top of page

How much can an expression say? Andor is a masterclass in subtext and no dialogue acting.

I tried doing an episode by episode thing for Andor as well, but then College said, Sike! And well I couldn't... I couldn't do it in time... but, you know what, I think it's all for the better.

Not because I think that the fourth episode isn't good enough on its own or anything, but actually because I figured out why this show works so well for me. Ever heard people complain about exposition?

I always wondered why, like I get it, cause it pulls you out of the show, but really why? Why does it pull you out of a story? Let me first ask you something, why do you enjoy site seeing much more than reading descriptions of the same site from a book?

Well it's simple really, one is you experiencing it as it is and the other is you reading something that describes it best according to the author of said description, and there is a high chance that there will be lack of details and more often than not your brain has to fill in the gaps, so not only is you brain doing more work to generate an image based on the words, it is also trying to fill in gaps in details.

Now, I have nothing against the medium of writing, far from it I am a writer, but the thing is something that is meant to be experience visually is best experienced as such, and same for writing, you can't experience an essay visually, its written, maybe in some cases you can but it will most likely be a sub par experience, I say most likely because there are no absolutes in art.

And that is the case in Exposition you aren't experiencing the world, you are listening to someone's description of it, something that makes you acutely aware that you aren't in the world.

Which is why it is so crucial that Andor conveys most of what it wants to through expressions, music, and the manner in which certain actions are performed. Not only does this make you more immersed, there is also a certain power to giving all the pieces to a puzzle and leading a person down the path but never giving the final conclusion, that way the person believes they found this answer, and something you found is much more powerful than something that is handed to you.

Let's take this scene for example, at face value, its simply a superior reprimanding insubordination and then showing his softer side by letting them have a holiday (I think it's a holiday but it's more like a reduced workforce day) but in reality its much more than that, it's master manipulation, by this point in the story, we are already aware that Lieutenant Gorn has more than enough reason to hate the empire, and so we question why does he want to cancel the holiday when it would clearly help the rebels? Well he doesn't he pretends to, knowing that the workers will fire back making them think it is their idea, and this might not be clear to the audience right away, except, he smirks while leaving the room.

I have praised at length the masterpiece that is the ending of episode three, minimal dialogue, and yet the most hard hitting. The same goes for the metal clanging soundtrack in the same episode and how the sound of metal against metal represents the people of the city, especially the workers and the common folk.

But then there is the curious case of Dedra, Hers is a character that doesn't speak very much, yet we are accutely aware of what this character is doing/going to do or thinking at any moment in time.

Take this ISB roundtable scene for example, in this entire scene she speaks just once, and that is to answer a question that the leading officer raised, and she gave a textbook answer, what does that say? It tells us that she is naive and new in this area, it tells us that she has a need to prove herself, but more importantly, it tells us that she is among the few who is onto the now forming Rebellion, well not directly, but it hints at it when her expression changes when the imperial star path unit is mentioned.

Again these are very small things, but they are very important and difficult to get right as the difference could be a hated or liked character.

I could go on about every example this show has but I think I have made my point, the main thing being, that this shows strong point is its characterization and world building, we know where all of this is going to end up, and if you have watched rebels, you know that Dedra's subordinate's claim about the random attacks being too random to be random is true, rebel factions are indeed a thing and are all separate from each other and unaware of each other, they are given random missions to throw the empire of scent while also systematically taking it down.

The main thing is, you don't need to shove information in someone's face, they would quite appreciate it if you don't, information can be delivered by anything, a smirk, a silent glance, a solemn look while you try to focus on the present or a simple torch, waving in the darkness.

And it is important that these are the strong points of the show, because really what story can you tell in the imperial period that hasn't been told? We know where everything is going to end up, and keep in mind these aren't absolute statements, but to tell a satisfying story in the imperial period is immensely difficult without generating massive contradictions with existing canon, especially this close to the Battle of Yavin, and in any case that is not the theme of Rogue one, which this show is a spin off of, Rogue one was an awesome story that complemented the existing story and gave us an insight into that which is usually kept under the rug, yes Luke Skywalker killed the emperor(I know it was Vader, but I believe currently the official statement in universe is the Luke did it, keeps it simple and gives the new republic a rallying point having the killer of the emperor by their side), but to defeat the empire was an organized effort, a lot of people sacrificed for the whole thing to come together.

And that is what this spin off should be, that is why it made me so happy that this show took the time to tell us the condition of the common folk, and show us their solidarity, why it is important that so far the main villain is a normal person trying to do his job, also, we know Karn will show up in today's episode, we know he will be a constant thorn on Andor's side and probably will be the reason he gets captured, perhaps even get captured with him, there are two ways I can see his story going from there, either he talks to Andor and is turned or is recruited by Dedra and becomes the leading villain, honestly both seem equally interesting.

By the end I think he will die, cause no matter what, he has too strong of a connection to Andor to not be in Rogue one.

Also is Luthen an ex Jedi? I mean it would be the most in theme and interesting way to bring in a Jedi wouldn't it, guess we will see.

Also the soundtrack slaps, I can't be the only one who thinks that way right?


bottom of page