This live-action series Andor from Tony Gilroy plays like a political thriller and really puts the “War” in Star Wars.
12 episodes, loosely structured with set-up and pay-off episodes, have culminated in a season finale that really illustrates the rise of the Rebellion from various corners of a galaxy far, far away. Meticulous efforts from known and unknown quantities (Saw Gerrera, Mon Mothma, and Luthen to name a few) aside, the revolution appears to be inevitable as constant oppression breeds rebellion.
Andor season 1 finale review: The long and winding Rix Road
The episode opens up with Wilmon Paak (played by Muhannad Bhaier) making what can only be assumed to be a bomb. Dedra arrives on Ferrix via Imperial shuttle to ensure that she oversees the trap that has been laid for Maarva’s funeral. Both sides are getting ready for a reckoning, like the one Maarva teased in Episode 3, but the fate of Ferrix appears to be a microcosm of the overall fight between Rebels and Imperials.
Brasso is informed by Xanwan that Cassian is aware of the planned funeral, and questions if his friend is crazy enough to return for it. Nurchi is bending Xanwan’s ear about the situation, as he is working as an informant for the ISB (Imperial Security Bureau) spy on Ferrix. Later, when Nurchi attempts to give up Cassian’s location, he tells the spy to “pretend you’re arresting me.”
The hope we look for in Star Wars (aka A New Hope) is not extremely high at this point in time, and that is especially true for Mon Mothma and her family. Mothma is privately accusing Perrin of gambling large sums of money within earshot of her driver Kloris, knowing full well that their discussion will be shared with the Empire. She is far from out of the woods, as by the end of the episode Mon’s family meets face to face with Davo Sculdun’s family – an introduction of daughter Leida to Davo’s son, an outdated Chandrilan custom that the Mothma’s don’t necessarily wish to pursue despite Leida’s eagerness.
Vel returns to Cinta on Ferrix, who is preoccupied with the mission at hand. She also reconnects with Luthen, who has made it clear that they are there to tie up loose ends by taking out Cassian at their earliest convenience. When things do ramp up, Cinta manages to stab the ISB spy and tells Vel not to worry about the blood as it is not hers.
Meanwhile, Cassian has returned to Ferrix and reminisces about Clem salvaging parts when he sees Clem’s ash-stone (Ferrix’s dead are made into a stone brick that will become part of the city). When he reunites with Brasso (in the hidden tunnel that Maarva previously mentioned), he learns of Bix’s capture and vows to rescue her from the garrison. Kassa has also been studying the manifesto left to him by Nemik, which discusses how significant an insurrection can be in the fight against oppression.
As Supervisor Dedra Meero prepares the logistics for the funeral ambush, Kloris is at the ISB informing Lieutenant Blevin of Perrin’s gambling (buying time for Mon Mothma as this seemingly explains the movement within her financial accounts).
The Empire has successfully dispatched with Anto Kreegyr and his men, and Dedra is upset that no prisoners were taken that could be tortured for information. Major Partagaz seems unphased as it was the Emperor’s intention to wipe the stink of the Aldhani heist away with their swift action against Kreegyr, and tells Lieutenant Meero that she must find Axis if she wishes to continue the conversation.
Syril Karn meets up with former Sergeant Kostek inconspicuously on a shuttle to Ferrix, and is excited when he sees Dedra in the streets. When the people of Ferrix start to overwhelm the Imperials, Karn steps in to rescue Meero from the mob. In an intimate moment between the two officers of order, Dedra tells Syril that she ought to thank him, but he tells her it isn’t necessary. Whether or not they stay on Ferrix after this ordeal to sort this out, it is clear that this is the start of an interesting relationship.
The crux of this episode and perhaps the series is Maarva’s holo-speech (projected by Bee) at her own funeral, filled with words of inspiration. Given her own adopted son was involved in the Aldhani heist which simultaneously wounded the Empire and helped to fund the Rebellion (which in turn inspired Maarva to stand her ground on Ferrix); she very much feels like the adopted Mother of the Rebellion as she proceeds to urge Ferrix to take up arms against the Empire.
She mentions how they have all been sleeping while the darkness of the Empire has been spreading like rust, claiming that they are a “disease that thrives in the darkness.” As the crowd begins to chant ‘Stone and Sky’, her final words that they should all have been “fighting these bastards from the start” serve as the final straw to kick the freedom fighters into action.
Bix seems thoroughly dazed but also happy to see a friendly face, as Cassian managed to successfully infiltrate the garrison and rescue her. The rest of the action sees the hammer guy kick a Stormtrooper off of his tower, and also Wilmon gets a chance to avenge his father by throwing his homemade bomb into the mix. Cassian brings Bix to the crew consisting of Brasso, Bee, Jezzi, and Wilmon; telling them to push to ‘Far Side City’ and don’t look back (assuring that he will find them).
Luthen witnessed the uprising on Ferrix and returns to his ship, only to find a cold, calculating Cassian waiting. He tells Luthen to kill him or take him in, putting the decision on him much like Luthen did to Saw in the previous episode. The season ends on somewhat of a cliffhanger, but the smirk on Luthen’s face suggests that they will be officially partnered up in season 2.
Overall, this debut season of Andor was incredible. The slow burn allowed for some intense character development and a sense of appreciation for the effort involved in building a viable resistance to oppression through revolution and rebellion.
These final episodes directed by Benjamin Caron and written by Tony Gilroy really hammered home the feeling of dread brought on by the Empire and the ugliness of war in general, but left a glimmer of hope for a Season 2 that will bring us closer to the rebellious victory achieved in Rogue One.
There is a post-credits stinger that reveals that the prisoners on Narkina 5 were building vital components of the super-weapon known as the Death Star, which is an intriguing parallel between Cassian Andor and Galen Erso (both forced against their will to help build a weapon of mass destruction for the Empire).
The question that will hopefully be answered in the final season is how will characters such as Cassian and Mon Mothma navigate their decisions to avoid becoming a necessary evil like Luthen (or to some extent, Saw Gerrera) and remain a force for good and shining beacon of light for the Rebellion?