By Kieran Burt.
Andor episode 11 has laid the groundwork for a chaotic finale with Tony Gilrory skilfully moving all of the characters towards returning to Ferrix. Because of this, the episode does feel a bit like filler, but still has excellent character scenes, primarily between Saw and Luthen, Mon and Vel.
The episode opens on a tragic note, looking through the eyes of B2-EMO as we learn the Maarva has passed away. This is the event that pulls everyone’s eyes to Ferrix, as the funeral is a huge cultural affair for the community. Bee is an amazingly cute droid acting like a loyal dog. Seeing everything through his eyes only adds to the tragedy, with voice actor Dave Chapman adding the intense sadness to Bee’s voice, with a tinge of fear.
A short scene with Vel and Kleya shows Vel demanding to see Luthen, but getting rejected. Both Kleya and Luthen in this episode see the Rebellion without its humanity, not acknowledging the people involved. Luthen might have admitted he’s soulless, but it applies to Kleya too. Both are sat in their insulated position, never understanding what Vel or Cassian go through.
Frustrated that she isn’t being heard, Vel leaves to see Mon Mothma. And this is a hard hitting scene. The simple set up is Mon telling Vel about her financial woes. Genevieve O’Reilly breathes sadness into the scene with her softly spoken voice and facial expressions conveying that Mon is in extreme trouble, that she doesn’t know what to do, and is in way over her head. It’s a fantastic scene.
Luthen in this episode showed some of the inhumanity he outlined in the previous episode. In a visit with Saw, who has now changed his mind about Kreegyr, Luthen explains he’s going to let him die in order to protect an important source. Even Saw the extremist is shocked by this suggestion. Saw questions Luthen more, where is this source, if Luthen can just casually sacrifice Kreegyr, why not him? Does Luthen have spies everywhere? This gets to Saw, with Forest Whitaker showing more of the unhinged rebel that we see in Rogue One, a man full of paranoia.
A brief action scene is shown, and, apart from it being mostly spoiled by the trailers (imagine the shock of Luthen’s lightsaber weapons if they hadn’t been shown by marketing), it’s strong. There is just enough build up, with Luthen stalling the Imperials, then he unloads everything on them. The Imperials are shown to be the perhaps most overconfident here, with a massive cruiser not even thinking that this tiny ship might give them trouble. It’s hugely satisfying.
The scene plays into Luthen’s brutal outlook. Not once does he think that this incident might cause the Imperials to swarm the planet Saw is on, he only thinks about saving his own skin. At this moment, even Saw is expendable.
Andor and Melshi have an extended escape in the episode, needing to flee Narkina 5. While the alien designs are certainly interesting – one evokes a Vogon from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – it mainly feels like filler, because Andor can’t go back to Ferrix straight away. Syril too gets a call to Ferrix, with Sergeant Mosk giving him a tip off about Maarva’s funeral.
Bix’s role to play in the finale is certainly intriguing. She still remains captured by the Imperials, it’s possible she might fulfil the role of damsel in distress for the next episode, bringing the whole grounded Star Wars feel full circle. She looks even more disheveled here, with the torture clearly taking a huge toll. The make-up department did an amazing job.
While episode 11 doesn’t hit the highs of the rest of the series, it still gave impactful scenes, conveying the tragedy of death, and the cost of covert action. There are moments where the episode treads water, almost literally. But Gilroy has skillfully set up what is going to be a chaotic finale, with everyone about to face off against everyone else. This episode will likely improve when paired with the finale, once the anarchic action begins.