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Why Nemik's Instruction To Climb Was A Heart-Wrenching Andor Callback To Rogue One

This week's "Andor" episode bears tragic and dazzling scars, those twin wounds which cut deep into all the greatest "Star Wars" tales — victory and death. After strenuous and exhaustive planning, Vel's crew is as prepared as they'll ever be to enact their rebellious heist on Aldhani. The prize, of course, is the entire quarterly payroll of an Imperial sector — roughly 80 million credits, as Skeen ominously points out in the episode's gutting final moments.

In the tradition of the heist genre (wherein "Andor's" predecessor, "Rogue One" fits quite nicely), the audience knows that even the most meticulous plan will be for naught — tension suffocates the atmosphere at every possibility for Cassian Andor's failure. As with his debut adventure, Cassian's team suffers heavy losses in their struggle to ignite a galactic rebellion, including that of audience favorite Karis Nemik. After suffering the full force of a crate of Imperial credits (flung at him by their getaway ship's inertia), he succumbs to his injuries.

As viewers mourn his death and Cassian's exit from the fledgling Rebel Alliance, they have noticed a running motif that first occurred in "Rogue One" — a single word that connects two of Cassian's closest Rebel allies.

Nemik and K-2SO's final moments

Delirious from pain and medication (it's not unlikely that the "med-spike" is largely made up of adrenaline and painkillers), Nemik uses his final moments to navigate Cassian out of "The Eye," a gorgeously rendered meteorological and astronomical phenomenon. Urging Cassian to drive the shift upwards into an ongoing meteor shower, Nemik screams, "Climb!" as Skeen and Vel cradle him.

The moment tragically mirrors the death of K-2SO (voiced by Alan Tudyk) in "Rogue One," which was written in part by "Andor" showrunner Tony Gilroy. As Cassian and Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) are attempting to retrieve the schematics for the Empire's Death Star weapon, K-2SO is shot in the back by incoming Stormtroopers. Unable to retrieve the plans remotely, the droid tells them to physically scale the data tower themselves — in his last moments, he shouts, "Climb!" @iriziaralanii on Twitter noticed the connection and compiled both clips for their followers.

Arguably, the singular line and the returning desperation to "climb" even in one's final moments are indicative of both projects' themes of struggling against institutional oppression. As Skeen says to Cassian Andor before dying, "We were born in the hole, all we know is climbing over somebody else to get out."