“Daughter Of Ferrix” is a weird episode of Andor. The first installment with a script credited toTony Gilroy since the three-part season premiere, it operates as something of an “in case you missed it” catch-up while setting the table not only for next week’s finale but its second and final season too.
Something I’ve admired about Andor since very early on is its unpredictability. Still, I didn’t have the penultimate episode of season one pegged as a stylish recap. There are also bursts of good old-fashioned Star Wars laser violence the show has so far held back on. Honestly, I’m a little torn. On the one hand it’s great to see Andor playing more expansively in the sandbox of George Lucas’ galaxy, and at the same time, this one is by far the lightest episode thematically, philosophically, and morally. But hey, after the streak it’s been on, why can’t Andor have a little fun?
The fun has to wait a hot second, though, because (and this made me shout “that sucks!” at my TV) Maarva Andor has passed away. We haven’t seen Fiona Shaw onscreen since she and Cassian said a heartfelt, but assumedly temporary, goodbye. Now we know that was goodbye for real. Shaw’s Maarva was a brilliant, defiant presence. It’s the kind of small role the right actor can make huge, and she will be missed not only by B2EMO, who is going through it big time this episode, but a fair few of us too, I’m sure.
As a “Daughter Of Ferrix,” tradition holds there would be a ceremonial funeral for her, which ISB is quick to want to shut down before Dedra senses opportunity. After all, what better way to flush out Cassian Andor than his mother’s funeral? Syril, too, gets wind of the elder Andor’s death via a spotty call from his former sergeant. It’s nice to know that even in a universe of split-second interplanetary travel and semi-sentient hologram chess pieces, the folks in Star Wars still can’t get FaceTime to fucking work. “The mystery of your former triumphs have been vanquished,” Syril’s mother hisses at the end of the call she, of course, was eavesdropping on, all but disappearing into the shadows like a Shakespearean witch. God, she’s great.
Of course, for all the ISB’s machinations, they still don’t know where Cassian is. In fact, he’s just escaped the clutches of the Empire with Melshi, combing the sparse Narkina 5 wilderness for an escape. After getting caught in some gooey alien fishing nets, they quickly bond with the wacky alien fishermen over a shared hatred of the Empire, and all four make for Niamos, where Cassian’s stash of credits is still safely tucked away.
Andor’s sudden lack of urgency extends to Mon’s storyline, too. Vel pays a visit (presumably on a break from her spoiled rich girl exploits) and, quite rightly, is weirded out by Mon’s daughter’s affinity for Chandrilan custom and weird, ominous chanting. “You’re not taking engagements?” Vel asks, fully aware of what Chandrilan custom means for young women, and Mon tearfully explains her bind to her cousin. I’m not sure how I feel about this in-episode recap, which delivers literally no new information. We’ve seen the story Mon tells play out completely in the past few episodes, and it’s wasted time in a show that has so far been extremely confident in its viewers’ ability to figure things out for themselves. Back at Saw’s rebel base, Luthen also goes back over the Anto Kreegyr plan in broad strokes, which is fairly dull considering he made many better, more emphatic points just last week. It’s a little interesting seeing him repackage the same information for different audiences—we know he’s a manipulator—but again, there’s nothing new underneath this rehashing.
But hey, if that scene was just a ploy to get Luthen into a space dogfight then...bring it on. I’ve appreciated Andor’s restraint when it comes to the flashier parts of the Star Wars universe but sometimes you’ve gotta just do the fun thing. On his way back to Coruscant, Luthen is intercepted by an Imperial ship and a commanding officer very eager to search Luthen’s Rebel-ass jalopy. After fake credentials don’t work, Luth goes into “fuck it” mode, destroys the Imperial ship’s tractor beam, and takes off. Cue the TIE fighters and their banshee wails of impending doom! Lasers! Explosions! You’ve earned it, Tony Gilroy. A beautiful touch is putting the fight juuuust beyond the atmosphere of a nearby planet, so there’s still a sense of scale and geography most Star Wars space fights don’t bother with. Great stuff.
Back at Niamos, with the hard-working fisher-aliens fast asleep in Cassian’s plush condo bed, Cass retrieves his stuff and says goodbye (for now) to Melshi, who wonders aloud if anyone else from the prison survived the swim. Finally allowing himself to taste the mildest of victories, he calls Xan to assure Maarva he’s fine. It’s a heartbreaking moment for us before it is for Cassian: He’s finally reached peace. He can call home and tell them he made it. Only: Home is gone, and Cassian may never find peace again. He looks out to the Niamos sunset, more trapped and lost than he’s ever been.
- The torture Bix endured has taken a heavy toll, she can barely walk without being propped up. It might not be that kind of show, but I hope to see Diego Luna channel Cassian’s fury when he finds out just what’s become of his home and the people he loves.
- Luthen’s cover story for his ship is that he’s a delivery craft from Alderaan! Only a couple years left for you to use that excuse, Luthen.
- Turns out the prison industrial system on Narkina 5 “killed” the water and the fish. This is the sort of granular trickle-down evil of the Empire that I love Andor for focusing on.
- Haven’t seen the Anvil Hammer Guy™ in a long time! Glad the Empire saw fit to keep him as an integral part of Ferrix’s day-to-day operations.