Andor Episode 6 Officially Introduces Another Defected Stormtrooper

It's been eight years since the very first teaser for "Star Wars" sequel "The Force Awakens" was released, but I still remember it like it was yesterday. That teaser made major waves from its very first scene, which opened with the face of Finn (John Boyega) out among the sand dunes of Jakku. That one image revealed so much about the character: He was clad in Stormtrooper armor, so obviously aligned with the First Order (née Empire), right? Maybe at first, but Finn famously defects early on, eventually pledging allegiance to the Resistance.

"The Force Awakens" introduced a complicated hero with Finn, one who ultimately made the choice to break free from his oppressive conditioning and stand up for what he thought was right. In a world full of heroes whose rebel status felt like a no-brainer, Finn's fight back to the light brought real nuance to the franchise, effectively modernizing it for a new generation.

The Defector has since become an effective archetype in newer "Star Wars" stories, especially those that explore the grey areas in the fight between Empire and Rebellion. It helped inform the character of Bodhi Rook (Riz Ahmed), the nervous pilot in "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" — and now its prequel series, "Andor," has introduced another defected Stormtrooper in Taramyn Barcona.

The same eyes in different people

Like most of the rebels in the Aldhani heist, not much is known about Taramyn (Gershwyn Eustache Jnr). Of course, that has a lot to do with the tension and mistrust brewing between the established crew and newcomer Cassian Andor (Diego Luna). Still, Taramyn carries a lot of authority when the rebels are planning their big heist, and seems to know quite a bit about Imperial protocol, especially when it comes to their military operations.

In the sixth episode of "Andor," Cassian learns exactly how Taramyn came to be so knowledgable. It turns out that he learned everything he knows first-hand, as an Imperial Stormtrooper. Given his enthusiasm for doling out orders, it's possible he was a high-ranking officer, not unlike Lieutenant Gorn's (Sule Rimi) role at the local garrison. But the revelations don't end there. According to Skeen (Ebon Moss-Bachrach), the truth about Taramyn's past life nearly tore the group apart. "You should have been here when Cinta found out," he tells Cassian. "They slaughtered her whole family."

Of course, by "they," I'm sure Skeen means Stormtroopers in general. It'd be an awfully small galaxy if Taramyn and Cinta (Varada Sethu) had once crossed paths before, smaller still if Taramyn's troop had been the one to upend Cinta's life as she knew it. But if your whole family is killed by the faceless enforcers of the Empire, of course all Stormtroopers are bastards from there on out.

At your service

Skeen doesn't explain what made Taramyn defect in the first place, which remains one of the few frustrating aspects of the Aldhani arc. We still don't know much about Taramyn by the time he meets his demise in "The Eye," including why he joined the Rebellion or what he's fighting for in the first place. It feels like a major missed opportunity in the series, especially given the development that his fellow Imperial traitor, Gorn, received. "Andor" has been really great and bringing individual struggles to an otherwise faceless cause. It's a shame that the series skipped over Taramyn's arc in all the excitement of the latest episode.

Though neither survived the infiltration on Aldhani, both Taramyn and Gorn paved the way for other heroes down the line, Finn included. Taramyn and Gorn dedicated their lives to writing the wrongs they committed in the name of the Empire, and it's tragic to know that they won't see the fruits of their labor, but at least others following in their footsteps will. Like with "Rogue One," sacrifice is definitely the name of the game. "Andor" has never been the type to pull its punches, but with every bittersweet win and crippling loss, we understand the emotional stakes behind the Rebellion more and more.

"Andor" streams Wednesdays on Disney+.