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Andor Episode 11 review: Luthen is the star of emotional penultimate chapter

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  • Posted on 16th Nov, 2022 08:15 AM
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A cloud of grief and anxiety hangs over Andor Episode 11; for a penultimate chapter, the stage has been set for an epic finale.

A cloud of grief and anxiety hangs over Andor Episode 11; for a penultimate chapter, the stage has been set for an epic finale, but the emotions are hanging low as the walls of the Empire close in.

Three words, one iconic Star Wars moment: “One way out.” Last week, Andor delivered 45 minutes of tremendous, awe-inspiring television that’ll rank among the very best of the year.

We pick up with Cassian (Diego Luna) and Melshi (Duncan Pow) on Narkina 5 after escaping the prison, while Luthen Rael (Stellan Skarsgård) weighs up a heavy sacrifice, and Mon Mothma tries to come to terms with a necessary evil.

With the exception of one cheer-worthy action set-piece, Andor Episode 11 is mostly rather sad, but it allows for honesty in its storytelling; the Rebellion is a valiant endeavor, but it’s also a burden.

Spoilers for Andor Episode 11 to follow…

Andor Episode 11: Death in the family

Episode 11 opens on Cassian and Melshi clinging to a moon cliff face as Imperial ships patrol overhead. “They’re leaving,” Cassian assures, but Melshi asks him to stop saying that – before asking him to say it again. “I hear you,” he tells him. Their dynamic here is one of strong companionship, and it’s only enriching Rogue One each week.

In Ferrix, an inevitable tragedy has struck: Maarva (Fiona Shaw) has passed away. Everyone watches as her coffin leaves her home, including Cinta (Varada Sethu), Corv (Noof Ousellam), and the local townspeople. Back at the ISB, Dedra Meero’s (Denise Gough) eyes light up with the news. She approves a permit for a funeral, hoping it’ll be bait for Cassian.

This is all required for plot progression, but your heart will be too busy aching for B2EMO to care; his hushed, tucked away demeanor, clearly mourning the loss of his master, is sad in only a way Star Wars can pull off. He’s like Greyfriars Droid, refusing to leave their home, even winning over Brasso (Joplin Sibtain) and convincing him to stay one more night.

Meanwhile, Cassian is none the wiser. After being ensnared by Dewi and Freedi, two slimy creatures on Narkina 5, they agree to give safe passage to Niamos for the the escapees, where Cassian recovers his stash of credits and whatnot.

Andor Episode 11: Vel puts the pressure on

Tension in Coruscant is reaching boiling point, especially in Luthen’s absence. Vel (Fay Marsay) visits Kleya (Elizabeth Dulau) at his gallery, but she doesn’t have time for the formalities. “We have rules for a reason,” Kleya insists, but Vel wants to know where he is – she doesn’t have an answer.

Even one episode from the finale, Andor has delved into a never-before-seen, prickly relationship. There’s clearly an element of rivalry, perhaps even jealousy, in either woman’s work with Luthen. When Vel asks Kleya what she’s done recently, she replies: “I don’t have lately. I have always; I have a constant blur of plates spinning and knives on the floor.”

Hesitantly, Vel shares the news with the assurance it will be sent to Luthen: Cassian’s mother is dead, so there may be a chance to catch him – just as Dedra plans in Ferrix.

Disney+

Vel then stops by Mon Mothma’s (Genevieve O’Reilly) home. She’s horrified to see her daughter learning old-fashioned Chandrilan customs and messaging, like “yielding in acceptance, tethered in permanence”, but Mon doesn’t carry the same poise this time. She’s racked by worry and knows she’ll have to marry her daughter to Davo Sculdun’s son for the Rebel Alliance to survive. It’s the first time we’ve seen her this vulnerable, her eyes a radiant pink from living every day on the brink of tears.

We also get a brief scene with Syril Karn (Kyle Soller), who’s also informed of Maarva’s death by Sergeant Linus Mosk (Alex Ferns), his former right-hand Corpo before the disastrous Ferrix raid. Word is spreading, and the stars are aligning – a mighty collision awaits, but who will survive?

Andor Episode 11: Luthen Rael may be a Jedi

Luthen meets with Saw Gerrera (Forest Whitaker) once again, but before he’s allowed entry, his guards search him and pull out something very, very interesting. Yes, it certainly looks like a lightsaber – did Luthen take it from his own gallery, or is he actually a Jedi? It’s a compelling theory rendered more likely by this moment, but you can find out more here.

Saw has had a change of heart and decides to work with the mysterious, unseen (bar a hologram) Anto Kreegyr, the Rebel spy planning an assault on a power station at Spellhaus – but so has Luthen. As discussed with Lonni, feeding Anto Kreegyr to the Empire’s wolves may be a necessary sacrifice for the Rebellion to survive. “For the greater good… let’s call it, war,” Saw says.

Disney+

As Luthen heads back to Coruscant, he’s essentially pulled over mid-flight by a Star Destroyer. He’s a pro, so he makes the quick arrangements, but this Imperial commander is feeling particularly zealous and decides to bring him in for “practice.”

What a stupid mistake. Luthen disables their tractor beam, zips around the destroyer, defeats two TIE fighters with dual lasers – imagine Darth Maul’s lightsaber, but absolutely enormous and attached to the side of an aircraft – and makes a quick getaway via lightspeed. It’s a sequence that speaks to the show’s deft use of VFX, managing to pull off the breathtaking Star Wars action fans most associate with the big screen without losing the spectacle. Also, Luthen is definitely a Jedi, right?

Before the episode ends, Cassian finds out about Maarva. Instead of breaking down in tears or sharing the news with Melshi, he keeps it to himself, standing over a new sunrise – for the first time in decades, he doesn’t have any family, no sense of home.

Andor Episode 12 will be available to stream on November 22. You can sign up for Disney+ here.

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