Andor’s First Season Finale Made Star Wars Better

Andor’s First Season Finale Made Star Wars Better

Andor’s season one finale, “Rix Road,” capped off a journey taken by many, not just one, in a perfect hour of television. Diego Luna solidified Cassian as one of the most important characters in the canon — retroactively at that — and the Lucasfilm series, led by Tony Gilroy, proved it’s simply operating on a level that’s unmatched in expanding what it really means to be Star Wars. It’s going to be a long wait until season two.

Andor’s First Season Finale Made Star Wars Better

I’ve watched the season finale, which was directed by Benjamin Caron and written by Gilroy, two times so far — and I’m still stunned.

Everything kicks off with the tuning of musical instruments, as if an orchestra is getting ready to perform; you get hints of winds and the slow and steady beating of drums. It’s the preamble, and we get some quick-fire dialogue in which local Ferrixian Xanwan (Zubin Varla) tells Andor’s longtime friend Brasso (Joplin Sibtain) he talked to Cassian on the comm box and told him about Maarva Andor (Fiona Shaw). Knowing Cassian, Brasso figures he’s on the way back to Ferrix and voices that he may try to show up at the funeral, something that another local overhears. Xanwan is concerned for his friend — you can tell his mind is fixin’ up a plan — and it’s great to see more of the character beyond just catching Andor up on what he’s missed.

Brasso had been helping to look after Andor’s mother whenever Cassian was off on missions, so he was in a way one of Maarva’s kids, and as such would be the one to lead the procession with the Sisters of Ferrix. Here, Varla’s performance really let us in to how important Maarva was to everyone. They’re all getting ready for her funeral, including Salman Paak’s son, who looks to be prepping a space Molotov cocktail. Ah yes, the youth know what’s going down and are ready to use any resources available to learn how to fight back.

Meero (Denise Gough) gets front row seats to her own plan of bringing Andor out of the shadows — or so she hopes. She gets escorted around Ferrix in a red hood, which she thinks is totally inconspicuous, as Cinta (Varada Sethu) follows. This spy moment is so good, it shows Cinta’s been getting shit done while Vel (Faye Marsay) was off on Coruscant trying to ask for more from Kleya.

Definitely the first “fuck yeah!” moment of the finale was Mon (Genevieve O’Reilly) throwing her husband under the bus to throw off the Empire’s scent. Loris, her spy driver, overhears her grill Perrin about his gambling problem as she sets him up to throw him under the freighter, accusing him of lying about his expensive addiction. Loved O’Reilly’s delivery of the dialogue here to cover up Mon’s own money moves, and the sight of Coruscant sizzling by night as Mon becomes who she’s meant to be. Yes, Mon — use that ungrateful family as a shield!

Back on Ferrix, Cinta tells Vel about Dedra’s arrival. Vel realises they have to take out Andor first before he’s captured and puts everyone at risk. Come on, he’s their old pal Clem, what happened to solidarity? I really hoped that this episode we’d get to see his Aldhani crew begin to question killing him, but Vel appears to be more about following Kleya and Luthen’s (Stellan Skarsgård) orders. Cinta is playing on a different field, one that’s more in tune with what’s bubbling to the surface on Ferrix. Seeing Sethu play Cinta’s subtleties in regards to being with the people of Ferrix showcases that rebellion is a universal language. Hopefully she’ll have a more prominent role next season!

Andor recalls a memory of his adoptive father — the original Clem — who taught him to scavenge things with worth at an early age. It’s a pivotal scene that really breaks down who Andor is, and highlights how much of a masterpiece the show is. Clem’s line, “the man who sees everything is more blessed than cursed” really brings it home; it’s Andor’s main MO, to keep his eyes open to the possibilities everywhere that no one else notices beyond the rust of things around them. This is how you see what’s going on, and nurture the acute awareness that has made Andor a crafty son of a gun (personally, this was my favourite moment of the episode). All of this is highlighted by Nemik’s voice coming from his manifesto, which Andor’s definitely been absorbing. His lines echo, and honestly at this point, we’re all in. “Freedom is a pure idea” he starts off, and reads the Empire for filth by describing oppression as “the mask of fear” that requires constant effort, whereas the rebellion will continuously thrive off the power of the people. Every little insurrection against tyranny will push their lines forward.

As Meero doles out orders, she instructs her goons to handle the mourners led by Daughters of Ferrix, but without snipers. They need Andor taken alive, somthing that seems to make her men restless as they’d rather do things differently. Ah, here’s there’s no united front — even down to the events of Steergard, which happen off camera, when her request to take in someone alive for questioning was ignored. Blevin and the rest of the ISB talk behind her back as she pushes back on the decision to Partagaz, telling him you get nothing from a dead body; however, he explains that it was just about “wiping Aldhani’s taste off the Emperor’s mouth.” Dedra’s make or break moment on Ferrix is at play. She instructs her men to bring Andor in alive.

A spy watches Maarva’s house and there’s no Andor in sight. He’s in the tunnel sewage system and meets Brasso, who delivers Maarva’s heartfelt message from one son to another — “None of this is his fault; it was already burning, he was just the first spark of the fire” — and reassures him that he knows everything he needs to know, having faith that “when the day comes” he will be an unstoppable force for good, followed by this gut-punch: “I love him more than anything he could ever do wrong.” We’re crying for Andor’s loss in this quiet, powerful moment that helps him realise what he has to do — but first, he needs to rescue Bix (Adria Arjona) from hotel hell.

Vel finally gets her moment to talk to Luthen; he gets word that Dedra is on his tail through Andor, so they need to get to him and kill him before he’s captured. Then the anvil clangs. It stops everyone in their tracks as the procession begins, and even good ol’ Syril (Kyle Soller) is on hand to see if Cassian shows. The anvil clangs again, and as the procession begins, the hotel empties to make a perimeter around the people of Ferrix. Fear always gets the best of them.

A harrowing funeral dirge begins that serves as the brilliant score for the episode, amplifying every single moment. Everyone takes their places. What’s wild is that Syril and Luthen stand near one another and he overhears Karn’s enthusiam at seeing Dedra, which unknowingly to him gives her away to Axis. The time grappler highlights the impact of the moment with his anvil. Andor sneaks into hotel; by this point only the kitchen staff is there. The knells continue along with the procession carrying Maarva’s stone. They chant “stone and sky” in cathartic unison, which Bix can hear in her prison. It’s a beautiful moment played by Arjona as her people send her the energy she needs to get up again out of the daze of torture.

Maarva gets her moment on Rix Road; projected by her faithful B2EMO, she delivers her final message to her people. She thanks them for honouring her in her final days and by laying her stone to become a part of the foundations of Ferrix, explaining that the dead would lift her to inspire her to be a part of something more… to do something as the Empire began to grow. She remarks that she wants Ferrix to go on, but that it will require them to wake up. For too long they’ve been asleep, turning the other way to let the Empire do their thing so they’d be left alone. But really, they’d only been letting the “wound in the centre of the galaxy” fester and letting the darkness pass over them until it wasn’t “visiting anymore.”

The pulse of the moment is palpable, the energy within the people of Ferrix starts building as if something was about to come up and carry them, versus the growing fear among the Imperial presence. And then she says this: “The Empire is a disease and never more alive than when we’re sleeping.” Shaw’s performance is masterful as Maarva makes her powerful last stand even in death. Even as she says it might be easy for her to ask since she’s dead, she announces in an all-timer Star Wars send-off, “If I could do it again, I’d wake up early and be fighting these bastards from the start. Fight the Empire!”

The moment that an officer strikes B2EMO to stop the transmission, the people rise to meet the first blow. Yes, Bee is one of them and we’d throw hands for him and Maarva too. As the unrest grows, Andor finds Bix, who says she’s seen him come for her before and that Maarva was just there. Andor, as he helps his friend, tells her, “Wasn’t she great?” We’re a puddle of tears at this point as they make their way out of the hotel as the Imperial perimeter closes on in the people. The bell tower strikes again.

Salman Paak’s son has had enough, and invoking the strength of revolutionary youth, throws his bomb at the Imperial troops, which sets off their explosives in an all-out battle. People clamor and fight as the Empire opens fire on civilians. Even Brasso uses Maarva’s brick to help her get her licks in! The anvil clangs again and a Stormtrooper is sent to take out the time grappler, too. So much happens all at once; Luthen, who was moved by Maarva’s speech, watches the people who have been inspired by her family to mobilize and fight back. Cinta, who’s been on their page all along, straight-up murders the spy that had been watching Maarva’s every move.

Meanwhile, Dedra shoots blindly at the crowd all her around her and her little cap falls off in the chaos. That made me giggle as she fell to the ground and was grabbed by the people of Ferrix. That moment is followed by the Stormtrooper making it up the anvil tower and then immediately getting drop-kicked off it by the time grappler, which made me laugh out loud. Hands down the best Stormtrooper death. Alas, our main enemies live to see another day as Syril saves Dedra. His romantic stalker act is perhaps finally working on her as she tells him “I should say thank you,” and he says “You don’t have to.” This twisted relationship pulls a Solo “I know” moment and it’s so wrong yet somehow so right. Gough and Soller nail this real messed up chemistry.

Brasso, kid Paak, and B2EMO are loaded up on a ship by the Sisters of Ferrix, and as if fate steps in, Bee sees Andor as he brings Bix to them. Their reunion gives Bee a great goodbye for now as he tells Andor he never sticks around for him. It’s so sad to see the bestest droid heartbroken, as Andor promises he’ll be back for them, because of course he’s not going with them. Bix reassures Bee he will always come back. He better see them in season two.

Everything falls into place as the episode closes out with Mon and Perrin introducing Leida (Bronte Carmichael) to Davo Sculdun’s son. Leida’s not complaining as she’s being used for something she cares about — appearances which will serve her mother well. The episode ends on Andor turning himself in to Luthen giving him the option to kill him then and there on his ship. Luna instantly becomes one of the greatest heroes in the canon uttering the words, “Kill me or take me in.” Complete chills! What a show and an epic continuation of stories we love being relevant and impactful to the times we live in. Viva los rebeldes! Viva Andor!

And, oh yeah… I knew those bracers were for the Death Star but this rebellion is ready to kill fascists. That end credits scene was a doozy.

Want more Gizmodo news? Check out when to expect the latest Marvel, Star Wars, and Star Trek releases, what’s next for the DC Universe on film and TV, and everything you need to know about James Cameron’s Avatar: The Way of Water.

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