There’s really nowhere to run for most of our heroes in “Nobody’s Listening!”This episode of Andor, directed by Toby Haynes and written by Beau Willimon, oozes the shameless evil of the Empire as its loyalists find more unconventional ways to shake out anyone who stands in their way. The facade is almost completely stripped away as their true ugliness across the Star Wars galaxy is exposed.
In Dedra Meero’s (Denise Gough) world she’s the main character of this story. The Imperial Security Bureau officer is terminating her way through the witnesses she needs and has finally reached Bix Caleen (Adria Arjona). With the help of a mad scientist—human-experimenting Dr. Gorst (Joshua James)—on hand like a toy for her, she really can’t play good cop at all after offering an almost-as-thin-as-her lips lie to not torture her if she simply confesses what she knows . Bix, knowing better, calls Meero out—she wouldn’t believe her anyways. Almost too giddy behind the eyes, which Gough’s performance really brings across, our Imperial girlboss tells Bix she’s about to pay the same price as her friend, Salman Paak.
Meero shares that she knows him better at this point than Bix does. From his sessions with Dr. Gorst, she found out he attended a separatist meeting two years ago where he met a woman who said if he was serious about politics he might want serve as the liaison for Ferrix. When he got back, he was sent the fractal radio unit Bix has been using. Through this she figured out this woman was more interested in using Ferrix’s unique commercial position to acquire stolen Imperial equipment. Paak was paid to keep the radio alive, something Bix didn’t know.
Like a cat playing with her food, Meero wonders why Bix would play a role as a business owner with no political affiliation. Well aware that Meero is just fucking with her, Bix gets one jab in, calling the ISB officer “the worst of the worst” and tells her to just get on with it. Meero caps her monologue by summarizing what she intends to get out of Bix: more on Cassian Andor’s (Diego Luna) relationship with the buyer, a full account of Imperial parts she’s passed along as well as who she got them from, who was bribed, and where they went to. Paak told her Bix had at least six face to to face buys and so she intends to unfurl the nest of relationships that led to Andor and the buyer meeting.
Bix tells her the truth in regards to what she knows of the buyer: “he comes, he buys, he leaves.” That’s boring for Dedra so she, as Bix knew she would, starts the torture. The doctor creepily pipes in that the torture isn’t physical, like that somehow makes it better, and goes on to excitedly share the disturbing story of how they discovered it. Essentially, when the Empire got “hostile” push back by a sentient species on an Outer Rim moon called Dizon Fray, the Dizonites were massacred to make way for an Imperial refueling center. Their deaths were recorded as proof of the mission, and it was discovered that as they died they made a “choral, agonized pleading” noise. The sound drove supervising officers to a sort of madness induced by the traumatic pain it was transmitting—like an empathic sonic wave of death felt by those who killed them. That’s real messed up, y’all, and to make it way worse, Bix’s torture is specifically using the sound of Dizonite children dying. As Bix gets the headphone-helmet device put on her, Dedra teases that “repeat listening causes the most damage.”
Bix is immediately agonized and screaming. By the end of it, she’s sweating and puffy-eyed, but kept alive because she knows how to identify Axis (Luthen). Paak however is to be hanged as an example.
Back in prison Andor has been proving his craftiness with his team to make sure they don’t get fried, and showing kindness by picking up slack for the eldest in their group, Ulaf (Christopher Fairbank), who is so close to release. As they work, Andor takes a quick potty break and we get to see him chip away at a metal piece hidden behind a slat—even in space we can’t escape a Shawshank reference. When he returns, a new prisoner is lowered through an elevator platform and tortured with a stick, a sight that gives Andor reason to wonder how many guards there are on each floor.
At the Senate, Mon Mothma (Genevieve O’Reilly) stands with those in opposition to the Emperor’s Imperial overreach. She sees it as “an all too predictable march toward complete unchallenged authority,” and affirms their duty is to protect to the people first, the second to protect power of the chamber, and she’s met with boos. Truly surprised nothing was thrown at her.
The episode’s big twist (which on second thought we should have seen coming) is that Mon’s cousin, who suddenly arrives at her embassy home, is none other than Vel (Faye Marsay)! The rebel, just as Cinta (Varada Sethu) said, retreats to her high-class life to clean up like the rebellion is a festival she can take a break from, which is not to mean she’s not fully in it as her function requires her to blend in. She tells Mon that her travels have been worth it as her cousin expresses apprehension over her disappearances, but Vel assures her the rebellion comes first. Mon admits she thinks they’re in over their heads but Vel holds her steadfast, reminding her that they took a vow.
Back on Narkina 5, the prisoners continue to communicate through sign language from afar. Andor tries to interpret it as resistance to being locked up, and Kino (Andy Serkis) says to not talk about escaping. Andor in desperation voices that no one in power cares what they say; they just show up to clock in and turn on the electrified floors to keep everyone in line. They’re cheaper than droids and easier to replace. They don’t care to listen, they’re there to put in minimal effort and pick up bodies if they drop.
Dedra continues to be the hero of her story as she updates Partagaz (Anton Lesser) that she got all the intel she wanted from the good doctor’s sessions with Bix. Everything but one thing... the identity of the buyer known as Axis. Interesting to note that this episode contained nay a hair on Luthen’s (Stellan Skarsgård) wig, but his presence was felt as the reason why everyone is being put through the wringer. Dedra figures Axis runs a a tight ship, as well as one large enough to not rely on one network or supplier. At least Bix gave up list of every piece of gear that came through Ferrix, and they think they have a match to a targeting unit recovered from a safe house operated by rebel cell associated with Maya Pei (who was called a “Neo-Republican” in last week’s episode). She also knows Andor returned to Ferrix three nights after Aldhani with money in his pocket, noting he had shaved. That connects him to what they know about the Aldhani rebels, as two soldiers from the garrison identified them as clean-shaven. Partagaz asks about Andor’s mother but Dedra explains she’s too old and fragile to bring in for questions and better suited as bait.
In a startling turn of events, the prisoners continue to feel restless as news travels from other levels of the incident that seemed to sweep down and rattle everyone. As the lines communicate they realize that two levels were completely wiped out, without a warning. Andor reminds Kino that the guards don’t care and they’re not getting out. Kino, beginning to crack, tells him to shut up and keep his head down. With some impressive eye acting between Serkis and Luna, you get that Kino is getting what Andor is putting down.
The delight that is Eedy (Kathryn Hunter), returns with another Keeping Up With the Karns breakfast moment. She is truly the Kris Jenner of the Star Wars universe, and I wish there were more kids for her to boss around because the sheer cruelty in which she regards her son Syril (Kyle Soller) is too iconic to end once he presumably dies (that is if he doesn’t go off and marry Dedra and eventually father someone like General Hux). Fan-fiction suspicions aside, Eedy notices her boy looks good and wonders why, by accusing him that it’s clearly not because of the job he’s ungrateful for—leading to some awkwardness about her digging though his private box. (She all but says “it’s another woman, isn’t it?”) Then we get the most scathing quote in this episode, Eedy calls him, “The shadow of a son, a tenant, a stranger” with a deepness that cuts through right through the screen. Always in awe of the way Kathryn Hunter delivers her lines because we all felt that. In response, Syril slurps his cereal and tells her he’s been promoted. And Eedy changes her tone to pride like nothing happened and she’s suddenly a doting mother. Maybe she perceives the threat of new mommy Dedra in his coldness.
Meanwhile, over a family dinner with Mon, Perrin (Alistair Mackenzie) continues his streak of just being the worst. He grills Vel about getting on with finding a husband and says that at this point she should just marry a widower. Things get spicier as he notes that so many Chandrillan folks have suddenly appeared on Coruscant like Tay (Ben Miles), and daddy’s girl Leida (Bronte Carmichael) puts her mother on the spot by calling him “mother’s old boyfriend”—which Mon deduces she got from her dad.
Away from Perrin and Leida, Mon tells Val to be a spoiled rich girl for a while and remind everyone that’s who she is for her protection. Mon lets her apprehension show and asks her cousin what have they done and Vel reassures her: they’ve chosen to fight against the dark. The juxtaposition of that moment to Bix still being held captive shows that those deeply impacted by the tyranny don’t have the luxury Vel has, that ability to escape. Even a rebellion deals with intersectional inequalities, showing the disparity between the allies in high places and the marginalized on the ground.
Back in Dedra’s Imperial gorl power arc, she crosses paths with a love-lorn Syril who has gone full obsessive over her. He tells it wasn’t easy to find her (he straight-up stood in the same spot outside her building for days). Dedra’s all, “I don’t have the time for this,” but he insists on thanking her for what she’s doing, that by being in her presence he realized life was worth living and there was “justice and beauty in the galaxy”—whoa buddy. And as she pushes him away more and more, the more he’s into it. With Dedra’s penchant for being horny for torture, I can’t quite decide if she’s into it too—cause at any moment it’s as if they’re about to go all kiss me at the fountain of the ISB. But it’s also plausible she’s not about his creepy incel take on John Hughes romantic gestures as she threatens to have him arrested and “put in a cage” if he tries it again. But she doesn’t, so... is she just flexing her power over Syril and edging him?
In any case, she has bigger people to fry. Her team has found a rebel pilot using the stolen Imperial masking unit Luthen was selling in the last episode at a destroyer off Steergaard. (Oops—Saw was right to pass on it.) Partagaz got intel on the pilot from Anto Kreegyr’s squad, and he says there’s a raid planned on the power station at Spellhaus. Dedra suggests they stage killing the pilot and stage their death on their ship. The savagery speaks to her horniness, but in space apparently no one has sex. Still, the tension is laid on thick.
Speaking of that kind of tension, Mon and Tay meet up to chat about further donations getting complicated and yet they don’t let things be complicated among them in the way we wish (let Mon have some joy!). Tay tells her trouble’s on the horizon for her hefty financial withdrawal unless she works with Dave Sculdun, a wealthy Chandrillan thug who knows she’s in the hole. He wants to meet her in Coruscant, likely a trade for a better reputation.
Back in Narkina, Ulaf collapses and a med tech is sent down. The tech insists on not knowing Ulaf’s name as Andor and Kino insist he should be saved—he only has 40 shifts left. But the only dignity the tech offers is a quick death. After he tells the guard he’s with to fetch a body bag, the med-tech tells them no one is getting out now. And with that Kino finally answers the Andor guard question: there’s never more than 12 on each level. Let’s go Star Wars prison break!
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