Andor Episode 4 “Aldhani” Review
Tony Gilroy and Diego Luna continue to expand upon what can be done as far as worldbuilding and character study in the Star Wars universe in the Andor series. Though Cassian isn’t the primary focus of “Aldhani,” he still acts as the nucleus by which the events are impacted by. The upcoming heist just added a mercenary to a crew who doesn’t trust him; Imperial agents are investigating the fallout from Ferrix and its ripple effects, making it to a prequel planet. In its wake, Andor Episode 4 explores the masks these characters put on in order to conceal their identity. Throughout the episode, many characters vacillate at any given moment, playing on their duality (or even duplicity). In this spy thriller, this is a means of survival to live and fight another day.
Take Luthen Rael. For part of the episode, he is the Rebel spy who recruits Cassian as a mercenary for an upcoming heist. When Cassian shares his reasoning for why he doesn’t believe the Rebel cause is a useless fight, Luthen sees right through him by revealing the truth behind how Cassian survived on Mimban for two years — Cassian was a cook; instead of fighting, he ran away. Yet, for all the ways Luthen leads and convinces Vel to bring “Clem” to their team, he returns to Coruscant, where he resumes the role as the owner of a high-end antique gift shop.
As he slips on his flowing robes and wigs, there’s a heaviness to putting on his disguise in the heart of enemy territory. For all we know as the audience, maybe Mon Mothma and his associate, Kleya, are the only people who know the truth about his identity — a Rebel leader using his store as a front to keep tabs on Imperial plans within the Senate in order to pass the information off to his fellow fighters. Though he puts on a carefree front in Coruscant, every action he makes is a matter of life or death.
Though Luthen is a calculated man, he has no problem throwing a curveball to plans already in motion. After escaping Ferrix, he drops Cassian off on Aldhani to join Vel and her crew under the alias of “Clem.” Luthen gives her very little details, which in turn, Vel gives her team the same treatment. With their planned heist only a couple of days out, this last-minute addition sets the crew on edge.
As Luthen pointed out, Cassian is only looking to survive long enough to receive 200,000 credits for his work on this assignment. He still hasn’t grasped the larger picture at play here, but then again, it doesn’t seem like the entire Aldhani crew has either. Let’s hope they’re able to keep it together long enough to pull off the heist before they get caught and potentially fall apart.
Genevieve O’Reilly marks her return to the Star Wars galaxy as Mon Mothma. Her duality lies in her allegiance to the Rebellion and public persona as a Chandrilian senator in the Imperial Senate. In her line of work, there are very few places where she’s safe from Imperial spies surrounding her daily. In fact, her own home isn’t safe from her enemies after her husband invites a few of her biggest opponents over for dinner. From this exchange, it’s clear that Mon Mothma is putting up on a show for her own husband. The only moment she’s able to speak freely is in the back of Luthen Rael’s shop; however, in her free speech, she’s only able to talk in whispers to Luthen about plans and funding. She is always under threat of being discovered by the Empire, yet Mon Mothma holds it together with grace. In the few scenes we get from this legacy character, O’Reilly shines bright among the hustle and bustle of Coruscant.
Speaking of Coruscant, this is the first time we’ve been back on the city-covered planet since Revenge of the Sith. Coruscant has acted as the seat of the Empire for decades — to return to this planet did not disappoint. Instead of going back to the familiar sights of the prequels, Andor Episode 4 gives audiences a glimpse of life under the Empire. After Syril Karn is stripped from his ranks, he isn’t allowed to go back to his quarters; instead, he travels to the city’s lower levels to stay with his mom. Their relationship appears complicated since she slaps him when she opens the door but nevertheless lets him in. And continuing his trajectory from the past three episodes, there’s more than meets the eye with this deputy inspector.
Another Imperial officer with more than meets the eye is Dedra Meero. Like Syril, she cares about due diligence and following up on situations in her position as a supervisor in the Imperial Security Bureau. As word gets back about the events on Ferrix, Dedra oversteps her district by digging deeper into the circumstances. It would seem that this isn’t just a one-off event across the Empire. Yet, like Syril, she’s reprimanded for following up on a situation. It’s interesting that Andor has two Imperial officers in similar positions of authority who have an innate desire to see order and are admonished for being good at their jobs. This is the Empire, and they value order above all else, but Syril and Dedra’s actions seem to be leading toward a similar trajectory. Only time will tell if these two will meet and perhaps join forces in their investigations.
We’re four episodes into the season, and there’s a sense of unease as the stakes continue to rise. Each of our main players is keeping their identities a secret from the people around them. From Cassian posing as Clem to the crew on Aldhani to Mon Mothma keeping her affairs a secret from her political enemies, the unease and tension of the truth being revealed is building steadily. With the current pace, it’s only a matter of time before someone’s mask slips; perhaps we’ll discover that someone isn’t who they say they are. Regardless, Andor is carving out its own special place within Star Wars that’s exciting to tune in week-to-week.
Side note: If Skeen from Vel’s crew looks familiar to you, Ebon Moss-Bachrach was recently featured in FX’s The Bear as Richie and Marvel’s The Punisher. If you haven’t watched The Bear, this is your PSA to watch Season 1 immediately. You’re welcome.
Now streaming on Disney Plus: What are your thoughts on Andor Episode 4 “Aldhani?” Let us know in the comments below.