Andor Episode 10 Reveals Luthen Rael Is Sacrificing More Than He Seems By Sparking A Rebellion

There will be spoilers for "Andor" Episode 10 – "One Way Out."

For a thrilling dramatic hour of television set in the "Star Wars" universe, featuring a tense and triumphant prison break that rivals the rescue of Princess Leia from the Death Star in "A New Hope," the 10th episode of "Andor" will probably be remembered for an entirely different reason. The impassioned speech that Luthen Rael (Stellan Skarsgård) delivers at the end of "One Way Out" is immediately iconic. Luthen eloquently explains the intense sacrifice he's undergone as the secret leader of an interconnected web of dissent against the Empire. At first glance, it may not seem as if Luthen's life has been completely overtaken and consumed with his desire to create a true threat to galactic tyranny. But after he delivers a heartbreaking monologue, it's clear that he is carrying a much deeper burden that has already taken its toll.

The events of episode 10 take place about a year after Cassian was first recruited by Luthen in the first episode, "Kassa." By the time Cassian escapes with Kino Loy (Andy Serkis) and the rest of the inmates of Narkina 5 at the conclusion of "One Way Out," he's only been a part of the growing rebellion for a fairly short amount of time. In his speech from the backend of the episode, Luthen Rael reveals that he's been plotting against the Empire for at least 15 years. Luthen is definitely not slipping, but his actions and words going into the final two episodes of this season show that he's finally ready to come out of hiding. 

What do I sacrifice?

A clandestine meeting between Luthen and a mystery informant reveals that Imperial Security Bureau (ISB) officer Lonni Jung ((Robert Emms) has been working as a lone double agent inside the Empire for over six years. Lonni wants out of deep undercover work, giving up a lot of new information about his supervisor Dedra Nero (Denise Gough) and her newfound obsession with a suspect she's calling Axis.

Luthen is Axis, but he chooses not to share this with Lonnie, who goes on to detail the Empire's planned raid of Separatist leader Anto Kreegyr, which could result in the slaughter of 50 men if Luthen chooses not to act. Luthen tells Lonnie he's too important to the cause, so they must sacrifice those men to ensure that he isn't exposed. Clearly, Lonnie is in too deep and challenges Luthen, asking him, "What do you sacrifice?" Luthen's response is chilling:

"Calm, kindness, kinship, love. I've given up all chance at inner-peace, I made my mind a sunless space. I share my dreams with ghosts. I wake up everyday to an equation I wrote 15 years ago for which there is only one conclusion: I'm damned for what I do, my anger, my ego, my unwillingness to yield, my eagerness to fight. It's set me on a path from which there is no escape. I yearn to be a savior against injustice without contemplating the cost. And by the time I look down, there's no longer any ground beneath my feet. What is my sacrifice?"

In a brilliant moment of subtlety, Skarsgård pauses before Luthen says "love" as if he's thinking of someone in particular that fell by the wayside. Answering with the same accusatory question he was asked, Luthen's wrath bears down on Lonnie.

A clear and present danger

Showing his face for the first time, Luthen knows what a potential risk it is to come out of the shadows. As Luthen shares his true feelings about the choices he's made to potentially defeat the Empire, he seems to truly allow himself to look within, and he doesn't like what he sees. He goes on:

"I'm condemned to use the tools of my enemy to defeat them. I burn my decency for someone else's future. I burn my life to make a sunrise I know I'll never see. The ego that started this fight will never have a mirror or an audience or the light of gratitude. So what do I sacrifice? EVERYTHING!"

There will be no fanfare or medal parade for Luthen Rael. In a strange twist of fate, Luthen even points out how information that he has provided to Lonni over the years has benefited his career greatly inside the ISB, yet it has come at a great cost to Luthen personally. The stress of being in constant danger as a double agent is crippling for Lonni, but the cost of living under the weight of the Galactic Empire may, in fact, be greater for Luthen than dying under the Empire's boot for the greater good. 

As an antiquities dealer for the bourgeoisie families on Coruscant, Luthen is ultimately working undercover as well. After giving so much of his inner life over during his wholehearted speech, hopefully Lonni will stay the course and honor the vow they both took together.

The battle within

Over the next two episodes, before the end of season 1 of "Andor," it will be interesting to see if both characters can quiet their inner-demons and continue, with the help of Mon Mothma and Cassian, to build the network of resistance that will eventually become known as the Rebel Alliance. The battles that lie ahead will eventually lead to the destruction of the Death Star, thanks to the secret weakness that scientist Gaylen Erso built into the supposedly impenetrable space station. Before his daughter Jyn Erso learns about the fatal flaw thanks to a hologram message from her father (another great speech) in "Rogue One," Gaylen's sacrifice is explored even more in James Luceno's riveting prequel "Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel." 

After episode 10, it's clear that "Andor" is looking at those kinds of sacrifices in a profound way that expands the inner-life of characters like Luthen Rael and shows the emotional damage this kind of undertaking has truly brought on. Surely, Luthen will factor into the multi-year story arc of season 2 that will lead right up to the events of "Rogue One," and his true contribution may wind up being just as important as Gaylen Erso's trap door.

Luthen has chosen the hard path to make the choices necessary to do what needs to be done. That differs from a solider who joins the fight because of the hardships they've endured at the hands of the Empire. Both are heroic, but one existence may be a bit more burdensome. 

As for Lonni, he doesn't appear in "Rogue One" or "Catalyst." It's safe to assume that he is either in hiding with his wife and child or he perished in the conflict. Dedra Nero may also have something to do with his eventual fate.