By Josh Reilly B.
Andor’s sixth episode, out today on Disney+, saw the conclusion of the Aldahni plot line, a story that began in the fourth outing after Cassian was reluctantly recruited into the Rebellion. Thus far, audiences and critics alike have sung the praises of Andor, particularly the very purposeful and deliberate writing of Tony and Dan Gilroy. Episode six, aptly titled The Eye, seems set to continue that trend.
The last episode dove deep into the inner-workings of this Rebel cell, with Cassian getting to know characters like Vel and Nemik as the team trained for their mission. This week, their plan is finally out into action as the crew risk their lives for the cause. It’s tense, dark, and, ironically enough, Star Wars at its most cinematic.
Many speculated that the Rebel crew would be depleted, if not outright destroyed (bar Cassian, of course), after this episode. This wasn’t exactly the case, with Vel and Cinta surviving the chaos, but the unpredictability heading into this episode is refreshing. It’s a real testament to the writing that a series about a character who audiences know will survive until the ending of Rogue One can still be so captivating and tense. The stakes are real and high, and that the title character’s fate is already sealed and known doesn’t impact that whatsoever is a remarkable achievement.
Andor was initially pitched as a tense spy thriller, which has somewhat been the case in the first five episodes. However, in The Eye, the style and genre of the series really comes through in this episode. It’s almost akin to a finale of The Americans, a series which has been cited as an inspiration for Andor, with the lead characters acting as spies and disguising their identity in a high stakes environment. The comparisons to a finale of another show are important for Andor as well, as this is just the sixth episode in a twelve episode first season. Given the arc structure that the Gilroys are employing, it makes every outing feel monumental and important in some way.
Despite that, Andor certainly doesn’t abandon its television structure, making for an even better show. Certain Disney+ series have been critiqued for trying to be too much like a movie, with some arguing the final products ultimately turning out to be a badly paced and disorganized film. Andor doesn’t have that disorganization and truly embraces its role as a TV show, even as it continues to feel incredibly cinematic.
This is certainly the most cinematic episode of Andor yet, and is right up there with the season two premiere of The Mandalorian in that regard as well. The visuals for the Eye, a celestial star showing that the locals on the planet appear to worship and look to for guidance, are absolutely stunning. This episode is once again directed by Susanna White, who shows she’s just as capable of helming an action heavy outing as she was with a slower paced, dialogue-centric hour last week. The colors on display are really extraordinary, and the fact that Star Wars is once again back shooting on location is a detail that is hugely welcomed.
Aldahni isn’t even a particularly unique planet climate wise, as there’s been plenty of forest worlds in Star Wars before. However, the cinematography and direction is so excellent that it elevates the plant and gives an added atmosphere that’s been lacking for certain locations in live action Star Wars television. The world also feels more lived in, not only because Andor chooses to focus on individuals who just so happen to be in a galaxy far, far away, but because of plot threads like the Eye of Aldahni. Seeing the natives from the planet go about their years long tradition of making the journey across the planet to see the celestial event in the sky is new to live action Star Wars, particularly as native people haven’t always been focused on. The Book of Boba Fett gave audiences a much more in depth look at the Tuskens on Tatooine, including their culture and way of life, and Andor continues this again.
Without giving anything away, Andor’s latest episode also delivers plenty of truly unexpected twists and turns. There are things fans wouldn’t ever see coming, especially not after some of the information told last week. It makes for a gripping hour of TV and one that continues to further the character of Cassian.
The Eye goes down as one of the best episodes of Star Wars TV ever made. It’s tense, gripping, and unexpected, all under the amazing direction of Susanna White. Diego Luna’s character continues to grow and evolve even as he’s still a far cry from his Rebel hero seen in Rogue One. Episode 6 further solidifies Andor as a must watch TV series.