REVIEW: ‘Andor,’ Episode 12

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Andor Episode 12 - But Why Tho

The Season 1 finale of Andor is finally here, and it’s a satisfyingly explosive affair.  Cassian (Diego Luna) has returned to Ferrix after learning that his mother Maarva (Fiona Shaw) passed away. Little does he know that various parties have been awaiting his arrival. Dedra Meero (Denise Gough) wants to use the funeral as a trap to catch Cassian. Luthen Rael (Stellan Skarsgård) wants to silence Cassian, fearing he’ll tell the Empire about Aldhani if he’s captured. And Syril Karn (Kyle Soller) aims to capture Cassian to mend his wounded pride.

If that sounds like the ingredients for an action-packed finale, you’d be right. But director Benjamin Caron takes his time building up to the action, resulting in some extremely tense moments. Take the opening of the episode: it begins with people going about their buisness but ever so often cuts to a young man working on something. Keep an eye on him, as he ends up playing a pivotal part in the final battle. Likewise, the cutting back and forth between Cassian attempting to rescue Bix (Adria Arjona) from captivity and the Ferrix natives conducting their funeral procession while being observed by Imperial forces will have viewers on edge. Sooner or later something will give.

And give it does, as the latter half of the episode is a chaotic battle scene. Stormtroopers’ blaster bolts rain down from the sky, cutting down innocent people. Ferrix’s people charge at the Imperials, using anything they can get their hands on. And a thick cloud of smoke hangs over the entire event. Throughout the entire season, tensions have been brewing on Ferrix from the moment Cassian & Rael made their escape to the Imperial occupation. So it’s only fitting that Andor Episode 12 ends where things began.

Prior to the battle, a holographic message of Maarva is displayed, and her final words urge the people of Ferrix to stand up against the rising darkness of the Empire. Shaw delivers what is undoubtedly the best performance of the episode, as her musing on death gives way to a fiery speech about opposing tyranny. Perhaps my favorite line is when she compares living under the Empire’s rule to being in a deep sleep, and that if she could do things all over again she’d “wake up a little sooner.” It’s the call that the people of Ferrix needed to hear, but more importantly, it ties into the main thesis of the series: you have to be your own hero. Sometimes you can’t wait for a Jedi to swoop out of the blue, and you have to take salvation into your own hands.

It’s a lesson that seems to have stuck with Cassian as well. Once content to simply live out life as a thief, he’s now openly rebelling against the Empire by freeing Bix and helping his fellow Ferrix citizens to escape. He also has an intense standoff with Rael, as both men finally find themselves face to face once more. Luna and Skarsgard let their bodies and faces do the talking, including the tension in their stances as well as the way their eyes often dart back and forth. It’s the equivalent of placing two cobras in a cage together, though the end result will probably be a surprise for some folks. I’d also advise fans to stay tuned until the very end of the credits for a surprise.

Andor Episode 12 ends the series’ first season on an explosive note, while also pushing Cassian Andor further into the man he’s meant to be. It’s more than earned its status as one of the best Star Wars projects on Disney+, and I cannot wait to see where Season 2 takes Cassian and the rest of the cast as it leads up to Rogue One.

Andor Season 1 is available to stream on Disney+.


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TL;DR

Andor Episode 12 ends the series’ first season on an explosive note, while also pushing Cassian Andor further into the man he’s meant to be. It’s more than earned its status as one of the best Star Wars projects on Disney+, and I cannot wait to see where Season 2 takes Cassian and the rest of the cast as it leads up to Rogue One.

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