By Kieran Burt.
Andor episode 10 delivers a hugely impactful ending to its prison arc, with a tragic ending for one of the characters. Mon Mothma and Luthen Rael too have small parts in the episode, with Luthen in particular bouncing back from his vulnerability the last time we saw him. Spoilers ahead.
Early on the show introduces us to the character Mon Mothma mentions in the last episode, Davo Sculdun. Right off he is instantly unlikeable, with a high sense of self-importance, has clearly backwards views about marriage, and is friends with Perrin, which is an instant warning. At first, he is willing to help Mon out of selfish altruism, but when she insists he get compensated for his actions, he takes a high cost, her daughter to marry his son.
Mon’s refusal to accept this offer has high consequences for her, potentially cutting off the early Rebellion’s cash, but exposing her to being caught by the Empire. On the other hand, she can’t sell her daughter to the scumbag Sculdun. This is a choice brought on by Mon not being careful in the first place, and has no easy answer. Whatever Mon does, it’ll help illuminate her character.
Luthen has a short scene with an ISB Supervisor called Lonni, who turns out to be a traitor. Luthen dominates the interaction, immediately threatening Lonni just so he knows he’s under Luthen’s thumb. It also demonstrates Luthen’s inhumanity, not just because he’s threatening Lonni’s child but also because he doesn’t care about the men he’s letting the Empire kill.
Stellan Skarsgård is brilliant in this scene, with a commanding presence throughout. The dialogue is also beautifully written, highlighting the costs but also the danger of throwing everything into the Rebellion. He feels slightly unhinged here, essentially telling us that he’s just as bad as the Empire, but is fighting for good. Luthen has thrown himself to the extreme way of rebelling, and has suffered the moral consequences.
Another standout is Kino. With hard hitting speeches in the early and mid parts of the episode, Kino emphasises the episode’s title, and encourages the prisoners to riot. In many ways, he is the mirror for Andor, because he goes through the exact same arc Andor will, one of initial apathy, even a willingness to cooperate with the Empire, but something that transforms into rebellion and sacrifice. Kino’s final lines are extremely sad, especially with Andy Serkis’ defeated delivery.
While the action was a little underwhelming (about 5,000 prisoners against a very limited number guards was always going to be), the escape does have several satisfying moments, with Andor telling the Imperials running the prison to get “On program”, as they had been telling the prisoners, and the initial burst of action in the workroom.
One aspect that Tony Gilroy and the writers nail is playing with the predictability of who will die. Nemik and Kino are two characters whose deaths aren’t all that surprising – the show invests a lot of character development into them – but still manages to kill them in ways that are unexpected, emotional and impactful. Gilroy also plays with our assumptions, both Kino and Nemik look like they will survive until these crashes down at the very end.
Going into the final two episodes, the show has a lot of work to do. It has to tie up the Ferrix storyline Mon Mothma’s financial problems, this raid on Spellhaus but also reveal the mystery behind Cassian’s sister. But the series so far has been nothing less than a thrilling, masterful look into the nature of Rebellion in the Star Wars world, so it’s highly likely to close out well.