Episode 9 of Andor starts with Meero having captured Bix and encouraging her to cooperate. If not, there’s Dr Gorst who has some very…unique ways of getting his subjects to talk. Meero’s not big on wasting time and wants to know everything about Cassian Andor, as well as the stolen Imperial equipment she’s worked with and moved on.
Salman Paak, Bix’s contact, has squealed already and disclosed six face to face meetings, something Bix struggles to weasel out of confirming. “When was the last time you spoke to Cassian Andor?” Meero asks. Bix is silent. As a result, she’s left with Dr Gorst, who begins his torture. It doesn’t take long and Bix does talk.
Over on Narkina 5, Andor gets into his role and starts to lead the group, working with them all and helping out Ulaf, who’s really struggling. Andor works to hide his injuries. Now, Andor has been slowly cutting into a metal pipe around the corner from their workstation, and deliberating over whether they could take out the guards by force.
Andor bides his time and speaks to Kino about the guards and how they’re giving too much credit to the empire. They don’t care about low-level grunts but Kino refuses to tell him how many are on each level.
In the morning, rumours spread that the Empire have made their move, having fried an entire bridge worth of people. That’s close to hundred able-bodied men! For now, Kino tells them all to keep their mouths shut and keep working until they know exactly what’s going on. However, Kino looks rattled.
Meanwhile, Mon’s cousin Vel has arrived. She’s been travelling for six months and she’s determined to be part of the rebellion. She tells Mon that things are happening but the latter is worried. It’s only a flying visit though and after dinner, she’s off on her way, telling Mon that she’s determined to make something of her life.
As for Mon, she’s struggling to get through to any of the other Senators and needs a loan. Tay may have the solution. He deduces that Mon needs to meet with a Chandrilan banker sporting treasury relationships and a “book of business incomprehensibly huge.” Davo Sculdun is the man. He’s the wealthiest thug out there and a good solution but Mon doesn’t think it’s a wise idea. However, time is of the essence.
Syril shows up to see Meero and thanks her for the promotion he’s been granted. Meero uneasily retorts that Syril has been watching her and seemingly stalking her, but he bites back and points out that being with her, and realizing her sense of justice, is just what he needs. Meero brushes past him though and tells him to stay away, promising a cage on the Outer Rim if he continues.
When Meero heads into her office, she learns from her subordinate that they’ve captured a rebel pilot. He’s using a stolen Imperial unit and it hasn’t taken long for him to squeal. That same Imperial masking device is working an absolute charm for them.
This man appears to be part of Kreegyr’s group and has told the Imperials that there’s a raid planned on a power station at Spellhaus. The man was on his way to Kafrene when he was picked up and when he doesn’t show, the rebels are bound to come looking for him.
Meero sees a unique opportunity to find this base. She deduces that they stage the pilot dead in the cockpit thanks to a mechanical issue with the ship and let it drift into traffic. That way, they could follow from afar as the ship is towed into Kafrene.
Meanwhile on Narkina 5, Ulaf’s condition continues to deteriorate. He’s hanging on by a thread and Andor manages to hide his condition from the others. On the bridge though, he collapses and needs a doctor. Kino looks out for him and tells him to hang in, knowing Ulaf only has a few shifts left.
The doctor soon shows up with an oxygen mask and checks him. It’s not good news. Ulaf has had a massive stroke. There’s no way he’ll be up and about, and despite having only 40 shifts left, he’s a goner. As a result, the doctor injects him with something to help him pass peacefully.
So what happened on Level 2? It turns out they made a mistake. A man who was just released on Level 4 ended up back on Level 2 the next day. Word got out and then they killed them all. That means the man was released, finished his shifts… and then ended up back in the same program again. Kino realizes what this means and tells Andor there’s no more than 12 guards per level.
I said last episode that the show felt slow and laborious, and that was true for last chapter’s plot development, which stagnated and didn’t really advance much. Here though, there’s a consistent feeling of momentum and progression, making it one of the better episodes of the whole show.
Andor is a strange show like that in many ways, with the momentum swinging back and forth between being super slow and building up to something bigger. I genuinely think Andor would work really well as a binge-watch and no doubt, this reviewer will probably rewatch the entire show again before writing up a full season review!
As far as this episode goes, Andor does a great job ramping up the tension and learning the inner-workings of Narkina 5 while simultaneously progressing the story, as well as peppering in those scenes with Meero and the Imperials, getting closer to the truth about Andor, which is a great touch. That ending seems to hint that we’re gearing up for a prison break, and you know what? It should be an absolute cracker!