Andor Episode 9 “Nobody’s Listening!” Spoilers Ahead
Episode 9 of Andor continues to draw the curtains back on what unchecked fascism looks like when no one is looking or paying attention. It’s not subtle, nor is it trying to be. Whether it’s on the Senate floor or in an Imperial factory facility, the powers that be are choking out the life of the galaxy that no one is noticing or caring; Luthen Gael warned Mon Mothma of this after Aldhani. The people are just disposable pawns in this game The Empire is playing.
It’s hard not to watch Andor Episode 9 without being horrified by The Empire yet fired up to do something about it. I sound like a broken record at this point, but Tony Gilroy and the team have crafted a series that has something to say while also demonstrating some of the best Star Wars that has ever Star Wars’d.
In the previous episode’s review, I questioned Dedra’s focus and motivation to find “Axis,” but now I see I was asking the wrong question. What I should’ve been asking is what won’t she do for her search. Now we know the answer — nothing. Denise Gough’s calm voice as Dedra interrogates Bix is exceptionally chilling, especially when Bix realizes that she’s going to be tortured and left alive no matter what she says. Even later in the episode, as she’s discussing with Major Partagaz about a pilot they’ve found, she suggests staging the pilot’s death to look like a mechanical accident with such poise it’s unnerving.
The Empire is at their most fearsome when they are performing heinous acts without raising their voice; Dedra may be one of the best Star Wars villains we’ve had in a long time.
Nothing can deter her focus, not even Syril Karn and his newfound obsession with her. A month after her interrogation of him, Syril has been stalking her in front of the ISB building, hoping to see her and thank her for his promotion. With this, he also admits that her focus on finding Cassian has given him something to live for. How does she respond? By threatening to put him in a cage in the Outer Rim.
Syril has a hard time forming connections with others around him (see his mother for proof), but the way he puts Dedra on a pedestal is reminiscent of a parasocial relationship you find online between online personalities and some devoted followers. Dedra is a fascist, but we wouldn’t bat an eyelash if she sent Syril off somewhere for giving off some Jeffrey Dahmer vibes.
Before I move on, I need to highlight Adria Arjona’s performance in “Nobody’s Listening!” because, my goodness, she expresses so much without saying a word. The way her eyes scream out in terror even before she screams will haunt me for a while. Adria Arjona as Bix has been an excellent addition to the Star Wars universe and deserves incredible roles after Andor.
The beauty of a well-paced series (with a longer episode count than other Disney+ series) is the payoff that comes from revelations throughout a series, not just thrown together at the end. For instance, Vel being Mon Mothma’s cousin is a fantastic reveal to connect these storylines, adding a new layer of these Rebels and how they’ve come to be involved. It also makes Cinta’s comment about a rich girl running away from home in the previous episode hit harder; she was directly talking about Vel. The mask Vel wears now is one from her old spoiled life on Chandrila, the one Mon encourages her to wear for a while as they figure out the next steps.
These cousins have chosen a side and are doing something with their lives, which comes at a cost. Currently, for Mon, it means meeting with a wealthy thug in order to funnel out credits for the Rebel Alliance, which goes against her morals. As much as the cause of this fight matters, Andor reminds audiences that everyone’s hands, including Mon’s, will get dirty in the pursuit of freedom.
Meanwhile, back on Narkina 5, the monotony of the factory seemingly cranks forward. Only now, we know that Cassian hasn’t been biding his time or accepted his current situation — he’s looking for a way out. For a month, he and a couple of inmates have been working on cutting a pipe down on the factory floor during brief breaks. Cassian has been trying to get information out of Kino, yet Kino keeps trying to shut him down.
However, after learning that an entire level of the facility was killed and watching Ulaf euthanized after a stroke on the factory floor, Kino’s eyes are finally opened to what’s happening around him. He is not just an excellent actor with motion capture, but the intensity Andy Serkis conveys in this scene proves how good of an actor he is.
There is no end to their sentence, nor is anyone leaving by finishing their sentences. And what’s worse? No one on the outside either knows or cares; Andor exclaims, “nobody’s listening!” hence where the episode gets its title.
The factory guards aren’t concerned with anything the inmates do because they hold all the power, treating them with less dignity than a droid. However, this sort of hubris will also be their downfall. Kino is now on Cassian’s side; with his valuable insight and strength in numbers, Cassian is about to start his own rebellion. Though it’s not for the cause of defeating The Empire (yet), he has a reason to fight for more than his survival, and he’s ready to lead that fight for the survival of everyone in his factory block.
We’re ready to follow you into battle, Cassian. Light the way.
Now streaming on Disney Plus: What are your thoughts on Andor Episode 9 “Nobody’s Listening!?” Let us know in the comments below.