After 12 episodes, the powder keg that is Ferrix exploded on “Star Wars: Andor.” Spoilers ahead.
See my initial thoughts below. This written review will go more in-depth.
This episode is dominated by the funeral procession of Maarva Andor (Fiona Shaw), Cassian’s (Diego Luna) mother, who is a former president of the social club Daughters of Ferrix, which entitles her to a special ceremony in which her remains are put into a funerary brick that will be used as part of a town building. The Empire and Luthen Rael (Stellan Skarsgard) are closely monitoring it hoping Cassian will show. Luthen wants to kill him to tie up loose ends from the Aldhani mission, while the Empire wants Cassian alive to learn all they can from him.
Cassian does show, but only to break his ex-girlfriend Bix Caleen (Adria Arjona) out of imprisonment by the Imperials. The whole town erupts in violence when a pre-recorded message from Maarva is aired during the ceremony, in which she urges Ferrix to fight back against the oppressive Empire, which has been clamping down on the planet since Cassian’s incident at the beginning of the season, in which he kills two arrogant antagonistic Imperial officers.
Imperial Security Bureau Officer Dedra Meero (Denise Gough), who is in charge of overseeing Ferrix, is quickly overwhelmed, and just when it seems like she is going to be killed by the mob, the snooping Syril Karn (Kyle Soller) saves her. I’m not sure what Season 2 will bring for Dedra, but I don’t see any way Syril isn’t offered a fulltime job as an Imperial officer. I think he belongs with the ISB.
Brasso (Joplin Sibtain), Cassian’s friend who led Maarva’s procession, leads the charge against the Imperials. Once Cassian breaks Bix out, he sends them both off on a ship. We’ll probably see them next season, where they can all be rebels together.
After all the excitement, Cassian gives himself up to Luthen, who changes his mind about killing him. Turns out Cassian is better off as an asset than dead.
This show does payoff episodes very well, even if their setup can be excessive at times. While we saw Ferrix’s insurrection coming for a very long time, it feels earns and natural; it’s the crescendo of Season 1, in which almost all major plot points converge. It’s the point from which not only Cassian fully commits to rebellion, but all of his friends and the people of Ferrix as well.
“Andor” is one of the strongest “Star Wars” shows we’ve gotten so far, full of powerful moments like Maarva’s speech and the people of Ferrix rising up against the Empire, which are among the best the franchise has to offer. Luna again proves himself to be a capable leading man, and the writing and direction in this show outshine most of the franchise’s recent theatrical releases.
“Andor” only suffers from name recognition; it does not spotlight a previously-fan favorite character and is not filled with distracting cameos, which is why I think many people didn’t jump on board watching it immediately. It’s also a slow burn, which directly contrasts with the noisy action the franchise has focused on recently, especially in its theatrical movies. But it’s a great show that has flashes of “Firefly” in the regard that it’s committed to telling smaller sci-fi stories, though it does occasionally address the larger “Star Wars” space opera that paints the scenery of the show’s world.
I think and hope that this show’s following will grow over time, resulting in Season 2 capturing a much larger audience. It certainly deserves it and I am looking forward to Season 2 with optimism.
“Star Wars: Andor” Season 1: Episode 12 “Rix Road” gets a 9/10
“Star Wars: Andor” Season 1 gets a 9/10
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