Maarva Andor’s funeral procession is going ahead; the ISB intending to use the ceremony to flush out Cassian and finally capture him. Despite knowing the risks, Cassian can’t stay away from his adoptive mother’s final journey along Rix Road – but it’s not just the Empire that he needs to be wary of. Meanwhile, Mon Mothma’s financial and political situation is worsening, necessitating a painful sacrifice.
Every time we’ve reached the climax of many of the episodes of this first season of Andor, I’ve been convinced that it’s the finest hour of Star Wars ever committed to film. Yet each time, Tony Gilroy and his team have somehow managed to top what has come before; this finale episode is no different, being an absolute emotional rollercoaster that had me on the edge of my seat throughout.
The tension and drama is built up with such expertise here; with a rousing speech and call to arms that’s as good as, likely better, than anything we’ve ever seen in Star Wars (though of course, Andor itself has come close with, just as one example, Andy Serkis delivering his incredible monologue while staring straight ahead at us in episode 10, One Way Out).
As always, the care and attention to every single aspect of the production is impeccable. The performances are stunning, the way that various threads come together is superb and the moment to moment drama even in the quieter moments is nothing short of beautiful.
Perhaps the most impressive aspect of Andor, though, is how well it has handled the more traditional Star Wars elements – and partly, that’s precisely because of how meticulously sketched the characters and their situations have been. It’s that thrilling release of action; situations finally reaching a boiling point after so much careful, deliberately paced build-up – the loss of even minor characters feels like a devastating blow and seeing certain characters get their comeuppance is incredibly satisfying. Though in a few instances, some frustratingly avoid the fatal consequences they deserve – there’s more than one person whose survival is disappointing. Their development, however, will be nothing less than riveting, for sure.
After the genuinely terrible The Book of Boba Fett and the satisfying, but still slightly underwhelming Obi-Wan Kenobi, Andor has come as even more of a surprise. Despite all of the talk of Star Wars being dark in certain films or even, say, The Mandalorian, Andor is the first time that Star Wars has felt like truly grown up drama in the Star Wars universe. The way in which it has woven important political and social commentary into the show has been phenomenally well done too.
There are, unbelievably, still people out there who can’t get past that; who are still saying that Andor doesn’t feel enough like Star Wars. It’s their loss, because this series has set a new high bar for Star Wars in general and can hold its head up high alongside the best TV drama out there.
Also, a word of warning: you do not want to miss the final, jaw-dropping mid-credits sequence that this finale hides; it’s one hell of a payoff for something that’s been a big point of speculation during a certain mini-arc in Andor. Now the wait for Season Two begins; though it’s got a seriously high bar to clear to come anywhere near the incredible first season, I’ve learned to have faith in Tony Gilroy and his team over the course of Andor’s first twelve episodes.
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