It’s time for the duel of the fates as Obi-Wan faces Darth Vader while Reva hunts Luke in the series finale.
Hello there! We’ve reached the end of our journey with Obi-Wan Kenobi. Building on a premise that could have been solely nostalgia-bait, director Deborah Chow has given us a mini-saga of what happens to heroes when their battles have been lost. This week, Obi-Wan faces his darkest demon and Reva closes in on Luke Skywalker as the sins of the past pile onto everyone’s shoulders.
For clarity’s sake, this recap will tell the Tatooine story first, then the Obi-Wan story. They decided to jump around a lot this week!
On Tatooine, a water-seller is dealing with the ruffian who just cut the line when said ruffian is dealt with by Reva (Moses Ingram), who has made it planetside in record time and looks understandably the worse for wear. She demands to know if the seller knows a farmer named Owen. Said farmer Owen (Joel Edgerton) is nearby at a shop with his nephew Luke (Grant Feely) when the water-seller bursts in to tell Owen that there’s something he needs to know–namely that Reva is in town looking for Luke. Owen and Luke return to the Lars homestead, where Owen tells his wife Beru (Bonnie Piesse) that they need to run, but Beru refuses. She’s not leaving or endangering anyone else by going for help; she takes some rifles out of a hidden cache and tells Owen that they’re enough.
That night, Reva heads to the Lars homestead as Beru and Owen put Luke in a safe room. They put up a good fight when Reva attacks (she’s honestly startled to realize that they love Luke as if he were their own, Owen: “He is my own”), but when she starts to overpower them they call to Luke to run. Reva, claiming she wants “justice,” follows Luke into the desert. She’s clearly in pain, but not nearly enough for someone recently stabbed through the stomach. Luke hides from Reva in Beggar’s Canyon, but she uses the Force to shift the ground he’s climbing on and he falls, knocked unconscious. Reva approaches him with her saber drawn but begins to see flashes of her younger self in place of Luke, with memories of Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) from her youth, and Darth Vader from her recent injury cutting through her mind.
Elsewhere, the transport ship of refugees is fleeing Vader’s Star Destroyer (the Devastator) and Roken (O’Shea Jackson, Jr) confides in Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) that with the hyperdrive issues and now shield issues as well, it’s not looking good for them. Leia (Vivien Lyra Blair) is comforting scared passengers with her droid, Lola; Obi-Wan off-handedly notes that maybe he should borrow Lola too. Obi-Wan decides that the only way for the transport and its passengers to escape is for him to act as bait to lure Vader away. He gives Leia Tala’s holster, which she’s disappointed to find empty (“I wasn’t going to give you a blaster, Leia, you’re 10 years old”), and they hug. She makes him promise to come back, but it’s clear he’s not confident in his promise.
While Obi-Wan waits for his drop ship, he calls again for Qui-Gon Jinn, but despite a misleadingly long pause and a lot of extra room in the frame where a Force ghost could fit right in, he doesn’t appear. Roken comes to get Obi-Wan and promises that he won’t give up the fight. On the Devastator, Vader instantly knows that the fleeing ship contains Kenobi and declares that they’re following him. The Grand Inquisitor (Rupert Friend) politely points out that they might be better served by following and destroying the insurgents, but Vader has made his decision and the Devastator follows Obi-Wan.
Obi-Wan lands his ship on a barren, rocky moon, followed shortly by Vader in his own shuttle (the Grand Inquisitor is probably really annoyed right now). As he prepares to leave the ship, Obi-Wan notices that Leia has left him Lola, so he won’t be afraid. Vader and Obi-Wan face off and Obi-Wan tells Vader that he “will do what he must.” Their ensuing duel is a gorgeous thing, their lightsabers the only sources of color among the rocky pillars; Vader uses the Force to create a sinkhole under Obi-Wan, hurling rocks down onto him. A smug Vader seemingly has the high ground and he leaves. Folks have got to stop leaving other folks for dead on this show. Obi-Wan is still alive, of course, straining with the Force to keep the boulders at bay. He thinks of Luke and Leia and pushes himself free of the rocks and of the hole.
Director Deborah Chow has given us a mini-saga of what happens to heroes when their battles have been lost.
Obi-Wan catches up to Vader and their duel resumes, Obi-Wan Force-lifting a number of rocks (in a truly mouthwatering shot) which he uses to pummel Vader. There’s more dueling, but Vader is noticeably wheezing, and Obi-Wan manages to slice Vader’s helmet in two. Seeing half of Vader’s ruined face, Obi-Wan calls him “Anakin,” and is told, through a distorted blend of Anakin and Vader’s voices: “I am what remains.” Weeping, Obi-Wan apologizes to Vader “for all of it,” and Vader tells him that he is not Obi-Wan’s failure. Obi-Wan didn’t kill Anakin Skywalker, says Vader. “I did.” Would you say you…betrayed and murdered him?
A stricken Obi-Wan lowers his lightsaber as Vader declares that he’s going to destroy Obi-Wan as well. “Then my friend is truly dead,” Obi-Wan says sadly and leaves, Vader screaming his name after him. This, this was the duel that viewers have been waiting for. We know what the parameters are (neither of these characters will die) but they don’t know that, and the stakes are felt with every step. These two men want each other dead, this is a reunion and a rematch. The duel choreography is excellent, the setting is appropriately menacing; this duel feels like a matter of life or death. The exchange between Obi-Wan and Vader is an emotionally satisfying surprise for a fight with a seemingly foregone conclusion.
Obi-Wan, having received flashes that Luke was in danger, hits his hyperdrive and goes to Tatooine, immediately heading to the Larses, who are calling for Luke. They’re about to split up and search when Reva appears, carrying a still-unconscious but alive Luke. Beru and Owen take him inside, while Reva collapses to the sand and sobs that she’s failed her friends because she couldn’t kill Luke. Moses Ingram’s face in another exquisite rendering of pain in an episode full of them: she’s hurt, she’s tired, she’s guilty, she’s afraid. Neither Ingram nor Chow is afraid to show that Reva is broken. Obi-Wan tells her that her mercy has honored her friends and who she becomes now is up to her. Reva tosses her saber away. “Now we’re both free,” says Obi-Wan.
In Vader’s castle on Mustafar, Vader gives a report to a holo of Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid). Vader swears he’ll find Obi-Wan, but Palpatine notes that he seems agitated. Maybe his feelings have left him weak? Sensing the threat inherent in his Master’s words, Vader shifts tactics, assuring Palpatine that Kenobi means nothing, and Vader serves only the Emperor. Well, that explains why Vader hadn’t been on the hunt for Obi-Wan for the next nine years: his boss told him no. No one wants a bad performance review!
On Alderaan, Leia gets ready for another princess meet and greet. This time, she’s eagerly getting ready for the day, making sure to put on her gloves from Obi-Wan and Tala’s holster. Breha Organa (Simone Kessell) enters, surprised to Leia is all set, and the pair go down to meet Bail Organa (Jimmy Smits). Leia tells her father that she’s decided to fulfill her political destiny, but that she’s going to change things her way. And who are they there to greet today? Why it’s Obi-Wan and Lola! As Leia reunites with her droid, her parents thank Obi-Wan, who tells them that they know where to find him if they ever need his help again. Leia tells Obi-Wan that she thinks he should sleep for a while, and he laughs. It’s probably been about ten years since he did that.
Obi-Wan tells Leia that he didn’t tell the truth about not knowing her birth parents; that she is wise, discerning, and kindhearted like her mother and passionate, fearless, and forthright like her father. He wishes he could tell her more, but she’s okay with that, she tells him, looking over at the Organas. This series has done an incredible job of finally giving the Organas and the Larses the credit they deserve for being Leia and Luke’s other parents.
Speaking of the Larses, Obi-Wan returns to Tatooine and packs up his cave, making a stop at the Lars homestead on his way out into the deep desert. Owen’s not best pleased to see him, but he softens when Obi-Wan acknowledges that Owen was right–Luke just needs to be a regular boy. Owen gruffly asks if Ben wants to meet Luke. Obi-Wan goes over to where Luke has been repairing some equipment and we finally get a “Hello there.”
Obi-Wan heads out on his eopie when a flickering blue vision stops him. Is it? Is it? It is! It’s Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson)! “Was beginning to think you’d never come,” Obi-Wan tells his Master (a personal attack on your recapper), and Qui-Gon, in true Jedi style, says he was always there, but Obi-Wan wasn’t ready to see. Now come on, he tells his former Padawan and leads Obi-Wan into the desert.
And with that, Obi-Wan Kenobi concludes! What a wonderful and heartfelt adventure Deborah Chow and the writers (Hossein Amini, Joby Harold, Stuart Beattie, Hannah Friedman, and Andrew Stanton) have taken us on this season. Growth for existing characters, introductions of fantastic new ones, and even the return to Tatooine had more brightness than I had let myself expect. I will say that the Inquisitors were ultimately underutilized; more of a backdrop for Reva and her story than characters in their own right, and though it was important to the storyline, I think we’re all worn out on depictions of Order 66. And yes, it is unclear how Reva got to Tatooine and how fast she managed it, but this is Star Wars, and sometimes these things happen.
Ultimately, this was a story of redemption. Obi-Wan was prepared to hide in his guilt and sorrow, but he was shown that there is still light in the darkness. The fight goes on, and so must he.
- There has been some noise about continuing Obi-Wan Kenobi, where do we stand on that? I think this was a satisfying ending for this chapter of Obi-Wan’s story; I worry that too many more of these stories would spread the concept too thin. What do you think?
- I hope Reva gets that giant hole through her middle looked at.
- People scream Obi-Wan’s name a lot.
- Vader also has to get new helmets fairly frequently.