*Warning: the following article contains spoilers for episode nine of Andor*
Repeat after me: Star Wars Prison Break. Star Wars Prison Break!!!!!! Star. Wars. Prison. Break!!!!!! After Star Wars Mission: Impossible in the Aldhani heist, Andor‘s ninth episode sets up an elaborate prison break, and it’s bound to be exciting. The best part of the episode was how we saw Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) build trust with Kino Loy (Andy Serkis), who is close to the end of his sentence.
Loy believes that if he and his division comply with the Empire’s requests, they will not get in trouble, and everything will be just fine. However, a rumor that the Empire killed the entire Level 2 to cover up for a small mistake puts everyone on high alert, and Loy questions his loyalty. He knows that Andor and the rest of the division is looking to escape, and a brief scene sees our protagonist trying to cut off something near one of its bathrooms, but he prefers to ignore it as he doesn’t want to get in trouble. Andor asks him how many guards are on each level, but
In one of the episode’s most riveting dialogue scenes, Loy tells Andor to leave his ideas of escaping out of his head, as it will only bring him trouble. And yet, during its final moments, when Ulaf (Christopher Fairbank) is euthanized after having a stroke, Loy realizes that he will never get out of the prison. A doctor tells them that the rumor they’ve heard is indeed true, which brings Kino to Andor’s side. Andor asks, “How many guards on each level?” Kino responds: “Never more than twelve.” The “let’s gooooooo!!!” I yelled in front of the TV very, very loud. But that is how you set up another excellent action set-piece from Andor.
Tony Gilroy deliberately takes his time to introduce characters the audience will immediately attach themselves to, before thwarting them in a death-defying, almost impossible-to-complete mission. And if the Narkina prison break will be just as good (if not better) than the Aldhani heist, we are in for one heck of a treat. Andor has had some of the most spectacular Star Wars action set-pieces I’ve ever seen due to Gilroy’s commitment to practicality in every conceivable way. As a result, the CGI never looks fake, and every aspect of its new and exciting worlds feel lived in and detailed, compared to The Volume-laden works of The Mandalorian and Obi-Wan Kenobi.
It gives me great joy to think that the next episode will be its elaborate prison break because, after three slow (and deliberately paced) episodes, Andor needs to pick it up. Many redundant sequences, unfortunately, falter the episode and don’t add much to what we already know about the characters. Oh, Mon Mothma (Genevieve O’Reilly) fears for her life again? We absolutely didn’t know that at all! The only relevant (new) piece of information revealed in this episode is Vel Sartha (Faye Marsay) being Mothma’s cousin! That’s pretty exciting, especially because she is also working for Luthen Rael (Stellan Skarsgård), looking for Andor. Hopefully, these pieces will come through into something genuinely thrilling because this episode lost its steam whenever it focused away from the situation on Narkina 5 and repeated the same storylines with Mon Mothma and Syril Karn (Kyle Soller).
I love Syril Karn–he’s one of the complete antagonists we’ve gotten in Star Wars in quite some time, and Kyle Soller portrays him brilliantly. Again, the chemistry he shares with Dedra Meero (Denise Gough) is riveting, and something is rummaging in the back of his head that will likely be revealed in future episodes, poised to bring him (and everyone else around him) a tremendous amount of pain. But Soller is so amazing to watch on screen that it’s almost a shame that the show sidelined him since the fourth episode and brought him back with his mother (Kathryn Hunter). But I know something is coming, and I hope it will be a full circle moment for his arc instead of re-treading the same beat from the fourth episode to the ninth.
Even with a flawed episode, Andor still manages to get me excited for next week. Star Wars Prison Break will be one of the most incredible things we’ll see in Star Wars in quite some time, and that has me buzzed beyond belief. I’ve said it once but will repeat it: the only thing Star Wars needed to do was to focus on the characters and remove all unnecessary cameos from the story. Andor is great, and even with minor flaws, it still soars as one of the best pieces of media to have come out of Star Wars after Lucasfilm’s acquisition by Disney. Next week’s episode is poised to be spectacular, and my clue tells me that Kino Loy will not survive. Let’s see what happens then.
The ninth episode of Andor is now available to stream on Disney+.