TV Review / Recap – “Star Wars: Andor” Episode 4 – “Aldhani” Introduces a Number of New Players

Last week’s three-episode premiere of the new live-action Disney+ series Star Wars: Andor gave us a handful of fresh faces to familiarize ourselves with from A Galaxy Far, Far Away. And today’s fourth installment, entitled “Aldhani,” already steers away from most of those personas, providing viewers with another round of new characters to get to know in their stead.

“Aldhani” begins where the third episode “Reckoning” left off: with the series’ title character Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) aboard the ship belonging to rebel recruiter Luthen Rael (Stellan Skarsgård) and hurtling through space, having escaped the corporate security force on Ferrix.

Luthen does some more convincing as Cassian attends to his wounds, encouraging him to fight alongside the burgeoning Alliance to Restore the Republic instead of sticking to low-stakes heists and sabotage. Then the two arrive on the planet Aldhani (hence the title of this episode), when Rael has a tense tet-a-tet with a rebel cell leader named Vel Sartha (actress Faye Marsay from Game of Thrones) about having Andor– operating under the pseudonym “Clem” from his adoptive father– join their mission. Meanwhile on Coruscant, we meet Imperial Security Bureau agent Dedra Meero (Denise Gough from The Witcher III video game) who wants to investigate the Ferrix incident further but finds herself roadblocked by her superior Partagaz (the delightfully bureaucratic Anton Lesser, also from Game of Thrones). Then Luthen arrives back on the capital planet to change into an aristocratic disguise and pose as the proprietor of a posh antique shop, whose customer is none other than Senator Mon Mothma (Genevieve O’Reilly, reprising her role from Rogue One: A Star Wars Story). Mothma and Rael have a covert discussion about the future of the rebellion while Luthen’s assistant distracts Mon’s suspicious driver. Back on Aldhani, Cassian meets the other members of Vel’s cell, who are hesitant to accept him, but soon relate the details of their dangerous assignment: infiltrate an Imperial compound on the verdant planet using a local ritual as a distraction.

Here showrunner Tony Gilroy and his production team have made wonderful use of the United Kingdom’s natural environment, shooting Luna and company against mossy woods, grassy fields, and flowing streams. And meeting all these new players is all very compelling– I especially love the interplay and infighting between the ISB agents and Mon Mothma’s fraught relationship with her epicene house husband Perrin Fertha (Alastair Mackenzie from The Crown)– but this episode, like the first installment released last week, suffers from once again feeling like Act One in a three-part sub-narrative. I suppose I am going to have to get used to this counterintuitive storytelling structure if it’s going to repeat itself throughout Andor’s run, but I think I’ll probably continue to find myself asking why these weren’t released as more complete mini-movies instead of breaking them up into shorter episodes. Regardless, there’s still a keen sense for captivating drama here, the cast is fantastic, and Gilroy has undoubtedly surrendered the details of this period in the Star Wars timeline over to the Lucasfilm Story Group, because there are so many little references (Imperial Administrator Sly Moore, anyone? Not to mention the many Easter Eggs to be counted in Luthen’s shop) that should light up the face of any dedicated fan. Ultimately I think the key to Andor is going to be patience, but I can already see that paying off in dividends to those willing to let this story unfold at its own deliberate pace.

New episodes of Star Wars: Andor are released Wednesdays, exclusively on Disney+.

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Mike Celestino
Mike serves as Laughing Place's lead Southern California reporter, Editorial Director for Star Wars content, and host of the weekly "Who's the Bossk?" Star Wars podcast. He's been fascinated by Disney theme parks and storytelling in general all his life and resides in Burbank, California with his beloved wife and cats.