If anyone (or everyone) was surprised to see Andy Serkis appear in Andor as Kino Loy, they’re probably not surprised by his incredible performance in the Disney+ show. His surprise appearance in episode 8 has him ranked as “Star Wars’ best kept secret,” and the episodes since have only increased the impact he brings to the galaxy far, far away.
Kino Loy is the dayshift manager of a large group in the prison they’re being held in, continually building items for the empire throughout the day and night shifts. As a prisoner himself, Loy has been counting the days until his eventual release. That all ended in episode 9 when the reality of what was happening to prisoners came to light; they weren’t being released, but sent to a different level of the prison.
Loy tried to help prisoner Ulaf get medical attention, because he only had so many shifts left before being released. His death in the last episode, along with the realization that the number of shifts left doesn’t matter, leads to a thrilling series of events in episode 10, “One Way Out.”
What does Kino Loy do when he realizes he’s trapped in prison without a release date?
The first two episodes featuring Loy highlighted his determination to keep his men in line, to ensure his scheduled release didn’t get interfered with. After Ulaf’s stroke, we saw Loy show compassion trying to encourage Ulaf about being released from prison soon. Andor had been applying pressure to Loy, trying to learn information about the guards, and Ulaf’s death was seemingly the tipping point. Although he gives Andor the information he wants at the end of last week’s episode, “One Way Out” starts with uncertainty on Loy’s part.
Is he focused on never being allowed to leave the prison? Is he concerned about dying in an effort to escape? Does he think it’s foolish to try and overpower the Empire?
After realizing there’s truly no escape, it takes him a moment in this episode to finally come to terms with it. When they return to their bunks, without Ulaf, everyone asks what’s going on and if the rumors of level 2 being killed are true. The weight of this moment is seen on Kino Loy’s face and his exasperated yell garners everyone’s attention – “No one is getting out!!”
Andor episode 10 gives fans an intense look at one’s character and the amount of fight someone’s willing to take to escape, which means helping everyone escape. Kino Loy has been in charge of his floor for quite some time, doing the same thing over and over. He’s now tasked with leading them differently. He knows how to lead his floor, but will he know how to lead the entire complex?
After Andor, Loy, and the others take the guards by surprise, with many being killed along the way, they make their way to the control station. They shut off the power to the prison floor, which means the guards can’t electrify and kill the inmates. Then, Kino Loy must speak on the intercom to tell everyone the news; there’s no escape, and if they want to leave, “there’s only one way out.”
Andor encourages him to speak out like he does to his crew – to be in control – but there’s hesitancy in his voice. Why is he still holding back? Is he afraid of failing to escape or dying in their attempts? Once they reach the exit of the prison, high up into the air overlooking endless waters, it’s made abundantly clear why there was any hesitation at all.
“I can’t swim.”
Kino Loy sacrifices his survival for others to escape
One line. One momentous heartbreak. The expression on Kino Loy’s face is the kind that imprints itself onto viewers. The realization for viewers that he can’t swim is devastating and telling in so many ways. The prison is completely surrounded by water and Kino Loy knew there wouldn’t be any aircrafts to be rescued on.
In his speech to the other inmates in the prison complex, he recounted what Andor said to him previously in the episode, “I’d rather die trying to take them down than die giving them what they want.” In the moment, he’s using Andor’s words to inspire others, but perhaps he said those things to inspire himself. Realizing there wasn’t any escape for him, Loy did what was needed to help everyone escape his fate.
He shares over the intercom, “If we can fight half as hard as we’ve been working, we will be home in no time.” Kino Loy shouts and inspires those trapped in prison, because no one knows how many, if not all, did anything wrong to be there. Andor was picked up by police trying to go to the grocery store. Why was Loy there? Why were any of them there? The tragedy of building and executing an escape plan is met with those heartbreaking words:
“I can’t swim.”
In that moment, there’s a hopeful glimpse in his eyes that maybe Andor can help him once they get into the water. After all, Andor came into prison, believed in a way out and proved to Loy that anything is possible. It’s understandable for him to rely on Andor for a way around not being able to swim, but that hope is defeated as soon as it arrives.
Andor is accidentally knocked into the water and the devastation upon Kino Loy’s face is equally felt by viewers. “One Way Out” is the title of Andor episode 10 – and, unfortunately, it’s one way Kino Loy cannot follow.
Were you heartbroken by the realization of Kino Loy’s plight or his facial expressions once Andor was knocked into the water? What do you think of Kino Loy and his (likely) ultimate sacrifice to help the other inmates escape? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
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