Episode six, “The Eye,” delivers what was promised in the last two episodes, just as “The Reckoning” delivered on the promise of the first two—a thrilling conclusion to this chapter of Cassian’s life. Like “The Reckoning,” Cassian picks up some hard lessons while losing people along the way.
A More Focused Episode
Andor shines when it is not jumping from more than two storylines throughout the 46-minute average episode time. “The Eye” is the longest episode yet is almost consistent in its action, so the pacing is much improved. We can expect two slower-paced episodes leading to another action set piece in episode nine.
But the best part of this episode and watching events unfold is that we were not privy to many details. We saw Cassian, Taramyn, Skeen, and Nemik practice troop formations, but we did not know how that fits into the overall heist. Vel and Cinta’s roles were also a mystery, and they have some of the best action scenes. Jumping off of a dam is a highlight but watching the two diving towards the dam while The Eye of Aldhani is beginning is just stunning.
And even with all the action that has to happen in a short time (Nemik is the clock master keeping the gang on schedule while taking hostages), we still get moments of hesitation and fear from both sides. From Vel’s delay in giving the go-ahead to take Commandant Beehaz and his family hostage to Corporal Kimzi in the communication tower slowly realizing something is wrong to the panic on the transport ship as they navigate through The Eye.
As this civil war continues, both sides will improve as they respond to attacks and adjust. But this is the beginning of all that, and the Rebels have given the first blow.
Crushed by the Weight of Fascism
It is poetic, if not sad. I thought Nemik might survive because I saw this scene with the multi-armed doctor in the trailer. But it only served as an accent to the tragedy of his death. Nemik did die, but not because an Imperial shot him. He died because he didn’t hold on tight enough when their transport ship took off and was crushed by credits. Nemik stayed alive long enough to navigate them through The Eye and escape TIE Fighters but succumbed to his wounds when they landed on a planet to try and save him.
In a different Star Wars story, that doctor would be successful. All the signs were there that Nemik would die. And his manifesto is now in Cassian’s hands. There is no doubt that Cassian will read that manifesto and how that shapes him for the rest of the season, and, likely, the rest of his life will be interesting to watch unfold.
All of the deaths in this episode were sudden and without ceremony. It was almost too real. No grand music exists plays over their exit, like Cassian’s death in Rogue One.
Two Sides of the Same Coin
I knew it. I knew there was something gross about Skeen. First, he fails to cover Taramyn. Then, when they make a pit stop to try and save Nemik’s life, Skeen tries to convince Cassian to run and split the credits with him. 40M each to forget each other’s names. And that brother that Skeen mentioned in the last episode? He does not exist. Skeen has been the one lying to the entire group from the beginning.
It is a reminder that both sides have good and bad eggs (even though individuals on the Imperial side are feeding into a corrupt system), and the clues are there with Skeen. Skeen does not trust other people because he knows he can’t be trusted.
And he is a mercenary who sees a kindred spirit in Cassian. Maybe that was Cassian before he arrived at Aldhani, but this Cassian is offended and angry by Skeen’s betrayal and promptly shoots him without hesitation. I would also like to believe that Skeen cared about Nemik enough to attempt to save him, and not for an opportunity to take the credits by grounding their ship. But we will never know.
It was a genius twist. Well done, Dan Gilroy.
And it is a nice preview of what we can expect from Saw Gerrera, who is still to come.
There are the beginnings of repercussions on both sides at the end of “The Eye.” On the Rebel side, most of the crew is dead (Cinta’s next moves are unclear), and Vel is left with the payroll credits. How will that attack impact the Aldhani people? Will the Empire assume they had something to do with the attack? Imperial hostages can identify Gorn as a traitor, so how does the ISB deal with the possibility of spies within the Empire?
The following two “chapters” likely will revolve around the ISB (and possibly Syril) working together to try and piece together how Cassian is involved. And that puts many people in danger, including Maartha, Bix, Luthen, and Kleya. The next set of episodes will be a new world for the Galactic Empire.
New Visuals for the Star Wars Universe
Add Susanna White as another candidate for more Star Wars directing jobs. I am more than ready for Star Wars to return to the big screen, but we are stuck in streaming for at least a few more years. Star Wars needs theatrical set pieces to remain a theatrical franchise. Another stunning shot in the episode follows a random TIE pilot getting into his fighter while The Eye of Aldhani is happening.
The actual celestial event around which this heist is occurring is another new canon gift from this show, and it truly was a visual treat that would have been great to see on a theater screen.
And we see Aldhani and Imperials watching together, a peaceful quietness that will be long gone the next day.
“Well, ultimately, they will return, won’t they, Colonel?
When you need plenty of arms and legs to build all you’ve got planned.”Star Wars: Andor, The Eye
Circling back to poetic deaths, Commandant Beehaz also dies during the heist. But not in typical Star Wars fashion where they go down with the ship or on a doomed Imperial superweapon. Much like Krennic, killed by the weapon he helped build, Beehaz dies from minutes of hard labor. The kind of labor he was going to impose upon the people of Aldhani to construct the Imperial base. The kind of labor men like him are not built for (figuratively and literally). But Stanley Townsend’s facial expression as Beehaz when he hears Gorn and realizes the guy he has worked with for seven years is a traitor is a level of acting and writing we have been missing from Star Wars streaming series.
Also, I appreciate that Cassian never lets people finish their sentences before he shoots them.