Depending on what side of the fence you are on, this week’s episode of Andor either plodded along or it was an intriguing episode watching the chess pieces being moved into place.

There will be minor spoilers if you haven’t seen it, but there’s nothing that genuinely spoils the episode, so it’s pretty safe to keep reading.

The Focus

This episode is interspersed between the hopelessness of Andor doing time, the opulence of Mon Mothma and her ignorant political chums of Coruscant, and the individual struggles of the everyday folk on Ferrix in particular.

I won’t focus too much on Mothma, she’s still having quiet conversations and plotting whilst galavanting amongst the elite. Luthen Rael is trying to covertly launch a rebellion even though The Empire is tightening its grip since the robbery and Syril Karn continues to have a hard-on for Andor, for some reason.

I’m going to focus on Andor, and his time inside because it’s here we can see how his resentment and utter hatred for The Empire was born when we first saw him in Rogue One.

Andor E8 Mon Mothma
Mon Mothma shows that mixing with politicians and the elite is an odious and dangerous game.

Narkina 5

Episode 8 picks up immediately from the previous one and we see Andor being prepped and carted off to a planet called Narkina 5 to start his 6-year stretch for (basically) being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Onboard his shuttle with his fellow convicts, the prisoners are told to take off their shoes. I was hoping for good old-fashioned Midnight Express feet clubbing, but this Star Wars show isn’t that dark.

Andor E8 Prisons
The prisons on Narkina 5.

We find out that Narkina 5 is a water planet populated by vast heptagonal sea prisons. Upon landing, Andor and his bare-footed fellow cons are greeted by three screws (that’s British slang for prison guards) all wearing big rubbery boot things. 

The reason they are wearing boots and the prisoners are barefoot? Electric floors, baby! That’s right, the Empire is a sadistic fuck, and to control the prisoners with a minimum of fuss, the guards simply flip and switch and electrocute these scumbags.

Andor E8 Dance
‘Cause this is thriller, thriller night…

Hard Labor

Once processed, Andor, is deemed “labor-worthy” and taken down to the room where he’ll be doing some hard labor for the next six years. Yeah, I like the idea of prisoners earning their keep, rather than sitting in their cells playing Playstations. I’m enjoying the Empire’s work ethic here.

Andor is greeted by – minor spoiler…. Kino Loy (Andy Serkis) who runs this section of the workplace. By the way, the whole place looks very much like Lucas’ THX-1138 which I thought was a nice touch. 

Andor
Is this a THX-1138?

Loy tells Andor is told that there are seven rooms of factory, seven rooms per level, seven tables per room, and seven men at each table. And he’s in for 12-hour shifts per day and the quality of the work is constantly monitored. 

Each table competes against one another to produce the most work. And each room competes against the other rooms. The perks for winning is to have food that has a taste and the cons for being a slacker is the get electrocuted via the floor.

Andy

The Vastness Of The Empire

It’s evident that The Empire is handing out severe sentences for minimal crimes because they want free labor. Andor and his room of gimps are building these weird things made of Tunqstoid steel, which I’m told is the metal used to make blast doors.

Andor is working a 12-hour day shift which means other prisoners are working a 12-hour night shift. 24 hours of constant machine making. In one scene you can see the sheer size of this one particular prison. We saw earlier there are many, many others. 

Just three floors of just one of these gigantic prisons.

If you ever wondered how a Death Star was constructed, now you know! With the appearance of… a minor spoiler…. of Saw Gerrera later in this episode, we are very obviously being led to Rogue One

So with the ending of Rogue One leading straight into Star Wars, in theory, this show will make Andor, Rogue One, and Star Wars a seamless 13-plus hour event!

Saw

There’s still time for them to bugger this up, so I have to keep telling myself – “don’t get cocky kid.”

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