each level, he is told to keep it to himself.  Frustrated that nobody is listening, Cassian plans out the angles of a potential escape just as rumours start to fly that all of the prisoners on level two were killed.

Mothma and Tay Kolma meet to discuss her financial predicament, where it is clear that Mon needs to make a deposit in order to avoid suspicion of misappropriation of funds.  Tay advises that he has taken measures to involve a Chandrilan banker by the name of Davo Sculdun to acquire the loan, as he has valuable treasury relationships and an immeasurably large book of clients.  Mon Mothma appears nervous at the thought of this known thug coming to her Coruscant residence to vet her loan application.

The ISB convenes to discuss the captured pilot, who (through Dr. Gorst’s interviewing techniques) is said to be one of Anto Kreegyr’s rebels.  Dedra ruthlessly offers up the idea of fouling the ship to make it look like the pilot had an accident, thereby throwing the Rebellion off of any scent that the Empire is on to their schemes.  It will be interesting to see how this subterfuge will play into the climax of this season (as it would appear that Saw Gerrera may have been right in his apprehension to get involved with Anto Kreegyr’s plot on Spellhaus).

Cassian and Kino tend to their colleague Ulaf who has suffered a stroke and requires medical attention.  The cold blunt instrument of a Doctor that tends to him (not even bothering to learn his name) euthanizes the man, claiming that he is lucky as his death is painless in contrast to what is coming to all of them.  Kino presses him as to what happened to the men on level two, and he explains that a mistake was made and a man that was supposed to be freed on 4 ended up back on two (revealing that there is no true freedom from the Empire’s oppression once you have served your sentence).  The episode closes with the sentiment that Kino Loy is now on board with ‘Keef’s plan; when asked again how many guards are on each level, he replies: “Never more than 12.”

Though this episode was all but devoid of traditional action, the tight grip of the Empire and the plight of the Rebellion was felt immensely.  Keef and the gang are pushed to the brink of launching a jail-break, Mon Mothma must meet with a shady banker in order to broker a loan, and Bix is in dire straits holding out for Cassian’s sake (loyalty to a fault is admirable, but the situation is tragic).  The faces of this Imperial torment are real fleshed-out characters in Syril Karn, Dedra Meero, and even Major Partagaz.  Though the current arc will likely come to a climax in Episode 10, the fallout will set the stage for an intense two-part finale of Andor’s debut season.