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Announcement (Andor - S01E07) - Live Action Series

Series: Andor

Title: Announcement

Season: One

Episode: 7

Original Air Date: October 19th, 2022

Runtime: 48 minutes

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

Discuss the latest Chapter! (Discussion)

"The Mon Mothma people think they know... It's a lie!" SPOILERS.

Syril Karn is an action figure collector

After the finale of the Aldhani arc Andor returns this week with its first episode that is more or less standalone. The next three episode arc will begin next week, before we get the two episode finale in November. "Announcement" is therefore somewhat of a transitional episode, the plot does not advance all that much, but all the pieces are moved to new places on the board and things intensify in the background.

Colonel Yularen informs the ISB about several new Imperial policies following the attack on Aldhani

Every major character has their moment in this week's episode. One of the most depressing arcs is still Syril Karn's new existence on Coruscant. He learns about the rebel attack on Aldhani, but dreams of a different future where he captures bad guys are long gone. Instead his mother has pulled a few favours and Syril has an upcoming job interview with the Bureau of Standards, which turns out to be the most depressing office space ever on a planet that already is depressing, unless your are part of the ultra rich elite. So for now Syril is desktop bound.

We learn more about the power balance among the rebels

The ISB meanwhile has yet another meeting and none other than Colonel Yularen himself informs them of several new Imperial policies and ISB procedures following the attack on Aldhani. The Empire is tightening the thumbscrews and increased tax rates for sectors that harbour rebels is the least problematic thing. The entire meeting room scene is a clear analogy for how real world governments react to acts of terror. By curtailing personal freedom.

The Bureau of Standards. What a lovely place to work in

In a scene with Luthen Rael and Mon Mothma we learn that Mon Mothma is not really giving Luthen any orders, it seems they are also at odds about how to best pursue their common goal. As it turns out Mon Mothma knew nothing about the rebel attack on Aldhani, Luthen insists that they need money and that this was the best way to do things. When Mon Mothma tells Luthen that the Empire is tigthening the thumbscrews even more after the attack Luthen is satisfied, it's exactly what he wants, because he feels only then people will finally begin to resent the oppressive regime. The early rebels, especially Luthen, are certainly quite ruthless and willingly accept the suffering of everyday people - if it furthers their own goals. You can't chop wood without cutting down some trees...

Kleya is on a mission of her own

How ruthless Luthen (or the rebels) are is further emphasized by Kleya's secret mission in this episode. She navigates Coruscant's nightmarish architecture to meet someone...

Brutalist architecture for a brutal regime

The short sequence of Kleya navigating Coruscant gives you a good idea how the mid levels of the city look like. They are a depressing labyrinth of grey concrete and harsh lines. To think that much of that place was designed under Republic rule makes you second guess their sense of beauty and humanity. How can such a depressing place foster mental health? Syril Karn's depressing apartment and room are further testament to that.

Kleya meets her contact in a brutalist nightmare

Kleya's secret conctact turns out to be none other than Vel. If you don't recognize her immediately I would not fault you. Vel cleans up very nicely once she is no longer in Aldhani shepherd gear, she is instead clothed in upper class Coruscant clothing, with make-up and nice hairdo.

Vel cleans up very nicely

Vel is still concerned about Cinta. But ultimately Kleya gives Vel a new mission, they don't want any loose ends. And this means Vel has a new mission. Find Cassian Andor and eliminate him. The early rebels certainly are no saints. And Andor drives this point home again and again. Not only do they use public suffering, and even do their best to increase public suffering, for their own agenda, they don't shy away from killing off operatives that are deemed a security risk. A happy rebel life this is not and this is very far removed from the ragtag group of heroes in A New Hope. The early rebellion is as depressing as Coruscant.

Cinta is still on Aldhani, where an Imperial star destroyer just arrived. The Empire means business now

One of the most chilling scenes of the entire series though is Mon Mothma's party. Now on the surface all we get here are people talking, but the tension, the fear, but also the hope are more than palpable here and you cannot help but admire Mon Mothma for her courage. She is literally in the belly of the beast and yet she resists. And now she has to take a huge risk. Meeting an old childhood friend, hoping he can be an ally.

Keep smiling!

Mon Mothma meets her old childhood friend Tay Kolma, when she learns from him that he is no friend of the Empire she opens up to him and more or less confesses to him that she is not the person people think she is, that she is indeed someone very different, and that no one is to be trusted, not her driver, who is an ISB plant, and not even her own husband. Only three people in the galaxy know about Mon Mothma's secret (I suppose the third one is Bail Organa, he makes the most sense as Mon Mothma's ally in the senate) and now Tay is more or less the fourth one. She asks him to help her with securing funds for the rebels. We will have to see what comes of it. The scene between the two was really one of the highlights in this episode, which has lots of character highlights.

Andor meets Bix and pays off his debts

The episode focuses less on Andor than previous episodes, but he is of course still a major focus here. Andor is back on Ferrix and he reunites with his foster mother. We also learn what happened to Clem, his foster dad. He was killed by the Empire and hanged in a town square. Andor wants to leave the place with his mother next thing in the morning. But before that he visits Bix, she does not join him, Andor doesn't even ask her to come with him (Andor should rethink his life choices here!), instead they talk about the past, how he used to climb over the fence to meet her, they talk about Timm and his suspicion that Bix and Cassian are an item... but ultimately Bix informs Cassian that the people on Ferrix blame him for the Imperial occupation. Andor eventually pays off his debts and leaves her. Ready to leave the place for good in the morning. However, Andor is in for a big surprise when his mother informs him she won't leave, no, she wants to stay and fight. Andor is shocked... but then his foster mother tells him why she wants to stay. The rebel attack on Aldhani gave her hope, hope that things can change, that the regime can be beaten, and she wants to do her part. It's more than ironic that Andor can't or won't reveal his involvement with all that. Yet, it's obvious his mother's confession will change something in Andor in the long run. The "robbery" as he calls it is more of a shining beacon of hope really. And as we all know rebellions are built on hope...

When you want to laugh out loud but have to restrain yourself

ISB officer Dedra also gets her moment in the episode. In a subversion of expectations and some kind of twist she comes out on top in the internal power struggle with her (equally) power hungry colleague. Dedra uses the new Imperial procedures for the ISB to more or less gather intelligence on other sectors under the radar, her colleague finds out about it, tries to rat her out in yet another ISB meeting, but Major Partagaz proves to be less of a stuck up ideologue as you would have thought maybe. Because he immediately sees the importance of Dedra's work and investigation, and instead of punishing her he reprimands her colleague and gives her control over the Ferrix sector. A full win for Dedra who can hardly contain her smile. But this is followed by a word of warning by Partagaz that Dedra must watch her back now. A shout out to Denise Gough here, her acting was exceptional. First her surprise at actually receiving support from the Major, then her hardly contained mirth when she wins everything and can go on with her investigation, an official investigation now.

Even the tourist planets look kind of depressing

The final part of the episode features a rather hilarious scene with Andor who left Ferrix and is now on some tourist planet. He also hooked up with some random pretty girl, lying naked in bed. I suppose this is the first time we ever really see that in Star Wars... but things take a quite hilarious turn when Andor decides to go on a walk along the depressing beach promenade.

In the wrong place at the wrong time

Some people are trying to run away from a shore trooper. Andor is just an innocent bystander, minding his own business, as he strolls along the beach. But the trooper still rounds Cassian up and immediately considers him a suspect. He is eventually held in place by a K2 droid. And thus Cassian's vacation is cut short. One of the most wanted men in the Empire was arrested for nothing in an ironic twist of fate.

The Imperial justice system is very efficient, and very, very swift

In yet another hilarious scene we see how Cassian is brought before the local judge. When she reads his list of alleged offenses, none of which are true, she merely remarks that this would have meant six months of prison before... but now it's six years and off you go Cassian, into Imperial prison for a crime you did not commit, mere days after committing an actual crime.

You REALLY don't wont to work there

And the episode is bookended by another scene with Syril Karn, who now works for the Bureau of Standards, his job is to oversee purity of fuel or something like that and how anyone in that nightmare office does not commit suicide during their lunch break will forever be a mystery.

And that's "Announcement" - as I said, a transitional episode of sorts, but also one of the best episodes so far. Sure, nothing much happens on the action front, all you get here is people talking, for the most part, but the character scenes are written very well, we learn a few crucial things about all the characters and we also get more glimpses into everyday life on Coruscant and how depressing this place is.

And people who cried for "aliens" or "droids", well the episode has lots of that as well, both in the background and in the foreground. For a moment I wondered if Cassian would meet K-2SO in this episode, but Alan Tudyk will not be in season one.

My personal highlights are certainly Mon Mothma's cocktail party that was chilling to the bone, because Mon Mothma is surrounded by enemies and potential spies, and she's all smiles and laughter, upholding a carefully constructed image... and then she musters up the courage to open up to her old childhood friend who doesn't know what hits him when Mon Mothma lets on that things are very, very different under the surface.

The kafka-esque sequence on Niamos was also yet another highlight. Cassian gets arrested for nothing, doesn't even get a defender, he is sentenced to six years in prison just like that, for something he never committed. If only the Empire knew he is one of the most wanted men in the galaxy. The series is not really known for humour thus far, but I prefer this kind of satire and humour much more over the usual antics we get in the movies.

Once more noteworthy is also how the series paints everything in shades of grey. Is Dedra evil? Not from her point of view. She wants to uncover the terrorists who kill people and steal Imperial property. Are the rebels good? Do the ends justify the means? Their overall agenda is certainly something people support, but at least the early rebels literally walk over dead bodies to achieve their goals and they willingly accept public suffering, they see it as something positive even, since it may help their cause. Well, that's at least Luthen's philosophy. It was interesting to learn that Mon Mothma is not THE leader. However, knowing the future we know she will take over eventually and I wonder if her experiences with Luthen informed her policies.

And one more very strong and touching moment was when Cassian's mother tells him about the hope she felt inside once she heard about the rebel attack on Aldhani. You would wish Cassian would open up to her and tell her, but he probably thinks it's best for her if she's in the dark. Yet I feel this will be a pivotal moment for Cassian moving forward, even if he skips town to have some fun with random girls at some beach resort. His "robbery" means so much more to the people of the galaxy who long for freedom.

And one final word about Coruscant: who would ever want to live there? Who designed the place like this? And why? Does a brutalist environment foster regimes like the Empire and hopelessness?

I rate "Announcement" 5 holocrons. In my opinion this is peak Star Wars. However, according to early analytics numbers, Andor is probably the least popular Star Wars live action series to date. This according to Peacock Analytics who gauge overall "buzz" on social media and other places. And it's considerably lower than for any of the other live action shows. The question is how that will translate into ratings and what Lucasfilm's own expectations are. Some numbers suggest it could be on the level of She-Hulk or somewhat below that, so maybe around 400 million minutes watched in the US. Once Nielsen include Andor in their numbers we will know more, and if Andor even makes it on the list in the first place. It would be a pity if a lack of popularity for Andor would convince Lucasfilm to no longer pursue projects like this. We need more Star Wars like Andor!

Added: October 19, 2022
Category: Andor
Reviewer: Thomas
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