Andor episode 4 just hit Disney Plus, and since that's the last episode I saw for my Andor review, I have been waiting to scream about how good this show just got. Right when you think you've figured it out, Andor just threw its chess board into the air, and I love the show even more for it.
That all said, I think Disney isn't doing right by Andor. This show should come out in larger bingeable batches — just like its first week where three episodes dropped. Partially, this is because I absolutely love Andor, and it's so good I wish I could have it all, right now.
I have gone on the record as saying Netflix's full-season drops are terrible for TV shows. But something about Andor doesn't feel like a TV show — and I don't mean that in a bad way. More on that below.
Either way, Andor is the new TV show you should be watching. In a sea of big-name prequel shows, Andor deserves oxygen in the debate. I'd say it's better than The Rings of Power, and close to House of The Dragon.
I just wish it got those shows' level of interest, as Parrot Analytics (opens in new tab) rates Andor as having 17.6x as much demand from the market average, while House of the Dragon has 54.8x and Rings of Power is at 25.9x. With Andor being as good as it is, I'm a little disappointed by how it lags behind in the cultural consciousness. This could be due to Star Wars fatigue — this is the third Star Wars show of the year — or a lack of interest in a character who isn't from the original trilogy.
Either way, I need you all to start watching Andor. Here's why.
There are light spoilers for Andor (through episode 4) below, but nothing that would ruin the show.
Andor episode 4 ruled even while three of its best characters faded to the background
Cassian Andor (Diego Luna), shipping off to Aldhani, is both a long way from his adoptive mother Maarva (Fiona Shaw), loyal B2EMO droid and the justice edgelord Syril Karn (Kyle Soller). His allies aren't in the episode at all, and Karn goes from being a central villain to one barely on-screen. Three of the best characters of Andor relocated off camera should result in a lackluster episode.
Somehow, Andor avoids that trap entirely, and gives us its best edition yet. Cassian's banter with Luthen Rael (Stellan Skarsgård) continues to be excellent as they argue on Rael's ship. The more heated the two get, and the more we learn that Luthen already knows about Cassian, the more intriguing the elder becomes. And, then, Rael sets out the prize for Andor's next gambit: stealing the payroll for a whole Imperial sector.
The casual surprises in Andor episode 4 helped it keep that cool vibe from the first episodes. For example, that Fondor Droid mod that acts as the Alexa for Rael's ship is a neat surprise of tech I didn't expect, and that TIE fighter that flew overhead on the mountainside kept me on my toes.
Andor's new crew is already proving their worth
On top of that, we get the debut of a ton of new characters, most notably Vel (Faye Marsay), who is running Rael's mission while he sits in the background. Marsay crackles as she delivers Vel's dialogue, as everyone frustrates her. Cassian, who has to call himself "Clem," is joining her gang and most of them don't like the idea.
The most phenomenal bit of casting comes here, as Ebon Moss-Bachrach has been pulled from the set of The Bear in Chicago to be a grump in the galaxy far, far away. His Arvel Skeen starts off giving crap to the youthful Karis Nemik (Alex Lawther), who seems like more of a traditional "team player."
Moss-Bachrach steals every scene he can, though, as Skeen is completely (and deservedly) distrustful, but he's not presented in a comical manner, deftly bringing his talent for being the disruptive element in a group to Andor. Filling out the rest of the team is the more neutral Taramyn Barcona (Gershwyn Eustache Jnr) and Cintra Kaz (Varada Sethu) as the medic I'd like to hear more from.
While Taramyn and Cintra are not talking as much as their teammates, the rest of their Aldhani group already feel far more entertaining and interesting than the likes of Bix, Brasso and Timm, who are all back on Ferrix. Andor is cycling characters in and out when they're needed, and it's working really well for me.
Oh, and can we talk about how Luthen switched his style up for his meeting with Mon Mothma? Skarsgård is bringing an effortless charm to this role that's completely delightful. The fact that we only get one episode of this world at a time made me pine for how episodes 1 through 3 dropped together. And that gets to my next point.
Mon Mothma and Grandi gives Andor new sides of Star Wars
Somehow, Genevieve O'Reilly has made politicking in the Star Wars universe interesting. When Mon Mothma comes home to talk to her husband, and he reveals that his party (that's been in her calendar) is going to be over-flowing with her rivals, their argument about all of it felt incredibly real.
While Star Wars is a space opera with a canon filled with heroes and villains, Andor continues to pack relatable people inside that history. And so, to realize that future Rebel Alliance leader Mon Mothma is married to a man who is buddies with those who plot her downfall? It makes her character suddenly far more interesting. As if Carmella Soprano had been working undercover all along.
Meanwhile Dedra Meero (Denise Gough) — the other new character we just met (this time one made for the Andor show) — may not have gotten much time, but her role is already proving interesting. Much like Syril Karn, Dedra brings a bit of added complexity to the Imperial forces of evil, in that she doesn't seem that evil.
In fact, she seems to be butting her head against a glass ceiling in the empire, told by superiors to be less ambitious. That she should get her paperwork in order, as "we're bringing in officers like you" to be competent and invisible.
Andor's only flaw is that it doesn't fit TV well
Andor showrunner Tony Gilroy told Mashable (opens in new tab) that Andor "endeavors to be a 1,500-page novel by the time it's done. He even said "We essentially made four new Star Wars films," when speaking about the first season. Diego Luna seems to agree, as he's quoted in press materials as saying "it feels like we are making a very long movie."
I don't know if Gilroy intended to send a message that he's not thinking about Andor as if it's a show, but that's the vibe I got. Especially when some episodes felt as if they ended abruptly.
While my Andor review called Andor great — something I stand behind — it still feels like it's bigger than the size constraints of an episodic TV show. Even with those awkwardnesses, I still find it more compelling than The Mandalorian, Book of Boba Fett and Obi-Wan Kenobi rolled into one.
Outlook: Will Andor continue to amaze?
I absolutely adore Andor because it takes this huge world that we've seen in wide-shots throughout the Star Wars movies, and continues to find interesting new people in it.
While I don't think Andor's perfectly fitting into the TV formula, the ability to constantly add new and interesting people actually reminds me of one of the best shows of all time: The Simpsons (well, at least the early seasons).
And just like how The Simpsons doesn't make you root for the villainous Mr. Burns, it took some moments to flesh out his character. And I love to see Andor doing the same, adding complexity and nuance to a world that doesn't often provide it. Right now, Andor has eight episodes left, a little less than three movies' worth, going by Gilroy's comments. And if the first four episodes are any indicator, Andor's going to keep getting better.