Obi-Wan Kenobi - Review (Episode 4)
It's been ten years since the fall of the Republic and the rise of the Empire. All remaining Jedi not ensnared by Order 66 are in hiding. Obi-Wan Kenobi (an older, scruffy looking Ewan Macgregor) is living on the desert planet of Tatooine, watching over Luke Skywalker. Meanwhile, Leia Skywalker, is being raised by the Organas as their own on Alderaan. The true identity of the Skywalker twins is known only to a handful of people. But ten years after the destruction of the Jedi Order, events conspire that threaten to tear everything apart...
OK, now that we got that dramatic opening out of the way, a couple of notes on the review. It's quite SPOILER HEAVY, so don't read on if you don't want to know what happens. Also, what's written in this article are my views, and my views alone, so don't take them as gospel. And with all that said and done..
THE ACTUAL REVIEW
Short episode this one, so much so that it kind of feels rushed, although they packed in quite a bit. Let's start from the top. An injured Obi-Wan is taken to the planet of Jabiim by Imperial Officer turned spy, Tala. There, he's put into a Bacta Tank to heal - but not for long. He has flashbacks to his fight with Darth Vader on Mazpuzo not too long ago, and he senses his old apprentice is in his own Bacta Tank on Mustafar. Anyway, he has a panic attack and gets out of the tank, asking where Leia is. It's here we meet a new set of characters, including Roken (O'Shea Jackson Jr.), Wade (Ryder McLaughlin) and Sully (Maya Erskine). They are all members of the Path, a secret network of anti-Imperial agents that help former Jedi escape the clutches of the Empire. So I can call them Pathers? Path Walkers? Members of the Path, there. Roken tells Obi-Wan that Leia has been taken to Fortress Inquisitorius, and at first he's reluctant to help Obi-Wan, who wants to stage a rescue attempt. If you recall, the Inquisitors' fortress is on the water moon of Nur, and we learn that it's in the Mustafar system. Now that's convenient! Or inconvenient, as Vader just happens to be in the area (though not on Nur, Roken says). Speaking of Roken, he does change his mind rather quickly about helping Obi-Wan though, which surprised me given his speech a few moments earlier. Obi-Wan and Tala formulate a plan for him to infiltrate the fortress using her Imperial credentials.
I would ordinarily say that infiltrating the fortress is an impossible undertaking (as the characters themselves mention) but I think Obi-Wan made his way inside rather easily. OK, he got in by diving under the water (and the presence of a large fish-like creature brought me back to Episode I - "There's always a bigger fish") and Tala had to blag her way through security, which she did admirably. I still think it was a bit too easy, and maybe the runtime hurt this, as they have to get Obi-Wan to point A to B to C in literally half an hour of screen time. It's convenient as well that Nur has no shield ("Who would want to go there?" one of the characters asks). That said, there are a couple of tense moments, especially early on. There's a scene in which two stormtroopers enter the corridor Obi-Wan is in, and he has to hide. At the same time, a suspicious officer takes Tala aside (she ends up taking him out), and Obi-Wan temporarily loses contact with her. The stormtroopers hear the crackle of the communicators and become alert. Obi-Wan has to use the Force to create a distraction, before continuing on his way. I should have mentioned another earlier scene when he and Tala are flying to Nur, and Obi-Wan is practising using the Force again. I should also point out that the injuries he sustained in Episode 3 - that necessitated his being put into a Bacta Tank, remember - don't seem to slow him down at all, even though the right side of his back and shoulder is crisp and burnt. So why go through the trouble of putting him into the tank? Solely so we could have the flashbacks with Vader? Because Bacta Tanks are cool?
But I'm getting a bit ahead of myself, as we get scenes of Reva trying to extract information from Leia regarding Jedi sympathisers and the Path, but the future Rebel leader is strong and resists the mind-probe. Reva then tries some emotional manipulation, but Leia sees right through that well. We do get a bit more backstory for Reva, including that she had a droid as a Youngling, but it was taken from her, just like everything else. It's worth noting that she's holding Leia's droid during these moments, and this will become important later. Reva eventually has enough of Leia obfuscating her, and has some stormtroopers take her into an interrogation cell. I say interrogation "cell", but the room is massive. Too much space for a little interrogation device placed right in the middle of the room. Leia is strapped to the device, and things are looking bleak for the little princess. Meanwhile, Obi-Wan has made his way to the lower depths (or restricted area) of the fortress, and there he makes a shocking discovery. At regular intervals along the wall are buried the bodies of dead Jedi! The bodies are behind glass panels and encased in what appears to be amber. Behind one of the glass panels is a Youngling. Obi-Wan, still in communication with Tala, says he needs a distraction so he can get to Leia.
Tala then summons Reva to her in the command centre under false pretences just as she's about to interrogate Leia. There's a bit of back and forth between Reva and Tala, which basically boils down to Reva doesn't believe any of her stories. Meanwhile, Obi-Wan shuts the light off in the interrogation room and takes care of the stormtroopers guarding Leia. And like that, she's in Kenobi's hands once again. There's a touching moment between the two as they reunite (Leia had thought him dead as per what Reva told her) However, they are soon spotted by a droid and an alarm is triggered. Reva immediately leaves the command centre, placing Tala in custody, although she soon overpowers her guards (a bit too easily, I think). Obi-Wan and Leia continue moving through corridors, and this right here is the best part of the episode. Obi-Wan and Leia are being chased by stormtroopers and other Imperial agents, and the old Jedi master seems to be getting his groove back. He's dispatching folks and repelling blaster shots with his lightsaber. At one point, a deflected blaster shot makes a crack in the wall and he manages to use the Force to hold the shards in place while telling Leia and Tala (who's been reunited with them after dispatching her guards) to make good their escape. At the same time, he closes a door in the face of some imperial agents, and I found it comical. There's another scene where he has enemies blasting at him from two sides, and he enemies facing his back don't seem to even hit him. It's still a good sequence, and this time Obi-Wan manages to escape with them.
They make their way to the hangar bay, Obi-Wan in disguise with Leia underneath his cloak, but Reva soon arrives with a contingent of stormtroopers. There's a stand-off which looks to end badly for our heroes, but two ally ships swoop down from the sky and manage to mow down most of the stormtroopers. It's Wade and Sully to the rescue! Obi-Wan, Leia and Tala manage to make it onto Sully's ship, and they start flying away. Wade stays behind to provide cover, and fires upon Reva, but she deflects all of the shots with her lightsaber. Soon the Fifth Brother arrives on the deck, and Wade is killed as he tries to flee the scene. The Fifth Brother walks away, again frustrated with Reva. Quick note on the ally ships: they look very similar to the snow speeders from The Empire Strikes Back. The next scene shows a furious Vader storming down the hall to the command centre, where Reva is stood with the Fifth Brother and Fourth Sister. He proceeds to choke Reva for letting Obi-Wan escape, but once again the plot armour is thick with her, and she gets to live when it transpires that she put a tracker - in Leila's droid it turns out. This is made clear in the last scene of the episode, in Jabiim, when Leia's droid's eyes start glowing a sinister red. There's another touching scene between Obi-Wan and Leia, where she starts to hold his hand, and he reciprocates. You get a real sense that they care for each other.
Anyway, that's the end of the episode, and the kidnap plot continues (and will do so until the last episode, probably). The episode had a higher budget for sure. The music in some of the scenes featuring Obi-Wan getting the groove back in his step sounded very Star Wars, which is an improvement. I like the relationship between Obi-Wan and Leia, despite my reservations about it being canon. They clearly call Obi-Wan "Obi-Wan" to her face, so it's not like she only knows him as Ben. I'm not quite sure why Reva is still alive, and why Vader didn't just kill her. Or why the other Inquisitors haven't done so. Speaking of the Inquisitors, what actual purpose are they serving other than to be pissed off at Reva? And again, speaking of the Inquisitors, it's looking more and more likely that the Grand Inquisitor is dead, which definitely is canon-breaking. As I mentioned before, the episode felt a little too brisk, and Obi-Wan seemed to find his away around the fortress with relative ease, even though the structure from the outside looks huge. In case you are wondering, there's no repeat duel between Obi-Wan and Vader in this episode. Vader was barely in it too. And I keep wondering, is Hayden Christensen even in the suit? Or is it a stunt double? What about when he's in the Bacta Tank? In Rogue One they used a body double, I believe. Anyway, it's not the worst episode I've ever seen, and the scenes of Obi-Wan getting his mojo back are a particular highlight.
So that was my review of Obi-Wan Kenobi Episode 4. Not sure if it qualified as the most important episode of the show, to be honest. Anyway, stay tuned for my review of Episode 5 coming next week probably. May the Force be with you!