Episode V of Obi-Wan combines old and new, with flashbacks to prequel-era Kenobi and Anakin influencing events in the present. Then in a dramatic turn of events, a theory concerning a lead character rings true, and leads to a spectacular showdown with Darth Vader. Just beware of OBI-WAN KENOBI SPOILERS AHEAD.
Following Episode IV’s daring rescue mission, Episode V kicks off in a more pedestrian fashion, with Obi-Wan, Leia, and Tala heading to Jabiim where they reconnect with Haja and Roken.
But thanks to the tracking device hidden in Leia’s droid, Darth Vader is hot on their trail, following the rebels to Jabiim in his Imperial Destroyer, then locking down the facility in which they are hiding.
The episode therefore sets up something of a siege, with Vader weighing up whether to attack now, or wait for surrender. Kenobi also has a decision to make, but memories from the past influence his thinking.
Anakin and Obi-Wan Kenobi do battle
Via flashback, prequel-era Anakin and Obi-Wan fight with lightsabers. It’s a training exercise, with the Master teaching his Padawan lessons to take into battle. But both characters use these memories from the past to try and out-smart each other in the present.
The footage finds Anakin growing aggressive, causing Obi-Wan to advise that a Jedi’s role is to defend life rather than take it. “Mercy doesn’t defeat an enemy” is Skywalker’s salty response.
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Anakin manages to separate Master from sabre, but his need for victory blinds him, with Obi-Wan getting the upper hand through the Force. “You’re a great warrior Anakin” he explains. “But your need to prove yourself is your undoing. Until you overcome it, Padawan you still will be.”
It’s an entertaining blast from the past. But Hayden Christensen’s delivery is still wooden, the actor doubtless hamstrung by his earlier performance. And the scene doesn’t tell us anything we didn’t already know about Anakin, or his relationship with Obi-Wan. Which ultimately makes it feel like fan service rather than something that drives the plot forward.
Jabiim under siege
Back in the present, the siege takes a serious turn when Vader launches an attack, and the rebels try to hold their position to facilitate an escape.
Leia does her bit, pulling a Die Hard in an air vent to unlock the bay doors. Tala does her bit, sacrificing herself in the episode’s most emotional moment. And Obi-Wan does his bit, surprising his old friend by giving himself up.
Stating “there are other ways to fight,” Kenobi relinquishes his weapons, and approaches Reva. But as soon as he’s in her presence, Obi-Wan figures out what’s motivating the newly crowned Grand Inquisitor, which proves to be something of a twist.
Reva theory becomes fact
We recently claimed Reva was a youngling and near victim of Order 66. So rather than working for Darth Vader, she’s trying to get close to him for the purpose of striking the Sith Lord down.
Turns out, that was 100% correct. Via another flashback, we see Anakin entering the Jedi Temple to slaughter the young. “We thought he was there to help us” says Reva, before questioning where Obi-Wan was that night, and why he didn’t save her friends.
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It’s a startling revelation; one that reframes the preceding episodes, while at the same time giving Reva motivation worthy of a truly great Star Wars character.
Obi-Wan offers to help Reva in her mission, but she’s understandably wary of the man who trained her enemy. Vader’s continuing blind spot for his former Master creates just the opportunity she’s looking for however.
Reva VS Vader
The episode builds towards a spellbinding climax that crescendos before sharply nose-diving. It kicks off with an incredible show of strength. Through a memorable visual, Vader pulls a giant Transport from the sky, then rips it apart with the Force. Though he can’t prevent a smaller craft from escaping, with Leia and Obi-Wan safely onboard.
But they’re a sideshow now, with Vader vs. Reva being the main event. Reva tries to take him from behind, but as ever, the Sith Lord is one step ahead. “He was wise to use you against me,” says Vader. Then with a few hand gestures he toys with Reva like a cat torturing a mouse. “Did you really believe I did not see it, youngling?” he taunts.
Vader runs Reva through with his lightsaber, then in another huge reveal, the former Grand Inquisitor – whom we thought was dead – returns to reclaim his title. Though his resurrection isn’t explained beyond the character stating, “Revenge does wonders for the will to live.”
Which is bad enough, but then proceedings end on a truly bum note. As ruthless Darth Vader and his ruthless right-hand man tell Reva she’s of no further use, then leave without finishing the job. Meaning Reva survives the attack, and is able to conveniently find a message from Bail Organa concerning Luke Skywalker’s location.
This sets up a potential climax on Tatooine, with Luke’s identity – and therefore his life – at stake. But the moment doesn’t ring true, spoiling an episode that until that moment, had been one of Obi-Wan Kenobi’s best.
The final episode of Obi-Wan Kenobi drops on Disney+ next Wednesday, June 22.