Warning: This article may contain spoilers from Andor Episode 5
Today, Lucasfilm and Disney+’s newest live-action Star Wars series Andor returned with it’s fifth episode. The series has received high praise throughout its first four episodes from critics and fans alike for its thrilling and refreshing approach to a galaxy far, far away. I am pleased to say that Andor continues that trend this week as it rapidly pulls farther ahead as the best Star Wars series yet.
Episode 5, titled “The Axe Forgets,” focuses primarily on Cassian (Diego Luna) and his newfound team of rag-tag team of idealists and warriors on Aldhani, as introduced in the previous episode of the same name. “The Axe Forgets” can be summarized as the “calm before the storm” moment, although with a group like this, there is hardly ever any calm.
Creator Tony Gilroy has structured the entirety of Andor into three-episode arcs, and the format is already paying off nicely to a viewer. Having the understanding of flow and tempo as an audience member tempers expectations, but also allows us to sit back and enjoy the episode for what it is – character development and world building. In “Aldhani” we get introduced to the mission, the team, and Cassian’s stake and role in all of it, while in “The Axe Forgets” we get to sit with this rag-tag team and learn about them, their relationships with each other, and how Cassian as a foreign entity disrupts what can otherwise be described as a complicated family.
Speaking of complicated families, “The Axe Forgets” blows the door wide open on the home lives of Mon Mothma (Genevieve O’Reilly) and Syril Karn (Kyle Soller). The former is estranged from her family, too distant with her “charities” and other activities to be an active mother and wife, while the latter must feel the shame and burden of disappointing his own condescending mother, played by Kathryn Hunter. Mothma’s dynamic with her family enthralls me, as she is forced to put her own family aside for her work and what she feel must be done for the better of the entire galaxy. She is willing to throw everything away for a small ounce of hope, making her not only a fascinating character study, but also the perfect person to lead a rebellion.
Let’s talk about some of the members of the Aldhani team. Leading the pack is Vel (Faye Marsay). There were hints in Episode 4 of her uncertainties as a leader of this team, but they come to a head in Episode 5 as Cassian, on numerous occasions, adds vital information to their operation that she has no choice but to accept. Despite her misgivings, these people trust her with their lives, and respect her word. I was awed by her ability to hold this team together despite the threads coming loose.
The catalyst for those threads coming loose was Skreen, played by Ebon Moss-Bachrach. This episode hinges on his relationship with, or rather his distrust of, Cassian. They come to a head several times in the episode, culminating in a stand-off that puts the entire team on edge. The two find a way to make peace come the end, but Moss-Bachrach’s character was by far the standout performance of “The Axe Forgets.” He, just like everyone else on the Aldhani team, has been hurt by the Empire, and as he admits, he no longer knows what to do with the pain that sits inside him.
The episode concludes the night before the heist on the Aldhani Imperial compound. Sitting in his glamorous shop in the bustling streets of Coruscant is Luthen Rael (Stellan Skarsgård), fearing the worst for the Aldhani team he cannot contact. Rael knows that this will be their biggest strike yet, and the ramifications of this action could lead to all out civil war…
Andor continues to show the potential of live-action Star Wars content. The themes, characters, and tone build a world that feels like Star Wars yet stands strong as an independent piece. I often forget that this takes place in a galaxy far, far away and I love that. What the Gilroys and their team have built with this series is nothing short of magnificent, and I cannot wait to see what comes next.
What did you think of Episode 5 of Andor? What’re you most anticipating? Let us know in the comments below or on our social media pages.