Things get dicey for Cassian (Diego Luna) & Co. in the third episode of Andor, a show that’s already carving out a place for itself in Star Wars lore.
If it wasn’t obvious from the second episode, Andor Episode 3 makes it crystal clear that Luthen (Stellan Skarsgård) is the buyer Cassian wants to meet. Luthen lands on Ferrix and meets up with Bix (Adria Arjona). They discuss the warrant out for Cassian, but Luthen assures that her Pre-Mor doesn’t have enough information on Cassian for them to worry.
Meanwhile, Pre-Mor security is readying to land on Ferrix and go on the hunt. They arrive at Maarva’s (Fiona Shaw) house, but Cassian is nowhere to be found. Syril (Kyle Soller) tries to intimidate B2EMO (Dave Chapman); unfortunately, Cassian begins transmitting through the droid right then. They track him to the east where he’s meeting up with Luthen.
Together, the two men discuss the part Cassian has come to sell him, but Luthen insists on knowing how he procured this rare piece. He’s clearly curious about Cassian as well, and Cassian’s answer – that you can walk in and take whatever you want from Imperials because they’re too arrogant to realize it – only increases his curiosity. It’s here that Luthen’s anger at the Empire and anti-Empire agenda are revealed. It seems he’s a rebel – and he wants to recruit Cassian.
As Pre-Mor marches through town, the townsfolk begin to beat metal on metal. “What is all this?” Syril asks another Pre-Mor guard. “Intimidation, sir. Bluff and bluster,” the other man replies. But it’s an effective tactic; the townsfolk know to close up shop and avoid the guards.
Back at the meeting spot, Cassian and Luthen realize they’re surrounded. Luthen put mini-bombs on the doors, but, before making their escape, Cassian realizes they left the part he came to sell. A firefight breaks out. Although Andor Episodes 1 and 2 might have been a little slow for a Star War, it’s clear that the writers were building suspense to set up a satisfying pay-off for this episode’s shoot-out. (Evidently this is something of a trope for the Star Wars TV universe.)
Bix figures out that Timm (James McArdle) turned Cassian in and she’s rightly upset. Later, the guards catch her and rough her up; when Timm tries to rescue her, he’s shot dead. It could be a flat “good riddance” moment, but Bix is distraught at his death, and her reaction shows the complexity of the situation.
The Pre-Mor guards wait for Cassian and Luthen. Syril, who’s also lying in wait, gets ambushed by Cassian, who breaks Syril’s comm. Luthen wants to kill him, but Cassian refrains, leaving Syril gagged instead.
All of a sudden, a vehicle swerves out into the street, taking heavy fire from the guards. It flips and explodes into a fireball; off in the distance, Luthen and Cassian steer a speeder bike to safety. Syril, stunned by his own failure, can only stand in the dust and smoke.
Andor Episode 3’s flashbacks help to fill us in the origins of Cassian’s relationship with Maarva. As a boy, Cassian (Antonio Viña) investigates what appears to be the downed ship. He runs into a younger Maarva and her husband Clem (Gary Beadle), both scavengers looking for parts. Cassian is destroying the control room when they find him. The boy raises his blow gun at them, and Clem wants to just leave him to his destruction, but Maarva insists on trying to help him. She gives Cassian a sedative and carries him away.
The final shots of Andor Episode 3 mix past and present. As a boy on Maarva and Clem’s ship, Cassian looks toward the sunlight streaming through the window. As an adult, he does the same thing on the ship Luthen pilots. The child flees the Empire toward a new life; the man sets off on a new journey to take that same Empire on.
This was a great episode in terms of both pacing and furthering characterization and plot. It packed a strong punch without sacrificing nuanced development. Andor Episode 3 is a further step in the right direction for the show’s spy-thriller tone, and it’s equally compelling to see Cassian start on the path that will guide him toward his destiny as a rebellion hero.