Andor Season 1 Episode 11 Recap: Shows Heroism’s Toll

Warning! Spoilers for the eleventh episode of Andor follow. If you’ve not yet caught up, turn back now! Just how much are you prepared to give up for the welfare of the whole? Only thirty guys and their leader? Does someone get money? Your child’s right to marry who they want?

A mother you raised yourself? Or perhaps all of the preceding? In the distant past, that was the cost of living. In eleven episodes Andor has revealed the human price of heroism and it’s not pretty.

Fiona Shaw’s character Maarva dies at the beginning of the episode. Shaw was fantastically cast as Cassian’s authoritative, ferocious adoptive mother, even though she only appeared in a handful of moments and the decision to have her death framed by a robot was great.

Ben Caron, the film’s director, transforms B2EMO into a lonely dog who has lost its master and is waiting for its mother to come home. It’s profoundly sad when B2EMO requests that its new human stay the night, just one more night, and it raises the question of how Cassian will respond to the request.

In fact, everything in the episode builds to the climax when Cassian phones home to assure his mother that he is doing OK and that she would be proud of him. When his conspirator on Ferrix breaks the news that his mother has passed away, it hits him like a tonne of bricks.

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Unfortunately, Cassian has no idea of the dangers he faces when he returns home. The frightening Dedra, played by Denise Gough and seen for only a brief moment here, insists that the Empire be on high alert during Maarva’s funeral.

While Vel, a former upper-class girl turned rebel, briefs Luthen’s assistant on the situation, her girlfriend Cinta calmly waits on Ferrix for Cassian to arrive. Even Syril, played by Kyle Soller, finds out from an old coworker that Cassian is returning home. We can’t help but watch as these various people square off at Maarva’s burial.

Andor Season 1 Episode 11
Andor Season 1 Episode 11

Cassian must Escape his Prison world to learn more about Maarva

Considering Ferrix, Coruscant and the captives who were trapped with Cassian, it would seem that showrunner Tony Gilroy is reticent to populate Andor with aliens, so it’s great that we have two really good animals here.

It’s a wonderful reminder that, yeah, this really is a Star Wars show, even if Cassian (and I) can barely understand a word they’re saying. Since Andor has been firmly rooted in tragedy, toil, and genuine rebellion, it is easy to lose sight of this truth at times.

For instance, Adria Arjona’s character Bix, who has become a bit of a lost soul in the show’s ensemble, appears for a brief scene. Bix has been cruelly tortured and is now mute. As a general of the Empire peppers her with questions, she breaks down in tears.

Andor presents the Empire in a light, unlike any other setting. Even though we’ve witnessed the destruction of entire worlds with Death Stars and Starkillers the human element has never before been brought into such sharp focus.

Bix is beaten and possibly irreparably harmed in Andor for her unwillingness to conform, despite her best efforts to do what is best for her loved ones and the rebellion. It’s a chilling scene that sums up Bix and the Empire perfectly.

Mon Mothma’s struggle to cope with the loss of her fortune is also distressing. She’s put everything she has towards expanding the rebellion but it hasn’t been enough so far. The records aren’t nearly done being roasted.

Without her position in the Senate, where she can at least spy on the Empire’s antics and report back to Luthen on their intentions, she is not as useful to the cause. Unfortunately, she may have to sacrifice her daughter’s happiness in marriage to the son of a corrupt, power-hungry businessman if she wants to fix her money worries.

Andor
Andor

Genevieve O’Reilly’s Mon Fights Back Tears while talking to Val

Not for the first time, Andor has delivered a devastatingly brilliant performance.

The episode’s high point is perhaps the heated argument between Forest Whitaker’s Saw Gerrera and Stellan Skarsgard’s Luthen. Luthen is aware that he must sacrifice thirty men to keep his inside guy a secret from the Empire.

At first, Saw isn’t on board with the plan to rescue the soldiers. A blaster is drawn, and for an instant, it seems as though Luthen will be no more. Eventually, however, Saw comes around and sides with Luthen. The writing and performances are so good that even a scene set in a dark cave is terrifying. And then, as if that weren’t exciting enough, we get a space battle where Luthen takes on a roving Empire ship and survives.

The problem with this episode is that it serves merely as a prelude to a climactic showdown rather than as the conclusion itself. It may spend too much time in retrospect on the sacrifices these characters have made making the story feel repetitive at times.

Luthen’s address in the previous episode, in which he described the incredible sacrifices he’s made for the cause echoed this feeling. The significance of this is diminished by that one scene.

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Nonetheless, the repetition is forgivable because of how wonderfully everything is executed how nicely the themes are interwoven and how tantalizing the setup is. If the next finale goes Andor’s way, we won’t just be watching the best Star Wars series to date; we’ll be watching one of the best shows of the year.

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