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The Most Emotional Moments In Andor Season 1 Ranked

At this point, it's no secret that "Andor" is one of the greatest "Star Wars" stories ever put to screen, and arguably the best "Star Wars" TV show ever made. From the gorgeous cinematography and the airtight script to the many powerful performances, it's George Lucas' galaxy like we've never seen it before. And yet, it also manages to feel intimately familiar.

"Andor" pulls a bit harder on the heartstrings than most "Star Wars" stories. It's a grounded series that spends most of its time in the mud, exploring what life under an oppressive fascist space empire would actually look like. "Andor" Season 1 is about radicalization on both sides of the conflict — not exactly light subject matter. So, as you might expect, the show can get pretty heavy and emotional at times.

Fortunately, these moments never feel forced. Season 1 carefully paces itself so that every outburst of emotion rings true. Getting through the whole season dry-eyed is a challenge in itself, but it's well worth the tears to witness the full weight of what Tony Gilroy, Diego Luna, and the rest of the team have created. Ranking these moments might seem like a fool's errand as every viewer's mileage will inevitably vary. However, there is something to be said about the role each of these scenes plays in the larger story and their importance therein. So with that in mind, here are the most powerful and emotional moments in "Andor" Season 1, ranked.

12. Luthen's dramatic monologue

Luthen Rael (Stellan Skarsgård) is many things — a rebel leader, a dealer of rare antiquities, and an all-around enigma. With his strikingly Sith-like black robes and his Swiss army knife of a ship, he oozes cool, while also constantly reminding you that he has no qualms about fighting dirty. At the end of Episode 10 ("One Way Out"), we get the closest thing to a Luthen backstory that Season 1 has to offer. When asked by his mole in the Imperial Security Bureau what he's sacrificed for the rebel cause, Luthen launches into maybe the most memorable monologue in the entire season.

"I've made my mind a sunless space," Luthen says. "I share my dreams with ghosts." It's poetic, powerful, and particularly poignant set against the backdrop of the Narkina 5 prison break. Luthen's monologue is one of the true high points of the entire show, but it doesn't place as high here for a couple of reasons — the main one being that it's clearly a manipulation.

Luthen is an orator, and he wields his words like weapons against everyone he encounters. He needs Lonni (Robert Emms) to keep spying for him, so he says what Lonni needs to hear. Does that mean that the speech is dishonest? Not necessarily. But its juxtaposition with the Narkina 5 action is telling and intentional. Luthen may claim to have sacrificed everything, but he's not the one on the front lines.

11. Nemik's parting gift

In just a few episodes, Karis Nemik (Alex Lawther) makes himself immortal — both in the grand history of the rebellion and in the eyes of fans. His pure-hearted desire for freedom across the galaxy clashes with Cassian Andor's (Luna) own jaded perspective, but the two also find a lot of common ground. Sadly, Nemik dies before they can really get to know each other, but he leaves Cassian a parting gift that keeps his spirit alive.

Before he leaves, Vel (Faye Marsay) tells Cassian that Nemik wanted him to have his manifesto. Despite their connection, Cassian doesn't want it. He tells her as much, but she insists, emphasizing how badly Nemik wanted him to take it. This is a powerful moment by itself, but it takes on even more meaning in the context of the larger story. Cassian is a man who hates the Empire, but who simply doesn't believe that resistance can work. And when he says he doesn't want the manifesto, he's not just rejecting a gift from a dead man. He's rejecting involvement in a cause that he still believes is lost.

Cassian is afraid that taking the book will be one step too many down the path of rebellion. He can feel the inevitability of it, and it scares him. At the end of Season 1, though, we see Cassian taking solace in Nemik's words. The man lives on, and so does the fight.

10. Memories of Clem

Because he was executed shortly after the end of the Clone Wars, Cassian's adoptive father Clem (Gary Beadle) doesn't get a lot of screen time. His partner, Maarva (Fiona Shaw), gets most of the spotlight as Cassian's main parental figure, but the ghost of Clem still looms large. Cassian still carries Clem's blaster as an adult, he uses his name as an alias on Aldhani, and he was arrested after attacking Imperial soldiers following Clem's hanging.

Near the beginning of the Season 1 finale, we get a proper flashback of Cassian and Clem spending time together. In the scene, Clem gives his son some sage advice on the importance of an open mind. "The man who sees everything is more blessed than cursed," Clem says. "People don't look down the way they should. They don't look down, they don't look past the rust. Not us though, eh? Eyes open, possibilities everywhere." Cassian smiles as he recalls the memory, giving us a glimpse at the loving relationship he and Clem had.

In addition to just being a nice father and son moment, this scene adds some interesting context to Cassian's character. His superpower throughout the show is his awareness, and his ability to quickly see the truth in things and people. Learning that this skill was instilled in him by Clem makes their relationship even more impactful. Clearly, Cassian carries his father with him everywhere.

9. Cassian joins the rebellion

Season 1 sticks the landing, albeit in an understated way. After the chaos of Ferrix's rebellion against their Imperial oppressors, Cassian helps Bix (Adria Arjona) get to the ship that's taking Brasso (Joplin Sibtain), Jezzi (Pamela Nomvete), Wilmon (Muhannad Bhaier), and B2EMO (Dave Chapman) to safety. He doesn't join them in their escape, though. Instead, he takes a speeder and races to where he knows Luthen's ship is parked. Then he waits.

When Luthen returns to make his own getaway, Cassian gives him a choice: "Kill me, or take me in." He knows that Luthen came to eliminate him, as the rebellion saw Cassian as a threat. As such, this kind of dramatic move — putting his gun and his life in Luthen's hands — was necessary to prove his newfound loyalty to the rebel cause.

Anyone watching "Andor" surely knows how Cassian winds up: A veteran rebel spy who gives his life to secure the Death Star plans. So his scene with Luthen at the end of Season 1 isn't really much of a surprise. Still, the moment totally works, bringing all of the things Cassian has experienced throughout his life full circle. Earlier in the episode, Brasso urges Cassian to take care of himself. "It's too late for that," he replies. By the end of Episode 12 ("Rix Road"), Cassian has abandoned self-interest and given himself fully to the cause. His final scene with Luthen is a great moment that drives that point home.

8. Mon Mothma breaks

Throughout Season 1, Mon Mothma (Genevieve O'Reilly) constantly skirts danger. Her early efforts at channeling money to rebel causes are sloppy, and she spends much of the season trying to find a way to cover her tracks. Her desperation ultimately leads her to Davo Sculdun (Richard Dillane), an underworld financier with a skeezy reputation. Sculdun is more than happy to make Mon's money trouble's go away, but there's only one thing he'll accept in return: An introduction between her daughter, Leida (Bronte Carmichael), and his son, in arranged marriage tradition of their native Chandrila.

We know that Mon detests the idea, but she has no other options. Curiously, the big emotional punch of this plotline comes not at its conclusion, but a little bit before. In Episode 11 ("Daughter of Ferrix"), Mon watches with her cousin Vel as Leida participates in an old Chandrilan tradition. Vel asks Mon if she's taking marriage proposals. The look in Mon's eyes says it all, but her response is just as cutting: "I am in so much trouble."

Through the following discussion, all of the stress that Mon has been bottling up comes out. She tears up as she talks about her mistakes, the risk of an Imperial investigation, and the "solution" she's found. O'Reilly is spectacular in the scene, making her body look like it might break itself from straining. And yet, the scene also shows just how unbreakable Mon Mothma really is.

7. The Eye of Aldhani

The second arc of Season 1 culminates with the Aldhani heist, one of the standout sequences of the entire show. After all their extensive preparation and rehearsal, Vel, Cassian, and the rest of the rebel cell make their play for the Imperial payroll vault. While the plan ultimately succeeds, a lot of people die to make it happen. Nemik survives the entire infiltration, only to be crushed by falling cargo during the tumultuous escape. But at least he gets to witness the Eye of Aldhani during his final moments.

In a way, the escape sequences during the Eye encapsulate the entire show. It's a reminder of the beauty of the natural universe, and how the Empire is trying to extinguish such cultural events through conformity. When Nemik tells Cassian to climb to escape the pursuing TIE fighters, he responds, "I don't have the speed to make it, and now you want me to climb?" That's what the rebellion is — the willingness to fully commit despite lacking the resources to do so.

Nemik is a man of great faith, and Cassian eventually becomes one, but at this moment, the division in their beliefs manifests in a strikingly practical way. On top of all that, the sheer spectacle of the Eye is just magnificent. "Andor" sets a hard task for itself by building the event up over multiple episodes, but it absolutely pulls it off.

6. That's just love

In Season 1, Episode 7 ("Announcement"), Cassian has what ends up being his final conversation with Maarva. Neither of them knows it at the time, but you can tell that Maarva has a suspicion she may not see her son alive again. He returns with the money from the Aldhani job and excitedly tells his mother that they can get away, leave Ferrix for some other, distant world and live the rest of their lives in comfort. Maarva, however, doesn't want to go.

In a fiery and impassioned speech, she tells Cassian that she can't leave her home; that she wants to stay and resist the Imperial occupation however she can. She still wants him to leave if he wants, however, and encourages him to go find some peace. Of course, that's easier said than done. "I won't have peace," he says. "I'll be worried about you all the time." Maarva smiles sadly. "That's just love," she replies. "Nothing you can do about that. I've never loved anything the way I love you. And I've never fretted on anything more. But this time you can't stay and I can't go."

It's a heartbreaking moment, made all the more impactful by the irony of the situation. The Aldhani heist is what gives Maarva the courage to start fighting again, and she doesn't even know that Cassian was part of the crew that made it happen.

5. B2 misses Maarva

Is there anything sadder than an old dog being confused when its owner passes away? B2EMO is just that at the beginning of Episode 11 ("Daughter of Ferrix") and it's completely intentional. "I want to have a salvage droid, and I want to have a family dog," showrunner Tony Gilroy told EW in an interview, sharing his early inspiration for the character. "It's an old dog. That's where we started."

The episode opens with the confirmation of Maarva's off-screen death as people come in and out of her house attending to the grim business. The Daughters of Ferrix are there and so is Brasso, who tries his best to comfort the old droid. "I'll have them clear the room if you want to be alone," he says, encouraging B2 to say his goodbyes. "I don't want to be alone," the droid replies. "I want Maarva."

If you're not openly weeping at this point, you may have accidentally muted the TV. Is it a bit of a sucker punch? Sure. The sad old stuttering droid dog is a bit of a cheat code to bring on the feels. But because of how much quality time we've spent with B2 and Maarva, it also feels completely earned.

4. Leaving Ferrix

The end of the first "Andor" arc sets Cassian on the start of his rebel journey, leaving Ferrix with Luthen for parts unknown. And the final moments of Episode 3 ("Reckoning") bring everything we've seen thus far full circle. After Cassian and Luthen successfully get away from Syril Karn (Kyle Soller) and his Pre-Mor agents, the only dialogue we get is the panicked shouting of Sergeant Mosk (Alex Ferns). The remainder of the events takes place in silence as Nicholas Britell's stunning score swells in the background.

We see the Pre-Mor operatives in complete disarray. We see Maarva sitting sadly in her ransacked home. We see Cassian coolly piloting the speeder bike to the Fondor, and we see him watch as Luthen takes them both far away from Ferrix.

In these final shots, Cassian's present-day actions are juxtaposed with his childhood, showing how Clem and Maarva took him from his home as a boy. By putting these two moments in conversation with each other, the show paints an interesting portrait of Cassian. He's a man who's repeatedly been stolen from his home by people who claim to want to help him. He's a man who always seems to make it out by the skin of his teeth, but who rarely has a real say in his own destiny. And throughout the remainder of Season 1, we see Cassian leave that man behind, forging a new, more convicted person in his absence.

3. Cassian learns of Maarva's death

While Maarva may have guessed that she'd never see her son again after Episode 7 ("Announcement"), Cassian refuses to accept the idea. Throughout his time on Niamos and the entirety of his imprisonment, he's driven to get back to her. Finally, after months away (most behind bars), he gets back to Niamos with his fellow escapee Melshi (Duncan Pow) and places a call to Ferrix. When he gets through to his friend Xanwan (Zubin Varla), he tries to leave a message: "Tell Maarva I'm okay. Tell her I'm thinking about her. She'd be proud of me." Of course, as Xanwan somberly tells Cassian, Maarva is already dead.

We see Cassian return to Melshi on the beach, the turmoil inside him written on his face. And yet, he doesn't open up to his friend. They part ways, and Cassian looks out on the horizon — to the sea. It's a clear mirror of his final moments at the end of "Rogue One," making the whole thing even more powerful.

The real tragedy here is just how excited Cassian sounds on the phone. His time in prison has finally woken him up to the importance of the rebel cause, and he can't wait to tell Maarva all about what he's done. But it's too late. A final talk with her becomes one more thing the Empire has taken from Cassian. Fortunately, she still leaves some last words behind for him.

2. I can't swim

Of all the guest characters who pop up throughout Season 1, Andy Serkis' Kino Loy might be the fan favorite. Introduced as a grizzled shift manager at the Narkina 5 prison, Kino transforms before our eyes into the leader of a mass prison revolt. His journey is perhaps the show's most powerful picture of a person enlisting in the rebellion, and his emotional monologue to the other prisoners in Episode 10 ("One Way Out") may have you pumping your fist in the air.

Of course, Kino's fate isn't as happy as we all might have hoped for. Having brought his comrades to the prison exit — a gaping hangar bay overlooking the water — he freezes up. Cassian turns to him and asks what's wrong as the other escapees dive to freedom around them. Kino's response is short and gut-wrenching: "I can't swim." Before Cassian can even really process this revelation, he's knocked over the edge by the stampede. As director Toby Haynes told EW, there's no confirmation that Kino is dead, but it's unclear what happened to him.

The real tragedy here is that Kino must have known all along that the prison is surrounded by water, so he would not be able to escape. And yet, he still fights and puts his life on the line for all the other Narkina 5 prisoners. This selfless act of sacrifice echoes Cassian's own in "Rogue One," but who knows? Maybe Kino is actually still alive somewhere.

1. Maarva's final speech

In many ways, the final episode of Season 1 is the least surprising. We get a unifying event in Maarva's funeral that brings nearly every major character together on Ferrix. Cassian shows up, proves his newfound resolve for the cause, and the citizens of Ferrix rise up against their Imperial oppressors. All of these things are pretty predictable given the trajectory of the show, but they're still incredibly satisfying to watch.

The big cosmic shift here is the transition from a quiet rebellion to a loud one. Throughout the season, we see things moving in this direction, but the battle on Ferrix solidifies the change. Sure, it's just one backwater planet, but it's symbolic of the larger sentiment growing around the galaxy. All of that makes Maarva's speech even more meaningful.

Addressing her community from beyond the grave, Maarva paints an eloquent picture of what the Empire has been doing. "There is a darkness reaching like rust into everything around us. We let it grow, and now it's here." Then, she sounds the call to action. "Perhaps it's too late, but I'll tell you this: If I could do it again, I'd wake up early, and be fighting these bastards from the start!"

It's a perfect encapsulation of the season, and it's exactly what's needed to spur the people of Ferrix. As Cassian enters Bix's prison cell to save her, she tells him that "Maarva was here." He can't help but smile. "Wasn't she great?"