Andor season 1, episode 4 recap – “Aldhani”

By Jonathon Wilson
Published: September 28, 2022 (Last updated: January 26, 2024)
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Andor season 1, episode 4 recap - "Aldhani"


“Aldhani” is top-quality storytelling that exemplifies Andor‘s patient, grounded, layered approach.

This recap of the Disney+ series Andor season 1, episode 4, “Aldhani”, contains spoilers.

If you asked me to make a list of all the cool things that happen in Andor’s fourth episode, I couldn’t, or at least it wouldn’t sound very cool to anyone else if I did. But that’s the beauty of what director Susanna White and writer Dan Gilroy achieve in “Aldhani”, which develops intersecting narratives on three fronts, and allows us to ease into each before we’re presumably plunged headlong into the action next week.

Andor season 1, episode 4 recap

This is one of those shows that reminds you how badly written most television is. And it starts early. With Cassian and Luthen having fled Ferrix in Episode 3, they’re on their way to the titular Aldhani, a backwater planet that is later explained as having the unfortunate distinction of being close to nothing but not very far away from anything. So, the Empire has a garrison there that Luthen wants Cassian to help a fomenting rebellion infiltrate in order to pilfer the quarterly payroll of the entire Imperial sector. Cassian isn’t keen on the idea, so they argue. And it’s the argument that proves my point about the writing.

There isn’t even anything special to it – it’s simply consistent and functional, which somehow feels like a novelty. But we learn more about both Luthen and Cassian; that the former is obviously knowledgeable and wealthy, and that the latter went to war at sixteen, fresh out of prison, and was one of only a few who survived. Cassian has crafted a kind of glorified backstory for himself that Luthen tears to pieces straight away since he knows that Cassian was a cook who never saw action because he fled and hid at the first sign of trouble. At least in part, Luthen is able to goad Cassian into participating in what seems like a suicide mission – not for the last time, as those among us who have seen Rogue One will be well aware – by challenging Cassian’s fabricated heroic ideal of himself.

But Luthen hands Cassian off to Aldhani’s resistance leader, Vel (Faye Marsay), and instead heads off to Coruscant, where he lives a double life – complete with a hairpiece, a fine outfit, and a cartoonishly effete manner – as a purveyor of antiquities. One of his clients is Mon Mothma (Genevieve O’Reilly), with whom he is secretly conspiring to overthrow the Empire from within. Theirs is another of those exquisite, layered conversations that are doing several things at once. We learn that Luthen is bankrolling resistance efforts that Mon Mothma is suddenly struggling to help fund because of increasing Imperial paranoia. We know she’s being watched and followed (Luthen’s assistant Kleya Marki (Elizabeth Dulau) has to distract her new government-appointed driver so they can talk in private). We can tell they’re experienced in subterfuge which is becoming more difficult thanks to the threat of rebellion, political turmoil, and conflicting agendas.

We get to see some of that disarray firsthand when we see Syril Karn and the other Preox-Morlana dorks being given an absolute hammering by the Imperial Security Bureau, who send a muckety-muck played by Ben Bailey Smith (aka rapper and comedian Doc Brown) to investigate what happened there and whip everything into shape in an aggressively no-nonsense manner. What’s funny about this is that it immediately demotes Karn from the season’s potential “big bad” into kind of a loser who literally runs home to his mother (Kathryn Hunter) when things don’t go his own way. The ISB is basically a final boss version of his idealized authoritarian stooge persona, and he can’t hope to compete.

But we also meet Dedra Meero (Denise Gough), a careerist ISB agent who is more interested in the stolen Imperial tech that was mentioned in the incident reports, since it suggests a pattern of burgeoning rebellion that she’d quite like to take credit for thwarting. However, she’s overlooked – it’s implied because she’s a woman – by her colleagues and confined to her jurisdiction, so we can definitely expect her to make some ballsy moves sooner rather than later.

Anyway, back to Aldhani. Cassian comes up with the cover identity of Clem – his father’s name, though it’ll always evoke Telltale Games’ The Walking Dead for me – and ingratiates himself with the group, none of whom seem especially happy that he has turned up at the last minute on the cusp of a highly risky operation that’ll rely on the precise timing of a solstice event known as the “Eye of Aldhani”. The team – many or all of whom are certain to die next week or later – includes the aforementioned Vel, Karis Nemik (Alex Lawther), Arvel Skeen (Ebon Moss-Bachrach), Taramyn Barcona (Gershwyn Eustache Jnr), and Cinta Kaz (Varda Sethu), as well as an Imperial lieutenant named Gorn (Sule Rimi) who is even angrier about Cassian’s involvement than everyone else.

With the mission almost certain to go wrong and inform the development we’re seeing elsewhere within the ISB, on Ferrix, and back on Coruscant, “Aldhani” amounted to much more than a filler episode. This is top-quality television any way you slice it.

Further reading

Our review of Andor

5 reasons to watch Andor

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