By Josh Reilly B.
Andor episode ten, titled Only One Way Out, is now streaming on Disney+. The series thus far has garnered rave reviews from critics and fans for its character focused approach and the very deliberate, purposeful writing.
Episode ten follows up on the end of the last outing, where Andy Serkis’ Kino Loy appeared to be joining the group of prisoners planning on escaping. After a little bit more convincing this week, Loy is all in as this arc of Andor comes to a close.
Kino Loy is the highlight of this new episode, particularly when factoring in his arc across the past few weeks. He went from being someone who was resigned to the Empire’s regime to a full blown rebel, and this character development follows up excellently on the theme of rebellion all across Andor. This theme is seen even in more nuanced, less obvious ways, such as Mon Mothma resisting the deal to set her fourteen year old daughter up with a boy her age for an arranged marriage, another scene in this episode.
In that sequence, Mothma is putting her foot down against her planet’s old world culture. In Cassian’s prison, Diego Luna’s character is standing up to the Empire. He’s obviously self motivated and wants to get out of prison as quickly as possible, but he’s more selfless here than he was on the Aldhani mission. He’s looking after his fellow inmates and trying to protect them, and looked worried and anxious after Kino Loy told him that he can’t swim. Cassian isn’t quite the Rebel hero that he was in Rogue One, but he’s closer than ever before.
The acting continues to be a strong point for Andor. Diego Luna shines as Cassian once again and has truly gone from strength to strength throughout the season. Luna just keeps getting better and episode ten is his best performance as Cassian Andor to date. Andy Serkis is the other real highlight here, adding so much emotional weight to his character and marking a fine new addition to the franchise. It’s also refreshing to see Serkis in a role that doesn’t cover up his face or require motion capture or CGI (not that there’s anything wrong with those techniques), as it allows him to truly act as himself. On full display here, Serkis is incredibly impressive.
There are now only two episodes left of Andor season one, with the second and final season slated to go into production later this month in the U.K. The prison arc is now completed and showrunner Tony Gilroy previously stated that episodes eleven and twelve would also serve as their own mini story. It seems a real possibility that he’s fully committed to the Rebel cause by the time this season ends.
More broadly, Andor’s arc structure has proven to be an incredibly refreshing storytelling technique for the franchise. This has essentially allowed long form, movie length stories to be told within in a television format. This was previously done in The Clone Wars and Rebels to great effect, but the arc structure’s debut in live action is proving to be an excellent decision for this new series. That being said, Andor certainly doesn’t shy away from the fact that it is a TV series and instead embraces the format, something that is refreshing for a Disney+ series.
Andor’s tenth episode is another fantastic achievement in the Star Wars galaxy. The writing is excellent, the acting is exquisite, and one of the few negatives is that there’s only two episodes left this season. Despite being a prequel about a character who audiences already know dies, Andor has incredibly high stakes and feels raw and real.