Andor Episode 8 Recap: “Narkina 5”
*Warning: The following article contains spoilers for Andor Episode 8*
The hunt for Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) began. Syril Karn (Kyle Soller) is questioned by Dedra Meero (Denise Gough), who seeks to search for Andor, as she believes she knows who a mysterious man named “Axis” is and where he is believed to be. Karn wants to help, but Meero is unwilling, leading to another iconic Karn meltdown, brilliantly executed by Soller. He’s been criminally underused in past episodes, and hopefully we’ll see a reunion between him and Andor before the season ends. Axis is indeed Luthen Rael (Stellan Skarsgard), who orchestrated the Aldhani heist, and the Empire believes he is a dangerous threat to their plans. Rael doesn’t do much in this episode except to have a chat with Saw Gerrera (Whitaker Forest), on whom he tries to pin the Aldhani heist. Thing is, Gerrera thinks Rael orchestrated it. Regardless, the conversation established their relationship further than Gerrera did in A thug: A Star Wars Story (he was one of the weaker parts of this film), and Whitaker gives a much more gripping performance in a dialogue scene than in an ensemble star wars film.
I can’t wait to see what direction the show takes Gerrera – hopefully less silly scenes than “Lies! Deceit!” or Bor Gullett. What an embarrassing role for Forest Whitaker to have played, though I’m glad he’s back here and seems much more obligated by the material he gave in Andor that in A thug. And it shows in the facial expressions and on-screen chemistry he has with Rael de Skarsgård. Time will tell how they will team up to overthrow the Empire. Meanwhile, Vel (Faye Marsay) and Cinta (Varada Sethu) are on Ferrix looking for Andor, but he can’t be found. Bix Caleen (Adria Arjona) has no idea where he is, but she has her own problems. While Andor is gone, she takes care of Maarva (Fiona Shaw), who appears sick and fragile compared to the last time we saw her, as she has become more inspired to revolt against the Empire and perform more reckless stunts in hopes that the rebellion will come to save them.
However, the Empire takes an interest in Caleen and kidnaps her for questioning. Meero seems eager to know Bix’s side of the story about Andor’s whereabouts, but that will be recorded in the next episode. Arjona is having a hell of a year in film and TV, having starred in Morbiusthe HBO Max remake of father of the bride, Irma Vepand now Andor. And I will say her performance as Caleen on the show is the best thing she’s done this year (after seeing everything else). There are a lot of emotional undertones to her portrayal of the character that make her a fully developed secondary protagonist, although it’s hoped she’ll come out of the next episode in one piece.
Meanwhile, for Andor, he is now imprisoned in a very dangerous maximum-security Imperial prison on Narkina 5. There he meets Kino Loy (played by Andy Serkis. That’s right, Andy Serkis, who played Snoke in the sequel trilogy, portrays an entirely different character here, in live-action, no less!), who educates him on table competition. The more productive the table, which builds material for the Empire, the more flavor they get in their food. The least productive is “fried”, which means massive electric shocks. The ground is supercharged to kill someone if it is “hot” (red, a sort of game about “the ground is lava”). I won’t lie: the prison layout is incredibly cool: the imperial guards are despicable individuals, but the prison feels like a prison from which there is no escape. It’s great to see Andy Serkis in a live-action role, especially one that seems to suit his talents. I loved Snoke but thought they squandered him too early in the franchise because he could have been a lot more threatening if they had taken his time with him. However, we see another version of Serkis in the star wars universe. I’m thrilled that he still does a terrific job playing the character he sees on screen in live-action and motion capture.
This only means one thing: star wars Prison Break. It is bound to happen. We have imperial guards in boots that keep them from being shocked, while prisoners have to endure 12-hour shifts and compete with each other for “flavor”. But something is brewing. One of the inmates was talking sign language with someone else in a remote section. What do they say? What are they plotting? We will find out soon enough.
Every week, Andor continue to impress me. Whether it’s intricate plots, stunning action scenes, or just plain good (and classic) storytelling, it’s a wonderful change of pace for star wars. It takes time to establish characters we care about and a compelling story before countering them with action scenes with enormous emotional weight to them. I never know which direction the show is going, but I can’t wait to see where the character ends up next. To the next episode!
The eighth episode of Andor is now available to stream on Disney+.