The tenth episode of Andor is one of the best episode but of one of the best Star Wars present. One of many present’s extra action-packed episodes, it pays off tiny moments of setup from earlier episodes and is chock-full of catharsis.
The episode, the climax of the three-episode arc on Narkina 5, is consultant of one of many driving elements that makes Andor such a compelling Star Wars story: By breaking freed from the constraints of the Pressure and the Jedi Order, there’s extra room to maneuver, and extra tales to inform.
[Ed. note: Spoilers follow for episode 10 of Andor.]
There’s no Darth Vader on Narkina 5, and there are not any Sith Lords. However that doesn’t make the jail there any much less terrifying — if something, the shortage of magic-adjacent Star Wars stuff helps make the jail really feel extra actual and extra scary.
Ever since we have been launched to Narkina 5, I’ve been excited for the eventual jail break. To begin with, the occasions of Rogue One inform us Cassian and Melshi will make it out collectively. However extra importantly, Tony Gilroy shouldn’t be going to introduce us to an area jail with out a tremendous jail break sequence.
The sequence completely delivers, not simply by way of tense pleasure and sheer adrenaline, however with a way of catharsis, as Cassian, Melshi, and their fellow prisoners use the instruments of their oppression to set themselves free. They manipulate the electrified tungsten flooring, after all, permitting them to roam freely. And crucially the weapons they use of their struggle for freedom are the instruments they used to construct within the jail — wrenches, pipes, and even their very own our bodies. When the guards shout “on program” to the prisoners for the ultimate, fateful time, director Toby Haynes reveals us how lots of the prisoners are hiding these instruments behind their backs whereas holding their fingers up behind their heads.
Crucially, not one of the prisoners are Jedi or possess another supernatural talents that separate them from the remainder. It’s a staff effort as a result of it needs to be, and the prisoners on Narkina 5 have to make use of each single device at their disposal — together with individuals they might not have beforehand considered allies. As they take management of the instruments they’ve been utilizing, in addition they retake management of their very own our bodies and their relationships with one another. Andor manufacturing designer Luke Hull informed Polygon the Empire considers prisoners merely “disposable elements of the machine.” Within the climactic jail break, they’re reclaiming their humanity in addition to their freedom.
Andy Serkis’ Kino Loy character is essential right here, particularly for a way Andor thinks about oppression and riot. Over the course of those three episodes, he goes from abettor of the Empire’s agenda for his personal profit to cussed resistor of info to eventual chief of the jail’s riot. As Cassian makes an attempt to persuade Kino of the horrible reality of their scenario, Andor is paying homage to John Carpenter’s masterful They Stay, when Roddy Piper makes an attempt to persuade Keith David of the horrible reality in that story. Like Keith David’s character in that film, Kino is stubbornly and violently immune to the reality due to how horrible it’s, earlier than finally and wholeheartedly giving into it. There is just one approach out.
When Cassian and Kino Loy make it to the jail’s management room, it’s their flip to bark orders on the guards. Kino, who had beforehand been accountable for holding the prisoners on his flooring productive and in line, is now tasked with giving a distinct sort of order: Free your self. It’s one he struggles with, and Serkis’ exceptional efficiency reaches one other top on this second as he appears to be bodily incapable of talking the phrases he must. It’s solely after Cassian encourages Kino and tells him how needed he’s that the phrases can come out. In Andor, there are not any singular heroes — it takes everybody doing their half.
This results in one of many extra cathartic moments in a particularly cathartic episode. Two guards stay within the management room, nervous about what comes subsequent. Cassian barks “ON PROGRAM!” at them, as they jolt with fright. Diego Luna relishes on this second of turning the tables, throwing his complete physique into the command, and the guards rapidly obey. Quickly after, we see one other group of guards silently cowering in concern behind a door as prisoners run joyously to their freedom.
Utilizing the Empire towards itself is a operating theme all through the present — in Andor’s wonderful heist arc, the caper crew dressed up as sheepherders to mix in, profiting from how little the Empire thinks about widespread individuals to tug off the daring Aldhani job. And it’s Luthen’s total deal on the present, purposefully goading the Empire into overreacting to be able to foment an organized riot (and on this episode, Luthen even will get to ship an eerie monologue in an ominous assembly at nighttime on a bridge, dressed like a dang Sith Lord in a flowing black cape).
On Narkina 5, the prisoners outnumber the guards. It’s one thing Cassian has suspected from the start, and that we be taught for sure within the explosive closing line from Kino in episode 9. However within the tenth episode, we lastly see it in motion. The few can rule over the numerous solely when the numerous are too scared or too disorganized to struggle. In Andor, which means utilizing any instruments and any means essential to survive. Particularly the instruments used to maintain you down.
Now think about a model of this escape the place the principle character is a Jedi. How stakeless and weightless would that jail break really feel? How might a riot ever work if it’s so reliant on the skills of a choose few? As a substitute, Andor reveals us the easy reality: There’s just one approach out, and it’s collectively.