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Andor Fans Don't Know Whether To Be Impressed Or Disturbed By Episode 9's Torture Scene

The debut season of Disney's "Andor" series has officially started to wind down, with its ninth episode airing on November 2. And if it's any indicator of how things will end on the hit "Star Wars" show, fans are in for quite a ride. 

For those who didn't see it, Episode 9 features a scene, in particular, that is impressing and disturbing viewers, with some saying it's too much for the galaxy far, far away — while others are blown away by its creativity and ability to portray the true wickedness of the Empire. The scene comes at the start of the ninth entry, titled "Nobody's Listening!" on Disney+. Bix Caleen, played by Adria Arjona, is shown being interrogated and tortured by the Imperial Security Bureau and Denise Gough's character, Dedra Meero. As a way to make her talk, Meero orders an ISB worker to use an audio torture device on Bix that continuously plays the dying screams of children over and over through a pair of headphones. The screams come from an Imperial genocide that took place on the planet Dizon Frey, with the native Dizonites being culled by the Empire during colonization efforts and the construction of a refueling center. The ISB worker torturing Bix gives her a short explanation of how the cruel audio device came to be. 

"The massacre of the Dizonites was broadcast and recorded as proof of mission," the ISB worker says. "They make a sound as they die — a sort of choral, agonized pleading. It's quite unlike anything anyone has ever heard before." According to the worker, a trio of communications officers monitoring the broadcast were later found in various states of emotional distress. He tells Bix: "We've taken the recordings and modified them slightly. Layering, adjusting. And we found a section of what we believe are primarily children, which has its own particular effect." For viewers, it was one of the most intense scenes in "Star Wars" history. 

'The darkest portrayal of the Empire [we've] ever seen'

For most "Andor" fans, seeing the Episode 9 torture scene unfold and hearing about its twisted origin story was like watching the Galactic Empire evolve into something we've rarely seen before — an inherently evil and genocidal superpower. 

"Andor has done the best job at showing how truly awful and evil the empire is," wrote Twitter user @Palletlover. "Them not only committing genocide of an entire planet but then using the audio of the dying screams of the young as a method of torture is horrific," the user said. Redditor u/RubberbandShooter called the Bix scene "the darkest portrayal of the Empire [we've] ever seen," adding: "Idk if there's anything in the EU that surpasses it." Hundreds of Redditors agreed with him. U/Groot746 said: "I've seen a lot of 'why was the Empire actually so bad, anyway?' discussions over the past few years, and this pretty much shows why." Over on Twitter, user @JoeCuciniello tweeted: "As a torture technique that is one of the most messed up things I've ever seen. They really know how to make the empire look so evil at every level in this show." 

On the surface of the audio torture scene, "Andor" fans are led to be disgusted and disturbed by what is happening to Bix. But at no time do we actually hear the screams of the dying Dizonites. The torture is only left to our imaginations, which to some viewers, was an extremely impressive way of legitimizing the Empire's wickedness without actually having to go too far.

'That whole bit was honestly brilliant'

For a lot of "Andor" fans, seeing the Empire utilize such a unique and disturbing form of torture at the start of Episode 9 was a surprising — albeit evil — breath of fresh air from Disney, with many calling the move "impressive" and "brilliant." 

"Ah yes, the literal sound of dying children screaming torture device. You love to see it," joked Redditor u/Skook10. "That whole bit was honestly brilliant," the user said. "The silence as the headphones went on and Bix's face made it so you could almost hear the sounds of, again, literally dying children. Amazing." Redditor u/shaunie_B replied: "The monologue and setting was amazing, it wasn't just some torture device, the story and delivery really made it a scary concept." 

In terms of what makes "Andor" so great in the eyes of "Star Wars" fans, scenes like the audio torture of Bix ultimately help lend a creative hand to what many believe is the best and most nefarious portrayal of the Galactic Empire in "Star Wars" yet. Redditor u/Rare-Faithlessness32 describes it best, saying: "I think this is the first time I've been genuinely disturbed from watching Star Wars. Like I had to pause the episode for a moment to digest it. Not even planets getting lasered, villages getting torched, or younglings getting sliced-n-diced did it, but to hear a guy describing the screams of dying children with a grin on his face like he's describing his favorite hobby really sent a chill down my spine."