Both literally and figuratively explosive, “Rix Road” is a near-perfect swansong for the best bit of Star Wars storytelling in decades.
This recap of Andor season 1, episode 12, “Rix Road”, contains spoilers, including an open discussion of Andor Season 1’s ending.
It’s the monologues, isn’t it?
The job of great writing is to be sneaky. You’re not supposed to really notice it. Great dialogue sounds like it’s spilling out of a real character’s mouth; like it’s something you or I might say. Great plotting keeps the focus on the right hand so you can’t see what the left is doing. It makes developments feel naturalistic, sprung out of organic conflict and dramatic impetus. You’re not supposed to be able to see the seams, to hear the pencil scraping – or, these days, the keyboard clacking – behind each word.
Monologues are a bit different. They’re showy, stagey examples of performative language. In the context of a narrative drama instead of, say, a play, they’re technically not being addressed directly to the audience, but that’s always the impression anyway. When Luthen spoke about the sacrifices required for rebellion in Episode 10, it was framed in a way that made us feel as though he was addressing us. The writing is for our benefit. We’re supposed to notice it.
Andor season 1 ending explained
In “Rix Road”, the Andor Season 1 finale, Nemik’s manifesto rings in Cassian’s ears. It’s a beautiful speech because it’s inspiring in an atypical way. Rebel action is always about uniting, and revolting against oppressors in solidarity. But Nemik’s viewpoint is couched in the idea that tyranny is an aberration in the first place. It strains and destroys itself because it’s predicated on fear and requires constant effort to sustain. The center cannot hold. Is there anything more inspiring than the idea that the natural order won’t allow for authoritarianism? That rebellion isn’t just justified and necessary, but evolutionarily vital?
There’s another big speech in “Rix Road”, and it’s given by a hologram of Cassian’s adoptive mother Maarva, who eulogizes herself at her funeral and stirs the enormous attending crowd into a frenzy. It’s very much the same sentiment that Cassian himself expressed to Kino when they escaped from Narkina-5 in Episode 10, but the fact it’s coming from this kindly older lady, who has already lost her life in the fight, gives it additional power. It’s revolution as a human imperative, not, as we see with Luthen, as a moral conundrum. The much-talked-about Spellhaus mission, which results in the deaths of thirty rebels, including Anto Kreegyr, occurs off-screen. This finale has no time for that. Its focus remains entirely on Ferrix.
As Episode 11 made clear, everything was building towards this moment, which is why Luthen himself, along with Vel and Cinta, Meero and Karn, are all present for it. Despite a brief diversion to Mon Mothma, who seems to be trying to pin her worrisome financial activity on Perrin’s gambling habit in full earshot of her snooping chauffeur and has, by the end of the episode, decided to marry Leida off to Davo Sculdun’s son, “Rix Road” is totally focused on the spark of rebellion that sets off a homemade pipe bomb tossed by a young man named Wilmon Paak.
In the heat of the explosion and the flurry of kicks and punches, in the united chanting and the brass band, there is more political animus than anywhere else in Star Wars. The fact that Andor believes what it’s saying is, I think, what has elevated it above the high-quality but ultimately facile nostalgia bait of the Disney era. It feels real because despite being set a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, it is built on human hopes, fears, impulses, and spirit. What remains of Bix, who is freed by Cassian in the confusion, along with Brasso, B2EMO, Jezzi, and Wilmon, all escape Ferrix. Dedra survives thanks to her odd stalker Syril, but gets to see first-hand how powerless she is amidst the teeming mob of the oppressed. And Cassian sneaks aboard Luthen’s ship to give him a simple option: “Kill me, or take me in.”
We know which he’ll choose. And we know why.
In a final post-credits sequence, we learn what the prisoners were building on Narkina-5 – the Death Star’s super-laser, the assembly of which looks eerily similar to Andor’s credits sequence.
You can stream Andor season 1, episode 12, “Rix Road” exclusively on Disney+. What did you think of the Andor season 1 ending? Let us know in the comments.