Andor – Season 1 Episode 8 “Narkina 5” Recap & Review

Narkina 5

Episode 8 of Andor starts with Cassian Andor in big trouble. He’s manhandled by the Shoretropers and taken to a planet called Narkina 5. This planet is home to an Imperial factory facility and given he’s fit enough to work, he – along with numerous other new prisoners – are tasked with back-breaking manual labour. Unfortunately, there’s no chance of escape either.

Cassian meets a number of different people, including his supervisor Kino, who echoes the Empire’s demands. Not only is the work hard, but they also have a “sprint segment” which sees them forced to work harder and faster, with the least productive table disciplined badly.

Meanwhile, Syril continues to work his desk job but he’s taken away from that by Lieutenant Meero. She’s noted he’s been looking at all the different queries he’s put in about Cassian Andor. Syril admits he’s been using the limited resources he has at his disposal to figure out where Andor is and to clear his own name.

Meero takes this to the Imperial group and suggests Andor could be part of this rebel group. She’s convinced that this is the best lead they have, and begins to work with Syril to learn more. He points out that Andor had an organized group of accomplices working with him, including Luthen. Syril does his best but before Meero leaves, he points out he was a great supervisor and did his job diligently. He wants his old role back but Meero is in no mood to bargain. She warns him not to raise the alarm again.

Meanwhile, Mon continues to wine and dine, as she learns from Tay and the others that the new P.O.R.D legislation has been passed, which of course means everyone’s sentences have been doubled thanks to the rebel activity.

The tightening of security across the Galaxy leads Luthen to make a big decision. He admits to Kleya he’s not slipping, but he’s been hiding for too long. As a result, he decides to head off for Segra Milo. Interestingly, he meets Saw Gerrera, Forrest Whittaker’s character from Rogue One. “Oppression breeds rebellion.” He reminds Saw, leaving things on an ominous note.


The Episode Review

So Andor bows out this week’s episode with another slow, laborious chapter and in many ways, this whole Narkina ordeal with Andor is reminiscent of the book Jedi Search by Kevin J. Anderson. For those unaware of that, Han and Chewbacca spend almost the entirety of the book stuck working in a spice mine.

Andor has been great from a worldbuilding perspective, and learning more about how the Empire operates and all the intricate parts of the great Empire machine is absolutely fascinating to watch. However, it also comes at the expense of urgency, which is sorely lacking in this series.

We’re over halfway through now and aside from the assault on Aldhani, very little has actually happened with the plot. Andor is not exactly lighting the room up with his charisma and it speaks volumes hat Andy Serkihs’ character, Kino, is the one who steals the spotlight through all of Andor’s scenes.

This isn’t a bad show and Andor certainly gets props for at least trying to do something different in the Star Wars universe, but there’s a difference between a slow burn and a slow, laborious slog, and right now Andor is slipping into the latter.

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5 thoughts on “Andor – Season 1 Episode 8 “Narkina 5” Recap & Review”

  1. This is a fantastic series because it doesn’t rely solely on action. Rather, it relies on dramatic tension out of which any action organically builds. Regarding the comparison to Star Wars IV: rewatch A New Hope sometime, and you’ll realize that it works well because it has one climax and sufficient world-building and character-building to make that climax have an emotional impact. It’s a pretty standard three act approach that is very similar in its dramatic rhythms to Andor. And it’s pretty average as an action movie. The John Williams score, its structure as a space opera, a magical “Force,” and the novelty of the production design was doing a lot of heavy lifting on your first watch, while nostalgia makes it seem better than it was on any subsequent viewings (and in your memory). My nieces and nephews–who also seem to be in the “all action, all the time” head space–think A New Hope and everything in the original trilogy is mind-numbingly boring.

    Andor is, by any objective evaluation of quality, the best Star Wars output I’ve seen. It has almost uniformly strong acting, writing, cinematography, and production design, and doesn’t rely on a jumbled together mess of nostalgia, tropes, stereotypes, deus ex machina, and set pieces. It’s meant for an adult viewer, and doesn’t seem to have been focus-grouped by a bunch of adolescents who care more about merchandise than actual storytelling.

    Showing me–not just telling me–“Empire bad, Rebellion good” is something I appreciate as a lifelong Star Wars fan. The Rebellion has to be rooted in terrorism, but we never really got a sense of the scope and scale of what that means–how it would be funded, how it would hurt so many individuals and families, how ethically gray it is–until Andor. And I was never really afraid of the Empire (much less the First Order) once I hit my 20s–Force chokeholds, lightsaber duels, Stormtroopers, Death Stars, and Star Destroyers were re-used so often (or destroyed so easily, or presented almost comically) that they lost their impact. When I was a kid, Vader and Palpatine were great bogeymen, and Star Wars indulged in that idea a lot to convey fear: Snoke, Dooku, Maul, Sidious, Grievous, etc. But as an adult, the Narkina-5 prison/labor camp sequences were the first content that helped me appreciate the Empire as a terrifying, fascistic regime that demanded a massive Rebellion.

  2. I think a lot might be forgetting that this show is leading up to the formation of the rebellion and what we all saw in Rogue One. I am thoroughly enjoying it so far and I’m loving Andor’s back story. It’s not all shooting across the galaxy and fighting Jedi.
    Pew pew pew!

  3. These last couple of episodes have put me in a coma.
    The only reason I bought a D+ subsription was the promise of this being amazing.
    It should have been condensed down to 6 Episodes.
    Every scene just drags on and on.

    Seeing the original Star Wars film when I was 7 in 1977 blew my mind apart.
    This is just now mind numbing boredom.

  4. Exposition is a good portion of any proper story. These “laborious” episodes (Episode 5 and 8 notably) are full of the worldbuilding you’re praising. They’re the reason worldbuilding actually happens. A lot of this slow build is done to further improve the quality of the climax of the story.
    This was never going to be an action-packed series because of its very nature of dealing with the origins of the Rebellion. In fact, if it were action-focused, it would be a disservice to the very foundation of the greater story that is being told here.
    I continue to be completely blown away by the show with each episode and can only hope that future Star Wars projects can manage similarly to this show.

  5. Well another person who only wants action action action.
    The Empire isn’t all encompassing yet, The rebellion isn’t a rebellion yet.
    This series is incredible and the building of characters and the world is absolutely engrossing and addictive. I hang off every word, every nuance that each episode brings and have enjoyed everything in every episode.
    I cannot get people who only want action. This is a truly great series and one that I’ll watch time and time again.

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