Andor (Season 1) Episode 6: Andor’s latest episode delves into the guerilla rebels’ infiltration into the Imperial garrison in Aldhani, an event we had been waiting for the past couple of episodes. The payoff is spectacular in more ways than one, as this 45-minute episode is undoubtedly some of the best Star Wars ever made. In my previous recaps, I mentioned that one of Andor’s best strengths is its ability to use slow-burn characterization in its favor. This aspect adds considerably to the breathtaking action that unravels in episode 7. The results are absolutely satisfying.
In episode 5 of Andor, we saw a lot of friction between members of the rebel group, with Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) at its center. Skeen (Ebon Moss-Bachrach) is especially suspicious of “Clem” (Cassian’s alias for the sake of anonymity), as he demands to know how someone like him has a kyber crystal that is worth at least 30,000 credits. “Who brings treasure to a robbery?” Skeen lashes out after rebel leader Vel (Faye Marsay) asks them to break up the fight. Cassian, provoked, comes clean: he reveals that he’s a mercenary and is only here for the money. Although this creates fresh tension, the group needs to focus on their looming mission and get their act together sooner than later.
Episode 6 jumps into the heart of the dangerous mission and holds up real, meaningful stakes in the process. Before we proceed, there are MAJOR SPOILERS ahead for Andor.
Andor Episode 6 Recap & Plot Synopsis
The episode opens with the group taking their respective stations in preparation for the task ahead. Vel and Cinta (Varada Sethu) are on their way to infiltrate the garrison via stealth. At the same time, Cassian, Skeen, Nemik (Alex Lawther), and Taramyn (Gershwyn Eustache Jnr) are ready to impersonate Imperial officers. Before the mission, Nemik expresses his disappointment that Cassian is in solely for the money and attempts to explain the socio-political implications of what they’re about to do.
As Nemik wholeheartedly believes in the rebel cause, he talks about his manifesto named The Role of Mercenaries in the Galactic Struggle for Freedom, which states that the empire must be thwarted at every turn due to their lack of moral boundaries. Cassian retorts that while the Empire does not care about rebels like them, what matters is they do something about it, no matter what their true motivation is. Cassian might be motivated by cash, but he still believes in participating in the mission as he wants to make a difference.
Cut to the Imperial garrison; the folks there are revving up for the local celestial event called The Eye and are mainly in a self-important, celebratory mood. Commandant Jayhold (Stanley Townsend) talks about how the local Aldhani tribe is incapable of basic discernment when overwhelmed with senseless options, making them easier to manipulate. This is obviously not true and painfully colonialist, indicative of how smug and satisfied fascists become when goaded with power, which leads them to look down upon marginalized communities. At the same time, they maintain a false veneer of respect. The Imperials are near appreciative of the Aldhani culture but intend to witness the Eye solely as a spectacle—they are not interested in the symbolic/cultural significance of the same. This willful ignorance comes at a price (as it always does).
How Do The Rebels Carry Out The Heist?
Lt. Gorn (Sule Rimi), who is actually in cahoots with the rebels, makes sure to move the chess pieces of the plan in a way that will allow the group to infiltrate in the quietest way possible. This works for the most part, as Cinta and Vel are able to jam Imperial comms, while the others succeed in ambushing Jayhold, Commander Petigar, and their family and hold them at gunpoint. There’s a moment when Petigar points a gun at Nemik to gain the upper hand, but the group promptly shoots him to convey a message: they’re not playing around and plan to leave with the loot.
Cassian and two others tell Jayhold to give them access to the Imperial payroll, threatening his family’s well-being to force him into cooperation. Although he attempts to bluff, he eventually complies. The Imperial guards near the payroll are also coerced into loading the shipments into the Imperial freighter that Cassian needs to fly to help everyone escape.
Things are almost a-okay, but a suspicious Corporal Kimzi (Nick Blood) figures out something is amiss after he hears a distorted comms message between the rebels and arrives at the site of the robbery with reinforcements. A shootout ensues, killing Taramyn, Gorn, and a dozen Imperial soldiers. Meanwhile, the Eye is in full swing, and the Alkenzi Rebel Base is alerted, prompting three Tie Fighters to intervene.
The True Cost of Rebellion and the Nature of Good and Evil
One of my favorite things about Andor is how the show treats morality as a concept: it is not a black-and-white philosophy, as there’s nuance to every aspect. Although we are supposed to root for the rebels (and we do), the show turns the concepts of ‘good; and ‘evil’ on their head. There’s a scene in which the rebels hold a child at gunpoint to gain the upper hand during the ambush, while Kimzi’s actions, although irritating, are only fueled by his need to do his job well.
There are grey areas even in the noblest causes, and war can often force the best of folks to commit atrocities, even in the name of freedom. The rebels are not hypocrites like the Imperials at all, as they do not kill for the sake of it but only when they have to. This is highlighted in the scene in which Vel tells the Commandant that they will keep their word not to kill his family, which is something the Empire would never do.
The actual cost of rebellion, however, is the many casualties that are a required part of the process. Taramyn, an ex-Stormtrooper, must have been disillusioned by the heartless rampage that the job requires, which might have prompted him to join the rebel cause. Similarly, Nemik, who seems to be the youngest in the group, dies when a heavy cylinder of payroll hits his spine, his hopes and dreams shattered in the process. Being a martyr for a good cause might be tempting from a philosophical standpoint, but there’s hardly enough romanticism to compensate for the loss of countless lives of those who wanted to be free.
Andor, Season 1, Episode 6 Ending Explained
Does Cassian and His Group Escape Safely?
Nemik, when he’s grievously injured, is shot with an adrenaline stem by Vel so he can guide Cassian out of the base’s perimeter. Despite his condition, he asks him to ‘climb,’ which is a callback rather than mirroring what will happen in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. While Nemik is rushed to a doctor, he does not survive. The escape scene is dazzling, with the beautiful celestial event unfolding in the eye as Cassian manages to destroy the Tie Fighters and escape with the group.
Meanwhile, Skeen proposes to Cassian that they abandon Vel and Nemik and split the payload. Cassian, disgusted with such an abrasive brand of betrayal, shoots him without hesitation. He tells Vel that he has done his job and wants his pay cut — she can keep the freighter, and he hands her Luthen’s kyber crystal so she can return it to him. Vel gives Nemik’s manifesto, saying he wanted him to have it.
The rebellion, my friends, is a success for now. Despite the losses, the group was able to land a significant blow in the Imperial’s megastructure, and the fascists can be seen panicking after the attack. The news of the attack spreads across the galaxy, and the Imperials are on their way to do some damage control. But it is too late. The Empire’s complacency comes at a great price, and this is just the beginning of the end. And someone named Cassian Andor will be critical to the Empire’s downfall.