Episodes eight to ten of Andor center on a common theme: everyone is trapped in a literal or metaphorical prison. In this episode of Hyperspace Theories, Tricia Barr and B.J. Priester discuss how writer Beau Willimon used this theme as the keystone for all of the characters in this story arc.
Cassian, of course, spends this arc in the Narkina 5 prison facility, where the Empire uses convict labor in a prison-industrial complex to produce countless components necessary for the military-industrial complex necessary to sustain its galactic tyranny. Kino Loy, played by the amazing Andy Serkis, is both a literal inmate and a metaphorical prisoner of the gamified labor regime within the facility. Others play along too, at least until they realize the game is rigged and they can never “win” their freedom.
Beyond Narkina 5, the theme pervades the other characters’ stories, too. On Ferrix, we see the ways Bix, Paak, Brasso, and Maarva suffer under Imperial occupation. On Coruscant, Syril thinks his connection with Dedra and the ISB are his ticket upward, only to discover how trapped he remains. Dedra perceives her upward trajectory continuing, but she remains bound within an ISB mindset. Elsewhere on the capital planet, Mon Mothma confronts the reality of her seemingly inescapable personal situation, including a demand for a terrible family sacrifice, and her newly revealed cousin Vel faces a similar personal toll. Luthen Rael, the “axis” of the burgeoning rebellion, struggles to unite the disparate factions of the incipient Rebellion, personified in Saw Gerrera’s certainty that he is the only one with clarity of purpose. Despite his machinations and his successful Aldhani heist, Luthen admits that he is trapped by the obligations and burdens of his unbreakable commitment to sacrifice everything for the Rebellion.
Cassian, at least, ends the arc by escaping the prison and swimming to shore. Whether any of the other characters can break free of their confinement remains to be seen.
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