Andor Episode 7 review: The Empire Strikes Back

Genevieve O'Reilly as Mon Mothma in Andor Episode 7Disney+

Andor Episode 7 is a tense retreat to the anxiety, uncertainty, and caution that fuels the Rebellion, focusing on smart, authentic storytelling in the wake of last week’s all-time thrill ride.

There’s no doubt in my mind: Andor is the best show to emerge from the Star Wars TV era. The Mandalorian packs nostalgic, blaster-slinging fun, but this is a different caliber; emotional, intelligent, and it’s enriching the galaxy far, far away.

The last episode was a beat-by-beat execution of the Aldhani heist under the gorgeous, meteor-shimmering rays of The Eye. They were successful, but the toll of collateral damage was heavy.

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Episode 7 takes place in the immediate aftermath and proves Andor isn’t concerned with cheap excitement, allowing each character to breathe, process, and wrestle with an evolving reality – some may struggle with the dip in pacing, but this was a necessary step back.

Spoilers for Andor Episode 7 to follow…

Andor Episode 7: The Empire responds to Aldhani

The episode opens with Syril Karn (Kyle Soller) staring out of his window at the boxy apartments, homogenized into a shade of blueish black; the comparison to a jail cell isn’t subtle.

He’s preparing for an interview organized by his mysterious Uncle Harlo, and while enduring criticism from his mother over his choice of attire (a brown suit with an eager-to-please collar, apparently), his ears catch a news report following the incident at the Empire base.

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Later, we see him take a “fuel purity” job at the Bureau of Standards, where his record of “upholding the law” – i.e., getting more of his colleagues killed while pursuing Cassian – is nonchalantly wiped, or as the supervisor describes it, “editing it a bit.”


Meanwhile, the Imperial Security Bureau responds in a predictable fashion: as Dedra Meero (Denise Gough) despairingly observes, her superiors have treated it as a robbery, enacting a tribute tax and Public Order Resentencing Directive that will cripple anyone who as much sneezes at a Stormtrooper. She believes it should have been treated as an “announcement.”

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In this scene, Colonel Yularen (Malcolm Sinclair) mentions a name that constitutes a jump scare these days: Emperor Palpatine. He’s referenced a few times during the episode, so prepare yourself for that.

Andor Episode 7: Mon Mothma steals the show

While he was only seen briefly in Episode 6, we return to Luthen’s (Stellan Skarsgård) gallery, where he’s listening to news updates following the Aldhani heist. Senator Mon Mothma (Genevieve O’Reilly) pays him an impromptu visit to question him on the operation, believing it will jeopardize her own political plans to stabilize and reinforce the Rebellion.

“Has anyone built a weapon that’s not been used?” Luthen ponders, in another of the show’s superb quotes. “The Empire’s been choking us so slowly we’ve started not to notice, it’s time to force their hand.”

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While Dedra slyly asks a low-level officer to find her every report of stolen navigation equipment, bidding to join the dots in the Rebels’ efforts thus far, Cinta (Varada Sethu) remains in the valley, caught in the shadows of overhead Star Destroyers. We’re so used to seeing them in space that it’s easy to forget how massive – and frightening – they’d be among the clouds.

Vel (Faye Marsay) meets with Luthen’s assistant Kleya (Elizabeth Dulau) under the Star Wars cover of disguise: makeup and a hood. Kleya asks Vel to track down Cassian – or Clem, as she knows him – and kill him because of what he knows. “This is what revolution looks like, Vel,” she says.

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Then comes the best sequence of the episode: at a gathering of friends and delegates, Mothma reveals part of her plan to a fellow senator, Perrin Fertha (Alastair Mackenzie), who’s also become wary of the Empire. “As long as everyone thinks I’m an irritation, there’s a good chance they’ll miss what I’m really doing,” she explains.


Mothma says she needs to raise money by forming a “Chandrilan charitable outreach program” for which Perrin will serve as chairman. “It will appear to be another of my benevolent and useless irritations. I’ve explored the alternatives, you’re my best shot,” she tells him, insisting he’s better off not knowing the full extent of her ambitions. “Or perhaps, you’d find my politics a bit strong for your taste,” she adds.

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O’Reilly’s flawless performance as Mothma, as well as Gilroy’s writing, has made her arc the most compelling component of Andor. While we’ve never seen the Rebels’ portrayed with this much grit and humanity, Mothma is a unique case: a senator with everything to lose, challenging and imploring the elite. Her knife-edge, heroic deceit is the best thing about the show.

Andor Episode 7: Cassian is caught by a familiar droid

Cassian returns to Ferrix, where he’s given the cold shoulder by Bix (Adria Arjona). She says the town blames him for everything that happened, including the death of Timm Karlo. “You scam, you borrow, you lie, you disappear,” she tells him, and says he needs to get as far away as he can. He asks for more details about Luthen, but Bix insists she doesn’t know anything.

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He tells Maarva (Fiona) about managing to score thousands of credits and says they should flee somewhere “warm and easy”, out of the “cold and damp.” While she suggests she’ll be ready to go the next morning, she was lying: she can’t go, because she’d be betraying the Rebels with her cowardice, especially after Clem – her partner and Cassian’s adoptive father – was hanged by the Empire for trying to calm a disorderly protest.


“I’ve never loved anything the way I love you,” she tells him, but urges there’s “work that needs doing” and she can’t help “if she runs away.” Once again, in a short appearance, Shaw’s formidable poise steals the scene – one can only hope we’ll see her again before the first season ends.

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Back at the Imperial Security Bureau, Major Partagaz (Anton Lesser) asks for updates on his supervisors’ progress, when Blevin (Ben Bailey Smith, also known as Doc Brown) pipes up with an accusation of misconduct against Dedra for accessing records without an official request.

Partagaz asks Dedra to explain herself, and she says there’s good reason to believe all of the recent robberies of Imperial equipment are linked to an organized effort against the Empire. Blevin brands her a “renegade”, but he doesn’t get the support of Partagaz, who applauds Dedra and reassigns the Morlana sector to her.

Before the episode ends, we travel to the sunny beachside location of Niamos, with Nicholas Britell composing a poppy, singular head-bobbing score for the occasion. All seems peaceful for Cassian until a trooper mistakes him for one of the local criminals on the run, at which point he’s apprehended by a rather familiar droid – it isn’t K-2SO, but it’s definitely a KX-series robot, which may be teasing the arrival of Alan Tudyk’s droid soon.

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Under the resentencing directive, Cassian is handed a litter of charges and sentenced to six years behind bars – one can only assume it’ll be Luthen or the Rebels who get him out of this jam.

Andor Episode 8 will be available to watch on October 26. You can sign up for Disney+ here.