Does Kino Loy escape from prison in Andor? theory

The Destiny character of Kino Loy in Star Wars: Andor, brilliantly portrayed by Andy Serkis at the end of Episode 10, is unknown. We know that all the escaping prisoners from the top level jump into the water below and Kino stays behind and Andor says “Can’t swim.” Andor is promptly pushed and falls into the water, we don’t see Kino again. The question is, does Kino Loy escape? Here’s a theory if Kino Loy escapes from prison in Andor.

Does Kino Loy escape from prison in Andor? theory

The theory sets that no, Kino Loy does not escape from prison and that he is one of the first to sacrifice himself for a cause that spans the entire galaxy. The main idea behind this theory is sacrifice.

In many ways, Star Wars is a story of sacrifice. From Obi-Wan sacrificing himself to help Luke as a Force Ghost, Darth Vader turning back to the light and sacrificing himself to save Luke, and more importantly for this series, how Andor ultimately turns out to be sacrificed his own life in Rogue One. Cinema follows this theme; Let’s start with how cinema is presented to us.

Kino Loy: Level 5 Unit Manager

Does Kino Loy escape from prison in Andor?
Image Credit: Andor ~ Lucasfilm

We are first introduced to Kino in Episode 8 when Andor arrives at the Narkina 5 prison facility. Andor is taken to his unit and Kino gives him a succinct and harsh explanation of how things work. You are in unit 5 and this is his unit which he directs efficiently and energetically. They are all tasked with building machines for the Empire. Each table competes against each other for productivity, and Kino competes against other Unit Managers in what he calls “a game.”

But what’s most important to cinema is its act; He has only 249 days left in prison and doesn’t want anyone to slow down his unit’s production lest his release from prison be jeopardized and his remaining days in prison be as easy as possible. This is a man who wants to have his time and get off and will not suffer anything to get in the way of that, even if it means his crew working raggedly. He’s a man who only thinks about himself, much like how Andor had the whole series prior to his incarceration.

We saw the same theme in the original Star Wars trilogy in the character of Han Solo and Lando Calrissian. Han just wanted to do the job and get paid, and Lando sold everyone to keep the Empire out of his mining operation, even someone he called a friend. The prevailing sentiment in this oppressive regime is to keep your head down and only worry about yourself. Thinking about others will only get you into trouble. Cinema is no different, and neither is Andor at this point.

On schedule!

Does Kino Loy escape from prison in Andor?
Image Credit: Andor ~ Lucasfilm

The On Program command seems simple enough at first glance. It’s a shouted order that Kino gives to his men to obey prison rules. Serkis delivers this line with an intention so powerful you can feel it in your bones. But “program” means many things to cinema that go beyond the simple command to order. It means not rocking the boat.

Kino’s idealized program is shown early on as the prisoners begin questioning Andor about what he knows about the Public Order Resentencing Directive (PORD). The character of Melshi is the first to urge her to ask Andor, which is appropriate considering Melshi is a rebel fighter alongside Andor in Rogue One.

Once the questioning gets heated, Melshi steps in, making dire predictions to Andor about how he will never get out of prison that the Empire won’t allow. Kino quickly enters, grabs Melshi and forces him to shut up. Kino sees these kinds of rumors dashed his hopes of a release in just over 200 days. He can’t believe this rumor, because it means his strict observance all along has been in vain; following the rules and keeping your head down didn’t do anything. Melshi is the spark of rebellion in this scenario and cinema is the status quo.

To stay in the program is cinema’s selfishness. He feels that if he forces what he can control, his unit, to line up, it will benefit him in the long run, freeing him from this horrible prison and giving him his freedom. Any deviation from this that causes disillusionment in his group can jeopardize his control over them and his potential freedom. He has everything to lose if they continue with this rumor until the illusion of his eventual release is completely dispelled and destroyed.

Nothing to lose

Does Kino Loy escape from prison in Andor?
Image Credit: Andor ~ Lucasfilm

Rumors of the Empire extending sentences (up to life imprisonment) become harsh reality when they learn what happened to Unit 2. It begins with a power outage throughout the prison, and eventually they learn that the rumor was created by lengthening sentences to mass murder to keep the rumor secret.

A prisoner who was due for release should be moved to another prison so that no one in Narkina 5 would get the wiser. However, through a mix-up, he was reintegrated into the unit, making it clear to the people in Unit 2 that they weren’t releasing prisoners, but were instead extending everyone’s sentences and moving them to keep it a secret. As this spread around Unit 2, the guards decided to electrify the entire unit and kill everyone there to quell the spread.

Unit 5 learns this and they quickly panic, realizing it’s all true. Kino continues to reassure everyone and insists it’s just a rumor. Kino can’t believe it; When he does, he will know that everything he did was for nothing. He humiliated himself and his unit all along not to acquire the thing it was all for, the thing he couldn’t lose; his freedom.

It is only when their unit member Ulaf dies of a stroke that Kino and Andor receive confirmation from the medic, a prisoner, as to what happened to Unit 2. Kino’s whole world is destroyed, it was all for nothing, and the realization that he has nothing left to lose now begins to grow and take shape. Yet at this point he knows in his heart that escape is impossible.

Andor insists Kino help them because he knows the prison better than anyone. Kino continues to resist because not only is it nearly impossible to escape, but he knows he can’t escape because the only way out is through the water.

A way out

Does Kino Loy escape from prison in Andor?
Image Credit: Andor ~ Lucasfilm

In Episode 10, Andor has broken loose with the realization that escaping prison is the only way forward. He realizes there is no more running from the truth, there is no escaping the Empire, and resistance is the only option. In a heated and brilliantly acted scene, Andor confronts Kino in yet another attempt to win him over to the plan. Andor knows that Kino is a born leader and men listen to him; They cannot do this without him, but will if they have to.

After the heated and forceful exchange, the two men head back to the capsule. Andor begins to notify everyone that they will carry out their plan tomorrow. During the tense walk through the capsule, the struggle on Kino’s face is evident; Thinking about yourself did nothing except sentence everyone else to the same fate of never leaving prison.

Serkis embodies the war of attrition to perfection. Here he finally realizes that he really has nothing to lose. Kino knows he can’t swim; he knows swimming is the only way out, and he must choose to put sacrifice over his safety for the greater good, to put others before himself.

Kino still feels the plan won’t work, but they have to at least try and finally tell everyone the rumor is true, acknowledging that Andor’s plan is the only way forward for them. Despite knowing he cannot escape, he struggles to make a decision that puts everyone in danger. He has to motivate her so that the plan succeeds, even if he knows in the end that there is no way out. Kino hints at his sacrifice when he says, “Play it how you want, but I take it I’m already a dead man.”

During the initial aimed mayhem to distract the guards, they begin their attack and the guards call out to electrify the ground. Throughout the plan that follows, Kino still doubts it can work, which involves Andor flooding the ground causing short circuits when the guards activate the electricity to fry them.

Kino orders everyone to get on the tables to avoid the initial activation, but he strangely doesn’t get off the floor. His face is shocked when he realizes that the short-circuit attempt worked. His confidence begins to build to at least help everyone else he’s complicit in staying free here.

Kino’s self-sacrifice comes into its own when he and Andor arrive at the control room. He will no longer give them what they want, even if it means his inevitable death. Andor challenges him to be the leader he knows he is and to talk about communications with the entire prison to encourage them to take action. He stumbles at first but eventually finds the right words, words Andor had said to him earlier: “I’d rather die trying to knock them down than die and give them what they want”, which Kino his had done all the time in the prison.

The Realization of Sacrifice

Does Kino Loy escape from prison in Andor?
Image Credit: Andor ~ Lucasfilm

After the courageous and inspiring speech, the entire prison springs into action. They fight and climb to the top of the prison, which is the only exit they have, and eventually jump into the waters below and swim to freedom. Kino leads the charge with his unit, the words “One Way Out” turning into a rallying cry throughout the prison. In great bravery, Kino shouts with them, knowing full well that he has no way out, for he cannot swim.

At this point, nothing matters except giving everyone else a chance to escape, even if they can’t. The victim theme in the Star Wars universe comes to life through the character of Kino in this episode and scene, reflecting the eventual and inevitable conflict and sacrifices Andor must make in Rogue One.

In the final chaotic and escalating scramble on the platform, men push past Kino to leap into the waters below, his face with calm acceptance that his time is up, but his actions mean something. Andor looks at him confused and asks, “What’s wrong?” Kino calmly replies with a shrug, “Can’t swim,” before Andor is pushed off the platform. This is the last we’ll see of Kino Loy, and as this theory shows, it’s most likely the last we’ll ever see of the fantastic Kino Loy. Does Kino Loy escape from prison in Andor? theory

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