‘Star Wars: Andor’ Episode 10 Review: Burning Life to Build a Sunrise

‘Andor’ Episode 9 left us with one unquestionable notion: the men are ready to break out. It’s time to leave this Star Wars prison. Who gets caught in the fire?

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Star Wars: Andor Episode 10 took us on a wild ride. After witnessing the death of their friend and hearing rumors of a pointless massacre on the floor below them, the men in Narkina 5 are ready to leave. They realize the prison has no intention of ever setting them free, which leaves three fates to unfurl before the prisoners: die in the prison, die trying to leave, or survive the escape.

WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD! Haven’t watched Star Wars: Andor Episode 10? Come back when you have! We aren’t going anywhere.

A Message is Born

Star Wars Andor Episode 10 review

Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) has come far from the aloof, unsympathetic man he was in the first few episodes. The fight for money is now the fight for survival. Cassian works with Kino Loy (Andy Serkis) to hatch a plan revolving around hijacking elevators and avoiding electric flooring, but ultimately, the duo makes it to the control center where three timid officers have been ordering hundreds of prisoners. The previous episode sets Kinos up as a defeated, self-serving lead. This episode propels him to be an altruistic leader, inspired by Cassian Andor himself.

Star Wars Andor Episode 10 review

Cassian is the force pushing others to move. He pushes Kinos, who then announces to everyone from the command center to rile toward escape. He repeats the very words Cassian tells him:

I’d rather die trying to take them down than die giving them what they want.”

Cassian Andor

We know this sentiment resonates deeply within Cassian because this is exactly what he does in Rogue One.

Star Wars Andor Episode 10 review

Andor is an amazing series, for numerous reasons, but this particular moment shines. This is the ideology Cassian dies by in Rogue One. We have the opportunity to see how this creed manifests itself in Cassian, many years prior to the events on Scarif. There, Cassian knows he is going to suffer no matter what, but rather than dying pointlessly by the Empire’s hand, he dies after stealing the plans for the Death Star.

Secret Insurgent

Star Wars Andor Episode 10 review

While many are focused on the prison break, a huge secret is also revealed in this episode of Andor. There was a lot of speculation that IBS officer Dedra Meero is secretly a rebel feeding information to Luthen Rael. Episode 10 shatters that hypothesis and instead exposes shining and trusted, minor IBS officer Lonni Jung as the spy.

This isn’t our traditional secret agent operation. As audience members learn Lonni is the spy, it’s not a glamorous display of courage. Lonni sweats and trembles as he meekly asks for a way out of his convoluted position. He no longer wants to help the rebels and asks Luthen instead what he sacrificed, which leads to an incredible monologue about what the rebellion means to Luthen.

Luthen’s Monologue:

Calm. Kindness. Kinship. Love. I’ve given up all chance at inner peace. I’ve made my mind a sunless space. I share my dreams with ghosts. I wake up every day to an equation I wrote fifteen years ago from which there’s only one conclusion, I’m damned for what I do. My anger, my ego, my unwillingness to yield, my eagerness to fight, they’ve set me on a path from which there is no escape. I yearned to be a savior against injustice without contemplating the cost and by the time I looked down there was no longer any ground beneath my feet.

What is my sacrifice?

I’m condemned to use the tools of my enemy to defeat them. I burn my decency for someone else’s future. I burn my life to make a sunrise that I know I’ll never see. And the ego that started this fight will never have a mirror or an audience or the light of gratitude.”

Luthen to Lonni

Andor refuses to shy away from what it takes to pick at a giant wall of oppression. Each character in the sprawl of the world of Andor is vastly different, yet each makes their own sacrifices for the rebellion. Vel and Cinta give up their proximity to one another in order to fight. Lonni cedes his family and his ability to be near his daughter. Luthen clearly outlines his internal battle that is fueled by the insurgency. And for Kino Loy, he gives his life.


Star Wars Andor Episode 10 review

Andy Serkis gives a breathtaking performance as Kino Loy. We watch as he transforms from a hopeless prisoner to the man in the control room, urging others to fight back.

Yet all of his work amounts to nothing. As the men escape their cells and find the edge of the prison surrounded by a vast body of water, Kino hesitates.

He can’t swim.

Before Cassian can suggest an alternate escape for his dear friend, Cassian is pushed over the edge and that is the last we see Kino Loy.

In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter, actor Andy Serkis talks about how Kino had trouble leading, knowing at his core that he would never be able to swim with the others to freedom. He says:

Yeah, absolutely. And that’s exactly why I wanted him to have been from a place of integrity prior to being in prison, and that the Empire — in all its cruelty and desensitization and its way of holding people down and divide and rule — has just knocked it out of him. But then in [episode 10], he finds that desire to act on behalf of others again, to serve others, to enable others to find their freedom, even though he knows ultimately it’s not going to happen for him. So it really was a wonderful arc. It was a wonderful journey that I was able to go on with all that.”

Andy Serkis, The Hollywood Reporter

For many, we understand that scene as Kino Loy’s death. When asked about it, Serkis responds:

That’s an interesting one. Who knows?

Andy Serkis, The Hollywood Reporter

The Tone in Andor

Star Wars Andor Episode 10 review

In any other Star Wars series, if you don’t see the literal death, that’s almost a guarantee that that character will return in another way. Star Wars loves to feature recognizable characters. However, Andor is different. We have yet to see any largely known cameos from other huge Star Wars series.

The tone is different in Andor. Just because we don’t see Kino Loy’s gruesome death, doesn’t mean he will beat the odds. I personally prefer his admittance as his defeat. His expression and the score say it all. He knows, despite beating this system, he was not able to beat the personal obstacles set up against himself. I wouldn’t be upset if he reappeared in Andor, but I’m okay with saying goodbye.

Final Thoughts

Overall, this episode was a fantastic payoff and all of the shocking reveals urge a season rewatch. This episode had amazing performances from both Andy Serkis and Stellan Skarsgård. This episode mirrors episode six in the amount of tension, but heightens the viewing experience through the emotional performances displayed. Stunning monologues written by Beau Willimon moved me, evoking powerful imagery about the fundamentals of motivation.

Missed episode nine’s review? Read it here.

Be sure to keep an eye out next week for the newest episode of Andor airing on Disney+ on Wednesdays.