Andor Episode 9 Puts Syril Karn On The Path To Becoming A Full-Blown Incel

This piece contains spoilers for episode 9 of "Andor."

As "Andor" season 1 approaches its last act, pieces are slowly starting to fall together and build up the show's incoming climax. One thread we've been seeing a lot more screen time for in the second half of the series is centered around the crossing of paths between Imperial Lieutenant Dedra Meero (Denise Gough) and the bootlicking, space weasel we love to hate: Syril Karn (Kyle Soller).

Both Imperials have their hearts set on capturing and detaining our titular rebel-in-the-making, Cassian Andor (Diego Luna); Dedra has been using all of her security power to investigate rebel activity in Aldhani, meanwhile, Syril's embarrassment of Ferrix has led him to working for the Imperial Bureau of Standards on Coruscant, filing false claims in complete obsession the rebel who slipped past his grasp.

Though they're both agents of galactic Imperial fascism, the two characters could not come from more different worlds. As much as her agenda is malicious, Dedra climbed the Imperial ranks through hard work and dedication to her beliefs despite her odds. Everything Syril has was given to him on a silver platter, his mother (Kathryn Hunter) even secured the desk job he has right now after his disastrous encounter with Cassian.

If you didn't think Syril Karn could get any lower, episode 9 of "Andor" should color you impressed. In one of the more disturbing moments of this week's episode, Syril stalks Dedra and confesses his crude fascination with her. Yeah, that's right. Syril is going full incel.

Syril can't take a hint

Kyle Soller and Denise Gough deserve a lot of praise for handling such a difficult scene with intensity and maturity. It's been a month since Syril was brought in for Dedra's questioning, and since then he's been promoted to a new position at the Bureau — seemingly under the impression that Dedra had something to do with it. He waits for Dedra outside her ISB workplace to go up to her and thank her for helping him get his life together, but it's clear from Dedra's frustration and dismissiveness that this exchange is quite one-sided.

Syril then creepily admits that waiting around her office to see if he can get a glance of Dedra is something he does quite often. He monologues about how hopeless he felt before meeting Dedra, and how her dedication to apprehending Cassian has given him renewed purpose and faith in the "justice and beauty" of the galaxy. As Dedra tries to run off, he forcefully grabs her shoulder. "I want what you want," he says. "I sense it. I know it."

Though Dedra threatens to have him locked up in a "cage in the outer rim," you get the sense that Syril is not going to be able to take a hint. Despite Dedra's multiple signs that she does not share the same feelings throughout the encounter, Syril still feels some sort of ownership of her. In his misery, she was his sign to keep going. He can only contextualize Dedra as an extension of his own self.

No space scrubs!

If Dedra Meero is the relentless corporate ladder-climber of the fascist galactic empire, Syril Karn is TLC's definition of a scrub. Syril is still living with his mother Eedy, who is so cruel and manipulative that we almost feel sympathy for Syril as he munches away at his morning blue milk and cereal. Almost.

Episode 9 puts us once again in another argument between Syril and Eedy at the dinner table. This time, Eedy was looking through Syril's belongings, violating his "private box." This is quite an encompassing metaphor for their entire relationship. Syril, dressed with overcompensating outfits, is never quite enough for his mother's approval. He doesn't call enough. He's a failure at all of his recent endeavors. He's the symbol of all of his mother's mistakes. Living in a toxic environment like that can break a man, and Syril seems to have only internalized it as he chews on his morning cereal.

Perhaps Syril's contempt for his mother informs the way he navigates his relationships, including his newfound obsession with Dedra. This colors his mindset when pursuing her; if Syril can't find approval from his mommy, he'll recognize Dedra's similarly abrasive qualities, and try to find catharsis within her.

Whatever his intentions are, Syril's narcissistic entitlement feels all too real. In a franchise that mostly builds characters in broad archetypal strokes, we've gotten to know Syril this past season in an extremely intimate fashion. Through Syril, Tony Gilroy crafts the privileged and pathetic face of Imperial masculinity — a space incel seeking validation.