The Jedi Master reckons with the specter of his old apprentice in one of the most exciting episodes of the show yet.
Welcome back, friends and foes, to the third episode of Obi-Wan Kenobi. Episode 3, “Part III,” attempts the show’s trickiest balancing act yet, mixing in non-prequels Obi-Wan canon and a long-awaited match-up…that turns out not to be much of a match-up at all. Not yet.
Obi-Wan (Ewan McGregor) and Leia (Vivien Lyra Blair) are mid-journey to the mining planet of Mapuzo, and Obi-Wan tries once again to contact the Force ghost of Qui-Gon Jinn. Qui-Gon doesn’t answer (still a yet?). Obi-Wan’s mediation is intercut with scenes of Darth Vader (Hayden Christensen) getting armored up for the day on Mustafar.
Vader speaks with Reva (Moses Ingram) via hologram (and with the voice of James Earl Jones!); she’s pinning the Grand Inquisitor’s death on Obi-Wan, but Vader waves the Grand I’s death aside. He’s only concerned with finding Obi-Wan, and if Reva succeeds at that, she can have the Grand Inquisitor position.
On the cargo pod, Leia approaches Obi-Wan and asks him what the Force feels like. He compares it to the feeling of turning on the light after being afraid of the dark: it feels safe. Say, Obi-Wan, maybe you could ask her some pointed questions about the Force and if she thinks she’s ever used it like you’re so concerned with finding out about Luke. Just a thought!
The pair arrive on Mapuzo and head to the coordinates that Haja gave them last episode, but no one is there. Obi-Wan decides that they have to get themselves to the closest starport, lecturing Leia that not all people are good, though people like her father Bail are trying to be. You can see the seeds of Rebel Leia being planted throughout this episode, as she learns that the galaxy is darker than she’d known, but some are working for the light. As they walk across the fields, Obi-Wan sees a vision of a Jedi-robed Anakin, who glares at him balefully.
Reva arrives on the moon Nur for a squad meeting at the Fortress Inquisitorius*. The Fifth Brother (Sung Kang) and the Fourth Sister (Rya Kihlstedt) are none-too-thrilled to see her, and even less so when she smugly tells them about her call with Vader. Reva knows that the cargo pod was heading to a mining planet, so she orders her surly compatriots to send out probe droids to all of the applicable sectors.
Leia waves down a passing transport driven by a star-nosed moleman named Freck (Zach Braff) and scores them a ride to the starport. Freck stops along the way to give a ride to a clutch of stormtroopers, who reveal that they’re on the lookout for a Jedi. They were not given any other information about said Jedi, since Obi-Wan is, yet again, less than two feet from someone actively seeking him.
When questioned, Obi-Wan reveals himself to have become the galaxy’s worst liar in his ten years of solitude. He (a man who once went undercover in a Republic prison, a man once called “The Negotiator”) stumbles for a reason they’re on-world and uses Leia’s real name rather than the fake one (Luma) that she’d given the troopers and Freck. When a trooper notices this, Obi-Wan manages to cover it up, explaining that Leia was Luma’s deceased mother’s name, and that “Sometimes when I look at Luma, I see her mother’s face.”
Obi-Wan reveals himself to have become the galaxy’s worst liar in his ten years of solitude.
The placated troopers leave the transport, and Leia confronts Obi-Wan, asking if he knew her biological mother. He tells her it was just a story, but Leia knows that “Ben” has been keeping things from her and she asks if he’s her real father. Obi-Wan replies that he wishes he could say yes, but no, he isn’t. Leia has always imagined what her father was like, and Obi-Wan understands, telling her that as Jedi, they’re taken from their families very young, but that the Jedi became his new family, as the Organas are hers.
A stormtrooper blockade interrupts this sweet moment, and Freck tells the stormtroopers he has some suspicious characters onboard. A probe droid arrives to take a picture of Obi-Wan, but he shoots it and most of the troopers, knocks Freck out and runs with Leia before they’re stopped by the arrival of another transport of troopers.
Imperial officer Tala Durith (Indira Varma) leads the transport and she promptly shoots the troopers and reveals herself to be the contact that they missed earlier. She takes Leia and Obi-Wan to hide out in a droid maintenance shop manned by droid NED-B. Hidden in the back of the shop is a safe house used by Tala and others as part of “The Path”, a way of smuggling Jedi to Jabiim, a location in the Outer Rim.
Obi-Wan reads the various carvings on the wall and learns that fellow Jedi Quinlan Vos is still alive and aiding in rescuing younglings. Obi-Wan almost smiles when he hears this. It’s probably too much to hope that we get to see Quinlan in live-action, but it’s good news to hear that he survived Order 66 all the same. Obi-Wan is slowly regaining his trust both in others and in the Force itself.
Reva and the other Inquisitors learn Obi-Wan’s location (the probe droid got his picture out before he destroyed it) and the Fifth Brother has already informed Lord Vader, infuriating Reva. Y’all are fighting over Daddy’s love and Daddy does not love you.
Tala opens a door revealing a set of tunnels that will lead the trio to their escape ship, but a horrible feeling distracts Obi-Wan and he rushes to the shop windows to see the Inquisitors and their troops have arrived—and so has Darth Vader. Obi-Wan sends Tala off with Leia and watches in horror as Vader moves through town closer and closer to his location, Force-choking locals with abandon (breaking a young boy’s neck in front of his mother just to show that he can).
Obi-Wan sneaks from the shop and runs for it but Vader cuts him off, telling Obi-Wan that “I am what you made me”. Obi-Wan and Vader fight, but years of hiding and probably his sheer shock have weakened Obi-Wan. Vader tips over a storage container and uses his lightsaber to light the contents on fire, Force-dragging Obi-Wan into the flames. Oh, he’s feeling petty.
Reva makes her way to the droid shop and discovers the safe house, reacting violently to seeing the Jedi seal carved on the wall. In the tunnels, Leia begs Tala to go back to help Obi-Wan and Tala sends Leia to find the pilot while she doubles back. Tala finds Obi-Wan just as Vader throws him from the flames and tells an arriving group of stormtroopers to collect him. Tala manages to reignite the fire, separating the injured Obi-Wan from Vader and the troopers. NED-B carries the injured Obi-Wan to Tala. Vader doesn’t make any moves to keep this from happening, but he’s got nothing but time.
It’s sometimes easy to forget just how terrifying Vader is until he’s seen in cold action.
In the tunnels, Leia stops abruptly when she hears a voice calling to her. It’s Reva (uh, how’d you get there ahead of her, Reva?), who assures Leia that she’s there to help her. Leia sees the pilot she was to meet, dead on the tunnel floor, and runs.
Part III is the one that people have been waiting for: the meeting of Vader and Obi-Wan. There’s been some rumbling that the fight wasn’t what it could have been, but how could it be? Obi-Wan hasn’t, most likely, touched his lightsaber in ten years only to be faced by his now 7-foot tall cyborg brother who just killed several innocent people to make an entrance. I think we can offer Obi-Wan some grace here. I doubt this will be their last showdown in the series. Once again, Deborah Chow’s direction adds tension and thrills to a story with a set end, aided by Natalie Holt’s moving score.
The highlight of the episode was once again the smaller relationship moments between Obi-Wan and Leia, though special credit must be given to the series’ introduction of Darth Vader. It’s sometimes easy to forget just how terrifying Vader is until he’s seen in cold action, killing people without reason or remorse; for all that the Inquisitors are jockeying for his favor, it’s clear he would toss any of them away in an instant. Padmé saw that there was still good in him, but it’s not at the surface yet.
Obi-Wan Kenobi is getting better week after week, and the inclusion of Clone Wars canon in this episode offers a myriad of exciting possibilities. Let’s see where our battered hero ends up next time.
- *Yes, that’s really what it’s called.
- “She’ll make a good fighter one day,” Tala says of Leia when the latter brightly asks to be taught to shoot. Yes. Yes, she will.
- Who do you want to see mentioned from The Clone Wars? I don’t think an Ahsoka mention is too far out of the realm of possibility, though I don’t think an actual appearance would fit in. And I know we’re all crossing our fingers ever so tightly for a Satine Kryze reference. Just one, that’s all we’re asking!
- It’s looking like they want us to think that the Grand Inquisitor is actually dead, but there are a couple of issues with that. Most importantly, the fact that the same character is alive in Star Wars: Rebels, which takes place further along the timeline than Obi-Wan Kenobi does, and secondarily that Reva stabbed the G.I. in the stomach…something his species has two of. Note that Vader never exactly agrees with Reva, he’s just not interested in talking about it. I suspect we’re going to see more of the Grand Inquisitor, likely just when Reva thinks she’s gotten her promotion.