Andor looks for ‘One Way Out’ in Episode 10.
Last week’s Episode 9 (Nobody’s Listening!) marked the three-year mark of Disney Plus and the debut of The Mandalorian (the first live-action Star Wars series and what many fans believe to be the most authentic return to a galaxy far, far away since the original trilogy). While Mando offers adventure, excitement (a Jedi craves not these things…), and a sense of the familiar when it comes to one of the most beloved fantasy/sci-fi franchises; Andor delivers intense socio-political drama on a weekly basis while using the spy thriller lens to showcase how a burgeoning Rebellion was built off of many individual struggles that need to band together to become something more (the various reckonings and revolutions throughout the series). Directed by Toby Haynes who gave us the first three episodes and now these last three, and masterfully written by Beau Willimon (these last three episodes have been some of the best of the series), Episode 10 – One Way Out pays off the time we have spent on Narkina 5 with ‘Keef Girgo’ and the rest of his prison crew in a big way.
Meanwhile Mon Mothma is in a prison of her own, having to deal with her corner of the Rebellion, stuck on Coruscant with constituents that are mostly greedy and loyal to the Empire. Tay Kolma introduces her to Davo Sculdun, a wealthy Chandrilan banker known for his ability to deal under the table and avoid attention from the authorities. Davo seems interested in aiding Mothma at no cost, except his true ambition is revealed when he claims he intends to bring his son to Coruscant to be betrothed to Mon’s daughter Leida (a Chandrilan custom that she is not prepared to entertain).
Perhaps one of the most intriguing developments in Andor is the reveal that Luthen has a rebel contact by the name of Lonni Jung (a mole played impressively by Robert Emms) inside the ISB (Imperial Security Bureau) itself. Luthen’s always had a ruthless streak in his efforts to ignite the Rebellion (whether it’s ordering Cassian’s murder or forsaking Bix on Ferrix in their biggest time of need), however, the exchange between these two spies really hammers home the dedication (and desperation) to the cause. When informed of the ISB’s trap laid for Anto Kreegyr at Spellhaus, he basically says there is no need to warn them as their death would help to fuel the rage of the Rebellion.
The standout performances in this latest three-episode arc come from the pairing of Diego Luna’s Cassian Andor with veteran actor Andy Serkis’ Kino Loy. After coming around to the idea that nobody is going free from this prison, Andor is able to convince Kino to rally the prisoners to rise up again the Imperial officers running the floating penitentiary. The monologue delivered by Serkis to inspire the rest of the prison to revolt is certainly worthy of an Emmy. The breakout is a success, however, poor Kino doesn’t know how to swim and (as Cassian and Melshi are seen running away on land at the end of the episode) it would seem this is the end of his story.
Where most episodes lean into the character development, Episode 10 reaches a breaking point; fully loaded with action, and setting up the series for an epic two-part finale. Cassian had been sneaking off to work on weakening the metal pipes so that when the moment came to strike (bringing Ulaf’s replacement down the elevator to the floor) he would be able to flood the floor and cause the Imperial systems to malfunction. After taking control of the room, the revolutionaries are able to access the command centre to shut down power to the rest of the floors (it is here where Kino Loy speaks out to the rest of the prisoners).
The fact that we don’t get blasters or space battles every episode made me appreciate the action choreography in this scene (everything seemed to fit the prison setting that has been established). Andor displayed his effective leadership, demonstrating that he knows his role and the role of others by encouraging Kino to speak out to the prisoners (given that they look up to and respect him). Though things did not look good for Mr. Loy by the end, it will be interesting to see if the character turns up again in any other Star Wars stories (though I’ll admit if this is his only outing, his arc was perfect!). Whatever surprises lie ahead in the final two episodes it is clear that Tony Gilroy has made a special series in Andor, and even more so than what he did with Rogue One, has brought a maturity to Star Wars that elevates the franchise.