All the way back in 2019, we got “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” on the big screen and “The Mandalorian” on the small screen. The former was a massive disappointment, while the latter was a triumph. Then, as the pandemic set in, the franchise moved entirely into Disney’s streaming service and inundated us with “The Clone Wars” Season 7, “The Bad Batch,” “Visions,” “The Mandalorian” Season 2, “The Book of Boba Fett,” “Tales of the Jedi,” and “Obi-Wan Kenobi.” Apart from “Visions,” all of them were just alright, which is a sentiment that “Star Wars” shouldn’t be synonymous with (because it’s “Star Wars,” for crying out loud). So, as the resident Force-sensitive expert, when it was time to get into Andor, I wasn’t feeling it. There were whispers on social media platforms based on the trailer that it could be the real deal. But I wasn’t convinced. And after watching all 12 episodes of “Andor,” I can say confidently that it’s the best TV series of 2022 and the best of “Star Wars.”
Major Spoilers Ahead
Before getting into the details of what happens in the finale of this amazing show, let’s do a brief recap. So, it takes place five years before the Battle of Yavin (“Rogue One”) and follows Cassian Andor. He isn’t a Rebel yet and hops from one planet to another in search of his missing sister. This leads him to an altercation with a couple of Pre-Mor Authority security officers, thereby making him a target for the agency. He is the adopted son of Maarva and the late Clem Andor, who are residents of Ferrix, which is where Cassian comes to hide. His efforts to sell a Starpath Unit gets him in touch with Luthen Rael, who helps him escape the clutches of the dutiful Syril Karn. And while Karn gets demoted for making such a massive mess, Cassian joins a small group of Rebels to carry out an attack on the Imperial Garrison in Aldhani. Although the operation doesn’t go very smoothly, it shows that the Empire is not as impenetrable as they think they are, and Andor gets to earn some money as well.
The downside of the Aldhani attack is that Cassian becomes a galaxy-wide threat and the #1 person that the Imperial Security Bureau and Supervisor Dedra Meero start looking for. Luckily enough, when Cassian cuts and runs away from the Rebels with his share of the credits, he accidentally gets imprisoned in Narkina 5. That gives him temporary protection from the Empire (because no one knows he’s associated with the Aldhani attack) and shows us how he came across Melshi. Also, we get to see the great Andy Serkis act the hell out of the character of Kino Loy. Elsewhere, Syril continues his efforts to get back at Cassian by joining Dedra’s Imperial team. But that doesn’t really work out. The ISB takes over Ferrix, tortures Bix (Cassian’s friend), and turns Cassian’s hometown into a trap. In Coruscant, the actual financier of Luthen’s rebellious missions, Mon Mothma, faces financial issues that can apparently be solved by marrying her daughter to Davo Sculdun’s son. Luthen is obviously not aware of this because he’s obsessed with finding and killing Cassian, as he’s the only loose thread who can tie back the Aldhani attack to him.
Episode 12 of “Andor” starts off with Dedra arriving in Ferrix. Xan informs Brasso about Cassian’s call to assess the chances of Cassian’s arrival at the funeral. Cinta tails Corv in order to get an idea of what the ISB knows about Cassian and what they are going to do about it. Nurchi tries to get Xan drunk and extract any information about Cassian’s entry into Ferrix, thereby indicating that everyone’s not going to react to oppression in the same way. Even though fascism is an objectively horrible thing, there are going to be some who will side with the fascists for momentary validation, to be on the “right side”, or to earn money. All these scenes are intercut with Wilmon making a bomb. In Coruscant, Mon Mothma has a big fight with Perrin because of his gambling addiction. Although Kloris is asked to put a sound barrier between himself and the arguing couple, Kloris still eavesdrops on their conversation. Why? Because he’s working with the ISB and reporting to Blevin. We get a brief mention of Canto Bight (the casino city that Finn and Rose wreck in “The Last Jedi”) as Perrin is apparently a frequent customer there.
Vel reaches Ferrix and meets up with Cinta, who updates her on the fact that the ISB is planning to capture Cassian. So, that means they’ve got to get to him first. While everyone’s planning and whatnot, Cassian enters Ferrix and visits Clem’s stone. We get a brief flashback where Clem essentially explains a facet of capitalism where companies sell a simple component at ten times the price instead of making an item that can last longer and be repaired very easily. Clem then goes on to say that people don’t usually look into how they are being duped. Even if they do, they don’t look past the “rust.” However, if we keep our eyes open, we’ll see possibilities everywhere instead of spending our well-earned money on an easy but expensive solution. Cassian proceeds to Bix’s house only to find Pegla and his alien dogs. That’s where he learns that Bix has been imprisoned by the ISB. And as he mentally prepares to take on Dedra’s trap of catching him alive, we see that Luthen Rael has also arrived on the outskirts of Ferrix to make sure that Cassian doesn’t get out of there alive.
I’m not sure if this is the first time that Andor has listened to Nemik’s manifesto (which is the “Star Wars” equivalent of the Communist Manifesto) ever since Vel gave it to him. This is undoubtedly the first time we see him listening to it. And it’s incredibly motivational. Nemik’s disembodied voice states that during a rebellion, there are going to be times when the struggle will seem impossible. One will start to feel alone, unsure, and dwarfed by the magnanimity of the enemy. However, it is during times like this that one has to remember that freedom is a pure idea. That leads to spontaneous and random acts of insurrection, which are happening all around us. It is possible that these rebels do not know that they are part of an idea or a cause to bring an end to fascism. Yet they are doing it anyway, for themselves or for their loved ones, thereby amplifying the need for liberation. In addition to all that, Nemik asks his listeners to remember that the Empire’s need for control reeks of desperation. Since it requires constant effort, it’s bound to break apart. But people need to keep trying because the day is going to come when the resistance is going to be too much for the authoritarians to handle.
Dedra learns that Major Partagaz has gone ahead with Anto Kreegyr’s ambush, and apparently, they haven’t left any survivors. She is very angry about it because she believes that capturing someone would’ve given the ISB an opportunity to question them and find out what the Rebels are doing. Partagaz tells her to focus on finding “Axis” if she wants to start a dialogue with the Emperor regarding her plans. As Luthen heads into town, Corv finds out that Brasso has duped him by placing someone who looks like him in Maarva’s house. That’s because Brasso has gone out to meet Cassian before he goes ahead with his mission. As soon as Cassian meets Brasso, he starts lamenting about how he shouldn’t have left without Maarva and that he should’ve stayed with her till the end. Brasso assures him that Maarva knew Cassiann would say these exact things when he finds out that she is no more. So, she has told Brasso to pass on the message to Cassian that he shouldn’t blame himself for anything. He is part of a rebellion now, and he will be an unstoppable force for good in the future. And Brasso tells Cassian that Maarva loved him despite all his flaws.
With his spirit revitalized, Cassian heads out to save Bix (and that’s why he doesn’t attend Maarva’s funeral). Syril and Mosk land in Ferrix. Luthen meets Vel to go over their plan to kill Cassian before the ISB gets to him because he’s afraid that once he’s imprisoned, the Empire is going to make him talk, and Cassian is going to frame Luthen. The funeral ceremony starts way ahead of the scheduled time, which in and of itself is a sign of protest because fascists shouldn’t be allowed to decide when and for how long they can mourn. The ISB scrambles to form a perimeter around the funeral site. Cassian notices that Luthen is in the crowd, which means he’s there to kill him. Nurchi informs Corv that he knows Cassian is in one of the buildings surrounding the funeral site, and the ISB should search it immediately whilst doubling his fees for giving them this information. Syril notices that Dedra is there, leading a small team to the aforementioned building. But she doesn’t find Cassian in there because he has already headed to the hotel Bix is in. Most of Ferrix finally gathers in the square to listen to Maarva’s last words and to say that those words are rousing would be an understatement.
Via a holographic projection, Maarva talks about coming to terms with her mortality and the history of Ferrix. Then she comes to the crux of her speech. She says that Ferrix has been sleeping. The people there have been comfortable with having each other’s backs, the town, the constant source of employment, etc. So, the Empire didn’t consider bothering them. They left them alone because Ferrix kept its trade lanes open and took the Empire’s money to keep their engines churning. They weren’t bothered by the oppression that had been going elsewhere because of Ferrix’s strong sense of community. However, the people of Ferrix have also used their affinity for comfort to ignore the rise of “darkness” in the galaxy, something that Maarva compares to rust (thereby tying back to Clem’s commentary on rusting). Due to their neglect, now the members of the Empire aren’t just visiting Ferrix anymore. They are there to stay. That’s why, even if it’s too late, the living need to fight because the dead can’t anymore, even if they want to. And if this is not one of the most inspiring scenes in TV history, I don’t know what is. The way this whole scene is edited by Yan Miles, composed by Nicholas Britell, shot by Damián García, directed by Benjamin Caron, and acted by everyone, it’s tough not to bawl your eyes out while watching it.
Unable to tolerate Maarva’s harsh words, Tigo desecrates the funeral ceremony by kicking over B2EMO, thereby sparking an all-out battle in the town square. The people of Ferrix, the Stormtroopers, and the ISB pull no punches while engaging each other. Cassian uses this window of opportunity to get Bix out, who is on the brink of losing her mind or has probably already lost it already. But things get even more chaotic when Wilmon finally uses his bomb and takes down a bunch of fascists, thereby prompting Tigo to open fire on the unarmed people. Cinta tails Corv and stabs him to death. The gong guy gets to kill a Stormtrooper. Syril saves Dedra from getting killed. In case you had any suspicions about the romantic undertones between these two supporters of fascism, the way Dedra reacts to Syril’s act of saving her clears things up. Pegla, Brasso, Jezzi, and Wilmon board a ship to get out of Ferrix. Cassian reaches them on time and hands over Bix to them. He tells Jezzi how to avoid the Empire’s radar but doesn’t go with them. He assures them, though, that he’s going to find them. When B2EMO and Bix said that Cassian always finds them, even when things are dire, it made me really emotional.
We briefly see the absolutely horrible Leida, accompanied by Mon and Perrin, meeting Davo, Davo’s son and Davo’s wife. My blood pressure did spike up momentarily because I genuinely could not deal with how braindead and immature Leida was. For the umpteenth time, she perfectly captures the kind of ignorance rich kids suffer from while growing under the shadow of oppression. So, my anger isn’t a criticism of the character but a sign of my appreciation for Tony Gilroy’s writing. Anyway, before the end credits, we see Cassian confronting Luthen and giving him the option of killing him or recruiting him. Luthen smiles and Cassian heaves a sigh of relief, thereby confirming that he’s officially a rebel with a cause. I think the first place that Luthen, Cassian, Cinta, and Vel are going to go is Saw’s den and plan how to attack the Empire next. I don’t see Cassian meeting Brasso, Jezzi, Wilon, B2EMO, and Bix in “Andor” Season 2 any time soon because it’ll cheapen the weight of their goodbyes. I’m sure the fascist duo, Syril and Dedra, are going to join forces and go after Cassian with much more precision. And as for Mon, I think Leida’s marriage is going to be the final straw, and she’s going to break up with her family. Since Vel is aware of Mon’s situation, I am guessing she’s going to rope her in and extract the money that Luthen needs, just like she did in Aldhani.
If you sit through the credits while drying your eyes because you’ve seen such a masterfully done season finale, you’ll be rewarded with a post-credits sequence. It’s not too distracting. But it answers the question, “What’s the purpose of the components that the prisoners of Narkina 5 were making?” I predicted that those components were actually useless and that they were being assembled on one floor and sent to be disassembled on another floor in loops. Well, now we know that I was wrong because those components are being used to make the firing panel of the Death Star, the Empire’s most deadly machine. It’s also the thing that will go on to kill Cassian and his team in Scarif. And even though we knew that from the beginning, seeing Cassian in such a fleshed-out manner makes his conclusion all the more heart-wrenching. Also, since we are all guessing at this point, I think at least one of the next few seasons of “Andor” is going to be about the Rebels getting in touch with Galen Erso and urging him to put the fault in the Death Star, which will eventually be exploited by Luke Skywalker. That’s not my way of saying that I’m looking forward to cameos and tie-ins to other “Star Wars” properties. I am saying that “Andor” has surprisingly enriched the franchise and made us (or at least me) care for it again.
“Andor” is a 2022 Drama Thriller series created by Tony Gilroy.
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