Before I go any further with this: I will talk about stuff in the first season of Andor that is considered a spoiler for someone who has not watched it. I will put the rest of this review after the “Read More” fold so if you land on my blog you do not have to scroll past potential spoilers. Spoilers ahead, you have been warned.
What’s a manifesto to a empire?
Andor is a show about revolution. More specifically it is about revolutionary acts. Both the minuscule and the giant. Both by a singular person and as a group. Andor is a show about the oppression brought on by the tyranny of empires. It is about the day to day of Just Getting By while having your basic dignity under constant threat. Andor is about how even in the face of unrelenting oppression the desire to fight for freedom can never be truly suppressed for very long. Andor is a show about the cracks in the dam of imperialism. The water slowly but surely leaks and eventually becomes a flood.
The show states as much in the season’s final episode where an excerpt from Nemik’s manifesto is played as voiceover narration which still gives me the chill every time I rewatch the scene.
There will be times when the struggle seems impossible. I know this already. Alone, unsure, dwarfed by the scale of the enemy.
Remember this. Freedom is a pure idea. It occurs spontaneously and without instruction. Random acts of insurrection are occurring constantly throughout the galaxy. There are whole armies, battalions that have no idea that they’ve already enlisted in the cause.
Remember that the frontier of the Rebellion is everywhere. And even the smallest act of insurrection pushes our lines forward.
And then remember this. The Imperial need for control is so desperate because its is so unnatural.
Tyranny requires constant effort. It breaks, it leaks. Authority is brittle. Oppression is the mask of fear. Remember that.
And know this, the day will come when all these skirmishes and battles, these moments of defiance will have flooded the banks of the Empire’s authority and then there will be one too many.
One single thing will break the siege.
Try.Excerpt from Nemik’s manifesto as played in Andor S1E12
That first paragraph was my attempt at paraphrasing what Nemik was trying to convey in his manifesto. I don’t think it quite matched up but that’s understandable as the writing in Andor is exceptionally good!
Another example of such writing is Luthen’s “sacrifice” monologue in the scene with Lonni. Just so good. Stellan Skarsgård’s performance as Luthen throughout the show is stellar.
Other characters I enjoyed – Syril Kern who is a little sycophant for the empire and his only goal in life is to find the next boot heel to lick. Dedra Meero falls into the trope of “hot fascist lady who tortures people” quite well. Wait, is that an actual trope or did I make that up? Yeah, she’s annoyingly hot. How does she find the time to keep up with her makeup regimen amongst all the torturing and stomping of peasants? What’s her secret? “Top 10 beauty tips with Dedra Meero” coming to a holomagazine near you.
Ahem..anyways I digress..
The Revolution Takes All Kinds
The thing I love most about Andor is that it focuses on the small rather than the grandiose. Sure the heist pulled off is grand and epic but the story focuses on the relationships between the characters. The motivations, the failures, the idealism, the struggles. Nemik’s manifesto being one of those things.
Andor is good because it puts all of these little things together to build a world that I give a shit about. I don’t care about Star Wars, I care about Cassian. I care about the people of Ferris, I care about Maarva. I care about the prisoners trapped in a high tech prison on Narkina 5.
Hell, I even care about the villains in the show because I want to understand what makes them tick. Yes, they are fascist little pricks but how and why? Why do they build these systems? Andor presents these terrible people and puts those questions in your mind without falling to the trap of glorifying and making their acts seem justified or heroic.
Andor reminds us that the revolution takes all kinds. So what are you waiting for? Stop reading this and go watch it!