Instead of fighting the Empire, two StarWars.com writers join the fray against each other to debate the best episode from the first season.
One of the great things about Star Wars is that it inspires endless debates and opinions on a wide array of topics. Best bounty hunter? Most powerful Jedi? Does Salacious Crumb have the best haircut in the saga? In that spirit, StarWars.com presents From a Certain Point of View: a series of point-counterpoints on some of the biggest -- and most fun -- Star Wars issues. With all of Season 1 of Andor now streaming on Disney+, two StarWars.com writers choose their fighter for favorite episode in the captivating new series.
The tension, and pay off, of Episode 10, “One Way Out,” made for not just some of the year’s best Star Wars, but TV in general, says Carlos.
The first season of Andor tells a carefully crafted story, a dozen episodes that perfectly come together to sketch out the beginnings of the rebellion. Whether from the bottom-up (via Cassian’s story) or from the top-down (via Mon Mothma’s and Luthen’s), the series tells an intricate and deeply political narrative of sacrifice, love, loyalty, and the final gasps of a democracy. With such a rich and engaging selection of episodes it was difficult choosing a favorite hour; Andor manages a rare feat for any series, irrespective of genre or format, in that it had not one weak entry in the entire season. However, of all 12 episodes, the one that cut deepest, and has stayed on the forefront of my mind, was episode 10: “One Way Out.”
From now on, the words, “I can’t swim,” will be singed into our collective memories. Andy Serkis’ final line delivered one of the most heart wrenching moments in Star Wars to date. Yes, Cassian (and Melshi) successfully escape the Empire’s prison on Narkina 5, but it cost them -- and those of us watching from home -- dearly.
For an episode filled with intense action, powerful speeches, and memorable resolutions, the moment that I have thought most about -- and the tipping point to making this my favorite hour -- was the meeting in Mon Mothma’s apartment.
In order to ensure that she can access her family’s fortune, and continue to siphon money to the rebellion, Mon requires a creative solution to work around the Empire’s newly-enacted banking regulations. Enter, Davo Sculdun -- a Chandrilan businessman with a less-than-reputable background. He offers Mon his assistance and in return, he asks not for money or political influence; he simply wants an introduction for his son to Mon’s daughter. Mon is visibly outraged. Just how far is Mon willing to go for the greater good of the galaxy? How much is she actually willing to sacrifice?
Episode 10 works as well as it does because it provides an emotional end to Cassian’s imprisonment and because it is emblematic of one of the key messages that Andor is telling: fighting for what is just is not easy, and it can -- and often does -- take everything away from you. As Luthen ferociously responds when asked what sacrifices he has made for the rebellion: “Calm, kindness, kinship, love -- I’ve given up all chance at inner peace.” And this episode, and the show’s overall message, is made even more poignant when you remember how Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (and Cassian’s journey) inevitably ends.
Episode 10 was a masterpiece, but nothing compares to the climactic release of the season finale, “Rix Road,” says Kristin.
It’s difficult to choose a favorite episode in a tense season filled with outstanding moments and character arcs, and “One Way Out” is certainly among my top picks as well. But Maarva Andor’s holo speech and the ensuing riot on Ferrix that brings this season to a close in episode 12, “Rix Road,” has my vote.
Everything has been leading to this moment, when Ferrix comes full circle from the community we first visited in the premiere episode and Cassian decides to fully commit himself to the cause or sacrifice himself.
With far more than the 40 people the Imperials allotted for the ceremony, Maarva’s funeral starts soft and slow, a plodding procession punctuated by a mournful dirge. The first murmurs from the crowd are a chant: “Stone and sky. Stone and sky. Stone and sky!”
And as the Imperials grow more and more anxious, losing control of the situation with every passing moment, B2EMO broadcasts Maarva’s holo message for all to see.
How much of B2EMO’s limited power was needed to beam that final rallying cry to the people of Ferrix? How much of Maarva’s waning energy was spent recording a message for a crowd she would never live to see? Everything about this beautifully executed moment punctuates something Andor has been saying all along: We may feel small and insignificant. We may, at times, lose hope and energy. But together, we are strong enough to make a difference.
There’s relief in the release as Maarva’s final words -- “Fight the Empire!” -- touches off an all-out rebel revolt. That tension that’s been building all season as the Imperials clamp down on more and more systems finally gets to let off some steam. And instead of being laid to rest, Maarva’s funerary brick becomes a weapon, wielded against the very regime that once made her too fearful to walk down Rix Road.
Which episode is your favorite? Tweet us your response @StarWars!
And watch all episodes of Andor Season 1, now streaming on Disney+!