Our reviewer argues the Andor Season 1 finale dials what’s best about the series up to max volume, but he wonders if it lacks the flash for wider appeal.
The best way to put it? If, like me, you’ve enjoyed Andor so far and celebrated it as the more layered storytelling the Star Wars franchise has been desperate for, then the Season 1 finale will land exactly where it should. But, considering the fandom’s lukewarm response to the series so far, I have my doubts about the hardcore fans agreeing with me.
WARNING: Spoilers follow for the Season 1 finale of Andor.
ANDOR SEASON 1 FINALE REVIEW SCORE:
The Andor Season 1 finale does not erupt into the kind of epic battle on multiple fronts Star Wars fans usually expect from the franchise; including the film Andor acts as a prequel to, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. There’s violence, and plenty of it, but much of the episode is a desperate build up of tension as the funeral for Maarva (Fiona Shaw) approaches and just about all the disparate parties converge on Ferrix. Dedra (Denise Gough) is there in the hopes of capturing the titular hero, Luthen (Stellan Skarsgård) waits for his chance to assassinate Andor, while Syril (Kyle Soller) and his old sergeant Linus (Alex Ferns) arrive with their hopes of using Diego Luna‘s character for their redemption.
The tension finally breaks as Maarva’s final wishes are broadcast to the grieving people of Ferrix, and when it does the Andor season finale shows us something the screen franchise has been lacking since day one: the Rebellion as it exists “on the ground.” We see the Rebellion not in an effects-heavy military encounter or through lightsaber duels, but in the hands of ordinary people fed up and filled with rage. When the fight finally comes, either you will find yourself cheering or you will be asking whether this show is really for you.
There’s no nod-and-wink cameos from other stars in the franchise. The Andor season finale doesn’t see Han Solo and Chewie abruptly jumping into the fray or Hayden Christensen showing up to say a few intimidating things and choke an ISB commander with a thought. In the final episode of Season 1, we see the Rebellion rise and Andor rise with it, but it doesn’t have the John-Williams-theme flair you may want from Star Wars.
With the Andor Season 1 finale here, it may be the perfect time to say that in an unexpected way, Andor may be the franchise’s most important series; not because it’s more “mature” in theme and tone, but because it should remind us of something Star Wars fans in particular–and every fandom in general–needs to hear. Namely, it is okay for a particular project–even one in your favorite franchise–to not be for you, and to let it go without being a hateful bastard.
Andor is spectacular television and gives us a wonderful exploration of a too often forgotten corner of the Star Wars mythos. But what may be even better news is that if you would only watch it because you’re a Star Wars fan, you can live and die a happy life without ever seeing the Andor Season 1 finale, or a single episode for that matter. Your appreciation for something else–for a movie rewatch or the upcoming Season 3 premiere of The Mandalorian for example–will not suffer for missing the people of Ferrix going Medieval on stormtroopers.
There is nothing “essential” in Andor, in other words, in terms of Star Wars continuity. If you don’t think you’ll like it, if you default to despising any and all Star Wars released since George Lucas (willingly, and without any guns to his head) sold the IP to Disney, then rather than give in to the kind of toxicity ScreenRant wrote about in June, it is absolutely okay for even the most staunch completist to just. Not. Watch.
It is long past time we learn to consume entertainment–or to not consume entertainment–with civility. These are imaginary space people. These are imaginary space people.