The season finale of Star Wars: Andor is a powerful climax

Image: Star Wars: Andor/Disney+
Image: Star Wars: Andor/Disney+ /

In one of the most epic and stirring season finales I’ve ever seen, Star Wars: Andor delivers on its promise to ignite the spark of rebellion in Cassian Andor (Diego Luna). “Rix Road” showcases the chilling lengths the Empire will go to keep order as well as the depth of the sacrifice people will make to achieve freedom.

The ensemble cast of the first season — excluding Genevieve O’Reilly’s Mon Mothma — converge on the planet Ferrix for the funeral of Cassian’s mother Maarva (Fiona Shaw). Everyone wants a piece of Cassian, from the Empire to the still disorganized Rebellion, which wants to take him out before he can divulge what he knows about them.

All eyes are on Rix Road as the people of Ferrix prepare for Maarva’s funeral. There’s a ceremonial parade through town, somber music, and Brasso (Joplin Sibtain) carrying the cremated brick of Maarva’s remains.

The explosions of dissent we’ve seen over the course of the first season are harbingers of the larger, soon-to-be galaxy-wide movement. We hear it in Nemik’s manifesto that Cassian listens to and in Maarva’s holo-eulogy, which B2EMO plays. Order and control take constant effort, and it only takes one small spark to ignite dozens, hundreds, and thousands of people into resistance.

The theme of the finale, and of the entire season, is that there is no time or space for complacency when it comes to fascism and authoritarianism. While Cassian has spent much of his life desperately trying to lay low, distancing himself from everyone including his mother and friends, his experiences over the last couple of months have driven him to tell Luthen (Stellan Skarsgård) to either kill him or bring him into the Rebellion.

The finale also explores an alternative path Cassian through Wilmon (Muhannad Bhaier), whose father Salman was killed and made an example at the hands of the Empire. Wilmon is a teenager, and the episode opens with shots of him building…something. It becomes increasingly clear that what he’s building is an explosive device, which he later tosses at the Imperials.

It’s Maarva’s stirring eulogy and Wilmon’s bomb that turns Ferrix into a chaotic crossroads of resistance and all-out rebellion. Even if others present didn’t have reasons to fight the Empire, they do now after the Imperials start opening fire on civilians.

This was supposed to be ISB officer Dedra Meero’s (Denise Gough) big break; she’s full of confidence as she arrives on Ferrix and issues orders on when and how to capture Cassian. But she ends the episode being trampled in the dirt and saved by none other than Syril Karn (Kyler Soller), who for sure has the hots for her.

Syril may have ventured back to Ferrix to confront Cassian, but it’s clear he wants Dedra even more. Her not-quite-disgusted-but-not-exactly-thrilled-either expression when he saves her clearly sets up an…interesting plotline for next season.

Cassian Andor and Mon Mothma show who they are

The Empire doesn’t even come close to getting its hands on Cassian, who expertly sneaks around town to find Bix (Adria Arjona), whose mind is all but broken after the psychological torture she experienced. Cassian manages to get Bix to safety aboard his ship in the shipyard. Jezzi, Brasso, Wilmon, and B2EMO are already there preparing to make a quick escape. Once everyone is settled, Cassian tells them he’s not going with them but that he will find them in the future.

The two biggest turning points of the episode involve Mon Mothma at her lowest on Coruscant and Cassian realizing his potential on Ferrix. In one moment, Mon picks up her husband Perrin (Alastair Mackenzie) from a party and instructs the driver to give them privacy. Mon confronts him about accusations that he’s gambling again. The driver, of course, is still listening to their conversation, a fact that Mon knows and is probably using to her advantage. Later, we see the driver relay what he heard to ISB officer Blevin (Ben Bailey Smith), who is convinced that Perrin is the reason behind Mon’s money issues.

Later in the episode, Mon and Perrin present their daughter Leida (Bronte Carmichael) to the young son of Davo Sculdun (Richard Dillane). Even as Mon is slyly convincing the Empire to pin the couple’s financial troubles on her husband, she’s following through on the deal she made with Davo. And that could be difficult, since from the last episode we know that her daughter is hellbent on doing the opposite of whatever her mother wants.

Meanwhile, the episode ends with Cassian confronting Luthen aboard a rebel ship. This is a dramatic turning point for Cassian and for the burgeoning rebellion as a whole.

Throughout the season, Cassian has mainly been fighting for himself and his own survival. But his experience in the Narkina 5 prison radicalized him and made him realize that the life he was fighting for was worthless. No matter how much he wanted to stay out of the way, the Empire will keep coming for him and everyone like him.

His request to Luthen: kill me or bring me in. He learned in prison that he’s already a dead man, and he would rather die giving all he has for the cause of freedom than remain complacent.

And with a small smile, Luthen lets him in.

Verdict: Andor is amazing

The whole of Andor season 1 is an astounding piece of Star Wars storytelling and a captivating piece of television. Though it forgoes the cameo and camp-heavy stories we’ve gotten used to from the Star Wars series on Disney+, Andor is still pure Star Wars to its core. And the finale episode embodies both the darkest and brightest elements of the beloved 45-year-old space opera.

Episode Grade: A+

Star Wars: Andor review, Episode 11: Let’s call it war. dark. Next

To stay up to date on everything fantasy, science fiction, and WiC, follow our all-encompassing Facebook page and sign up for our exclusive newsletter.

Get HBO, Starz, Showtime and MORE for FREE with a no-risk, 7-day free trial of Amazon Channels