After nine episodes of Andor and watching multiple characters plan and scheme their way through a slow burn, the latest episode just upped its game. There was action aplenty and lots of pew-pews that will (surely) please those of you who are still refusing to embrace this show.
Andor episode 10 is chokka block (English slang for full) with some absolutely excellent acting. For me, this show is really raising the bar for Star Wars. I genuinely hope it becomes the new gold standard for a franchise that has become somewhat of a joke since Disney got their grubby little hands on it.
There are some spoilers I’m afraid. It’s a little difficult to write about this episode without them. Sorry.
Power Doesn’t Panic
Picking straight up from episode 9, when it was revealed that no one leaves the prison once their time is served. Inmates are simply moved to a new floor to start all over again. Well now the word is out and it’s time for the Andor to seize the opportunity and enact the escape plan.
Andy Serkis as Kino Roy is captivating in this episode. We’ve grown accustomed to his Oscar-worthy performances in motion capture suits as Gollum and Ceaser, but now we are finally getting to see him as himself.
Serkis switches effortlessly from a confident floor leader to a man scared out of his wits now the truth of his sentence is revealed. He then switches again to a man with nothing left to lose and then to the reluctant instigator of the riot.
Eventually, we see him as a man rising to the challenge knowing there is no turning back once the riot starts. And finally, to gut-wrenching sadness, as it’s revealed that the final leap to his own freedom is not something he cannot accomplish. As Boba Phil would say, Serkis’ performances for Andor are a masterclass.
An Immaculate Reputation
Mon Mothma is meeting with a man called Davo, a man she clearly despises, in order to help them move finances around that won’t garner the attention of the Empire.
Building the rebellion is clearly taking its toll on her as she knows that she is on the brink of having to sacrifice a life of privilege in order to do what’s right. She may even have to weigh up the option of an arranged marriage between her daughter and Davo’s son. An idea that repulses her and she instantly rejects but we are left watching her contemplating it nonetheless.
Genevieve O’Reilly continues her excellent performance as Mon Mothma. With what seems like very little effort – a testament to her acting chops – she is able to show us the increasing pressure Mothma is under using just a mere glance or her understanding of the use of body language.
I’ll also add that as the season has progressed, I’m realising that O’Reilly is a total fox!
What Do You Sacrifice?
In the final act, it’s revealed that the rebellion has a spy working at the ISB. It was long rumored that Dedro Meera was the mole but it is actually a minor character, ISB supervisor Lonni Jung (Robert Emms) who has been hiding in plain sight.
This reveal leads us to a meeting between him and Luthen Rael and our final display of superb acting in this episode, this time from Stellan Skarsgård.
Jung has set up a meeting with Rael to warn him of the capture of a rebel pilot and the trap being set by the ISB. Jung also wants out of the rebellion having just become a father for the first time and reevaluating his priorities.
Rael scoffs at the idea and reminds Jung of the sacrifices everyone is making. This leads to Jung demanding what Rael has sacrificed. Flexing his acting muscles, Skarsgård delivers an empowered speech detailing everything he has given for this cause.
The writing here is excellent and Skarsgård’s delivery really rams home what is required to defeat the Empire – damnation. A sacrifice of everything that will result in no personal accolades, recognition, or gratitude. In order to defeat the Empire, you have to sacrifice your very soul for people who will never know what you did, in order for them to have a bright future.
Andor and in particular Episode 10 is showing us that to be part of the rebellion takes a hell of a lot more than laser swords, space wizards, and snappy one-liners. I can’t believe how much I’m enjoying this Star War.