Andor S1E11: Daughter of Ferrix

The writing on Andor is tight enough that you can never say that an episode is “wasted” or treading water. Things advance in each one, some more coherently and compellingly than others. But I think “Daughter of Ferrix” feels like the most “filler” of the twelve episodes in the first season.

The heavy sense of surveillance pervades this episode—when Maarva’s death is revealed, we discover that Cinta is staking the house out for the Luthen’s rebels along with an ISB plainclothes officer from the same bar. Syril’s mother is listening in on his phone call when the former Sergeant Mosk calls to let him know about Maarva’s death and that Cassian might return for the funeral. Luthen and Kleya talk in code about buyers when she relays the information to him. Cassian himself tries to prevent Xan from repeatedly saying his name on a call. And, of course, in one of the episode’s best scenes, Saw Gerrera accuses Luthen of having spies planted everywhere, including within the Partisans themselves.

Even when we’re introduced to Maarva’s death and the activity surrounding it, we’re not included in the action, we’re overhearing it, observing instead B2EMO’s quavering eye camera (a glass mug with liquid in it shaking on his head suggesting the droid’s eye welling with tears) as he listens to the Daughters of Ferrix and Brasso talk about what might be done.

For being the central plot point of the episode, I’m still conflicted by the way Maarva’s death is presented. Knowing how it resolves in the next episode is a good balm, and I wouldn’t want an actor of Fiona Shaw’s caliber to have to labor through a prolonged death scene. But the first time through it seemed unreal that you would kill a character like that off-screen, that the last vision of Maarva Andor we got was the episode Bix was arrested in.

I’ve proposed elsewhere that, beginning in Episode 4 “Aldhani,” Andor ceases to be a story in which Cassian is the actual protagonist, but rather that at that point he exists largely to aide and move along other characters’ stories and goals, and in “Daughter of Ferrix” he feels very much like an afterthought, even if the first scene we get is him and Melshi clinging to a cliff while an Imperial patrol flies overhead. His plot is insubstantial: he and Melshi encounter a couple of sympathetic anti-Imperial aliens on Narkina 5 that take them to Niamos, Cassian regains his stash, calls and learns of Maarva’s death from Xan, and then splits up from Melshi.

Point of fact, this episode is most memorable for its Luthen scenes. There’s the aforementioned conflict with Saw, where Luthen, armed with Lonni’s information, has to talk him down from participating in the Spellhaus raid he was trying to get Saw to join earlier in the show. Saw, in his paranoia, is able to suss out that Luthen has a mole in the ISB and that he is sacrificing Kreegyr’s fifty rebels for to protect them. Consistent with his monologue from the previous episode, Luthen rebuffs Saw’s attempt to place his decision as a moral one “for the greater good” leading to Saw simply determining it to be “war.” 

More fun, however, is Luthen’s run-in with an Imperial Arrestor cruiser over Segra Milo, where he reveals the Fondor Haulcraft has tracking beam countermeasures and also two light-saber esque beam weapons that he uses to quickly dispatch the TIE wing sent after him. It’s a great, fist-pumping scene, but it also seems a little out of a different Star Wars show—if this had occurred in the third episode, let’s say, we’d see a consequence for it occurring in the seventh episode. Here in the 11th, he seems to simply disable the cruiser, destroy the TIE air wing, and escape, in a particularly flashy derring-do engagement that’s a little at odds with a person who won’t even meet with Vel for fear of being discovered. Maybe there’ll be a price to pay in season two, but somehow I doubt it.

Because this is a table-setting episode, in a very concise way almost all the characters are being drawn to Ferrix—Luthen and Vel to assassinate Cassian, Dedra and the ISB to catch him, Syril and Mosk to perform some sort of citizens’ arrest and redeem themselves, and, of course, Cassian himself, for the grand finale of the season.

Stray Observations

  • A lovely piece of worldbuilding: the dead are “bricked,” that is their ashes are made into a brick. “And then they find you a wall.”
  • Luthen’s met Anto Kreegyr, he’s even been in a room with Anto Kreegyr. But Anto Kreegyr doesn’t know that.
  • Luthen buzzes the bridge of the Arrestor cruiser, which is a callback to every time they’ve done that in Star Wars, starting with the Millennium Falcon’s. 
  • Worth noting, the “Cantwell-class Arrestor cruiser” is both in its name and design, a reference to original Star Wars artist Colin Cantwell, whose original “Sith Carrier” design bears a striking resemblance to the Arrestor. Nothing about the Sith Carrier was preserved except for the front dish weapon which became the Death Star’s main cannon.
  • Vel is horrified to discover that Mon’s daughter Lieda is part of a fundamentalist Chandrilan religious group, but Mon explains that Lieda herself found it. And, in classic immigrant/expatriate style, the Chandrilans on Coruscant are more dogmatic than those on Chandrila itself. It adds a bit of depth to Mon’s decision to sell Lieda’s betrothal to escape the financial trouble she’s in—in some ways, this is what Lieda wants, an old-fashioned “traditional” marriage like her parents’, even if her parents don’t (Mon observes that Perrin is also rather hostile to the concept).
  • Bix is heavily traumatized from her sessions, but the same ISB plainclothes officer pulls her into a room to identify Anto Kreegyr as Axis. I think we’re supposed to intuit from Bix’s shuddering that she’s able to manage one last bit of defiance and falsely ID Kreegyr, but it’s a little hard to say, and the ISB officer’s reaction is fairly ambiguous as well.
  • When Vel shows up to confront Kleya, Kleya’s face reminds me of Jason Isaacs’ iconic line from Death of Stalin: “I am smiling, but I am very fucking furious.”
  • The Imperial Prefect on Ferrix is absolutely pissed that Dedra orders him to allow Maarva’s funeral to proceed.