Remember This: Andor Episode 12's Manifesto On Tyranny Is A Milestone Moment For Cassian

This post contains spoilers for the season finale of "Andor."

"Rix Road," the final episode in season 1 of "Andor," finishes strong with the aid of pivotal character moments that strengthen the overarching themes of the show. The focal point of episode 12 is Maarva's (Fiona Shaw) funeral at Ferrix, which was supposed to function as an Imperial trap to capture Cassian Andor (Diego Luna). However, the events of this episode unfold in unprecedented ways, and we see a community of people collectively standing up to Imperial authority on Ferrix. The rebellion is no longer a mere spark, but a forest fire quickly spreading across the galaxy, exposing the brittle nature of fascist authority in the process. At the heart of the rebellion is Cassian Andor, who makes the incredibly defiant decision to return to Ferrix to mourn his mother.

Cassian's journey to becoming an asset for the rebellion does not culminate in a singular, grand gesture of defiance, but slowly builds up over the course of "Andor." While rebel middleman Luthen Rael (Stellan Skarsgård) acted as a catalyst for Cassian's rebel arc which led to the Aldhani heist, there were several circumstantial motivators for Cassian to embark on this tough path. After inspiring a mass prison outbreak on Narkina 5, Cassian returns to the place he calls home: Ferrix, which is populated by folks ready to fight oppression.

Episode 12 pays homage to the people who inspire Cassian to become the person he is meant to be. Nemik (Alex Lawther), whose memory lives on through the political manifesto he left behind, gives Cassian the strength to further push the boundaries of his defiance. Nemik's powerful words, which Cassian listens to in this episode, add fuel to the fire in his heart, and this milestone moment is worth remembering.

Freedom is a pure idea

The fight to achieve something as fundamental as freedom within a fascist regime is an incredibly arduous endeavor. Cassian does not instinctively join the rebellion because he wants to make a difference: he simply agrees to assist the Aldhani heist to earn enough credits to get away. However, this does not mean that Cassian is indifferent to the tyranny of the Empire — while his reasons aren't as strong-willed and fueled by discontent as Nemik's, he decides to fight for what's right anyway. While being imprisoned on Narkina 5, Cassian experiences the terrors of the prison industrial complex, along with the alienation and hopelessness that comes with it. Against all odds, he clings to his dream of personal freedom and plays a critical role in the prison break incident.

After coming back to Ferrix, Cassian learns about the inhuman measures taken by the Empire to exercise control over the planet, along with Bix's imprisonment. While returning to Ferrix is a massive gamble and puts him right where the Empire wants him to be, Cassian finds the courage to go through with yet another act of defiance with the help of Nemik's manifesto. "Remember that the frontier of the rebellion is everywhere, and even the smallest acts of insurrection push our lines forward," Nemik says, and this sentiment is mirrored in the scene where the local community band together to advance on Imperial guard lines.

Although Maarva's final message pushes the citizens to action, their act of insurrection occurs spontaneously without instruction. This is no organized rebel attack, but a spontaneous, collective decision to stand up to tyrannical authority. Although Cassian does not fight on the front lines this time, he risks everything to save Bix and ensures her right to be free.

Tyranny requires constant effort

Nemik's manifesto goes on to explain the nature of authority: it is brittle and desperate and requires constant efforts to maintain its hold. The Empire has its claws in every facet of society, making the fight seem impossible at times. The risks are great and deaths are inevitable, as the cost of rebellion often demands unsavory sacrifices that prioritize the greater good. However, when all hope seems lost, the smallest acts of defiance can topple even the most organized authority structures.

For instance, the Aldhani incident is an isolated act of resistance where the rebels manage to pillage the Imperial coffers, but this small instance of rebellion left the Empire running around like headless chickens, as they never saw it coming. Aldhani became synonymous with hope, which the Empire wants to desperately squelch to satiate their unnatural need to control. Cassian begins to understand what Aldhani truly means for the rebellion, and he reignites this sentiment while being imprisoned. Once he starts noticing the fissures in Imperial authority, it becomes easier for him to alert the others to the same, who finally dare to hope for freedom after years of being subjugated.

Episode 12 exposes the Empire's hollow facade of power on many fronts. They're entirely oblivious to the fact that Anto Kreegyr has been served to them on a platter for the sake of the rebellion, and the plan to "box in" Ferrix to catch Cassian blows up in their face. Instead of setting the perfect trap for their enemy, the Empire ends up trapping itself in a situation where the oppressed fight back tooth and nail for their freedom, leaving them gobsmacked. Moreover, Cassian succeeds in rescuing Bix right under the Empire's nose — a feat that would otherwise be considered impossible. 

Why it's important to resist

Before we talk about Cassian's decision to officially join Luthen's cause, it is crucial to talk about the rebellion in Ferrix. Countless locals were tortured and killed over the years, but Maarva's death floods "the banks of Imperial authority." The locals hold their own, risk their lives to assist Cassian, and band together to aggressively undermine their oppressors. Everyone from the anvil dude to the countless folks who beat up stormtroopers contributes to this act of defiance, as they choose to finally wake up and confront the evil of the Empire. And this attempt alone makes all the difference.

Circling back to Cassian, he heeds Nemik's words to try and resist even when he feels alone and unsure of himself. After noticing Luthen among the crowd, he later chooses to confront him head-on instead of running away. Cassian offers Luthen two options: he can either kill Cassian or welcome him to the resistance. This is a pivotal moment in Cassian's arc, as he is no longer satisfied with evading oppression or saving his own skin, but is ready to go all in, irrespective of the outcome. Luthen chooses to welcome him, changing the course of Cassian's journey as a rebel forever. In Maarva's words, Cassian has now become an unstoppable force for good.

All episodes of "Andor" are currently streaming on Disney+.