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Obi-Wan is haunted - and hunted - by Darth Vader in Part 3 of 'Star Wars' series 'Kenobi'

“Your pain has just begun.”

By Brian Silliman
Kenobi Darth Vader

We thought we already knew the life of Obi-Wan Kenobi was full of pain, but turns out we didn't know the half of it. Part 3 of Obi-Wan Kenobi, the new live-action Star Wars series streaming on Disney+, proves that Kenobi’s suffering has only just begun. 

The series revealed Darth Vader (Hayden Christensen) at the end of Part 2, and fans did not have to wait long for him to suit up and enter the fray. What happened when Vader decided to get involved? A nightmare happened, that’s what. 

***WARNING: From this point forward, there will be spoilers for Part 3 of Obi-Wan Kenobi. If you have not watched yet, go back into exile.***

Vader and Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) faced off with one another much sooner than many expected. It happened in this episode, and it’s likely just the beginning. Obi-Wan has already displayed how far his Jedi skills have gone to pot, and in case we didn’t quite get it, Vader proved it quickly.

He lays Obi-Wan in the dirt. It's not even close to being an even match. 

Kenobi lives in fear of him for most of this episode. He’s on the run with Leia (Vivien Lyra Blair) but “Anakin” is very much on his mind now that he knows he's alive. Kenobi is occupying the dark lord's thoughts too. When Vader takes his throne in his castle on Mustafar, he tells Reva (Moses Ingram) that “Kenobi is all that matters now.” 

Christensen masters the Vader stride created by original actor David Prowse. The voice of James Earl Jones booms out colder than ever. As always, the iconic breath is present. Vader is back. 

He tracks Obi-Wan with the help of Reva and the other Inquisitors (who are still at odds with each other) as Obi-Wan and Leia navigate the world of Mapuzo, looking for the contact they were given last week. They bluff their way onto a speeder and through an Imperial convoy, and Leia proves to be more adept at lying than Obi-Wan is. That's before she gets honest with him. 

In one heartbreaking moment, she asks him if he’s her real father. He says he isn’t, and she says that sometimes she imagines what her biological father was like. Leia, you don’t want to know. 

They get caught by an Imperial agent, but that agent turns out to be their undercover contact. Tala (Indira Varma) is no imperial. She is part of something called “the path” which helps stranded Jedi (and other Force sensitives) get to Jabiim. It is there that they are given new identities. As she says, “no one ever sees them again.” 

Tala, Obi-Wan, and Leia all make their way to a hidden passage to get to a transport, but unfortunately Kenobi was identified by a probe droid earlier in the episode. The Empire comes to the small village where they are hiding, and it’s not just stormtroopers and Inquisitors who show up. Darth Vader comes. In person. 

A still from Obi-Wan Kenobi Season 1 Episode 3.

Did we forget how truly frightening Darth Vader could be? If we did, the episode is nice enough to remind us of what's what. He struts down the village street and pulls men and children out of their hiding places. He lifts them up with the force and chokes them. He snaps a kid’s neck. He does it all with minimal effort. Obi-Wan senses him before he ever sees him, and he’s peeing his pants (figuratively). He tells Tala to get Leia to safety, because he’s going to have to hold this mechanical monstrosity off. He runs out of the town, only to see a red lightsaber light up in the darkness. 

He’s face to face with his former apprentice at last. “You cannot run, Obi-Wan,” Vader says, before Obi-Wan asks him what he has become. “I am what you made me,” Vader replies. Obi-Wan holds his lightsaber in his hands, but doesn’t ignite it. He keeps running. There’s no getting away, not physically and not emotionally. Obi-Wan totters around in the dark like a scared rat before Vader comes crashing down on him with his lightsaber. Obi-Wan has no choice but to finally ignite his blue blade and engage. 

Earlier in the episode, Leia asks him about the Force. “Have you ever been afraid of the dark?” he asks her. “How does it feel when you turn on the light?” Leia says she feels safe. 

“It feels like that,” he finishes. Obi-Wan is forced to turn a light on when he is confronted with Vader, and not only because he’s frozen with fear in the specter of death. This is the monstrous form of his failure and his hubris. This is the brother he once loved, and the “chosen one” hope of the Jedi. He is now twisted and evil, and Obi-Wan is facing it all for the first time. 

He has no chance. Vader taunts him as he unleashes a full assault, remarking that Obi-Wan has become weak, and that he should have killed him when he had the chance. When truly cornered, Vader uses the force to cover the ground in flammable material. He lifts and disarms Obi-Wan with a flick of his hand, and then he lights the ground on fire. He drops Obi-Wan directly into it. 

“Now you will suffer, Obi-Wan,” he says, as he watches Kenobi scream in agony as Vader himself once did on Mustafar. “Your pain has just begun.” Darth Vader has spent 10 years waiting for this moment, and you get the feeling that he knew exactly what he was going to do. You burned me, I'll burn you. 

It’s only because of Tala and an underestimated droid that Kenobi gets out of there alive. Leia, racing to the contact as she was told, runs right into Reva. We'd think she will not be taking her back to Alderaan. 

Quinlan Vos in Star Wars: The Clone Wars

Points of Interest

-In the secret room used by members of “the path,” Obi-Wan sees some writing on the wall and says, “Quinlan was here.” He is referring to the rule-busting Jedi Quinlan Vos, who is still alive, and assists in smuggling younglings from time to time. What did he write on the wall? “Only when the eyes are closed can you truly see.” See what? “The way.” 

-To see Obi-Wan working with Quinlan Vos, take a look at the Star Wars: The Clone Wars Season 3 episode, “Hunt for Ziro.” 

-The Fortress Inquisitorius has its live-action debut in this episode. It’s located on the planet Nur, and was first seen in the video game Star Wars: Jedi: Fallen Order. It’s where the inquisitors do most of their petty squabbling. 

-Obi-Wan goes into some unexpected family history when he is bonding with Leia on the speeder. He was taken from his family by the Jedi when he was young, but he adds, “I still have glimpses, flashes really, my mother’s shawl, my father’s hands. I remember a baby. Yes, I think I had a brother. Really don’t remember him, I wish I did.” This is the first time we’ve ever heard Obi-Wan talk about his family or a potential brother. 

-One of the stormtroopers makes a reference to a “T-16” when exiting the speeder, and this is doubtlessly another instance of Star Wars stalwart Sam Witwer (actor, legend, oft-utilized loop group member) slipping the reference in whenever he can. Stormtroopers infamously first made small talk about “the new T-16’s” in A New Hope.

-Natalie Holt’s wonderful score gave a nod to the first Imperial musical motif heard in A New Hope when the probe droid appeared. 

-Tala is impressed with Leia, and she tells Obi-Wan, “She’ll make a good fighter one day.” He agrees. So do we, obviously, because we’ve seen her future. 

-For some reason our favorite line of the episode is a funny one and goes to Leia. When she’s bluffing the stormtroopers on the speeder, she says, “We love the Empire!” It can't be all doom and gloom with this episode. 

-Does this meeting between Obi-Wan and Vader break any canon, or ruin their scene in A New Hope? Not at all. Nothing is said in that movie that makes this weird, or vice-versa. Even if Obi-Wan and Vader fight again on this series, it is likely that Obi-Wan will barely manage to escape once more. All of this makes Vader’s New Hope line of “you should not have come back” resonate even more. “You got lucky on your streaming show,” Vader might as well say. “You should not have returned to the story in the guise of Sir Alec Guinness.”

-Obi-Wan reaches out to Qui-Gon Jinn a third time, and for the third time he gets no response. He really, really needs his help right now. Help our broken hero, Qui-Gon Jinn. You may be his only hope. 

Obi-Wan Kenobi streams on Disney+ every Wednesday. 

Looking for more sci-fi TV? Check out shows like Resident Alien, Brave New World, Project Blue Book, EurekaHeroes, Intergalactic, and more streaming now on Peacock. Looking ahead, SYFY has new series The Ark in the works from original Stargate film writer/producer Dean Devlin, as well as Stargate SG-1 producer Jonathan Glassner.