Andor Would Rather Go Down Fighting in “One Way Out”

How we feeling today, Star Wars fans? I feel like yesterday was meant to be a good day to overthrow fascism, but if waiting for election results to roll in is too stressful for you, Andor is here to pick up the slack.

Recap

Ulaf’s body is taken away, and Cassian tells Kino that they need to be prepared to make a break for it; they’ll get their shot when his replacement is brought in the next day. Kino doesn’t want to hear it, but Cassian points out that they’ll never have a better chance, telling Kino he’d rather die fighting than die giving them what they want. They arrive back in their block for the night and the men on their floor want to know what happened. Cassian tells them what they learned from the doctor, and no one wants to believe him until Kino confirms it—no one is getting out, and tonight they need to rest and be ready for their escape tomorrow.

Dedra Meero’s people have released Anto Kreegyr’s pilot and his vessel to be found, but Supervisor Lonni Jung (Robert Emms) further suggests that they send one of their own ships out to “check” on the damaged ship—anything less would likely be suspicious to the rebels. On Ferrix, Cinta is keeping an eye out as locals worry over Maarva Andor, who is refusing to take her medication.

Mon Mothma holds her meeting at home with Tay and Davo Sculdun (Richard Dillane), who is happy to give Mon Mothma access to her money for no charge. He won’t accept payment of any form as he wants a favor… the ability to come back with his fourteen-year-old son and introduce him to Mon’s daughter. She immediately rejects his proposal, but he insists that she’s considering it all the same as he leaves. Signs are left for Luthen Rael to meet with an operative, but Kleya thinks it’s too dangerous. Rael is determined to go, knowing that if it’s a trap, they’re done for anyway.

Narkina 5’s shifts continue as planned. Cassian goes back to the bathroom area to continue sawing at the fixture in the wall, finally breaking it and causing a slow rush of water onto the floor as the new man is brought in. They break the lift mechanism and attack the guards, and when the floor is activated, it shorts out while most of the men get onto the tables to stay safe. The group rush the few guards left on their floor, arming themselves, and continuing through the facility. When Cassian and Kino make it to the control room, they kill one of the guards and force the other two to shut down the floor system.

Star Wars: Andor, season 1, episode 10, One Way Out, Kino and Cassian

Screenshot: Lucasfilm

Cassian insists that Kino is the one who knows how to talk to the men, and he should be the one to deliver the message of what they’ve done. Kino tells them that they’ve taken the prison and deactivated the floors, that this is everyone’s only chance to get out, that their sentences will never be up if they stay. All the unliberated floors attack their guards and soon everyone is at the top of the prison, and the only way to escape is to jump into the ocean and swim for land. Kino is hesitant and admits to Cassian that he can’t swim. Cassian is shoved into the water by the flow of bodies.

Rael’s inside man heads to meet him—it’s Lonni Jung. He puts in an earpiece and talks to him on an abandoned elevator heading down to the lower levels. He lets Luthen know about Dedra Meero’s work and that she’s looking for someone she’s labeled “Axis.” He tells him about the plot with the ship against Anto Kreegyr’s people. Rael tells him that they can’t risk exposing that ISB has an informant, so they’ll let Kreegyr’s mission on Spellhaus go off as planned. Lonni admits that he told him all this because he wants out now that he’s become a father, but Luthen won’t hear it: They’ve invested too much in Lonni’s career to get him where he is. Lonni wants to know what Luthen has given up in this and Luthen tells him—he’s given up everything, all semblance of life. On Narkina 5, Cassian and Melshi have found dry land and are running under cover of night, avoiding search parties.

Commentary

…Damn.

That thing I was saying last week, about Cassian being this perfect second-in-command type? This episode is basically just a blow-by-blow illustration of that. Cassian goes full power-behind-the-throne on this one, all but bullying (okay, there’s a little bullying) Kino to get on task and move them through the prison break. He knows Kino has the rhetoric muscle, that he knows how to speak to these men, that they listen to him, even trust him. It’s still ultimately Kino’s choice to make—which is such an important facet of this series overall—but he needs Cassian there every step of the way. He only believes it’s possible because Cassian insists that it is.

Star Wars: Andor, season 1, episode 10, One Way Out, Cassian

Screenshot: Lucasfilm

And the methods here are so well-rendered because they’re accurate. The people making this show seem to understand that resources are great when you can get them, but some of the most effective acts of resistance are managed with duct tape, two shoelaces, and a wish. They short out the murder floor with water. They pelt the armed guards with the inventory they assemble each and every shift. That’s all it takes, and it’s simple, and that’s the point. Sometimes you can make miraculous things happen with scraps at your disposal. Just numbers and nothing left to lose and Cassian Andor at your elbow pointing out that your fascist wardens aren’t powerful; they’re scared.

The show wants you to make note of that. For no particular reason, I’m sure.

The moment when Kino uses Cassian’s words to galvanize the prisoners was an absolute chef’s kiss in execution, perfectly set up, delivered, played by both of them. It’s the kind of competence that’s so effortless it kinda makes me angry? Like, amazing job everyone, but also, that was rude of y’all and I hope you know it.

Star Wars: Andor, season 1, episode 10, One Way Out, Kino

Screenshot: Lucasfilm

And then they cap it off with the worst possible Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid reference you could drop into this story. Because it’s not funny that Kino can’t swim, and there’s nothing Cassian can do in that moment when he’s got nothing left to offer—this was as far as he’d imagined. He gets dragged off the edge and into the water, while we’re left wondering what will happen to Kino. Did he summon the courage to jump and try for it?

If they’re smart, they won’t tell us. I never want to know.

Then we’ve got this single scene with Mon Mothma doing heavy lifting on an entirely different front. Davo Sculdun is every bit the thug Mon made him out to be, and the worst kind of thug: the kind in very expensive clothes. Dude actually says the words “Family wealth is a thing to be proud of” with no hint of irony whatsoever, and plans to move around Mon’s money the way that our own one-percenters do—a little off-shore account here, a shell corporation there, buying up real estate in some key markets over this way. And all it will cost is the chance to introduce his eligible teenaged son to Mon’s daughter. Leida, who is far more likely to jump at the chance of a relationship with this boy if she gets even a hint of the idea that her mother disapproves of him.

Star Wars: Andor, season 1, episode 10, One Way Out, Mon Mothma

Screenshot: Lucasfilm

And look, I have a lot of feelings about the fact that Mon’s biggest point of vulnerability is her teenaged daughter, who cannot be blamed for being turned against her mother when she’s clearly being manipulated as a pawn by her father and now Davo, or for being unaware of said manipulation when she’s intentionally kept in the dark. Teenagers need room to be selfish and kinda shitty, and it’s clear that so much of her behavior toward Mon is down to feeling neglected by her. Because she is neglected by her. It’s not her fault that her mother dedicated herself to a secret cause before she was born.

We’re coming up to the edge of what Mon Mothma can sustain and the question we’ve got going forward is: How long can she continue this charade before she breaks? We know that she eventually leaves all of this behind and goes underground with the rest of the Rebel Alliance, but is she going to give up Leida to the cause first? Can she bring herself to do that?

If I had one complaint about this episode, it’s that Rael’s speech to Lonni doesn’t work. Stellan Skarsgård is a great actor, but the words themselves are far too neat. They feel and sound rehearsed, and this moment needed to be the opposite of that, a place where the veneer cracks and we see something underneath. I felt it more in the moment Luthen gave Cassian that kyber crystal than I do here.

Star Wars: Andor, season 1, episode 10, One Way Out, Luthen Rael

Screenshot: Lucasfilm

And it’s a shame because this is the thought the episode ends on, intended to be this weighted and meaningful sign-off, and it’s not doing the job after everything we’ve just watched. The jailbreak had me crying, but this left me cringing at my television. Give me anger or pain, give me some piece of the person Luthen Rael used to be before he was subsumed by this purpose entirely. I don’t need to hear about the love and comfort he’s rejected in favor of this life, I need to see it. Luthen Rael is barely a person at all, but this is one moment when he needs to summon himself for the cause; show me that.

Bits and Asides:

  • Bets on what they’ve been building in that prison and what horrific thing it’s going to get used for later? Also, do we think we’ll find out this season, or in the second season?
  • I’m guessing we should be very worried that we saw nothing from Syril this week. Also, while I understand that they want to remind us that Cinta is still on Ferrix, it was very weird to have the brief aside and then nothing else at all.

 

Next week, the beginning of the end of this season…

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