Andor Episode 10, “One Way Out”, may have been the nail in the coffin when it comes to labeling this series as the best written Star Wars property to-date, because thanks to two standout monologues, it’s hard to not consider Andor to be a master class in Star Wars writing and acting.
Please check out our full review below, which also highlights five standout moments from the episode.
The latest episode of Andor, titled, One Way Out, more than solidifies the fact that this series is the best written Star Wars project of all-time, and while some of you may not like its slow burn and lack of traditional Star Wars tropes, its excellence in writing can no longer be denied.
Any fan with eyes and a brain could predict that episode 10 would be tension filled and a nail biter to watch thanks to the build up to the prison break featured in episodes 8 and 9. But no one could have predicted just how emotional this episode would be, because while its plot was predictable, its expertly written hero moments allowed for the predictability to feel fresh and extremely satisfying emotionally.
This episode also confirmed that Andor features some of the most talented cast members to ever grace a Star Wars project.
Once again Andy Serkis stole the show through his brilliant physical abilities while acting through his contorted faces to bring various levels of emotions to the surface in his Kino Loy character. You could feel the gravity of Kino’s realization that all hope of release were lost, and that he was about to kick off a suicide mission in the hopes of freeing as many men as possible from the Empire’s clutches, just from looking at Andy’s expressions.
He then amplifies Kino’s ordeal through some motivational dialogue that was hard not to be inspired by even knowing that you are watching a fictional character on a fictional TV show. Andy’s performance was so intense that at times I found myself wanting to escape my house to run free in my PJs down the street chanting ONE WAY OUT before the neighbors had me sent to the looney bin.
Then to put an exclamation point on this episode’s top tier writing and acting, Stellen Skarsgard treats us to possibly the best monologue to ever be spoken by a Rebel while he chats with the now confirmed double agent Lonni Jung. What stellen did in this scene is award worthy and magical from an acting standpoint. His reply to Jung’s question about sacrifice should be memorized by every freedom fighter on the planet.
That speech offered deeper insights into what it took for every single rebel to take down the Empire than any bit of Star Wars content before it. It showed how much a well to do character like Luthen had to give up for a chance at restoring freedom to the galaxy. You could sense that he sold his soul willingly, but only did so to ensure future generations would no longer have to suffer under the Empire like he and his early conspirators did.
This scene, with hindsight, is a great mirror to Kino’s own actions on Narkina-5 in which he too made a choice to ultimately sacrifice himself so others could see the sun rise, and parallels like that are what make Andor and its finely tuned writing such a joy to behold.
How about some top moments?
Up first, and yes Kino has plenty of top moments to discuss in this episode, but his shining spots started as soon as this episode began with the scene of him and Cassian processing what they just learned and returning to their barracks. It was a joy to watch Andy as Kino in this scene because you could physically see him coming to grips with his new reality and trying to get the strength to fully commit to Cassian’s break out proddings. The pain on his face was palpable, and then he just fully commits and lets everyone know that no one is getting out, and it was time to make their escape.
The next scene of note is the actual beginning of the Unit 52D escape. It was shot perfectly to heighten the feeling of tension, so with every beat you as the viewer are just as anxious as the men waiting to spring their plan into action. The slow roll until Cassian finally takes out the guards with blasters was the ideal way to really get you on the edge of your seat, while also experieing the thrill of the prisoner’s first victory when they make it to the main levels to start unleashing chaos throughout the prison.
Kino’s speech over the Voice of God system is the first of this episode’s two amazing monologues delivered that were hard not to react to emotionally as a human, let alone a fan of Star Wars. From Cassian pushing him to do better to motivate, to the montage of prisoners breaking free while chanting One Way Out, it’s easy to see why this is a perfect Star Wars scene. When a fictional character delivering a speech can elicit real world reactions such as pumping your fist in solidarity and repeating his chants, you know you’ve just experienced a religious Star Wars experience, and if I were under any sort of lockdown, I do think Kino’s speech would have also motivated me to find one way out.
While very sad and depressing, I do have to highlight the horrible moment in this show when you realize that Kino’s journey has ended. Here’s a guy who wanted nothing more than to complete his sentence and do the bidding of the Empire to get there, yet he finally sees the light of day and leads a revolt to better the lives of his friends and prison mates, only to realize that he is already dead because he can’t swim and has no chance of escape. This sacrifice perfectly illustrates the point Luthen made about himself in that those who lead rebellions, tend to lose it all, but in the end, losing everything is worth it to ensure the next generation won’t suffer like you had to.
Finally, the last top moment may very well be the top moment of the series so far, or at least the best monologue ever delivered in Star Wars, and that is the scene between Jung and Luthen. This scene is brilliant on so many levels, starting with how it first portrays Luthen as ice cold and a bully due to his seemingly callous treatment of Jung, but then by the time its over, you ultimately feel for Luthen thanks to everything the rebellion has and will cost him.
The writing in Luthen’s monologue is masterful, so much so I grabbed the transcription from Reddit for you all to read over and over again. It’s similar to something you’d read in a classic novel, or writings that get studied to examine the human condition over certain periods of time. I mean just listen to these lines that Stellen delivered with an award worthy performance.
“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 burn my decency for someone else’s future. I burn my life to make a sunrise that I know I’ll never see.”
I mean come on, that stuff is Star Wars poetry, but more importantly, it is the best description Star Wars fans have ever been given for what it cost the rebels to overthrow the empire. What Luthen is describing is a sacrifice not really explored in the OT with such a detailed first hand explanation. This speech is one that transcends Star Wars and could be said about any rebel movement in the name of freedom and democracy.
It’s moments like this that make Andor special, and while Luthen only spoke words, they were more meaningful in explaining the rebel movement than any battle or suicide mission featured before it.
It’s a chef’s kiss, enough said.
Nick and I will talk more about One Way Out on next week’s episode of the SWTS, so don’t forget to tune into the Star Wars Time Show on a weekly basis via our podcast platforms or via YouTube if you prefer the livestream angle.