Under cover of a beautiful natural phenomenon that’s going to keep the Imperial forces – and the locals – distracted, the Rebel cell carry out their meticulously prepared heist. Naturally, it only takes one small piece of the plan to go awry before everything comes crashing down – but with so many parts moving simultaneously, can Andor and the motley crew of insurgents actually pull of their daring theft?
Episode six is an absolute masterclass in tension that ratchets up right from the opening sequence; though it would seem that some characters have their fate telegraphed a little too obviously, there is some misdirection and unforeseen twists among the more predictable elements of the episode – and they’re very satisfyingly done too.
I need to once more heap praise on the incredibly grounded and naturalistic way that Andor is shot and directed; though Star Wars can rarely be praised for realism, let alone believability, everything here feels organic and logical.
It’s a classic heist story to top off the mini arc of episodes 4-6; just as the opening three episodes worked as a coherent three-act tale, so too does that apply to this second set of shows.
Something else that bears pointing out is – once again – Nicholas Britell’s brooding, electronic score. Together with the artfully shot, stunningly beautiful visuals, the soundtrack brings us as close as we are likely ever to get to a Michael Mann-esque crime movie in the Star Wars universe. Though die-hard fans – who seem to only really respond to endless recycling of characters, themes and iconography from the original movies – seem to be rejecting this bold change in style for Star Wars, it remains the most exciting and deeply involving that the franchise has been for a very long time, perhaps ever.
In fact, this episode may well be among the best hours of Star Wars there has ever been.
It really is a towering achievement so far; show creator Tony Gilroy has really drilled down into the spy thriller and guerilla warfare aspects of Rogue One to bring us something that’s tense, dramatic and even greyer in terms of its moral complexities. My only complaint is that – with 24 episodes comprising the season – I’m not able to binge watch them right now.
Though I’ve enjoyed much of the Disney Plus Star Wars material – the less said about that Book of Boba Fett BS, the better – nothing has come close to Andor so far. It’s going to be quite a challenge for future Star Wars shows and movies to hit the high bar set here too.
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