Vel Sartha's Role In The Rebellion Just Got A Lot More Intriguing In Andor Episode 9

Warning: spoilers below for episode 9 of "Andor."

It's been rough going for space girlfriends Vel Sartha (Faye Marsay) and Cinta Kaz (Varada Sethu), especially in the aftermath of their heist on Aldhani. It seems the two are doomed to be separated, whether it be at the hands of the Empire or in the name of the Rebellion. Last week's episode of "Andor" saw Vel and Cinta reunited, but only briefly — and while Cinta was more committed to the cause than ever, Vel's faith in the Rebellion seemed to be stalling. Though she carries the look and the determination of a rebel with a cause, she's still tied to the life she left behind, that of a "rich girl" abandoning the safety of a well-connected family.

It might have been easy to judge Vel after this particular reveal. Her decision to serve as a foot soldier — rather than use her wealth or her platform to take down the Empire from within — makes her role in the Rebellion doubly interesting. Is she truly committed to the fight, or is she just another rich kid cosplaying as poor, appropriating a movement to distract from her privilege? Compared to someone like Mon Mothma (Genevieve O'Reilly), you'd be forgiven for assuming the latter. But "Andor" is nothing if not a nuanced look at a rebellion, and all the smaller, private rebellions that have to take place to push things along. Ironically, Vel and Mon Mothma actually do have a lot in common, but it's those similarities that have inspired such disparate approaches to the Rebellion.

The old ways of Chandrila

In the ninth episode of "Andor," Mon Mothma is surprised by a visit from her cousin. When that cousin is revealed to be Vel herself, it feels like two separate worlds have suddenly collided. With this knowledge, so much of Vel's mysterious life comes into clearer focus. That both characters were likely raised in similar circumstances — with similar expectations, duties and traditions — and are fighting the same fight in such different ways, is really fascinating stuff. Compared to Mothma, who was married at fifteen and went into politics just a year later, you can't help but wonder how Vel managed to escape it all. It's clear now that her decision to run away was a matter of survival, rather than a trivial pursuit. Given her cousin's suffocating life on Coruscant, running away from a rich family doesn't seem so damning after all.

Domestic worries aren't the only thing getting to Mon Mothma, though. There's also Luthen Rael's (Stellan Skarsgård) growing stake in the Rebellion, and the lofty principles she's had to sacrifice to do her part. Mothma tries to express her anxieties to Vel, but her cousin's priorities actually skew a lot closer to Luthen's. "The Rebellion comes first," Vel says, echoing Cinta's own advice in episode 8. "We take what's left." She even reminds Mothma of a vow she took, likely one to serve the Rebellion whatever the cost.

We take what's left

Whether Vel fully agrees with Luthen's methods, she seems to understand the dangers of dissent in the ranks, especially now that the Rebels are finally gaining an upper hand against the Empire. It's been interesting to watch the dynamics between Rebels shifting from one encounter to the next: While no less than three different characters have had to remind Vel of her duty to the Rebellion, she has no problem reminding Mon Mothma of the same. It speaks to Vel's mercurial role to the cause at large, and it's fantastic to see the nuance in her character manifesting so effortlessly.

Like so many members of the Rebellion, Vel is not just one thing. She's a rich girl running from her family, sure — but only to escape the same life that her cousin's been trapped in for decades. She's a lover and friend, fiercely protective of the people she cares about — but she's still willing to sacrifice in battle if it means winning the war. It's impossible not to root for most of the characters in "Andor," but if Vel wasn't a member of that group before, she certainly is now. Here's hoping the series will start telling a bit more of its story from her perspective, especially when it comes to customs on Chandrila and how Vel uses the Rebellion to avoid them.

New episodes of "Andor" stream Wednesdays on Disney+.