As expected, Andor Episode 12 finishes on a hair-raising, inspirational, infuriating note – this is Star Wars par excellence, how are we expected to wait for Season 2?
The flame of Star Wars skepticism within me has been extinguished with Andor, a show that has defied every expectation to become one of the most perceptive, compelling projects in the franchise’s history.
Perhaps unwittingly, it feels like an answer to the Glup Shittoism of recent years, redefining fan service for a new era of storytelling; time and time again, cries for cameos and squeal-worthy reveals haven’t been answered, only bettered.
In Andor Episode 12, a collision of heroes, villains, and everyone in between grips Ferrix. It’s barely a conclusion, but every beat is dripping with tension and emotional intensity.
Spoilers for Andor Episode 12 to follow…
Andor Episode 12: The hunt for Cassian begins
Thunder and lightning booms above the dust of Ferrix. As Wilmon (Muhannad Bhaier) tinkers away in his workshop, Dedra Meero (Denise Gough) lands ahead of Maarva’s funeral – her respects are not forthcoming, this is bait for Cassian (Diego Luna). Last week’s spaceflight battle was a showcase for small-screen spectacle, but this intro is a small, striking flourish – Andor would not be misplaced in cinemas.
Everyone else has the same idea, it seems: Corv (Noof Ousellam) lingers around the town, closely watched by Cinta (Varada Sethu); Brasso (Joplin), Rashi (Victor Perez), Xanwan (Zubin Varla), and Nurchi (Raymond Anum) readily await his arrival, although one of them may have an ulterior motive; Syril (Kyle Soller) and Linus (Alex Ferns) fly in, hoping to apprehend Cassian; and Luthen Rael (Stellan Skarsgård) descends on Ferrix in the morning, ready to eliminate Cassian and protect his own secrets.
Really, it becomes apparent how much ground has to be covered in this finale. Don’t expect everything to be tied up in a neat little bow – this is the first of two seasons, after all. However, the handle Benjamin Caron and Tony Gilroy have on pacing (and spacing) is to be commended; not one scene overstays its welcome, perfectly calibrated while ramping up the suspense and reunions and face-offs draw closer.
Andor Episode 12: Mon Mothma gets a depressing endnote… for now
If she’d been given a more prominent role, Mon Mothma would be the highlight of Andor Season 1. Genevieve O’Reilly’s performance is flawless, particularly as the guise of her steely, smiley politicking has drifted into vulnerability, and Gilroy clearly knows she’s the most fascinating part of the Empire’s downfall.
However, if you’re waiting on Mon kicking her slimy, misogynist husband to the kerb, that’ll have to wait – we pick up with her racked with stress, confronting Perrin (Alastair Mackenzie) over his gambling, gossip which is passed onto Blevin (Ben Bailey Smith), before suffering through a meet-cringe between her daughter and Davo Sculdun’s son, as he requested.
Andor Episode 12: Cassian listens to Nemik
As Cassian prepares to find Bix (Adria Arjona), who remains in Empire custody, battered and malnourished, he listens to Nemik’s manifesto, which serves as a brilliant unifier on the crest of chaos. His words are better than my own, so here they are in full:
“There will be times when the struggle seems impossible, I know this already; alone, unsure, dwarfed by the scale of the enemy. Remember this: freedom is a pure idea. It occurs spontaneously, without instruction. Random acts of insurrection are occuring constantly throughout the galaxy. There are whole armies and battalions that have no idea that they’ve already enlisted in the cause.
“Remember that the frontier of the Rebellion is everywhere, and even the smallest act of insurrection pushes our lines forward. And remember this: the Imperial need for control is so desperate because it’s so unnatural. Tyranny requires constant effort; it breaks, it leaks. Authority is brittle. Oppression is the mask of fear.
“Remember that, and know this: they will come when all these skirmishes and battles, these moments of defiance will have flooded the banks of the Empire’s authority, and then there will be one too many. One single thing will break the siege. Remember this: try.”
Andor Episode 12: Funeral becomes epic, bloody sendoff
The atmosphere in Ferrix on the day of the funeral is palpable; grief pervades every corner, as does anticipation. Soon, the procession begins; a marching band of trumpets, horns, drums, and flutes, with Brasso following behind with Maarva’s brick alongside B2EMO, beep-booping in mourning.
Unusual bongs from the clock tower indicate something’s afoot, but Dedra and the Imperial officers can’t figure out what. Maarva delivers an extraordinary speech via hologram that ranks among the most thematically potent moments in the show. Seriously, Star Wars writing has never been this good. For example: “The Empire is a disease that thrives in darkness. It’s never more alive than when they sleep.”
Then, the uprising begins. Brasso clobbers a trooper with the brick, Wilmon chucks his bomb, causing a chain reaction of glass-shattering, ear-deafening blasts. Dedra is decked and dragged away by Syril; for a moment it seems like she’s going to get her just desserts, so their weird sexual tension is even more disappointing and icky. As Luthen stands atop the smoke of Ferrix, Cassian manages to rescue Bix and get her to safety. “Cassian will find us,” she assures the others.
There’s a final kicker: Luthen heads back to his ship, and finds Cassian there. “You came here to kill me, didn’t you?” he asks. “Kill me… or take me in.” Luthen grabs his blaster – god, I wish he pulled out his lightsaber, but that’s my one fan demand that wasn’t answered… I’m only human! – and poises himself to shoot. He doesn’t pull the trigger. He laughs. An alliance has been formed, and the Rebellion lives to fight another day. May the Force be with them.
Andor Season 1 is available to stream now. You can sign up for Disney+ here.