Andor Episode 11 Sets Up An Explosive Finale

There will be spoilers for "Andor" Episode XI – "Daughter of Ferrix."

"Daughter of Ferrix," the penultimate episode of the first season of "Andor," sets the stage for what will likely prove to be a breathtaking finale. Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) has been able to escape from prison and works to find a path forward alongside Melshi (Duncan Pow). Things have taken a turn for the worse on Ferrix, though. Maarva (Fiona Shaw), Cassian's mom, has passed away and a funeral for her is being planned. As word spreads of her demise, the ISB, Luthen Rael (Stellan Skarsgård), Syril Karn (Kyle Soller), and everyone else, make plans to be there in anticipation of Cassian showing up. 

On Coruscant, Mon Mothma (Genevieve O'Reilly) confesses to her cousin, Vel Sartha (Faye Marsay), just how bad things have gotten, while Vel herself aims to make them worse by causing trouble for Luthen. Luthen already has big enough problems, wondering how to handle Anto Kreegyr's raid on Spellhaus, doubly so after Saw Gerrera (Forest Whitaker) decides he actually wants in. Things threaten to go even worse when he runs into an Imperial ship threatening to board him.

The episode ends just as the sparks of the fire ignite, leaving us thirsty for next week's finale.


More than anything, this episode is really dedicated to putting the pieces on the game board. Thankfully, it's done with such intensity and such pathos that it is a pleasure to watch. We're shown exactly how Cassian and Melshi are able to get off of Narkina 5, which ties thematically into everything in the growing discontent with the Empire. At first, we're led to believe these two Narkinians will return the prisoners to the Empire, but it's apparent they hate the Empire just as much as Cassian and Melshi: the Empire has ruined their water and their crop of squigglies and everything else they held dear. So, instead of turning them in, they're willing to help the prisoners because the Empire is too oppressive. Luthen Rael has said that the galaxy needs to reach a boiling point before regular people start fighting back and perhaps he's right.

This growing discontent — even from these Tolkien Troll-like Narkinians — feels like a promise for the finale. As the characters race to Ferrix for the conclusion, they all view themselves as immovable objects or unstoppable forces. Every single one of them will be tested in the finale and it will be fascinating to see which clash against each other directly.

Saw's paranoia

Anto Kreegyr's assault on the power station at Spellhaus has been a MacGuffin for the last few episodes and the moral dilemma of it comes to another head in this episode, as Luthen Rael gives the choice to Saw Gerrera. Saw wants to join the raid, but Luthen calls him off. They have a powerful scene of brinksmanship with each other and it all serves to fuel Saw's paranoia. In "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story," Saw is convinced that literally everyone is out to get him and there is no one to trust. He even thinks Jyn might have shown up to kill him when she appears on his doorstep. Ironically, the only person from his cadre who seems to be the same is Edrio Two-Tubes, the one person Luthen accuses of actually being his spy on the inside.

Watching these two characters, with such fine actors behind them, dance around the espionage elements of the calculus required to send Kreegyr and his forces to their deaths is nothing short of incredible. It's like watching Jack Lemmon and Ed Harris go toe to toe with Alec Baldwin about the Glengarry leads at the top of their game. And then watching them justify the sacrifice is equally heartbreaking.

Your father would be proud

As Cassian finds his way back to the tropical planet of Niamos—the place where he'd been picked up by the Empire in the first place — he places a call back home to leave a message with his mother — only to learn of her death. Cassian struggles with the magnitude of hearing of the loss of his mother, and he's framed by the perfect tropical backdrop and cloudy sunset framing him in the background, evoking his final moments in "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story." 

In that movie, Michael Giacchino's beautiful and haunting piece of score "Your Father Would Be Proud" plays. There, on Scarif, Cassian is content and at peace with his decision and pending death, in the arms of someone who understands his struggles. Here, on Niamos, the moment is echoed. Instead of Jyn's father, it's Cassian's mother, and instead of that peace and contentment with his decisions, Cassian is full of nothing but grief and regret. It's a subtle similarity in Cassian's story that ties visually to his journey, but the filmmakers behind "Andor" are so careful that their sense of imagery helps tell even more story.

This was a poignant moment in an episode that could have very easily just been table-setting.

Other details to watch out for

There are some cool ties to "Star Wars" in this episode that are worth pointing out. The first is the appearance of the old Quadjumper on Narkina 5 that whisks Cassian and Melshi to safety. Quadjumpers were first seen in "The Force Awakens" when Rey and Finn were running from TIE Fighters on Jakku. It magnifies the joke Rey tells, actually. Cassian dismisses this Quadjumper as old and when we see it take off, its engine sputters. Thirty years later, when given the choice between an old Quadjumper like this and the Millennium Falcon, Rey still opts for the Quadjumper as her first choice.

The next is the Cantwell-class Arrestor Cruiser that harasses Luthen and tries to capture him over Segra Milo. This is one of the oldest designs in "Star Wars" history and was Colin Cantwell's first crack at the Star Destroyer. You can see that it was named for its designer, Colin Cantwell, and boasts a number of tractor-beam arrays that Luthen nimbly fights against. It first appeared on screen in "Solo: A Star Wars Story" but was cut from most of its scenes. This is its much bigger entrance into "Star Wars" proper and now that it's been around, expect to see it elsewhere.

Another moment that bears some examination is why Luthen prefers to be traveling under an Alderaanian banner when the ship harasses him. If he knows about Bail Organa, perhaps that could have diverted suspicion to the other Senator working to build up the Rebellion. But one has to wonder if he asks because "Alderaan is peaceful and we have no weapons." If there's a bias toward Alderaan's peace and neutrality in the galaxy, it would simply help him buy time to charge up his counter-thrusters. And since he was a pirate who smoked those TIE Fighters and significantly damaged a Cantwell-class cruiser in a simple Haulcraft, it would actually avert suspicion from Bail Organa and Alderaan since no one would believe that it had come from such a peaceful planet or been honest about where it was from.

The verdict

For an episode designed to kick off a finale in a week's time, this could have very easily been a tedious look at putting pieces on a board. But this episode is not that. It is a sharp and tense examination of the desperation driving everyone on all sides and leads us to wonder exactly how things can go wrong in the next episode. There are very few certainties for the characters on this show, but seeing all but a few of them heading toward Ferrix for Maarva's funeral was more exciting than I would have expected. Tony Gilroy penned these episodes personally and brought his A-game. There's no doubt about that.

This is also the first episode that's felt like really great "Star Wars", too. It had those elements of danger and adventure that I feel had been missing in previous installments. This brought everything together in a really beautiful way and we still have one episode left. This is just really great television and I'm glad I've been strapped in from the beginning.

The finale of the first season of "Andor" airs next Wednesday on Disney+.