There’s one scene in episode 7 of Andor that despatched me reeling.
It begins out bizarre. Cassian Andor, our titular antihero, having pulled off an unimaginable heist on the Galactic Empire, was doing what any cheap legal would do within the aftermath: partying it up in what can solely be described as “Area Ibiza.” Getting boozed up by night time, lounging off the hangover on the seashore by day. An odd vibe for a universe often dialed in on area wizards duking it out with laser swords.
Whereas lounging, Cassian – a passerby in a very new, separate crime he has no involvement in – will get pulled up by a Stormtrooper and is interrogated on the spot, accused of collaborating in against the law he merely witnessed.
Anybody watching that scene who’s been interviewed by a rogue cop nearly actually had a knot of their abdomen. Cassian, well mannered and forthcoming, frantically tries to keep away from hassle as he’s slowly ensnared by a calculated collection of main questions, leading to him being imprisoned for against the law he did not commit. It is a scene each brutal and baffling in its truthfulness. What initially seems like parody slowly unravels into one thing horrifying. The result feels depressingly inevitable: That is what occurs whenever you enable fascism to flourish with out recourse.
It is humorous, however Andor – a derivative present centered on a personality from a derivative film – is actually the primary Star Wars “factor” that is proven us that the Galactic Empire is a really fascist regime that’s, at its root, very dangerous. In a universe the place the villains are imagined to be area Nazis, that is type of bizarre.
However it’s additionally why Andor continues to be a surprisingly wonderful TV present. When you aren’t already watching it, you completely ought to be. It guidelines.
Andor guidelines as a result of it is a present obsessive about the smaller issues in its universe. Star Wars has historically been about humongous occasions, gigantic area battles with galaxy-altering penalties. However at no level in any Star Wars film have I gotten an actual sense of what Luke Skywalker and Co. have been really preventing for; or what the rebels have been rebelling in opposition to.
Darth Vader was dangerous as a result of he wearing black and choked dudes. That is it. The Emperor, however, had a pale, pasty visage and a creepy chortle. Certain, these of us blew up planets and slaughtered younglings, however that is pantomime villain stuff. In Andor the villain is the sluggish, unassuming creep of fascism, and that makes the present some of the compelling issues Disney has produced since buying the Star Wars license in 2012.
It is a present obsessive about the smaller issues, the trivialities of the grind. We get to see residence buildings, damaged robots, disenchanted moms consuming dinner with their grownup youngsters. We watch the impacts of paperwork in motion, shitty little work conferences, workplace bitch periods. We watch households bickering over breakfast, agonizing over visitor lists and simply usually partaking within the banalities of on a regular basis existence. Unusually, it is fascinating.
I’ve usually criticized Star Wars for obsessively plugging the gaps of its personal timeline and making its as soon as grand universe really feel small. Andor’s universe-building is completely different. It dials in on minuscule particulars in a approach that makes the world of Star Wars really feel authentically lived in. By weaving the tales of those much less essential characters into the grand narrative, we get to really feel the big scale of broader conflicts. This is not a Star Wars story, it is only a bit-part story that takes place someplace in that universe. That is superior.
However past these topline ideas, Andor is just a present that’s good in nearly each side of its manufacturing. It appears nice, it is properly written. Not a single line of dialogue feels overwrought or clumsy. It is filled with quite a few top-notch performances as properly.
Denise Gough – who performs Dedra Meero, a member of the Imperial Safety Bureau – brilliantly captures the company anxiousness of high-stakes conferences the place a single mistaken phrase may have you ever dropping your job. And, as this tweet states, there’s not against the law I would not commit if Stellan Skarsgård gruffly requested me if I needed to “struggle these bastards for actual.”
Andor takes Star Wars to a spot it is by no means been. It feels extra like a John le Carré novel with blasters than an area opera. And as somebody who actually as soon as ended a Star Wars rant/article with the phrases, “that is sufficient Star Wars for me thanks,” it is a welcome change.
When you, like me, discovered your self exhausted with the exploits of Luke Skywalker and Co., I’m urging you to rethink. Andor, whatever the Star Wars baggage, is without doubt one of the finest reveals of 2022. I am as shocked as anybody.