Andor Explosive Finale: Rix Road

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Andor‘s finale has brought the conclusion to an amazing series. Nobody probably predicted that a show not based on any big names would turn out to be so great. Despite that – or perhaps because of it – Andor‘s first season has been, with no doubt, the most innovative piece of Star Wars TV so far.

Some of the things the writers managed to do would deserve articles of their own, but let us first just evaluate the show as a whole.

Concluding the Plotlines

Plot-wise, the final episode has succeeded in bringing all the players together onto the same field (except Mon Mothma). The heroes and the villains alike gathered on Ferrix, all because of one man – Cassian Andor. Who has, paradoxically, nothing to do with the events that unfold in the season finale. Cassian is a nobody; and the show continues to present that fact. And that is yet one aspect of the masterful writing.

The titular protagonist is not at all the driving force of the Rebellion. In “Rix Road” he arrives to see his mother’s funeral and departs in the middle of it to save his friend, Bix Caleen, from prison. He is not the hero in the centre of the following riot, as perhaps even the Imperials or the Rebels who had come to silence him would expect. Cassian is already showing what he will become: the spy, doing his things behind the scenes.

What Makes A Hero?

The show of rebellious force is completely owed to late Maarva Andor’s speech and the spirit of the citizens of Ferrix. If there is a hero in the classic sense in this episode, it is the big man Brasso, and Maarva herself. And one more character shows the traits of a classic hero: Syril Karn. The knight in the shiny armour who rescues the lady of his life… or is he?

The culmination of Dedra Meero’s and Syril Karn’s arc in season 1 is perhaps the most subversive moment of the entire show. Not by itself, but in the perspective of their relationship and especially when looking at Syril’s story. In isolation, Syril’s development during season 1 has been the traditional hero story. The young hero who bravely fights for justice but is deterred at every turn. Nonetheless, he bravely persists and in the end, he rescues the maiden of his dreams. What is subversive about the story is how this classic form is used on a character who is a villain.

A Hero By Any Other Name

It is crazy that under other circumstances, perhaps in an average heroic story, Syril could be painted as the protagonist we are meant to root for. It may be only the fact that he is an Imperial that makes the audience call his behaviour into question. Would we, the audience, see equally clearly that he is a stalker and a fanatic if he were portrayed as a “good guy”?

Syril’s story is a masterpiece of writing because of how it is used. And having Meero’s perspective to compare helps the audience see Syril’s actions in a different light – those of a disturbing stalker figure who in the end drags Meero into a shed and locks himself inside with her. Regardless of the fact that Syril actually did save her, the audience can view the scene also from her perspective and see how she would be positively alarmed.

Rebels’ Ethics Questioned

Yet another paradox is that the organised members of the Rebellion are those who just watch the events of the finale unfolding. Worse, they came to Ferrix just to kill Cassian. They are not the good guys here, the good guys and the actual Rebels are the people of Ferrix. Is Luthen going to learn something from this moment? Perhaps. But he, just like Cassian, is now left to stay outside the spotlight and do his background work. This is probably where Cassian will learn his future trade as a spy.

The only separate thread in the finale is Mon Mothma’s story. She gets a couple of short scenes that are nonetheless packed with brilliance. Did she just frame her husband for gambling in order to deflect the suspicion from herself? And is her daughter’s fate sealed no matter what? (The latter scene, even with no dialogue, manages to show perfectly Mon’s feelings about the act thanks to Genevieve O’Reilly’s convincing acting.)

Closing The Book

Season 1 of Andor has managed to present a set of coherent character arcs that each have a beginning and an end. Cassian turns from the self-centered survivor to an actual Rebel. The existing Rebels are confronted with the questions of ethics, each in their own way. Dedra Meero embarks on her own journey to prove herself, breaking through the glass ceiling, to ultimately face a disaster on Ferrix and a crazy follower who thinks himself her knight in a shiny armour. And said knight, Syril Karn, actually embarks on a heroic journey and braves all the struggles, ending the season with his glorious knightly act. At least from his perspective.

One can only hope that Season 2 is going to be as amazing as the first one. Unlike many other shows these days Andor has presented a finished story while still having logical starting point for a sequel. The actors, the music and the visuals have all further contributed to making this a gem that should be treasured in the Star Wars collection.

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Rostislav Kurka
Rostislav is a Protestant theologian and a self-trained Sith, counting Jan Hus, Dorothee Sölle, Darth Revan and Darth Traya among his main influences. He hails from the hundred-towered city of Prague, where he had spent a large part of his life creating worlds and inspiring young generations to roleplay. His involvement in organising children's camps led him to accidentally writing a Lord of the Rings musical, which made him temporarily famous, and a Three Musketeer-Jedi fanfilm, which didn't. He has recently moved to the frozen waste of Finland, because that's it, the Rebels are there.