Andor 1×05 “The Axe Forgets” is basically all set up, but the good kind in that it doesn’t really move the plot forward, but it goes a great job of examining the characters and their motivations. Cassian has a new team — at least for one mission — and if he’s going to survive, he’s gotta learn as much about them as possible. In the process, we end up learning quite a few things about Cassian himself, and about the way the Rebellion and the Empire are set up.
“The axe forgets, but the tree remembers,” the quote that gives this episode its name is a play on those two things, the Empire and the Rebellion, and not even a subtle one. It might seem the tree is at a disadvantage, but that memory that brings with it so much pain is also a strength. Those who forget are, after all, doomed to repeat the same mistakes. Those who remember, meanwhile, can learn …and become better.
Everyone’s got their own Rebellion
Before we’ve examined the Rebellion as this big idea, and it is, in a way. There are certainly some people who are in it for the reasons the manifesto lays out, and perhaps, deep down, there’s something of that belief in everyone who is willing to put their life on the line. But Andor 1×05 “The Axe Forgets” clearly establishes the individuality of the people in this fight and the fact that they all got their own reasons for doing what they’re doing.
This is an advantage the Empire doesn’t have. To be part of the Empire, you have to believe in well …the Empire. To be part of the Rebellion, you just have to agree that the Empire is a problem. The rest? Well, the rest can be figured out later. And though this line of thinking, this way of bringing people together, will indeed cause trouble in the future, for now, it certainly feels better than nothing.
A win for the Rebellion doesn’t require them to have it all figured out. A win for the Empire, meanwhile, requires them to snuff out all hope. Considering these things is it any wonder the Rebellion somehow stuck around until they found a way to win?
I’m here to win and walk away
Except, in the end, he doesn’t. Except, in the end, he isn’t. That’s the thing with Cassian, the irony the show enjoys pointing out over and over again. He will win, but he won’t walk away. And in many ways, by the time we get to Rogue One, he will be, if not fine with dying, reconciled with the idea that he’s dying for something. He’s ironically started as Jyn Erso, which perhaps explains his affinity for her in the movie. But that’s not where his journey ends.
Sadly, that is truly the only way a Rebellion like this one can work, especially when facing an Empire that, as this episode made clear, doesn’t even care about the small cruelties, because it always has bigger ones it can commit. You gotta be able to fight fire with fire, and sometimes, that means getting burned. If you’re not willing, how can you ever win when facing someone with a blowtorch?
Things I think I think:
- Genevieve O’Reilly is a star, but it’s hard to really invest that much in the family dynamics of Mon Mothma, at least at this point. Or even Luthen, for that matter. We’re just here to enjoy the performances.
- I keep trying to figure out all the Easter Eggs in Luthen’s shop, because I know there are a lot, but then I get distracted by everything else about the show.
- Should I care about Syril Karn? Because I really don’t. For me to like a villain, he needs more than a pout, I guess. I do care about his mom, though. I’ll take some sort of web series where she comments on basically everything.
Agree? Disagree? What did you think of Andor 1×05 “The Axe Forgets”? Share with us in the comments below!
The first five episodes of Andor are available to stream now on Disney+. New episodes will be available on Wednesdays starting next week.