After a heist and a prison break, it is time for Andor to circle the star wagons of its main cast. Episode 11 of the latest Star Wars streaming series on Disney+ sets almost every character on a collision course, and one of the show’s first major character losses is the catalyst.
Cassian (Diego Luna) is free once again, and he makes a call to Ferrix to try and get a message to Maarva (Fiona Shaw). He wants her to know that she’d be proud of what he’s just done. He gets some unexpected news instead, and the seas of Niamos don’t look like they provide him much comfort.
***WARNING: From this point forward, there will be spoilers for Episode 11 of Andor. If you have not watched yet, break that tractor beam and fly off to do so.***
The title of the episode (“Daughter of Ferrix”) certainly refers to Maarva, a rebel to the end, who has finally passed. We don’t see her die, we hear about it at the same time as her droid, B2-EMO. We watch and listen to B2 as he tries to process grief.
The passing of Maarva provides Agent Dedra Meero (Denise Gough) with the perfect opportunity to trap Cassian Andor and hopefully ensnare “Axis” in the process. The Empire is ready to deny the people of Ferrix their usual funeral rites, but she tells them to let them proceed. She would rather have the funeral be a trap. Cassian himself (after escaping Narkina 5) is probably headed right into it. After recovering his hidden property on Niamos, he splits up with Melshi (Duncan Pow) to do what he needs to do.
He has no real idea that he’s become an obsession for so many characters. He’s about to find out.
The ISB has eyes on everything and everyone on Ferrix. Cinta Kaz (Varda Sethu) is there too, and she’ll soon be joined by Vel (Faye Marsay) who we feel has just been waiting for a reason to leave Coruscant. She gets a talking to about protocols from Kleya (Elizabeth Dulau) and catches up with Mon Mothma (Genevieve O’Reilly) about that side of the story before she heads off.
It doesn’t look like Mon Mothma is headed for Ferrix, but her situation is dire. It is only a matter of time before the Empire discovers her true nature, and marrying her daughter off might not stave off all of her banking problems. Let’s not forget that stalker/loser/moron Syril Karn (Kyle Soller) has also just heard about Maarva, and is headed to Ferrix too. He was sure to loot his mother’s safe before screwing off.
The actual “Axis” is Luthen Rael (Stellan Skarsgård) and wouldn’t you know it? He’s probably headed to Ferrix as well after talking in art collector code with Kleya. This comes after he has an incredibly weighty scene with Saw Gerrera (Forest Whitaker), which is completely different from any Saw scene we’ve seen in Star Wars thus far.
Saw is reliably a character who makes everyone else (the audience included) question serious moral issues. Is he too extreme, or does he have a point? Does he have to do what he does? We’re used to that, and we love that. In this episode, Saw himself is the one doing the questioning, because Luthen’s actions are almost too dark for him to handle. Meero letting things proceed normally on Ferrix is very similar to what Luthen is doing with the Spellhaus plan; as he said in the previous episode, Luthen is using the tools of the enemy.
When Saw Gerrera looks uncomfortable with someone's plot, then we’ve officially gone to a whole new place. Luthen recruited him to help Anto Kreegyr with the Spellhaus raid, but that was before the ISB was made aware of it. Since then, Luthen has decided to sacrifice Kreegyr’s entire cell in order to keep his embedded ISB turncoat. He’s willing to lose Kreegyr, but Saw is too valuable. Unlike Kreegyr, he’s also seen Luthen and could potentially give him up if captured. Luthen has to call him off, and to do that, he has to tell him the truth.
He has to do it right as Saw is prepping to join the mission. He’s raring to go, and is struck when he hears the truth of why Luthen no longer wants him to take part in it. The paranoid side of Saw comes out ("Lies! Deceptions!") and he starts to wonder if Luthen has a spy in his own cell. The look on Saw’s face as Luthen lays it all out gradually turns to acceptance. This was a huge risk for Luthen, because who knows what Saw is ever gonna do?
Saw grudgingly accepts this “for the greater good.” Luthen doesn’t care what he calls it, but Saw does. “Let’s call it war,” he says, as another piece of his soul drifts away.
Galactic Points of Interest
-Luthen proves to be a formidable pilot when the Fondor escapes a “Cantwell” class Arrestor Cruiser. This Imperial ship was briefly introduced in Solo: A Star Wars Story, and has a very familiar bridge design. Luthen has possibly made some “special modifications” to the Fondor, as it has hidden countermeasures and a double laser beam cannon that Tony Stark would approve of. The return of TIE Fighters, Imperial ship design, hyperspace lines, and a little space battle was a nice reminder that this is still Star Wars. Not that we’re complaining, this show is incredible.
-The people of Ferrix get “bricked” when they die. Their ashes are mixed with stone and a brick is made with their name on it. The bricks are then used for construction wherever needed. The continuing discoveries of this culture is one of the many highlights in a series that is made of nothing but highlights.
-Bix (Adria Arjona) is still in Imperial custody, and she’s not looking good. We really hope that she murders Dr. Gorst in the most brutal way possible when she breaks free.
-In “Wait, Chandrila sucks?” news of the week, we see Mon Mothma’s daughter Leida partaking in a creepy ritual that sounds like something out of The Handmaid’s Tale. Vel and Mon talk about it; whatever this old custom is, it’s hotter on Coruscant than it is on Chandrila. It’s weird and just… no.
-Cassian and Melshi’s escape from Narkina 5 is an unexpected delight, aside from another hard climb and a TIE Reaper roaming the skies. Two Narkinians turn out to be very nice to them, with delightful speech patterns joining the fun. They let the two escapees use their Quadjumper (a design seen in Star Wars: The Force Awakens) and prove to be a reminder that not every being in the galaxy far, far away has an agenda.
-The nets that they initially trap Cassian and Melshi in look like Shelob has started spinning webs for the people who make Crocs.
-An entire book could be written about B2’s reaction to the loss of Maarva. He acts like a dog who waits patiently for an owner who has died and will never return. His brief scene with Brasso (we're on the Brasso train now) is beautiful.
-Our favorite line of the episode goes to Kleya, responding to Vel measuring sizes about service to Luthen. Vel says, “I gave him Aldhani, what have you done lately?” Kleya’s response: “I don’t have lately. I have always.”
-Maarva Andor would be very proud of Cassian, unlike Eedy Karn, who is never proud of Syril for anything. Why would she be?Maarva might be gone, but there’s every chance that Fiona Shaw could show up again, either in more flashbacks or in a final holo message left for Cassian. Just in case his entire prison experience wasn’t enough, Maarva’s passing might finally make Cassian a rebel for life. Everyone knows the name... it's time for him to show them his game.
Andor streams on Disney+ every Wednesday. Scob the Empire.