WARNING! This post contains SPOILERS for Andor Season 1, Episode 9.
The Empire is the worst. Even if you’re not a huge Star Wars fan, that’s not news to you. But one of the challenges stories that feature the Empire or are told during the time of its reign over the galaxy always face is figuring out how to not just remind you it’s the worst, but almost make you feel it’s somehow even worse than you thought.
Andor has accomplished this feat on many fronts only nine episodes in to the series. But it took the death of a certain character to get me writing (again) about how awful the Empire truly is.
That’s right: We’re talking about Ulaf.
He’s the older gentleman who worked at Cassian’s table in the Imperial prison. The one who had almost served his entire sentence. The one who was pushed so far beyond his limits in order to fulfill quotas that he suffered a major stroke.
The one who was “put out of his misery” like a wounded animal who, maybe, could have actually been saved.
In a galaxy far, far away, medicine is far more advanced than what we’re capable of now — that’s Star Wars showing its sci-fi side. We’ve seen plenty of examples of this throughout the franchise — everything from Darth Vader’s life-supporting suit to Breha Organa living with an artificial heart and lungs after a terrible accident.
Ulaf could have survived.
In a galaxy where not just limbs, but entire organ systems can be replaced so that a person might go on to live a fulfilling life despite enduring great tragedy, Ulaf could have lived through it.
His age doesn’t matter. Any ailments he may have had prior to his stroke don’t matter. What matters is that the Empire had all the technology, resources, and medical knowledge and advances at its disposal but wouldn’t have “dared” use any of it n someone like Ulaf.
And why would they? He was a prison inmate who would have, it turns out, died inside those walls whether they spent “precious” resources on saving his life or not.
No one is listening. No one cares. No one with the power to fix anything, anyway.
We don’t know exactly how Ulaf came to occupy his spot at this table, but he certainly did not deserve to die like this.
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