‘Andor’ finale recap: a suitably gritty ending for Star Wars’ dark prequel

**Spoilers for 'Andor' episode 12 below**

Only one small bomb goes off during finale of Andor, but it already feels like the most explosive episode of any Star Wars show to date. The whole series has been filled with reminders of just how different this show is prepared to do things, but the last chapter of the season one feels revolutionary, in more ways than one.

First off there’s Nemik’s speech. Alex Lawther’s twitchy rebel tech was crushed to death in episode six, but here he returns as the voice ringing in Cassian’s (Diego Luna) ear as he prepares to walk straight into the trap being set for him on Ferrix.

“Remember this, freedom is a pure idea,” says Nemik, as Bix (Adria Arjona) sobs in a prison and an orphaned kid starts building a pipe bomb. “Tyranny requires constant effort, it breaks, it leaks. It’s brittle. Authority is the mask of fear… One single thing will break the siege. Remember this… try”

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It’s a long way from Yoda’s “there is no try”, and a longer way still from “may the force be with you”. By the time the real rebellion starts (with someone smashing in a policeman’s face with a brick made of Maarva’s ashes), Andor feels more like a political war film than a Star Wars show.

The much-hyped Spellhaus mission happens offscreen – resulting in the death of 30 rebels (including Anto Kreegyr) that we never even get to see. Played so casually, it makes Luthen’s (Stellan Skarsgård) decision to sacrifice the rebels seem even more callous, and the lines of light and dark even more blurry.

Luthen himself turns up for the funeral, but so does everyone else – including Cinta (Varada Sethu), Vel (Faye Marsay), Meero (Denise Gough) and Karn (Kyle Soller). There’s a brief chance to pick up Mon Mothma’s (Genevieve O’Reilly) story – now caving to pressure and marrying off her teenage daughter to a gangster’s son, as well as not noticing that her chauffeur has been spying on her the whole time – but most of the finale is saved for Ferrix.

A brass band brings the people to the streets and Cassian takes the opportunity to sneak what’s left of Bix out of prison. As the police kettle the crowd, Maarva makes her last stand via B2EMO’s hologram – giving us the second most rousing speech of the episode. “The Empire is a disease that thrives in darkness. It is never more alive than when we sleep… perhaps it’s too late, but I’ll tell you this – if I could do it again I’d wake up early and be fighting these bastards from the start. Fight the empire!”

The people start throwing bricks and punches, the cops start shooting, and the whole thing ends in a massacre – with one DIY bomb igniting the fuse of the whole rebellion. Easily the grittiest, most politically charged Star Wars set-piece yet, the finale ends with Cassian dragging Bix onto an escape ship with the promise to come and find her. As Luthen boards his own ride out of the battle, he finds Cassian waiting with a gun. “Kill me” he says. “Or take me in.”

Season two can’t come soon enough…

Extra credits

  • Stick around for an end-credits sting that shows the Death Star under construction – an ominous nod to Cassian’s final mission in Rogue One.
  • Meero almost gets ripped apart by the crowd before Karn rescues her. There’s a brilliantly odd, obsessive, one-sided love story developing here. Even evil Empire commanders have needs.
  • We have a new band of rebels going into the next season as the escape ship heads off: Bix, Brasso, B2EMO, Jezzi and Wilmon the bomber kid

‘Andor’ is streaming now on Disney+

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