Old faces and new conflicts swirl to the surface in the penultimate episode.
Hello there! We’re here this week with the penultimate episode of Obi-Wan Kenobi and did this episode ever come for our throats. Do you want to feel every emotion? Do you want to fill in some “plot holes”? Do you want to let Natalie Holt’s sweeping score catch you up as the episode ends? Well then, settle in.
A note: This episode again contains flashbacks to Order 66, this time with more explicit violence towards children. Look out for yourselves.
We open this week on the skyline of Coruscant, as the back of a familiar head (and a very familiar Padawan braid) looks out. It’s Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen), waiting for some lightsaber dueling practice with his Master, Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor). If the actors have been digitally de-aged it’s subtle enough to seem invisible, and it’s frankly refreshing to see actual faces rather than deepfakes and smoothing. Does it entirely work visually? Sort of…? It’s obvious neither of these men are in their 20s anymore, but it works emotionally and frankly, that’s more important. The flashback ends with a cut to Darth Vader on the bridge of his ship (the Devastator), being told that Reva (Moses Ingram) has arrived. Their tracker (Leia’s droid Lola) worked, Reva tells him, and they set course to Jabiim. For her successes, Vader grants Reva the position of Grand Inquisitor.
On Jabiim, Obi-Wan and crew return from rescuing Leia (Vivien Lyra Blair), and Roken (O’Shea Jackson, Jr) tells Obi-Wan that he’ll help get her back to Alderaan as soon as they get the gathered refugees off-planet; also greeting them on Jabiim is Haja (Kumail Nanjiani), now on the run after his “fight” with Reva. On the Devastator, Vader orders Reva to activate Lola and lockdown the facility as they approach Jabiim; Lola shuts down the hangar doors, cutting off the refugees’ escape.
Obi-Wan tells the others that Darth Vader will attack shortly, as he “doesn’t have the patience for a siege”. When asked how he knows that, Obi-Wan settles back into the Flashback (It’s a wonderful touch that we’re never entirely sure whose flashbacks they are. Are they sharing them? Their shared past is a constant link between them, regardless of everything else.) where Anakin is being a whole Anakin about dueling. He’s being stubborn and overly emotional, taking the whole practice session entirely too seriously. When we return to Vader in the present, we see not much has changed, as Vader immediately orders an attack on the refugee facility.
Leia, buoyed by a sarcastic quip from Haja, climbs up into the vents to locate the problem with the wiring. Obi-Wan receives a ping from his comm device, entrusts Leia to an alarmed Haja (“I’m not a babysitter, Ben!”), and finds a quiet corner to view his message from a concerned Bail Organa (Jimmy Smits). Bail concludes his message by saying that if he doesn’t hear from Obi-Wan soon, he’s going to assume Vader knows about the children and he’ll head to Tatooine to help Owen save “the boy”.
Tala (Indira Varma) finds Obi-Wan, and the two share a conversation about the past (Tala learned that the Empire was hunting and killing Force sensitives after she helped locate several families, believing them criminals). She assures Obi-Wan that while the past can’t change, you can fight to make things better. They’re interrupted by Roken: Reva and several squads of stormtroopers are at the doors, and they’re going to break through. Obi-Wan sends a message to Reva that he wants to negotiate.
The pair speak through the door, and Obi-Wan asks her how she knew that Vader was Anakin (sounds like Obi-Wan has been on Twitter lately). He’s certain that Vader would want to keep that knowledge hidden, and Reva is too young to have known Anakin…and the knowledge lights Obi-Wan’s eyes as he realizes she must have been a youngling who was at the Temple during Order 66 and saw Anakin killing Jedi. “We thought he was there to help us,” Reva says almost sadly, and Obi-Wan realizes something else: Reva isn’t serving Vader–she’s hunting him.
Did this episode ever come for our throats.
Now, this is a twist with some meat to it. Earning Vader’s praise by capturing Obi-Wan was never Reva’s motivation, it’s been to gain his trust to get close enough to kill him. It’s also an excellent way to explain the “How did Reva know?” question that’s been discoursed to pieces: she knew because she saw him. She watched him kill her friends as she played dead and plotted her revenge. Moses Ingram is the highlight of this episode, her pain and fear and anger seeping through the cold mask she’s made of her face as she bitterly acknowledges that Obi-Wan is right, but rejects his help. Does he really want Anakin dead? she asks him, laying out all of his inner demons. “Where were you while he was killing everyone? Why didn’t you stop him?” Reva cuts through the door with her lightsaber, narrowly missing Obi-Wan. She and her stormtroopers open the door and a firefight between the stormtroopers and the refugees commences.
The refugees fall back, but Tala and her loyal droid buddy NED-B are shot; Tala shoots the blaster door controls, shielding the refugees from the troopers. She tells an anguished Obi-Wan “May the Force be with you”, before activating a thermal detonator, killing herself and several troopers. In the Flashback, Obi-Wan falters and Anakin demands that he admit that he’s beaten. Back in the hangar, Obi-Wan gives his lightsaber and comm to Haja, asking him to make sure Leia gets home. Obi-Wan knows that Vader expects him to surrender, but he has some tricks up his sleeve.
Obi-Wan reveals his plan to a hesitant Reva: his presence will distract Vader and she can make her move. Reva has two troopers take Obi-Wan inside the facility, where he easily dispatches them and heads to the hangar. In the Flashback, Obi-Wan rallies, but Anakin manages to disarm him. Taunting Obi-Wan that without his weapon it’s over, his disappointed Master tells Anakin that his need for victory blinds him.
Leia has been in the vents this whole time, is briefly attacked by Lola, manages to remove Lola’s restraining bolt, and fixes the breaker, opening the hangar doors. Leia doesn’t have much to do this week, but that’s just as well, given what’s going on around her. Obi-Wan arrives as the door opens, and Roken urges the refugees onto the transport ship. In the rush, Haja drops Obi-Wan’s comm. Vader enters the hangar as the ship is leaving, pulling it back down to the ground with the Force and tearing it open. He finds it empty, just as the other ship that was behind it gets away. Oh Anakin, still so blind.
Flashback Obi-Wan gets Anakin’s saber and warns his Padawan that “Your need to prove yourself is your undoing”. Obi-Wan is all smiles, lesson taught, but Anakin glowers. Vader stands in the hangar as Reva sneaks up behind him, but as she swings her saber at him he easily stops her with the Force. She tries and tries, but he’s toying with her, never even pulling his weapon as he steps out of her swings and brushes her aside. He takes her saber from her and breaks it in two, keeping one and offering her the other, but the duel is a farce and Vader stabs her. Vader knew what her plans were; and as Reva lies dying in the dirt, the Grand Inquisitor (Rupert Friend) enters the hangar. Surprise! It’s another “plot hole” all sealed up. They leave Reva to die (not killing her outright is a sloppy plot convenience, and a low point in an otherwise tightly plotted episode).
On the transport ship, Roken quietly tells Obi-Wan that their hyperdrive has failed and the Star Destroyer is right behind them. On Jabiim, Reva sees Obi-Wan’s dropped comm and crawls over to it; she sees Bail’s message, but it’s glitching, so she only hears “Tatooine” and “the boy.” Obi-Wan senses that something is wrong, but waves it off for Roken and Leia as he silently panics. On Tatooine, Luke Skywalker (Grant Feely) sleeps peacefully. For now.
As Obi-Wan Kenobi draws to a close, it’s remarkable how this previously unknown chapter in Obi-Wan’s life has been slotted so perfectly into the existing canon. The nitpicks of the internet (and not all without merit) notwithstanding, it’s been a strong and emotional entry into the Star Wars galaxy. It remains to be seen how it all draws to a close; the revelation of Reva’s true goals lends itself to several possibilities for the series finale. Will she go after Luke in some twisted understanding of his relationship with Vader? Will she and Obi-Wan face off as he returns to protect Luke? How is that ship of Force-sensitive refugees going to outmaneuver a Star Destroyer? The beauty of Obi-Wan Kenobi has been its capacity to keep us guessing.
- On Jabiim, Obi-Wan finds another wall of carvings, as well as bins full of lightsabers and Jedi robes? That seems…unsafe to just keep laying around.
- Parallels: “Do you trust me? I trust her.” Obi-Wan tells Roken when Leia plans to climb into the vents. “I would trust her with my life.” Bail tells Mon Mothma in Rogue One, speaking of Leia.
- My know-it-all moment: Where was Obi-Wan when Anakin was killing everyone? He was on Utapau, dealing with the aftermath of his clone troopers’ betrayal.