One scene in episode 7 of Andor 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 affordable legal would do within the aftermath: partying it up in what can solely be described as “House Ibiza.” Getting boozed up by night time, lounging off the hangover on the seashore by day. A wierd vibe for a universe normally dialed in on house 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 virtually actually had a knot of their abdomen. Cassian, well mannered and forthcoming, frantically tries to keep away from bother 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 looks like parody slowly unravels into one thing horrifying. The end result feels depressingly inevitable: That is what occurs if you enable fascism to flourish with out recourse.
It is humorous, however Andor – a derivative present targeted on a personality from a derivative film – is actually the primary Star Wars “factor” that is proven us that the Galactic Empire is a very fascist regime that’s, at its root, very unhealthy. In a universe the place the villains are speculated to be house Nazis, that is kind 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 house 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. had been really preventing for; or what the rebels had been rebelling in opposition to.
Darth Vader was unhealthy as a result of he wearing black and choked dudes. That is it. The Emperor, then again, had a pale, pasty visage and a creepy snort. Positive, 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 one of the crucial compelling issues Disney has produced since buying the Star Wars license in 2012.
It is a present targeted on the trivialities of the grind. We get to see condominium buildings, damaged robots, disenchanted moms consuming dinner with their grownup kids. We watch the impacts of forms in motion, shitty little work conferences, workplace bitch periods. We watch households bickering over breakfast, agonizing over visitor lists and simply typically partaking within the banalities of on a regular basis existence. Unusually, it is fascinating.
I’ve typically 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 totally different. It dials in on minuscule particulars in a means 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 large 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 solely a present that’s good in virtually each facet of its manufacturing. It seems to be nice, it is properly written. Not a single line of dialogue feels overwrought or clumsy. It is full of a lot of top-notch performances as properly.
Denise Gough – who performs Dedra Meero, a member of the Imperial Safety Bureau – brilliantly captures the company nervousness of high-stakes conferences the place a single improper phrase might have you ever dropping your job. And, as this tweet states, there may be not against the law I would not commit if Stellan Skarsgård gruffly requested me if I needed to “combat 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 stunned as anybody.