The following contains spoilers for Andor Season 1, Episode 12, “Rix Road,” now available on Disney+.
In the season 1 finale of Andor, each character has to have their “moment”. The character viewers may have been most interested in, or confused about, is former Preox-Morlana guard Syril Karn. Why did he go to Ferrix and what was his plan when he got there?
Karn is an interesting character who, if he had only followed orders, would have continued to wear custom-made uniforms at work until the boss retired. Just that this guy was also proud of it. Karn represents an “Imperial” character that fans don’t often see: the would-be fascist. His clothes and his sense of “order” may seem like a simple commitment to one’s job. However, when he is stripped of his power, viewers see how diminished he becomes. If they don’t, Syril Karn’s mother is there to remind them. His search for Cassian, in defiance of many people’s orders, shows that the justice Karn seeks is better spelled “revenge.” He wants to be the one who controls the results and the people because he lacks a lot of personal control. Finally, in the finale, his narcissistic impulses pay off when he saves Deedra Meero’s life.
Was Syril Karn chasing Cassian Andor or searching for Deedra Meero all along?
Narratively speaking, Karn’s presence in Ferrix was literally putting into his hands the one character who had never lost control. Meero is something of a fascination for Karn, definitely interpreted as a romance. However, Karn is likely to love the idea of her more, specifically a fierce, intelligent and capable woman who wants to punish those who wronged him. Because would-be fascists crave the steady hand of leadership, Meero represents to him everything that life on Coruscant with his mother is not.
His bullying of Meero is just one of the signs of his reckless impulsiveness. Karn seems to be unable to stop himself from doing these self-destructive things. The reason why he does it is because he wants to be “The Big Hero”. He not only wanted to identify Cassian Andor, he wanted to personally arrest him and throw him before his boss. Similarly, paving the way for Meero to work on Coruscant was another example of good planning and strategy from him. His reaction had a subtext beyond anger. At Ferrix, stampeding her out of the crowd, Karn had her moment. Whether he expected to see Andor, Meero, or both, the moment he and Meero share after saving her is probably the happiest of her strange life.
Star Wars finally answers the question: Who would want to be an Imperial?
at the end of Andor Season 1, Episode 3, “Reckoning”, the event described in the title happens to Karn. His plan to capture Cassian Andor almost literally blows up in his face. For a moment, Karn is caught up in the trauma of this event, staring off into the distance as if the battle is no longer going on. For Meero’s sake, it’s a good thing he didn’t have a similar reaction when the insurrection started on Ferrix. Seeing Meero before it all happened allowed him to focus on her, effectively rescuing her the way he wished he had been rescued from her.
Andor Season 1 established that Meero is no fool. How she reacts after this moment will be interesting, though there’s a good chance he’ll use her fixation on her. She may even send Karn into the Rebellion, as they both currently share some dissatisfaction with her all-powerful overlords. However, unlike the rebels who are valiantly trying to take them down, people like Karn and Meero simply want to replace the overlords. Karn could easily go undercover, tell the truth, and become Meero’s “inside man” in the Rebellion.
One of the things Andor Season 1 does it so well that it shows how a person like Cassian can be drawn into the Rebellion. However, Syril Karn’s story shows how an ordinary person in the galaxy can find a fascist dystopia attractive. Whether his plan in Ferrix was to kill Andor or not, saving Meero brought together the two people in the universe who hate Cassian the most.
Andor season 1 is currently streaming on Disney+ with season 2 expected in 2024.