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The penultimate episode of Obi-Wan Kenobi was loaded. It was chock full o' nuts. It was an inspirational thrill ride through myth and legend. Many fans will argue about it for the rest of their lives.
Some character arcs were made clear, other arcs ended for good, and Obi-Wan himself continued to come back to life. The backbone of his entire history with Anakin Skywalker was laid bare in the process. The stage is now set for the final installment of this live-action Star Wars series, but there are plenty of reveals that demand to be unpacked first. They may not be surprising, but they’re all very welcome.
***WARNING: From this point on, there will be spoilers for Part 5 of Obi-Wan Kenobi. If you have not watched yet, then get outta here Dewey, you don’t want this.***
The episode wastes no time in giving fans what they’ve wanted for weeks now: a flashback. An extended scene of Obi-Wan (Ewan McGregor) with his Attack of the Clones-era mullet sparring with Anakin (Hayden Christensen) plays out over the course of this installment within the memories of Darth Vader (Christensen, voiced by James Earl Jones). Has Anakin/Vader learned the lesson that Obi-Wan tried to teach him in this flashback moment? Of course not. As Anakin once admitted to Count Dooku, he's a slow learner.
In the present, Reva (Moses Ingram) has successfully led Vader to Jabiim. He’s ready to take out everyone who is on the run with the Path, but Kenobi is the only one he’s really interested in. He promotes Reva to Grand Inquisitor, and she leads a battalion of troopers who land on the surface.
Obi-Wan takes charge, becoming a true leader once more. Roken (O’Shea Jackson) defers to him, along with Tala (Indira Varma) and the returning droid NED-B. The droid-turned-tracker, Lola, has jammed the overhead hangar doors. It’s up to Leia (Vivien Lyra Blair) to squeeze into the vents and get them open.
After getting an unfortunately timed holo-message from Bail Organa (Jimmy Smits) which mentions Tatooine, Owen Lars, a “boy,” and the twist of Citizen Kane, Kenobi tries buying them some time by talking to Reva. Through a door, he discovers her truth. Why and how did she know that Anakin and Vader were the same person? Tarkin didn’t fully know, and neither did Thrawn. How did Reva know?
Because, as previously guessed (by us and by many others), she was present for Order 66. Reva was a Jedi Youngling, the first one that we see in the very first episode. Through her memories, we see Anakin lay waste to the temple with members of the 501st.
“You’re not serving him are you?” Obi-Wan asks. “You’re hunting him.” Good luck with that, Reva. She asks Kenobi why he didn’t stop him, why he didn’t save them. She clearly never received a copy of Revenge of the Sith. Her blade comes bursting through the door and the attack begins.
NED-B goes down in the attack that follows, as does Tala. She gives Obi-Wan a “may the Force be with you” before setting off a thermal detonator. Kenobi eventually realizes that Vader is expecting him to sacrifice himself for everyone, so he plays into it. He gives himself up to Reva, and tells her, “You’re not bringing him to me. I’m bringing him to you.”
He tries to get Reva on his side, as getting to Vader-via-Kenobi would appear to have been her true motive all along. Vader won’t see it coming, “because all he’ll see is me,” he says. She seems to go along with it, because Obi-Wan is back with the escaping Path members fairly quickly. Leia (and a restored Lola) get the hangar door open, but Vader struts in around the same time. He’s going to take care of this personally.
He pulls the escaping Path ship back with the Force and rips it apart, but another ship escapes right behind it. It’s a failure for Vader, which echoes a line we get in the ongoing flashbacks. An overly aggressive Anakin has disarmed Obi-Wan, but his master still manages to turn the tables and defeat him.
“You’re a great warrior Anakin, but your need to prove yourself is your undoing,” Obi-Wan says to him. “Until you overcome it, a padawan you will still be.”
Vader’s need to prove himself runs parallel to Reva’s need for revenge, as she then tries to attack him once the transport is away. Yeah, nice try, but no. Vader has her in the dirt without ever having to ignite his own lightsaber. Using the force, some swift dodging, and parts of Reva’s own saber, he has her beaten. It is useless to resist. He's learned some things after all.
She flashes back to Order 66 once more as Vader runs her through with her own lightsaber. She doesn’t die, she’s conscious enough to see the Grand Inquisitor (Rupert Friend) enter, very much alive. “Revenge does wonders for the will to live,” he says. That's the dark side promise!
They leave Reva there, but she finds Obi-Wan’s holo emitter, which got dropped during the episode. She sees Bail’s holo message, and clearly hears both “Tatooine” and “Owen.” We briefly cut to the Lars farm at the very end, closing on young Luke Skywalker (Grant Feely) sleeping.
Points of Interest
-Haja (Kumail Nanjiani) is on the run with the Path now. He’s the last one we saw with Obi-Wan’s holo emitter, so he’s likely the one who dropped it… either by accident or intentionally. He tells Obi-Wan that he knows what it’s like to be a real Jedi because he’s on the run. He doesn’t, but okay. It’s good to have Nanjiani back because he makes everything better.
-Tala once again mentions the planet Garel. This is most notably a recurring location on Star Wars Rebels.
-When the hangar door opens, Lola (according to subtitles) gives a “happy beep.” We were reminded of Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) requesting the same from BB-8 in The Last Jedi.
-Roken fights with a Bowcaster, a weapon we almost always see wielded by Wookiees. Han Solo (Harrison Ford) tried it out in The Force Awakens, but it seems to be part of Roken’s main loadout.
-Vader’s Star Destroyer is the Devastator, the same ship he uses in both A New Hope and Rogue One. It’s his main ship until The Empire Strikes Back, where he has traded it in for the Executor, a Super Star Destroyer. The resale value must have been pretty good.
-Plenty of viewers and online “influencers” have been moaning nonstop about the show’s lack of flashbacks. Will the Anakin/Obi-Wan flashbacks shut them up? Of course not, but they were fantastic to see. They served a specific point here, they weren't thrown in for the hell of it. Anakin was limited then, and he’s still limited now. He makes up for it in much darker ways. It all sets up the events (and lines) of A New Hope very well.
-For us, the de-aging effects in these scenes for both Christensen and McGregor were incredible. The sparring choreography was great.
-With only one episode left (for now, anything is possible), it looks like both Kenobi and Reva (at least) are headed back to Tatooine. Obi-Wan has likely been thinking of a proper retort to Owen’s “like you trained his father” line this entire time. He has a “jerk store” comeback ready to go.
-Is Bail on Tatooine, and is that where Obi-Wan is going to hand Leia over to him? If so, she’s going to be very close to Luke. Will Luke and Leia sense each other from a distance, or will he obliviously just keep pretending to be a pod racer?
-Favorite line of the episode goes to Tala: “Some things you can’t forget, but you can fight to make them better.”
Obi-Wan Kenobi streams on Disney+ every Wednesday. Goodbye, Grand Inquisitor.