TL;DR – Perfectly balances tension and story while flying ahead at light speed.
Disclosure – I paid for the Disney+ service that viewed this series.
Andor Review –
As I come to the end of the opening episodes of Andor, which work both as an introduction and second a small arc in their own right, I found that it has captured my heart and my interest. As we dive into Episode 3, we see a world about to change dramatically as past events crash into the present.
So to set the scene, after having to kill two Corpos in Kassa, Andor spent That Would Be Me trying to get the hell out of dodge because while he was cautious on Morlana One, it was only time before they would trace him down on Ferrix. Meanwhile, back in time on Kenari, a young Cassa (Antonio Viña) braved the crashed ship and started smashing it all up. But he might not be the only one there. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.
This week’s episode has a lot to recommend, but I will start with the production because I feel it needs to be highlighted. The cold-desert feel of Ferrix is encapsulated in the set design, which makes this feel like a real place. Almost as if you went to a town up in the Atlas Mountains in winter and filmed on location. The highlight of this design was the warehouse where the main shootout occurred. It felt like old warehouses I had been in before, full of things hanging from the ceiling that might have been put up there in a time before. It created the perfect location for an action scene, where you could use the environment to create interesting scenarios.
Another strength of this episode was the pacing, as we cut from the coming doom on Ferrix to how Cassa left Kenari. I was wondering how long they were going to hold off in explaining how Cassa left what is clearly an abandoned planet. Every moment the show cut between the two, it ratcheted up the tension in each of the storylines, leaving you on the edge of your seat. The explanation is interesting because there is a case to say that Maarva (Fiona Shaw) kidnapped Cassa, or also that she saved his life from the coming reprisals.
The climax on Ferrix, was perfectly constructed with the slow build-up of the coming doom. You have Andor in the warehouse with Luthen (Stellan Skarsgård), one trying to sell a component, the other trying to recruit a new agent. I liked how we slowly revealed just how much Luthen knew, and how much of a badass he is. Then there was the Corpos led by the clearly out-of-his-depth Syril Karn (Kyle Soller) and the Sergeant Linus Mosk (Alex Ferns), a brute who does not have the decency to realise how out of his depth he is until it is too late.
The rush together and the calamity that followed were constructed to be as cinematic as possible while still being able to be tracked. This combination created an intensity that felt missing from recent Star Wars outings like The Book of Boba Fett. A good example is when Syril breaks into a house to find a shooting position, attacking the people living there. We then see those same people running for their lives past Andor and Luthen, then a shot of Syril waiting for the approach only to have a gun come into the frame from behind. It is a small three-act play in the more significant battle with a clear thematic throughline. Then the ringing sounds of the location population added as much to the viewer as it did for those Corpos surrounded by it. All while the musical score from Nicholas Britell makes every moment land.
In the end, do we recommend Reckoning? Absolutely. These first three episodes as a single unit were some of the best we have seen on Star Wars on TV. If this is the start, I can’t wait to see where they go from here.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.
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Credits – All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of Andor
Directed by – Toby Haynes
Written by – Tony Gilroy
Created by – Tony Gilroy
Based On – Star Wars by George Lucas
Production/Distribution Companies – LucasFilm & Disney+
Starring – Diego Luna, Stellan Skarsgård, Kyle Soller, Adria Arjona, Fiona Shaw, Joplin Sibtain, James McArdle, Alex Ferns & Gary Beadle with Antonio Viña, Victor Perez, Ron Cook, Dave Chapman, Muhannad Bhaier, Abhin Galeya & Zubin Varla