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Can We Talk About the Weird Sexual Chemistry Between Andor's Fascists?
It was weird, right?
My feelings for Andor are a matter of public record, but just to be clear: I love it. I have been begging for a mature Star Wars with gritty stakes and ground-level characters and for the love of Yoda, no more Jedi, for a long time. Andor is all that and then some. I say this as a lifelong fan of the franchise: Despite all the Star Wars content we’ve gotten—over 40 years of it!—quality storytelling and exceptional writing is rarer than a Sand Person chilling on Naboo.
Andor approaches the level of true prestige television and deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as shows like The Sopranos and Deadwood. I’m not saying Andor is as good as those shows—much as I love Star Wars, even I can admit that it’s not—but it is quality programming. Said another way: If you told me Andor was made by HBO, I would believe it.
Above all else, the one thing I’ve been thinking about since the show concluded is the weird chemistry between upwardly mobile ISB agent Dedra Meero (Denise Gough) and emo sad sack Syril Karn (Kyle Soller). I am of the opinion that Syril is the worst character on the show. He has zero redeeming qualities and serves best as a punching bag. As I said in a mid-season character ranking for /Film: He's a wannabe fascist employed by a second-rate security firm. His delusions of grandeur would make C-3PO's head spin.
Dedra doesn’t have much going for her either. She’s a bleeding heart fascist who seems to live for her job and is a deeply unpleasant person. I imagine she unwinds with a glass a wine while reviewing interrogation footage. She’s clearly a bit unhinged herself, but her psychosis is locked up behind a steely facade; I’ve seen blast doors with softer faces.
In a show lousy with fascists, Dedra and Syril are the primary ones. They get the most screen time and have the most agency over the narrative. Despite this fact, I did not anticipate a love connection. Or whatever it is they have going on.
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Syril gets canned for bungling the murder investigation of two security agents—by making it an investigation in the first place, and blowing up half the town in the bargain—but can’t quit his obsession for Cassian Andor. His activities bring him to the attention of Dedra. She brings him in for questioning, which is probably the most unique meet-cute I’ve ever heard of. Dedra is all business, but Syril senses a kindred spirit in the ISB agent. Game recognize game, or maybe he could just smell the crazy on her.
Later, Syril does his best John Cusack impersonation. Instead of standing outside Dedra’s house with a boombox, he lies in wait near her office and springs from the shadows when she walks by. He tries sweet-talking her, something to the effect of, “Damn girl, you are rocking that cap. Listen sweet thing, I too like to fold my socks and indiscriminately administer pain for lols. Let’s unite, you and I, and bring order to this big crazy galaxy. How about you come back to my mom’s house for some cereal?”
Dedra’s expression quickly shifts from outrage to incredulity, and though she threatens to have him arrested if he ever approaches her again, there is a flicker of something on her face. A sense of kinship perhaps, a recognition that they both drink the same Kool-Aid. It felt deeper than that though, more animalistic. More like this:
At the time, I thought maybe I was crazy and was reading too much into it. Surely Andor wasn’t going to go there, right? Right?
The big payoff—or climax, if you will—comes in the final episode. Syril spots Dedra in the crowd and goes all gaga. It’s basically the Dream Weaver scene from Wayne’s World with less “schwing.” He follows her movements, which comes easily as he is clearly a practiced stalker. Then everything goes sideways and people start getting murdered in the streets. Dedra is seized by a band of blood-thirsty locals and dragged off to an unpleasant end, but Syril intercedes. He escorts her into an abandoned building and then this happens.
Damn, somebody light me a cigarette.
They don’t kiss, though that seems to be what the scene is building toward. Anyone else would kiss at that moment. You can clearly see the longing in Dedra’s eyes. The hunger. Syril just looks scared and unsure. It’s possible he’s about to pee himself.
They stand there in the semi-dark, staring at one another and panting, for quite a while. It’s like they’re Middle Schoolers playing seven minutes in heaven and neither knows how to make the first move. And honestly, that sort of makes sense. I don’t think either of these people have had any real intimacy before. They are deeply unpleasant people. Who wants to kiss that?
The scene—and the season!—ends with the tension unresolved. Which leaves questions hanging over the show: Umm, what was that? Will there be more of it? Also, what was that?!
I can only assume season two will go one of three ways:
Dedra is the man-eater she appears to be and she literally breaks Syril once she makes the first move (she is clearly the alpha in this relationship).
They retire to that beach planet and make fascist babies together.
Neither is able to overcome their mental hurdles and they spend all of season two boiling over until one or both of them go mad.
Honestly, this storyline might be the most surprising part of Andor. Is it possible to despise both of these people and yet still want them to get it on already, for their own good? Because that’s where I am right now. And maybe if they got laid they would be less keen on all that iron-fisted fascism.
What did you think about Andor’s fireworks? Is this going someplace we want to follow? Drop a comment and let me know! Better yet, how about a poll? Get your vote in now—poll closes in 1 week! (Must be a subscriber to vote.)
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