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Andor: The Axe Forgets

“Who brings treasure to a robbery?”

Another middle chapter that moves things forward while feeling like nothing really happens. Except this time it is far more engaging.

Perhaps because we saw the payoff for the first arc, what feels like the penultimate episode of this ‘heist’ arc spends most of the hour with drama and conflict. Conversations both friendly and unfriendly showcase the talent of the actors because honestly not much else is going on. Sure, we have the long trek to the base, but that is kind of static in that it is a line of people moving on foot through admittedly beautiful terrain.

So what works? Well, kind of everything somehow. There were four groups, all vaguely connected by the story.

The first and the most obvious was the group on Aldhani. This focused on Andor, his training for the mission and his conflict with the group, specifically Skeen (Ebon Moss-Bachrach, The Punisher). Their back and forth make up the bulk of the conflict, culminating in Andor confessing he is a hired gun. The disguised member of a robbery is a fairly basic bank heist trope, but works here because of how it is presented with small but significant details.

Those details, like Skeen’s tattoos and Andor being paranoid about the small fortune hanging around his neck, are what give this show life. Details that don’t necessarily have story significance belong on a show concerned about those kinds of details. In another project, the necklace would be super important, perhaps ending up in the hands of a future Jedi or something. Or the tattoos would signify a very important person or group that is introduced or teased at the end of the episode. None of that happens, because here they are just an exercise in world building, giving us some impressions that these people have had lives.

There is also something to how dirty, cold and miserable-looking the group is in practically every scene. It looks real, and not especially fun. This is perhaps the most lived-in version of Star Wars we have ever seen and that’s saying something. It is also showing that there is nothing glamorous about a rebellion. It is hard work, where you have to deal with people pushed into this dangerous situation with motivations that may not jive with your own. Skeen’s story about his brother feels poignant, but is it real? It’s kind of impossible to say.

Vel’s description of Lt. Gorn’s reasons for joining are another example of how motivation means different things to different people. He lost his lover who was a local Aldhani woman at the hands of the Empire during the relocation efforts. Rather than quit, he continued to work for the Empire but threw his hat into the Rebellion. What’s interesting is that he seems to still care about his men and doesn’t want them killed. That kind of moral complexity is wonderful to see, and makes the characters all the more interesting.

That complexity stretches to the other three groups. First is Syril and his mother Eedy, who is a weird, obnoxious woman who constantly belittles and puts down her son. You can see where his entire personality was formed in the interactions he has with her. I’m not sure what he is still doing in the story, but their conversation functions as a neat little window into a fascinating character study. Who is this man, why is he important? I feel like the writers are making a statement; it doesn’t matter who you are, your actions have consequence and importance even to a story as grand as the rise and fall of a galactic Empire.

Then there is Mon Mothma, who seems like she is stuck in a role and world she doesn’t really believe in anymore. Her relationship with her husband and daughter are strained almost to the point of indifference. We don’t know what caused this rift to form between the three of them, but it clearly has to do with Mon’s continued efforts to help the Rebellion in secret. It is subtle storytelling, letting the viewer fill in the gaps in information.

Lastly is Luthen and his worry about the impending heist, mostly portrayed in his interactions with Kleya, his assistant and co-conspirator. He has a lot riding on this mission, perhaps the entire future of the rebellion somehow. We aren’t told why this mission is so important exactly, but from the conversation it is basically an all or nothing situation. Kleya acts almost as a voice of wisdom when he starts to openly fret. I really like their dynamic, and want to know more about her.

The other side of all this is the Empire, with Blevin on Ferrix directing the takeover of the planet. It is terrifying how they can just swoop in and set up shop without any oversight or law preventing their actions. Just shows the grip the Empire has on the Galaxy, even a small, relatively unimportant system like Morlani. Then there is Dedra, who seems like she is close to figuring everything out, which drives up the tension somehow even though she feels so far removed from the rest of the action. I definitely 'like' her more then Blevin despite the fact she is very clearly evil.


In another Indiana Jones Easter Egg, the stones from Temple of Doom can be seen in Luthen’s shop.

The title is a reference to a Zimbabwean proverb; "The axe forgets but the tree remembers." A lovely way of saying that the one who harms or borrows will often forget, but the victim or lender always remembers.

Dedra casually takes some pills without any in-show explanation as to what they are, I guess the equivalent of aspirin or stimulants.

Elizabeth Dulau (Kleya) looks so much like Carrie Fisher on occasion that I swear that she is playing Leia undercover. Of course Leia would only be around fifteen at this point in time so that doesn’t make sense as a potential plot point.

The Tie-fighter doing the low fly by of the camp was another great example of how the Empire acts. It was the kind of stupid bullying stunt that any legitimate organization that cared about people would reprimand and potentially ground a pilot for doing.


Skeen: “Apparently the only thing keeping us from liberty is a few more ideas.”

Nemik: “The pace of oppression outstrips our ability to understand it, and that is the real trick of the Imperial thought machine. It is easier to hide behind forty atrocities than a single incident.”

Captain Tigo: “Could I be made Prefect? The title, I know it doesn’t come with extra pay.”
Blevin: “You can wear a ball gown if you like. Just get this up and running by my next staff meeting.”
(It is exchanges like this that cement the kind of people the Empire attracts to work for them.)

Kleya: “You wanted this to happen, this is what it took. It’s never going to be perfect.”
Luthen: “I wanted it too much.”

This episode was good due to the acting and skill of the writing, but yet again the pacing was a bit slow and it felt like the plot was inching forward.

3 out of 4 Tattoos and pain pills

Samantha M. Quinn spends most of her time in front of a computer typing away at one thing or another; when she has free time, she enjoys pretty much anything science fiction or fantasy-related.


  1. Tattoos & pain pills, ha ha. Sometimes I feel like I need pain pills for the headache I get from trying to ride the learning curve of Andor. So many moving parts to figure out & learn who to root for. Other than Cassian, of course, and Mon Mothma. Thanks for these reviews, which help!

    Speaking of tattoos, the one that means “By the Hand” caused a bit of a stir among Legends fans that it could refer to the secret assassin’s association “The Emperor’s Hand.” Of which fan favorite Mara Jade was a member. Seems like a stretch to me, but it could happen!

  2. Wouldn't that be interesting. I gave up hope on any Mara Jade reference years ago when they abandoned the Expanded Universe and made Luke a hermit monk.

    1. Still makes me choke when I think of Luke, a hermit monk. I think the only thing that could come close to driving him there would be Mara’s death. But even that didn’t do it in the EU.

  3. This is one of my favorite episodes! I thought they really nailed the tension and pain of the "moment before" -- how it stretches it and warps your brain. The final scene with Luthen and Klaya is the perfect button on it!

  4. 'jive' -> 'jibe'.

    This entire series is astonishingly good. You're less than halfway through; you haven't seen anything yet. Just wait.

  5. Samantha will be posting the rest of this season's reviews after The Mandalorian is done, fyi.

  6. I hope this doesn’t sound like nagging, but any update on more reviews? No worries, just curious.

    1. Hey Måge, the current plan is to pick up Andor reviews after Ahsoka ends. Right now I'm watching the last season and a half of Rebels and will post season reviews, then I'm going to do episode reviews for Ahsoka. I will probably start posting Andor again sometime in October.

      I had stopped because I ended up re watching the series with a friend and we got ahead of my reviews. Sorry for the delay.

    2. Good to know! Lots to look forward to. Thanks.


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