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Andor episode 5 review: Slow and steady wins the race

The drama continues in Star Wars Andor episode 5, as the Rebels prepare for their all-important mission - here's our review of this week's episode

Andor episode 5 review: Diego Luna as Cassian Andor in Star Wars Andor

Our Verdict

The slow burn approach pays off as everything falls into place and sets up an explosive path ahead for the series

The latest Star Wars project rumbles along to episode 5, and with it comes more pieces of the intricate puzzle presented to us. While Andor episode 4 laid the foundations of Cassian’s new role in the Rebel uprising, this instalment of the Star Wars series offers its audience a chance to really get to know the band of heroes before they dive into the deep end and carry out their mission.

With 12 episodes booked for season 1, this sci-fi series is in no hurry at all, and it flourishes for that fact. All too often, TV series from major franchises are forced down our throats before we even have a chance to chew, becoming forgettable and bland meals. Andor, on the other hand, is a fine dining experience, with every course meticulously considered and constructed.

Slow burn stories aren’t for everyone, especially in this streaming service era where binge-watching has become a staple for many consumers. But there’s certainly something to be said for patience, and the breadcrumb approach should be enough to leave you hooked by the end of this episode.

The freedom within which the writers and directors of this show are operating creates such an immersive experience for the viewer, wherein it almost feels as though we are watching everything play out in real-time. It’s surprisingly captivating to just watch human beings doing human things; sharing stories, arguing, and plotting.

That immersive experience is helped to no end by the flawless set design and production value of the series, which continues to be a highlight each week. Once again, the contrast of Mon Mothma’s luxurious life on Coruscant and even Syril Karn’s relative comfort back home with his mother serve to heighten the desolate and precarious habitat of Cassian and his new clan.

Seemingly isolated from the rest of the galaxy, it’s easy to be lured into a false sense of security on Aldhani, but the threat of the Empire is never far away. The sporadic presence of TIE fighters overhead lingers like something from a horror movie, the iconic sound offering a nostalgic trigger for the audience and a terrifying reminder for the Rebels.

The identity of said Rebels is fleshed out considerably in this episode, particularly Arvel Skeen (Ebon Moss-Bachrach), who instigates a degree of tension among the group as he questions Cassian’s motives. This later leads to Skeen revealing more about his own reasons for embarking on this mission, giving far more depth to a supporting character.

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With the mission on the horizon, a palpable apprehension rears its head too, but this gives our leading man the chance to really assert his authority and bring the group together. This is still a Star Wars character we know little about, so it’s great to see Diego Luna given more scope to show off his talents and for Cassian to show off his knowledge and skill too.

There’s a really strong balance of various storylines weaved throughout this episode, the credit for which should go to writer Dan Gilroy, director Susanna White, and of course, Tony Gilroy, the all-important architect of the whole show. A mention for editor Dan Roberts too, who seamlessly melds each section of the overarching story together and creates brilliant momentum.

Genevieve O'Reilly as Mon Mothma in Star Wars

Alongside Cassian’s main story, there’s also the fascinating angle of Mon Mothma (Genevieve O’Reilly). The fact her husband, and now her daughter, are so hostile towards her at the dinner table promises a sub-plot that will surely explode as the series develops. Again, we know so little about this character, despite her role in the Star Wars movies, so it’s intriguing to see the person behind the power.

The humanity of Andor continues to be its most impressive facet. People keep saying it, but this show really is uniquely separate from all the ties of the franchise and benefits greatly from it. You can forget Andor is even a Star Wars product at times and simply enjoy this as a thrilling drama series set in space.

As we approach the halfway mark in the show, everything is delicately poised to erupt, and the slow burn method will (hopefully) pay off very soon. Until next week, why not take a look at our guide to all the Easter eggs in Luthen Rael’s collection or learn about the Andor season 2 release date to feed your Star Wars obsession.