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Andor Episode 3 Recap: Arrogance And Reckoning

Warning: This article contains spoilers for Episode 3 of "Andor."

With the 3rd and final episode of this three-part premiere, "Andor" Episode 3 sets the stage for our hero to leave behind what he knows in search of adventure and purpose. The original "Star Wars" trilogy perfected the formula of the "hero's journey" theorized by Joseph Campbell, and if there's one thing Disney seems to have learned since acquiring the franchise (not always for the best, but probably in this case), it's not to fix what isn't broken. Cassian Andor, like Luke Skywalker before him, is an unlikely hero plucked from obscurity to change the course of galactic history. And much like Luke's ultimate fate, Cassian's, too, will end in sacrifice.

When the episode picks up, police are en route to Ferrix from Morlana One, but the episode begins in flashback, with a young Cassian Andor (Antonio Viña) having boarded the wreckage of the crashed imperial ship on his home planet of Canari. Inside, he finds Imperial bodies, their faces frozen in the final moments of agony. Cassian sees his reflection in the glossy black control panels. In impotent, childish rage, he begins to smash the equipment.

In the present, Cassian (Diego Luna) informs his friend Brasso (Joplin Sibtain) that he's going to have enough money to pay outstanding debts but will be leaving afterward. We learn that he's arranged a meeting with a potential buyer for his Starpath box, which contains valuable Imperial secrets. This juxtaposition of that fateful day in Cassian's childhood with his fate in the present moment reverberates throughout "Andor" Episode 3.

Cassian meets his new mentor

That potential buyer of the Starpath engine is Luthen Rael, played with stone-faced gravitas by Stellan Skarsgård. He comes to town by shuttle and is quickly spotted by Bix Caleen (Adria Arjona), who informs him that Cassian is a wanted man. Nevertheless, there's a rendezvous spot for the purchase in a nearby warehouse, and Cassian will be there.

If only Luthen had been there sooner, conflict might have been averted, but the police are already making their final descent onto Ferrix; they arrive in a group of ships that look to be repurposed low-altitude assault transports from the Clone Wars, first seen in "Attack of the Clones."

The police troops quickly find the dwelling of Maarva Andor (character actor Fiona Shaw), Cassian's adoptive mother who found him alone on Canari on that fateful day so many years ago. While interrogating her and B2EMO, Cassian radios the droid, unwittingly giving away his location.

Luthen, meanwhile, arrives at the warehouse to meet Cassian, clearly more interested in him than in the Starpath engine. He offers up another 1,000 credits if Cassian tells him how he got the box without being caught, prompting Cassian to reveal the depths of his disdain for the Empire. "They can't imagine ... that someone like me would ever get inside their house, walk their floors, spit in their food, take their gear."

Luthen reveals that he knows Cassian's father was executed by the Empire, a fact that the audience is learning for the first time. But before a blaster-happy Cassian can decide whether to kill this overly-informed stranger, Luthen makes an offer: "I want you to come with me."

Cassian and Luthen make their escape

As the police head in Cassian's direction, the townspeople of Ferrix begin signaling the alarm, clanging on pieces of scrap metal. The sound quickly envelops the town like a swarm of chirping cicadas, giving them time to close their shops and hide away from the law. This coordinated response shows us the small ways regular people have managed to resist the Empire, and their solidarity is effective; one of the officers calls it "intimidation."

The clanging is also a way to alert Cassian, wherever he is, that his time has run short. He may not trust Luthen, but he has no other options. Luthen smashes Cassian's commlink, realizing it's given away their position, and as police surround the building, he blasts the doors of the warehouse with explosives he placed on his way in. After a protracted battle against the police, the pair escape but are forced to leave the Starpath behind. 

On the ground, the remaining police are beginning to realize that this will not be as simple a mission as they had hoped. Now alerted to the fact that Cassian has a companion, the ambitious young officer Syril Karn (Kyle Soller) says, "Now there are two of them." Intentional reference to "The Phantom Menace"? We can only hope so.

A reckoning

Back in Maarva's home, she watches the nervous officer who has her captive and is now leaning out the window with his gun, listening to the townspeople's alarm sounds. "That's what a reckoning sounds like," she tells him.

Cassian and Luthen, on the run, find Syril Karn in an empty dwelling unit and take him by surprise, disarming him. After they extract the number and position of police troops from him, Luthen wants to boost a vehicle, but Cassian has a much more devious plan.

A landspeeder cruises down the street, and the police open fire until it flips and crashes. They approach the car, guns drawn. But Luthen and Cassian aren't in the speeder, they're on a bike. As they flee the scene, Luthen presses another button, triggering the explosives they've packed into the car. Syril stares on as his compatriots take the brunt of the blast, while the two fugitives break out into the open farmland far beyond. There appear to be multiple casualties, and Syril, shell-shocked, is sure to find his grudge against Cassian now irrevocably deepening.

Indeed, Cassian has now proven multiple times that he is not above killing the Imperials he hates so much. As commented by The Ringer, "Andor" is a show that "seems to understand that 'Star Wars' makes the most enduring impact on its audience when it isn't afraid to leave it in darkness."

As they board Luthen's ship, we cut once again to a flashback, where a young Cassian wakes aboard Maarva's ship, staring into the sun through the viewport. Aboard Luthen's, Cassian now does the same, once more staring into the bright and furious possibilities of the future at yet another turning point in his life. Our hero has been called into action, forever changing the course of galactic history.

When does Andor Season 1, Episode 4 air?

After giving us a triple scoop of "Andor" with this initial batch of episodes, the series will give us a single helping each coming Wednesday. Episode 4 will drop September 28 on Disney+. After escaping the clutches of the Imperial-aligned forces in this week's episode, he will only be journeying further into the belly of the beast.

There's still a lot of story to tell in this season of "Andor," which will round out at 12 episodes, a hearty number in the context of the streaming era. And this series still has a long lineup of cast we have yet to properly explore. We still have yet to encounter the true might of the Imperial Security Bureau, as embodied by Denise Gough's character of Dedra Meero, as well as Mon Mothama, former Republic loyalist and future commander of the Battle of Yavin, as played by Genevieve O'Reilly. Both were heavily featured in trailers and other promotional material, so it may prove fascinating to see how those situated inside the Empire's inner workings live as compared to those on its periphery.

And, of course, we're going to meet the rest of the nascent rebels. We'll see you back here for that recap next week. Long live the rebellion!