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The Eye (Andor - S01E06) - Live Action Series

Series: Andor

Title: The Eye

Season: One

Episode: 6

Original Air Date: October 12th, 2022

Runtime: 50 minutes

Credits: Review & Text: Thomas; Page layout & Design: Chuck Paskovics

Discuss the latest Chapter! (Discussion)

"You will hang for this! Seven years serving you, I deserve worse than that!" SPOILERS.

Self-satisfied Imperials congratulate themselves on outsmarting the natives

The Eye concludes Andor's second arc in season 1. The episode harkens back to traditional WW II movies about a small troop of soldiers infiltrating an enemy base. Now we have seen this countless times before in Star Wars, but in Andor the infiltration and heist are depicted in a more realistic manner. There are no gung-ho tactics, everything is well planned and organized, but as usual no plan survives contact with the enemy and eventually everything falls apart once the Imperials on site get wind of the ongoing theft of the money stored in the vault.

Andor and the others are ready to rob the vault

But before the episode gets to the actual heist part we get several character moments, a few of them involving Imperials, and in these scenes you can see the clear parallel between the Empire in Star Wars and imperialism and colonialism in our world. The way the commandant of the base brags about pulling the wool over the eyes of the natives gives you a really good insight into how the typical career officer in the Empire ticks. They think they are the smartest, they believe they can easily manipulate and outsmart the local population. It's the typical Imperial hubris at display in moments like these. But there are also other, more personal moments, like a rather funny one when the commandant can't close his tunic belt and complains about how his clothing was stored improperly and thus everything is "compressed". The commandant's wife does offer a different explanation of course. While the 12-year-old son is less than amused about having to take part in yet another Imperial event. It's the night of "The Eye", the quasi meteor shower lighting up the sky.

Vel becomes jittery and shows nerves, actress Faye Marsay gives an excellent performance here

The rebels also get several character moments of course, like an early talk between the "kid" and Andor, with Andor reassuring the young man that he may be unable to find sleep now, but that he will be fine once all is over. Even super tough and super determined Vel shows that she is human after all. She and Cinta successfully infiltrate the dam and place the radio jammers, but when it's time to give the go signal for the heist she falters and Cinta has to remind her that she has to give the signal. The acting in this scene was quite subtle but also very effective. In a later scene Vel once more displays that she is more than just a tough leader. She reaches for Cinta's hand, expressing her hope that she will make it out in time and alive. It's several of these short character moments that add a human angle to the entire operation.

The rebels are not above threatening kids at point blank range

Once Vel gives the signal the rebels take the commandant and his family hostage. But things don't go as planned as one of the officers pulls a gun, Vel saves the day when she jumps down a shaft and kills the officer. The commandant still tries to stall things by pretending he can't open the vault, but Vel knows better. And eventually the team reaches the vault.

Vel hopes Cinta will make it out alive

Once in the vault the team quickly takes control and orders the Imperials to load the cargo ship with as many credits as possible. Time is running out before the airbase will receive an alert and send their TIE fighters. For now the jammers are working but unfortunately one Imperial corporal overhears the internal comms of the rebels and becomes suspicious.

The Imperials in the vault play a card game, seconds before the rebels arrive

And this is the moment all plans more or less fall apart. Once the corporal and his troops arrive in the vault he quickly realizes what's going on. Lieutenant Gorn tries to convince everyone that there is an ongoing top-secret operation, but the commandant of the base collapses and then all hell breaks lose.

Pilots man their TIE fighters after receiving the alert

Even worse, the airbase has finally received a signal that the vault has been opened, their radio calls remain unanswered of course, so the base launches three TIE fighters to see what's going on. Things are getting worse by the second for the rebels. The ongoing shootout in the vault claims the life of two rebels, among them Lieutenant Gorn who only a few moments before had told his commandant that for serving seven years under him he deserves much more punishment than just hanging.

The hostages see the cargo ship make its escape while the Eye is in full effect

The survivors board the ship and make a successful launch. However during the rapid acceleration in the launch tube the "kid" is hit by a loading cart and severely injured, probably a fractured spine since he can't feel his legs anymore. But Vel and the others need him, he is supposed to provide Andor with the navigational data that will allow them to safely traverse the Eye. So Vel injects him with a stimulant that may harm him, much to the annoyance of Arvel Skeen.

TIE fighters are in hot pursuit of the rebels while flying right through the Eye

With TIE fighters in pursuit things are not easy. But with the help of the navigational data Andor manages to maneuver the ship through the Eye. The TIEs are not as lucky, maybe as some kind of higher justice the Imperial fighters are destroyed by the Eye one by one when they are hit by the small fragments at full speed.

The Dhani are visibly moved by the spectacle in the skies

Back on the planet the Dhani, the local natives, are moved by the Eye, even the Imperials are amazed by the spectacle, it's a short moment of calm and peace in all the action. Back on the ship Skeen informs Andor that Vel is about to abandon the "kid", he's unconscious now, severely injured and Vel thinks he will die. She does not want to risk the mission, but Skeen informs Andor that they have a contingency plan and access to a doctor that may save the life of the injured rebel. The "kid" did save Andor's life before by shooting an Imperial who had him pinned to the ground, threatening to choke him to death, and Andor does not hesitate at all, he decides to fly to the doctor.

Andor's signature move: killing people at point blank range

On the planet the doctor operates on the young rebel. Meanwhile Skeen and Andor have a chat outside the building. And it turns out Skeen may be a rebel, but it's "him against everyone else". And we learn that Skeen wants to abandon Vel and grab the money, with Andor's help. Skeen can't fly the ship, but Andor can. They robbed around 80 million credits, a lot of money, even for two people. Andor however may be many things... selfish, out for his own self interest, he is, like Skeen, also someone who lies a lot about his past. In many ways we see how Skeen is a dark mirror image of Andor, the two men are very much alike in many ways. But Andor has one thing Skeen is apparently lacking: morals. And he's also extremely ruthless. So he shoots Skeen without warning at point blank range. It really seems to be Andor's defining characteristic.

Andor has had it with the rebels and wants out

Unfortunately the alien doctor with four arms could not save the "kid's" life. Andor enters the building, weapon drawn and at first Vel thinks he wants to betray her. When Andor informs her that Skeen was actually the traitor she doesn't want to believe it. It seems Vel is a bad judge of character. But Andor proves her wrong about him when he tells her he merely wants his promised cut of the credits, so he can leave all this behind and make his exit. He returns Luthen's kyber crystal to Vel. And she hands some manifesto over to a reluctant Andor. But for now things seem resolved. Andor will buy a small ship from the doctor and make his escape with that. Vel gets the cargo ship and the 80 million credits.

The ISB is on high alert

Until now the entire episode was focused on the rebels and Aldhani. But in the last few moments we see what happens on Coruscant once news of the attack reaches the capital. The ISB is on high alert, they have work to do! Mom Mothma meanwhile addresses the senate about yet another unfair Imperial policy affecting a planet when she learns of the attack. And Luthen Rael is informed by the husband of a customer that some rebels attacked an Imperial base. He keeps his composure, retreats to his backroom, allegedly looking for some Aldhani artifact which could become quite sought after, and then just lets out a hearty laugh and the episode ends with sigh of relief by Luthen.

Mon Mothma addresses the senate... mere moments before she learns about the attack on the Imperial base

So was all the build-up in the previous two episodes worth the wait for the conclusion? In my opinion absolutely. As a whole the Aldhani arc is the Star Wars version of your archetypical WW II movie about troops behind enemy lines infiltrating a secret base. All the small character moments across the three episodes make you feel each loss here. Lieutenant Gorn, who had a Dhani wife and family, both killed by the Empire. The idealistic "kid" who almost made it. Skeen who pretended to be a rebel, but was after all just a scoundrel and thief who wanted the money for himself. Vel the tough no-nonsense leader who deeply cares about her girlfriend. 

When Luthen learns of the successful attack he retreats to his back office and just lets it all out, all his happiness and relief

The infiltration sequence itself was not flashy, compared to the similar scene in Rogue One on Scarif everything was small scale here, but things were much more tense, more personal, since you know all the rebels a lot better here than the mostly anonymous grunts in Rogue One. Vel had two or so really strong moments, with showing nerves mere seconds before she is supposed to give the go signal, and later giving her a short moment of tenderness with her girlfriend. But every character had his or her moment in this episode. Even the Imperials. They can't help it, they are just smug and arrogant. They believe they have everything under control. Yet the Dhani simply burn the offered pelt handed over by the commandant. They know what's going on. They despise the Empire. The moment between Skeen and Andor was another highlight, since you could see how Skeen is very much like Andor, out for himself, he wants to live, breathe, eat, survive... but ultimately Skeen lacked what Andor posesses, a moral compass and some principles. I wonder how this encounter with Skeen will change Andor, since he could easily be just like him.

Another highlight once again was the very short scene with Luthen in his backroom when he just lets it all out, all the tension gone, at least for the moment. That was some brilliant acting by Stellan Skarsgard once again. Now the question is how the Empire will react. The rebels have made their move, the Empire knows that trouble is brewing. The answer will probably be brutal and swift.

The cinematography in this episode was superb. The Eye effect was really beautiful and the short sequence with the TIEs following the cargo ship through the Eye was also a great effects sequence. It was also yet another nice touch to show us how the pilots enter the TIEs and perform a quick pre-flight check. It's all these small details that offer a particular level of realism we rarely get in Star Wars. The entire infiltration sequence and heist was really well done as well, not over the top, more low key, in tune with the realistic approach of the series.

There will certainly still be people who find Andor too slow and boring. I think this is now, after two full arcs, certainly the best Star Wars series to date, with characters you really care about, and not just the main star, Andor, even all the other characters grow close to you. The attention to small details here is amazing, it just feels real, as if all these places actually exist. Which is very much in the tradition of what Lucas did, his Tatooine in A New Hope seemed like a very real place, much more real than virtually any other place seen in SciFi before. So even though Andor is different in some ways, more character focused, it still builds upon the foundation laid by Lucas in the 1970s and it's very much Star Wars.

I rate this episode 5 holocrons, the entire arc is certainly 5 holocrons as well. I still wish Disney would have released four movies instead of individual episodes. Let's see where the wind will blow Andor next. A return to Ferrix seems likely at some point. But that's something for another week.

Added: October 12, 2022
Category: Andor
Reviewer: Thomas
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