Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened. It may be the kind of message you’d see on a boomer’s Facebook page, but it’s a rather appropriate sentiment to describe the fact our favourite Star Wars series has come to its conclusion.
Andor has been nothing short of a miracle throughout its 12-episode run on the streaming service Disney Plus, preferring a methodical, patient approach to storytelling which has become so rare in this day and age of quickfire content.
With the Andor finale, Tony Gilroy and his team have successfully tied all their narrative threads together wonderfully and given every member of the Andor cast a chance to shine. It’s a truly explosive episode that will have you on your feet willing the Rebellion to make its move, and will likely have tears streaming down your face, too.
By the end of Andor episode 11, it became clear we would see pretty much all the key players from the sci-fi series converge on Ferrix for the funeral of Maarva. Indeed, the passing of such a figurehead of the Ferrix community brings Dedra Meero, Luthen Rael, Syril Karn, and Cassian himself to this small corner of the galaxy for an absolute cauldron of chaos.
The brilliant thing about the whole Rix Road sequence which forms the backbone of this episode is that none of the Star Wars characters are there to simply make up the numbers. As we have come to expect from Gilroy’s writing, there’s nothing gratuitous about any single moment here, with every word and action deserving its place on the page and the screen.
As Maarva’s brick (made from her ashes) is carried through the streets of Ferrix, the watchful eye of the Galactic Empire observes closely, with Dedra Meero’s team of ISB officers hoping to keep a lid on tensions and lure Cassian out of hiding. Turns out, when you oppress a whole community and interfere with their sacred ceremonies, you are very likely to piss people off.
Once again, the whole production team excels in bringing a sequence of such a scale to life on the screen. The sound design, utilising elements like the anvil chime above the streets of Ferrix and the musical instruments of the procession of people walking those streets combine beautifully to imbue the whole episode with a sombre, goosebump-inducing atmosphere.
One name continually stands out each week, though, and that is Luke Hull. The head of production design on Andor has created incredible settings and brought so much detail to every scene throughout the course of the TV series, but this huge set piece is the pinnacle of his work so far.
We’ve been treated to so many amazing Star Wars scenes in Andor already, from the heist on Aldhani in Andor episode 6 to the incredible escape from Narkina 5, but this finale beats the lot. At times, it’s just as exciting as the very best thriller series out there, but where the episode and indeed the show as a whole has triumphed the most is in its emotional moments.
From the heartbreaking reaction of the Star Wars droid B2EMO in losing its owner, to Cassian being told Maarva wanted him to know “I love him more than anything he could ever do wrong,” there are some incredibly tender moments in this week’s episode. The pièce de résistance, though, comes in the form of a stirring speech from beyond the grave, as Maarva’s hologram tells the people of Ferrix to “wake up early and fight the bastards.”
In the Star Wars movies, we’ve seen plenty of moments that you can class as integral turning points in the fight against evil in the galaxy. This rally cry from Maarva has to be up there as one of the most pivotal of all; a speech which inspires the masses, gives Cassian the bravery to do the right thing, and which alters Luthen Rael’s plan for the Rebellion entirely.
The episode hinges on the effectiveness of the funeral and the ensuing riot, but once again the team behind the camera and in the editing suite have put together a seamless sequence which doesn’t lose focus for one second. The blocking of the chaos is impeccable, and even with so much going on, the action is easy-to-follow and absolutely riveting.
There are essentially two ways to handle a story – you can either show the audience what’s coming and let them sweat it out while the characters go down their predetermined paths, or you can keep things mysterious and surprise the audience. Andor somehow does both perfectly. We know that things are going to get messy on Ferrix, we know that Cassian doesn’t die, and we know that the ISB are probably going to get their comeuppance, but the manner in which it all plays out is beyond anything I could have imagined.
The bubbling tension at the heart of the episode eventually erupts in spectacular fashion, and when that tempo picks up you’re very likely to find yourself cheering at the television screen, heart pounding, and hairs standing on end. It’s a truly special end to a very special piece of the Star Wars universe and one which not only wraps up the season exactly how we had hoped, but also sets the stage nicely for Andor season 2.
Now if that could just hurry up and drop, we’d be very happy. We have a feeling it will be worth the wait, however long that may be. Until then, check out our guide to Mon Mothma or Luthen Rael’s ship for more from Andor. Or, dive into the deeper Star Wars lore with our guide to the Jedi and the Sith.
Andor episode 12 review
The perfect end to an incredible Star Wars series. Get ready to jump and shout and cry for an hour as a beautiful chaos unfolds.