It’s a bittersweet moment to be writing about the penultimate episode of this Star Wars series; on the one hand, I am so excited to watch the final two episodes play out, but I will also be very sad to see Andor go. After the thrill of Andor episode 10, this week’s instalment is tasked with bridging the gap between the best episode of the sci-fi series so far, and the impending finale.
No mean feat, but by now, Andor has set incredibly high standards for itself and you’ll be happy to know that episode 11 handles the mission superbly. With Cassian and Melshi out in the galaxy after they escape Narkina 5, Luthen Rael’s plan taking shape, and the Galactic Empire tightening its grip on the star systems, there’s plenty of plates to keep spinning here.
This episode is a little slower than last week, which is understandable, and episode 11 also carries something of a more sombre tone, reminding us that Cassian’s victory in escaping the prison is just one small step in the Rebellion’s fight for freedom.
In fact, the bulk of this episode doesn’t actually focus on Cassian at all, but the other Star Wars characters around the galaxy upon which the show has hinged so far. In particular, Luthen Rael gets the most time in the spotlight here, and Stellan Skarsgård once again puts in some fine work.
Not only does he get another chance to deliver a stirring speech in an encounter with Saw Gerrera, but he also pulls out one of the best set-pieces of the show so far. It’s brilliant how, no matter the circumstances, Luthen always manages to turn every situation into his favour, and appears to always come out on top.
The simple tension of an Imperial ship catching Luthen’s haul craft in a tractor beam and calmly telling him to comply while Luthen prepares to fight back is nail-biting stuff, and it’s the first time we’ve really seen Luthen in genuine danger of being caught out. But, it’s an opportunity for him to show he’s more than just a man with a plan, he’s an accomplished pilot, too, and let’s just say his ship is well equipped.
This episode allows many of the Star Wars cast to flex their chops when it comes to tackling the more emotional scenes, too. Mon Mothma finds herself in an increasingly tight situation and the toll of her involvement with the Rebellion is really starting to show now. The facade is starting to slip, and Genevieve O’Reilly offers a quietly tragic performance to really emphasise the sacrifices her character is making.
Speaking of sacrifice, Cassian’s time away from Ferrix has seen him pay a heavier price than he would have expected. Diego Luna, often the cool and charismatic front of the Andor cast, unleashes a more nuanced performance in the episode’s closing moments, which is complemented beautifully by another truly stunning composition from Nicholas Britell.
The technical achievements of this show are just breathtaking, and it’s wonderful to see the streaming service series match, if not exceed, the quality of the Star Wars movies. This week, it’s in a pair of oddball Narkinian aliens that Andor once again displays its aptitude for practical design work, and long may this continue into Andor season 2.
Any concerns about how Andor would wrap everything up can be put to bed, it seems. With the penultimate episode done, it’s now clear that all parties will converge on Ferrix in the big conclusion, and we’re pretty sure that means absolute chaos is about to descend on the little planet in Andor. If you’ve wanted to see Cassian, Dedra Meero, Syril Karn, and Luthen Rael all confront one another at the same time, those wishes should be granted next week.
Creator Tony Gilroy, and the director of this episode, Benjamin Caron, have done an exceptional job in bringing us down from the exhilarating prison escape, developing the story and breaking our hearts, all while laying the foundations for what is sure to be a blistering finale next week. This show really does not miss.
For more from Andor, here’s our guide to what happened to Kino Loy. Or, for the wider galaxy check out our list of the best Star Wars cameos, the best Star Wars droids, and the best Star Wars villains.
Andor episode 11 review
A slower, more sombre instalment, but a necessary bridge to the big finale of the Star Wars series