The excellent Star Wars series Andor came to episode 11 on Disney Plus on Wednesday, returning to mercenary Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) after he rallies inmates to make a heart-pounding escape from the Empire’s horrible prison. He’s gone on the run with his future Rebel Alliance buddy Ruescott Melshi (Duncan Pow).
Shadowy rebel recruiter Luthen Rael (Stellan Skarsgård) is staying one step ahead of the relentless Imperial Security Bureau (ISB) Supervisor Dedra Meero (Denise Gough), whom she’s codenamed “Axis.” She doesn’t know that her ISB colleague Lonni Jung (Robert Emms) is secretly working with Luthen.
Sen. Mon Mothma (Genevieve O’Reilly) is trying to hide her rebel fundraising from the Empire, forcing her to work with greasy oligarchical financier Davo Sculdun (Richard Dillane). He isn’t interested in being paid to help Mon launder her money but wants his son to be introduced to her daughter in the hope of sealing a Game of Thrones-style marriage pact. Ew.
Andor takes place five years before Rogue One, which tells the story leading directly into original Star Wars movie A New Hope. Let’s escape the Empire with some SPOILERS.
Crawling through the dirt
NARKINA 5 – We catch up with Cassian and Melchi as they cling to the side of a cliff to evade an Imperial search. They’re filthy and their lower extremities are in bad shape from being in the run barefoot.
“They’re leaving,” Cassian assures his buddy multiple times.
It briefly looks like the boys are screwed when some Narkinians catch them in horribly restrictive-looking nets as they make a break to steal their ship. It’s our first time seeing this planet’s native species; they’re cool-looking and speak a bit like pirates.
The Narkinians initially suggest they’ll turn them in for the Empire’s bounty, but mention that the prison has spoiled the planet’s water and decide to defy the regime. Much to Cassian’s surprise, they agree to take them to Niamos (AKA space Ibiza, where his money is hidden).
A mother lost
FERRIX – Unbeknownst to Cassian, his adoptive mom Maarva dies of her unnamed ailment. The planet’s cold had already affected her health, but she exacerbated it through her futile rebellious acts against the occupying Imperials.
Heartbreakingly, charming droid B2EMO (AKA Bee) is devastated by this and doesn’t want to leave the house. Family friend Brasso (Joplin Sibtain) is super compassionate toward the droid, even agreeing to stay the night with him in Maarva’s house.
Oh Bee, I heart you.
We also learn about “bricking,” a local custom, where a person’s ashes are mixed with mortar and local stone dust to create a brick. It’s then inserted into a wall, letting the remains of the deceased become a part of the planet’s structure. Which sounds like a lovely tradition, and exactly the kind of idea that gives the Star Wars universe depth.
The Imperials have placed restrictions on funerals, because they’re jerks. Dedra orders her minions to let Maarva’s funeral happen, in case Cassian shows up. It’s narratively convenient that he happens to be out of prison for this… let’s just say it’s the Force at work.
One defiant rebel
CORUSCANT – Awesome rebel true believer Vel Sartha (Faye Marsay) essentially gives protocol the finger by strolling into Luthen’s antique shop and speaking directly to his assistant/confidant Kleya Marki (Elizabeth Dulau) about resistance activity. Specifically, she mentions Maarva dying and that she’s going back to Ferrix.
Vel was previously tasked with killing Cassian, since he could identify Luthen to the Imperials. She sees an opportunity to find him at last, but it’s unclear if she’ll be willing to take him out — he proved himself as a pretty honorable ally during the Aldhani heist.
She also visits her cousin Mon Mothma, only to find Mon’s 13-year-old daughter Leida Mothma (Bronte Carmichael) has dived deep into the religious teachings of their homeworld Chandrila. She’s apparently preparing for marriage, since their customs encourage tying the knot as teenagers.
However, the dirty looks Leida keeps throwing at her mom suggest she’s also doing it as an act of defiance. That defiance will almost certainly extend to her agreeing to marry sleazebag Davo Skuldun’s son, unfortunately for Mon.
Adding to the rebel politician’s stress (or perhaps sharing the burden), Mon reveals the full extent of her money problems to Vel. She had no problems channeling money from her family accounts to Luthen at first, but an Imperial audit made things challenging and the Aldhani heist made it impossible. She’s kinda stuck dealing with Davo.
Pity Vel couldn’t sort Mon out with some of the money from the heist.
Elsewhere on the city planet, former Corpo sergeant/big Star Wars potty mouth Linus Mosk (Alex Ferns) contacts his disgraced ex-officer Syril Karn (Kyle Soller) and tells him about the possibility of Cassian showing up for Maarva’s funeral. Syril steals credits from his mom’s safe, presumably to fund his trip to Ferrix.
SEGRA MILO – At his secret base, rebel extremist Saw Gerrera (Forest Whitaker) learns that Luthen is going to let their unseen ally Anton Kreegyr walk into an ISB trap to protect his mole. It rackets up the tension between Luthen and Saw and briefly seems like it’ll lead to them killing each other.
Luhten ultimately wins the paranoid Saw over through his seemingly endless powers of charisma and persuasiveness.
“Let’s call it war,” Saw concludes, accepting the need for sacrifice.
The rebel pair seem to reach a new level of trust here, with Whitaker and Skarsgård being an absolute treat to watch again.
In space, Luthen’s ship is nearly captured by an Imperial Arrestor Cruiser, whose tractor beam comes out of a conspicuous dish on the front. Feels like a big vulnerability, you totalitarian idiots.
The wily rebel takes full advantage with his awesome countermeasures, wrecking the dish and battling a bunch of TIE fighters sent to pursue him. In a little coup de grace, he unleashes a pair of supercool laser beams from either side of the ship and spins to take down the last two TIEs.
That’s a good trick.
He blasts off to hyperspace, seemingly planning on going to Ferrix to find Cassian. It’s unclear if Luthen intends to rescue him or kill him, but I like the idea of them all teaming up and becoming rebel BFFs. Probably too much to hope for this in this show though.
Bad news at the beach
NIAMOS – A sneaky Cassian breaks into the place he was staying prior to his arrest and gets his credits, blasters and his late buddy Nemik’s excellent political manifesto back. He tries to get a message to Maarva, only to learn she’s dead.
Melchi suggests they split up, to double their chances of surviving so they can tell people about the Empire ignoring prison sentences and incarcerating people forever. Diego Luna is fascinating to watch in this scene, hiding his grief and acting like everything is cool. C’mon dude, talk it out with Melchi!
They part ways, and Cassian is clearly going back to Ferrix for Maarva’s funeral. Everyone is coming together for next week’s finale. What could go wrong?
Rogue thoughts, unanswered questions and Easter eggs
- No Davo Skuldun appearance, sad face.
- The ship hunting Cassian and Melchi at the start is a TIE Reaper, as seen in Rogue One and video game Jedi: Fallen Order.
- The Narkinian ship they try to steal is a quadjumper, the same kind of ship Rey and Finn initially eye for their escape from Jakku in The Force Awakens. When it’s blown up, they take the Millennium Falcon instead.
- This is the first full appearance for the Imperial Cantwell-class Arrestor Cruiser. It was meant to be in Solo, but the scene was deleted. It only shows up in a recruitment video in the finished movie. It was named after original Star Wars concept artist Colin Cantwell, who died aged 90 earlier this year.
- Luthen’s Fondor Haulcraft achieved legendary status in this episode. I may need it in Lego form (it hasn’t been announced yet, but it feels inevitable).
- Even though Luthen used a fake transponder code, the Empire will be looking for the Fondor now. Uh oh.
- Bee acts very much like a dog; his charging dock even resembles a bed. I would like to hug this droid.
- Woo, the Time Grappler (AKA, the awesome Ferrix hammer guy) shows up again.
- Bix Caleen (Adria Arjona) has been left traumatized after Dedra subjected to her horrible torture in the Empire’s hunt for Cassian, and remains in Imperial custody. Her captors try to make her identity Kreegyr as the rebel recruiter.
- The holo the Imperials show Bix is our first (and probably last) glimpse of Kreegyr, a character whose name has been said an unusual number of times for a guy we never met.
- This is the second time we’ve heard the “Daughters of Ferrix” mentioned; it sounds like a local charity group.
- I was a little concerned that Syril was going to murder his mother, he just has that vibe at this point.
- The sci-fi pay phone Cassian uses in the final scene is awesome looking.
Come back for more Easter eggs and observations next Wednesday, Nov. 23, when episode 12 — the season finale — of Andor hits Disney Plus.