Considering the tragic end of Rogue One: A Star Wars story, it seemed as though we may never see its band of heroes again. And while this still may be the case, in 2018, we did find out about Disney’s plans to return to Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) in a prequel series. The just-released Andor will chart the history of the rebellion, leading straight into Rogue One.
(A quick editorial note for this specific Andor Episodes 1-2 recap: I’ve decided to recap the first two episodes because they speak well to each other narratively while also feeling distinct from what’s going on in Episode 3.)
Andor Episode 1 Recap (“Kassa”)
Our story opens on the planet Morlana One in 5 BBY – i.e., five years Before the Battle of Yavin, when Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) blows up the Death Star in A New Hope. By extension, this is also five years before the events of Rogue One, which took place immediately before A New Hope begins. We learn that the planet Morlana One houses a zone for a corporation called Preox-Morlana (also known as Pre-Mor). More on them later.
Cassian walks through the rain to a brothel where he inquires about a woman who supposedly works there; he thinks she could be his sister. But the woman who seems to run the place tells Cassian his possible sister is long gone. Unfortunately, Cassian catches the attention – and ire – of two Pre-Mor guards at the bar. They follow him and try to slap him with fines, but instead get into a fight. Cassian kills one of them by accident. When he realizes the other one is a witness, Cassian shoots and kills the second guard, as well. Now he’s a wanted man who must make his escape.
Andor Episode 1 shifts to Ferrix, a planet in the Morlani system. We meet B2EMO (Dave Chapman), a droid who is, unfortunately, not as emo as his name would suggest. (Though he’s definitely pretty anxious). But “Bee,” as Cassian calls him, definitely is the droid you’ve been looking for – he’s already a great addition to the series. He tries waking up Cassian, who’s dreaming about his childhood on the planet Kenari. When Cassian wakes, he tells Bee to lie about knowing where he is. Cassian then meets up with a friend to construct a believable alibi.
At Preox-Morlana corporate headquarters, a Deputy Inspector named Syril Karn (Kyle Soller) speaks with his superior about the deaths of the guards. Syril is insistent on investigating the case, but the superior tells him to simply report the killings as a “regrettable misadventure.” Basically, change the details and pass it off as an accident so the security wing of the corporation doesn’t look bad.
Back on Ferrix, Andor Episode 1 introduces Bix (Adria Arjona), a mechanic who clearly has some heated history with Cassian. He wants Bix to connect him with a buyer willing to take a very valuable piece off him. The debut episode also brings in Timm (James McArdle), a man who Cassian suspects Bix is dating.
We suddenly cut to a lot of flashbacks of Cassian’s childhood. There’s one where the children of the village paint themselves in preparation for a journey; then, in a later flashback, the children spread out into the forest with take blow-guns in search of a downed ship.
We’re back at Preox-Morlana, where Syril looks like the most strained and pained man alive. High-strung and clearly hell-bent on finding whomever killed the guards, he decides to defy his superior and send a team to investigate. The only information Syril has to go on is the fact that Cassian is a Kenari man.
Lastly, Bix heads to a tavern where she reaches out to a buyer on Cassian’s behalf.
Andor Episode 1 gets us off to a good, steady start. It’s a little slow compared to other Star Wars series premieres like The Mandalorian or Obi-Wan Kenobi, but the show also feels like it’s taking its time in building a foundation of intrigue.
One other quick note about this episode: I can’t find fault with 42-year-old Diego Luna playing the 21-year-old Cassian. Luna’s performance and presence are solid enough to render moot any issues with age consistency. It’s good to have both actor and character back.
Andor Episode 2 Recap (“That Would Be Me”)
We’re back in the woods on Kenari with young Cassian and the other children of the tribe. Before catching up with the others, Cassian takes in the sight of what appears to be a large mining site.
On present-day Ferrix, a man sounds a huge gong from a bell-tower as locals go about their morning. Timm asks Bix out to dinner, but she pushes him off until the next night. He then sneaks a look at her computing device and sees Pre-Mor’s call for information on the Kenari man.
We meet Maarva Andor (Fiona Shaw), Cassian’s mother-figure. Cassian lies to her about his whereabouts, but Maarva has Bee read the call for information from Pre-Mor. As she demands answers, Bee alerts Cassian to Bix’s search for him. He meets up with her at a tavern where she gives him information on the buyer – and Cassian admits he killed the two guards. Unfortunately, Timm’s watching. He calls Pre-Mor to turn Cassian in. Frustratingly enough, Bix goes to Timm’s place to spend the night having no idea that he did this.
Syril puts together a ground team to take to Ferrix and look for Cassian, of whom they now have an (outdated) picture.
Cassian grabs the part he’s selling to the mystery buyer; we also see he’s bringing along a gun. In still another flashback, the leader of the children in Cassian’s village approaches the downed ship. Later on, we’ll see that one of the men aboard kills her before all the children shoot him with blow darts.
Back in the present, we meet Luthen Rael (Stellan Skarsgård), who steers his ship to Ferrix.
Syril gives an unsteady pep talk to his team before they ship out to find Cassian. He’s clearly committed, but Syril seems uncertain of himself.
In terms of tone and character development, Andor Episode 2 feels like the second part of the premiere. It establishes a few new elements and characters, most notably Luthen, but for the most part expands on elements from Andor Episode 1. This approach is quite different from Episode 3, which departs from the storytelling of first two to do something completely different at a much faster pace. (Sound familiar to anyone else?)