Andor Episode 8 “Narkina 5” Spoilers Ahead
How does Andor do it? How does this series continue to build week-to-week, progressively getting better even within what would be considered filler episodes? It’s the question I keep asking myself as the credits roll as another episode ends, and Andor Episode 8’s “Narkina 5” is no exception. As the fallout from the Aldhani heist continues to spread to the different corners of the galaxy, “Narkina 5” explores the lengths a fascist group will go to indoctrinate and grip control when resistance starts to rear its head. In addition to this, “Narkina 5” brings familiar faces back into the story to connect the dots in the Star Wars universe and timeline.
So often in a series, it’s easy to move on from a group of characters and story threads for the sake of driving forward in the plot. Once a character has served their purpose, they are usually left behind in favor of the protagonist. I’m happy to report that not only does Andor not fall into this trap, but the series also continues to deepen these characters.
For instance, after Cassian abandons Vel after the Aldhani heist, the audience would have never seen her or Cinta again since Cassian has moved on. Yet, Vel and Cinta are both on Ferrix, looking to tie up Cassian’s loose ends. As they observe Bix speaking with Brasso, the curtain is drawn back on this couple, one of Star Wars’ first explicitly queer couples. Of the two, Cinta remains focused on the mission and reflects to Vel what she needs to hear; Vel loves her for it, even if it means being apart for a little while longer.
The moment Cinta reaches out and holds Vel’s hand is powerful in its simplicity and something audiences could have missed out on if left in hands other than Tony Gilroy and his team.
Something to keep an eye on is the cracks that are becoming more visible between Mon Mothma and her husband, Perrin. As the audience, we know how veiled Mon keeps her true self around everyone, including her family. In particular, Perrin is very chummy with high-ranking members (and his wife’s political rivals) of The Empire, inviting them over for dinner without a second thought. In Andor Episode 8, “Narkina 5,” we find out how this couple came to be — married at 15 years old according to Chandrilan tradition, living in Coruscant since they were 16.
Perrin was known as an academy firebrand in his youth; now, he tries to play nice and keep the status quo. What starts to shake him out of that state is when Tay Kolma is around his wife. He visibly seems more annoyed; perhaps he thinks Mon and Tay are having an affair. Regardless, the deeper Mon aligns herself with The Rebellion, the more she has to lose (which, if we’re honest, Perrin isn’t exactly “Husband of the Year” material, and I’ll happily take Mon moving on with Tay).
Another duo worth paying attention to is the Imperial goody two-shoes duo, Syril Karn and Dedra Meero. The two finally meet when Dedra interrogates him after he files multiple reports against him within his new position. While his dedication to clearing his name is persistent, it’s nothing but a nuisance to Dedra, considering she’s already working on this case.
Syril lacks the authority and resources; Dedra has the authority and resources on her side to find him and lead her to “Axis,” the alias she’s giving Luthen Rael. The Empire is known for its organization and bureaucracy; what they’re not known for are collaboration and teamwork. Dedra is focused and fervent on finding “Axis” on her own, bulldozing through any authority in her way. The question we’re still left with is why? Why is she so hellbent on finding Luthen? Besides his threat to The Empire, what is it about stolen parts and “Axis” that has Dedra with the same level of focus that Syril once had? Only time will tell.
One of the best surprises of Andor so far was seeing Andy Serkis as Kino Loy, Cassian’s unit manager on Narkina 5. You may recall Serkis is also Supreme Leader Snoke. Regardless of your feelings about the recent sequel trilogy, seeing Serkis play another villain in Star Wars is a gift to us all. Kino is a fellow inmate who worked his way up to the unit manager to oversee productivity rather than participate in the work; what makes Kino intimidating is his harsh demeanor and strict indoctrination of life in the Imperial work camp. There is no time to slow down when everything is calculated and precise to meet a quota of building the same part over and over, every day, with the same people.
Despite how Narkina 5 can break a person, hope finds its way in. The inmates have learned about the attack on Aldhani, which is why sentencing has gotten harsher across The Empire, leading to resentencing. It’s a sign that Luthen’s plan actually worked — it’s gotten the average person/being in the galaxy talking about it, and The Empire doubling down its efforts to shut it all down.
Unlike the rebel groups out there, The Empire is unified in its mission to keep order and have the funding to do so. The Rebellion is scattered and fractured; one successful heist isn’t enough. These factions need to come together as one in order to make the impact they’re looking for. That’s why Luthen appeals to the other great surprise of the episode, Saw Gerrera. Forest Whitaker slips back into Saw Gerrera with ease, and it’s fantastic to have him back. Is it too much to ask for Felicity Jones’ Jyn Erso again, too?
Speaking of familiar faces, it matters that audiences are watching characters outside Cassian’s immediate sphere of people because it reminds us how life continues after a person leaves and the impact left in their absence. Bix tries to keep her head down, but her connection to Cassian is enough to put her on Dedra’s radar for interrogation. Dedra, and by extension, The Empire, are quick to double down her efforts to squash any signs of rebellion. If not, it leaves room for something more dangerous to grow — hope. Hope is the spark that will keep Maarva attempting to open the floodgate beneath the hotel even though she’s in no physical condition to do it. Hope is the flame that will keep Luthen pushing to do more and eventually bring him out of the shadows.
As Jyn Erso will go on to say in Rogue One, rebellions are built on hope.
You can’t help but notice how despite his best efforts, Cassian Andor is bringing hope and change to everyone around him. Because of him, Maarva is her own rebel on Ferrix. His involvement in the Aldhani heist helped make it a success, providing the first meaningful threat to The Empire in a while. Even his new inmates are speculating the events around it. Lives are being changed around him, but he’s yet to let the same happen to him. Though he’s incarcerated for a crime he didn’t commit, Cassian is seeing the good and the fallout that comes from rebellion. He isn’t inspired yet but he’s already an inspiration to the galaxy.
In Andor Episode 8, you can’t help but notice how Cassian Andor is bringing hope and change to everyone around him despite his best efforts. Because of him, Maarva is her own rebel on Ferrix. His involvement in the Aldhani heist helped make it a success, providing the first meaningful threat to The Empire in a while. Even his new inmates are speculating about the events around it. Lives are being changed around him, but he’s yet to let the same happen to him. Though he’s incarcerated for a crime he didn’t commit, Cassian is seeing the good and the fallout that comes from rebellion. He isn’t inspired yet, but he’s already an inspiration to the galaxy.
Now streaming on Disney Plus: What are your thoughts on Andor Episode 8 “Narkina 5?” Let us know in the comments below.