For The Love Of Andor, Stop Comparing Every Star Wars Relationship To Pride & Prejudice

It's a truth universally acknowledged that romantic prospects in the "Star Wars" galaxy are dismally few and far between. Of course, there are some bright spots, and some relationships are even given the space to develop in healthy, happy ways. "Andor" alone has introduced an impressive handful of potential relationships to the franchise. With representation groundbreaker Vel Sartha (Faye Marsay) and Cinta Kaz (Varada Sethu), Bix Caleen (Adria Arjona) and Cassian Andor (Diego Luna), or any number of less-official pairings, it finally feels like there's room in the franchise for romance again.

Of course, not every interesting pairing in "Star Wars" has to be romantic. The ninth episode of "Andor" has broken new ground between the ultra-pathetic Syril Karn (Kyle Soller) and sneering ISB Agent Dedra Meero (Denise Gough). One would think that, after being taken to task for his general disregard for protocol in episode 8, Syril would have absorbed at least a little decorum. Unfortunately, he's just as pathetic as ever in "Nobody's Listening" ... maybe even worse.

It's not that surprising that Syril's obsessive attachment style has turned him into a complete and total stalker, or that he's been waiting outside of ISB headquarters in the hopes of pledging his undying loyalty to Dedra. To be honest, it feels like a natural evolution of his character. This moment also proves that Syril and Dedra are two sides of the Imperial coin — whether both parties are yet aware of that fact or not. But in the wrong hands, well ... it's already drawing comparisons to a certain romance at the center of the Jane Austen novel "Pride & Prejudice."

Let's hear it for the awkward boys

Now, I know what you're thinking: "What could two space fascists possibly have in common with Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet?" Depending on who you ask, quite a bit, actually. Remember Darcy's very first, very awkward proposal to Elizabeth, about halfway through the underrated 2005 "Pride & Prejudice"? At this point in time, Elizabeth is pretty much the president of the Darcy Hate Club, and she's assured the feeling is mutual — so the fact that he's actually completely obsessed with her and desperate for her hand in marriage naturally comes as a massive shock. It doesn't help that Darcy insults her family in every possible way while asking for her hand, but even if the proposal had gone off without a hitch, Elizabeth likely would have still rejected it.

It's this scene in particular that has some "Andor" fans comparing Dedra and Syril to Austen's most famous couple. In Syril, we find one majorly oblivious man acting out on a baseless, one-sided attachment. It's completely unsolicited, not to mention embarrassing for us watching at home — and though the object of his obsession spurns his advances at first, something inside of her might have stirred just a little at whatever it is he's proposing. Those basic beats match up simply enough with the events that take place in "Pride & Prejudice," but you still have to ignore the inherently creepy context of the scene in order to compare the two outright.

Is this ringing any bells?

Ironically, this isn't the first time these parallels have been drawn between "Pride & Prejudice" and any "Star Wars" story. Before Syril Karn and Dedra Meero, there was Kylo Ren and Rey Skywalker, better known in some circles as "Reylo." When Kylo asks Rey to join him in "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" — heck, even before that — fans were rooting for them to get together. For some, their dynamic was an indelible copy of Elizabeth Bennet's relationship with Darcy ... that is, if Darcy had murdered Elizabeth's father figure, maimed her friends, and manipulated her into joining an Imperial war machine of course.

Call me old-fashioned, but I've never seen the appeal of Reylo, nor am I fully on board with whatever Syril and Dedra have going on. As a unilateral obsession that conjures more sympathy than anything else, it absolutely works. But in order to see the romantic potential in either pairing, one would have to turn a blind eye to the myriad of creepy, violent things the guy does to impress the girl — and I'm sorry, but that's just not my bag. 

Analyzing characters like Kylo Ren or Syril Karn is always a fun exercise, but lately it's become more and more en vogue to defang these characters entirely, focusing on their pitiable traits instead of holding them accountable for their actions. Naturally, it all remains up to interpretation, but let's just be honest with ourselves for a second: apart from their shared social ineptitude, do these characters actually have anything in common with Darcy? Or do these parallels just make it a bit easier to ignore red flags where they apply?

You're in my net

Whether Syril and Dedra's partnership does eventually skew romantic, it's a little odd that some fans would rather conflate these characters with a traditional, fairy tale romance than take their relationship at face value. Their dynamic as it stands now is pretty toxic — and there's nothing wrong with seeing the narrative appeal in that. In fact, there's nothing horrible about rooting for them outright or about appreciating them as characters. But the fact that Syril felt the need to stalk Dedra is still flat-out wrong, and comparing him with a character like Darcy feels like a dangerous misstep.

"Andor" is, at the end of the day, an unflinching look at the full scope of a rebellion. The story is told from the side of the oppressors and the oppressed, and it does great work in fleshing out the dimensions of what would otherwise be a black-and-white conflict. That said, romanticizing those that align themselves with fascism is simply not the point of the series. It's great that "Andor" is allowing us to appreciate every aspect, conflict, and character it presents to us, but it's important to do so with the intended message in mind.

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