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Andor: Season 1: Episode 6: The Eye

What is it ? : On Alhani, Andor and his team begin their operation. The men disguise themselves as Imperial Soldiers, and join the guard detail for the religious ceremonies to observe the stellar event "The Eye". Their inside man, Lieutenant Gorn, as part of the guard detail for the Commandant, and as he returns to the complex they are admitted inside.
Here they pull their weapons and take the Commandant and his family hostage.
Meanwhile the women members of the team infiltrate the base, and plant communication jammers before rendezvousing with the men.
Using the Commandants family as hostages to make him obey, they head down to the vault, and force the workers there to load the money onto the ship which is docked there.
Elsewhere in the base, an Imperial officer trying to get an open channel through the jamming, discovers the teams personal communications, and alerts the local Tie Fighters to scramble when he hears mention of a ship, and gathers some men to investigate the vault.
Arriving, he discovers them loading the ship, but sees his commanding officer, Gorn, and the Commandant among the people there, so is confused, yet a gun battle breaks out when the Commandant collapses from a heart attack.
Andor, Arvel, Karis, & Vel escape in the ship, while Cinta slips away in Imperial Uniform, while everyone else is killed. Having a course plotted through the comets which make up "The Eye", their ship avoids damage, while the pursuing Tie Fighters are destroyed. However in the manoeuvring, Karis is crushed by some of the cargo moving around, and Vel wants to keep to the plan, which Arvel argues that they can reach medical aid and save the young idealist, and Andor follows Arvels plan.
While they await the doctor finishing surgery on their friend, Arvel reveals that he wants to steal the millions of credits, and split it between him and Andor, but Andor shoots him, aware that his own betrayal would be next.
Inside, the surgery was unsuccessful, and Karis has died, when Andor takes his share and wants to leave, Vel thinks he is robbing them and doesn't believe him about Arvel. But when she realises he is leaving her with millions of credits, taking only his agreed payment, she gives him Karis's Manifesto, a document detailing his political beliefs that he was fighting for.
On Coruscant, the Imperial Security Bureau is on high alert as they are notified of the robbery, and their leader snaps out commands.
In the Senate, Mon Mothma is giving a speech to the nearly empty chamber, when she notices something happening, and she reads on a datapad about the successful robbery.
And in his antiques shop, Luthen is asked whether he has anything from Alhani as it's in the news for the robbery, and he celebrates to himself. . .

High Points : Even before the action kicks off, this episode is tense, and builds wonderfully.
Then everything kicks off, with the heist going off fairly well until they are discovered, but it still goes to plan even though some of their number are lost.
It is extraordinarily good Star Wars, and the run time just slips past and as the rest of the series, it looks gorgeous.

Low Points : There's not too much to be critical of here, it's extremely well done. Picking faults is perhaps it's a bit obvious, young idealist character who talks about the future dies, cynical guy who is a bit dodgy turns out to betray them, old heavier officer has a heart attack at the vital moment to cause disruption to their plan. It's the checkbox list of what happens in an action movie.

So what do you really think ? : I really enjoyed this one, and it's raised my opinion of all that has gone before, although the last two episodes were a bit flabby and could have done with some trimming down. This block of three episodes would make a fantastic Star Wars heist movie.
Although my wife came up with a theory that I'm unsure of. She thinks that Cinta, having been left alone with the Commandants family, and hating the Empire as much as she does, must have killed them before slipping away in Imperial Uniform. Not just because of her hatred and want of revenge on the Empire, but also because they saw the teams faces, so were witnesses. Although I'm unconvinced, I would kind of like the story to go this way, to keep the Rebellion not categorically the good guys, and keep the shades of grey hinted at in Andors background in Rogue One.

Final Words : As I mentioned above, this one was good enough to make me reappraise the entire series so far. Where I thought the first three episodes were wasted as we'd left Ferrix behind, but I'm guessing that now Andor has resources, and is on the run, he'll return there to continue the search for his "sister", only to discover the effect that his actions have had on his old home. With the Empire now having taken full control, and having built a security centre on the planet, replacing the corporate control which feared to set foot in the place.
It doesn't make me think those episodes were any better paced, but it does make me glad that they weren't an entire waste of time.

Score : 9/10

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