Obi-Wan Kenobi - Review (Episode 5)


BACKGROUND


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


Lots of familiar faces pop up in this episode. Haja, and he's still chasing those sweet, sweet credits! Bail Organa, albeit in holographic form! The Grand Inquisitor - yes, he's alive! Anakin Skywalker, and it's actually Hayden Christensen this time! Let me lay my cards out right off the bat. I enjoyed this episode overall. It's not perfect by any means, but there's a few things to enjoy. Let's get into it.


The episode opens up with a flashback to Coruscant, looking a bit cheaper than we remember it from the prequels. And here's where we get Hayden Christensen in the flesh (I'm a bit sceptical that he's always been in the Vader suit throughout all five episodes). He's looking a bit older than he did in the prequels (the flashback scene takes place before Attack of the Clones) and while it does take me out of the moment a little bit, it's not too egregious. And I have to say he's looking damn good for his age. Obi-Wan enters the room and the two exchange some light-hearted banter before they get ready to spar. Ewan MacGregor looks great as the younger Obi-Wan. I mean, they probably aged him up a bit for the present day scenes, but he looks good in the flashbacks, and I wonder if it's just make-up or whether they used some sort of de-aging tech. Anyway, master and apprentice prepare to cross swords and the scene cuts to present day Vader, so it's probably his memory we're seeing here. In any case, the flashback scenes are interspersed with the present day ones, and there's a lesson in there that Anakin never really learnt, and it transfers over to Vader during the course of the events of the episode. Namely, that Anakin wants to win at all costs, to the point that it blinds him from anything else. “Your need for victory, Anakin … it blinds you,” Obi-Wan tells his impulsive and reckless student. “Until you overcome it, a Padawan you will still be.” I'm not sure if this referencing Vader's "When I left you I was but the learner" line from A New Hope, but in any case, and as Obi-Wan points out during the course of the episode, there are other ways to fight.


Anyway, Reva gets invited aboard Vader's Imperial Star destroyer and they have a bit of a chinwag about the tracker she put on Leia's droid in the last episode. The tactic has paid off and now the Empire knows the transport ship Obi-Wan and the rest of the gang are on is on its way to Jabiim. Vader tells Reva to kneel (some might find that a bit contentious) but it's to knight her... sort of: he makes her Grand Inquisitor, and Reva seems pretty pleased with herself. Vader then orders the Star destroyer to make for Jabiim.


Meanwhile, we see the transport arrive on Jabiim; it slips through a big circular hatch in the ground and lands on a hangar bay. Out come Kenobi and his companions from the previous episode. It's here we see that the hangar bay is housing a lot of refugees that are in hiding from the Empire. And it's here as well that we get the return of Haja! He tells Obi-Wan that he's become a fugitive from the Empire since he helped the former Jedi back in episode 2, and now has nowhere to go. He still sees the opportunity of making some moolah though, so being a wanted man hasn't dampened his irascibility too much. I'm not sure how he managed to get to Jabiim (perhaps in another of those undocumented automated transports, but that's here nor there). Meanwhile, the Empire is now hot in pursuit of Kenobi thanks to the tracker, and as the Star destroyer enters Jabiim's atmosphere, Leia's droid (which has seemingly turned to the Dark Side since the tracker was installed in her) closes the big, circular hatch. What are the would be rebels meant to do now? It seems that the wiring that can bypass the control and open the hatch is in a tiny crawlspace that no normal sized person could get into. Who was it built for, Jawas? In any case, there are no Jawas available on Jabiim (they all much rather be hanging around Tatooine, it seems), so Leia will have to fill in. There's a bit of resistance to the idea at first, but since no-one has a better one, Leia goes into the crawlspace, climbing through a prepared ladder to do so. How she quite knows how to hotwire the controls is another question entirely. Did she learn it by working on Lola, her droid? A droid that Obi-Wan had to fix for her in a previous episode, by the way. Not important I guess. In the meantime, the Rebels/members of the Path/ordinary refugees (not sure what to call them) decide to buy Leia some time, and they start barricading all the other remote access points to the hangar bay. Obi-Wan even gives an inspiring speech. And it's around this time we see Jimmy Smits, AKA Bail Organa, again in holographic form. He sends a communication to Obi-Wan via the private communicator the latter carries around with him, and the former Jedi general goes to hear it in private. Bail is worried he's not heard back from Obi-Wan yet. After this scene, Obi-Wan has a heart-to-heart with Tala, which means she'll probably die later on (Kenobi can't die - he needs to be in Episode IV, remember). So it has to be someone else.


In the meantime, troops have landed outside the main hangar door, alongside Reva, on Vader's orders. I am not sure why Vader doesn't come down with them personally, considering how much he supposedly wants to capture and torture Obi-Wan, but never mind. Obi-Wan, meantime, approaches the door and attempts to communicate with Reva. Through the door, mind you. That door has to be several inches thick and made of solid metal. There's a quick scene of Obi-Wan putting his hand on the door and bowing his head with his eyes closed, suggesting that it's the Force that's making him able to talk to Reva through the door. All things considered, it's still pretty ridiculous. Why didn't he just surrender right then and there like he does later in the episode anyway? No time to ponder, as Reva comes clean about her backstory. Yes, she was the Youngling in the Jedi Temple when Anakin was massacring the innocents, and that's how she knows that he and Darth Vader are one. I mean, technically she saw Vader, but he wasn't in the suit then, and he obviously looks like Anakin (because he is Anakin - anyone else confused?). Now, I'm not sure why Anakin didn't just kill her like he did the other Younglings, although to be fair she still has copious amounts of plot armour left. Instead, she's made into an Inquisitor knowing full well that Anakin and Vader are one and the same, and her tendency to spout this fact out nilly-willy. I would assume Vader would want to keep that little secret... well, secret, but it appears not. There's another stonker of a revelation right here. Reva maybe working for the Empire, but hold it, she's really not a Dark Side user or really in favour of the Empire. Nor does she want to really be an Inquisitor or a Sith. She's just a Youngling who grew up wanting to take her revenge on Vader. And her plan was to join the Empire, become an Inquisitor and do some pretty horrible things in the name of the Empire (which she didn't really believe in in the first place...) Right... I find this revelation hard to swallow, especially since it comes out of nowhere and goes against everything we've seen her character do in the show until that point. And what did she want with Obi-Wan in the first place? Was it revenge too for not stopping the events of Order 66? From my understanding, it seems she wanted to distract Vader with Kenobi and then kill the Sith Lord herself. I think. Anyway, I don't buy this 180 turn for a second. And the few seconds of her opening up a tiny bit to Leia in the previous episode doesn't really count as development. Anyway, Obi-Wan suggests they take on Vader together, but Reva rejects this proposal at this particular juncture, and soon battle is joined.


It was nice to finally get some meaty action, with stormtroopers and the Jabiim lot going at each other with blasters and whatnot. I only wish the camera weren't so shaky... Sit still damn it! Proceedings begin with Reva stabbing her lightsaber through the hangar door, almost impaling Obi-Wan. Then the real fun begins. Or maybe not. In the thick of the fighting, Tala gets hit with a blaster shot and then decides a thermal detonator is the way to go out. Quite literally. She lets it rip, taking her and a few stormtroopers with her. Tala died a hero of the rebellion. Or the Path. I'm still not sure what to call them. Good guys, there. Obi-Wan is visibly distraught and then decides on a fateful course of action. At first you think he's about to give up, as Roken has to give him a quick pep talk. But he rallies with a cunning plan. The episode cuts back to the flashback scene on Coruscant, where Anakin disarms Obi-Wan and immediately thinks he's won, only for his master to turn the tables on him, taking Anakin's lightsaber from him with the Force. This portion of the flashback is clearly Obi-Wan's recollection, as he reflects on what it is to fight without weapons. Then he resolves to go out and meet Reva face to face. He disarms himself, stating that there are ways to fight without the use of weapons, and there's a quaint scene of him looking at a container full of lightsabers. Then he marches out to meet Reva, and he's put onto his knees (again, some folks might find this contentious, but it doesn't last very long). Vader himself decides to travel down to the planet, finally, but in the meantime, the former Jedi convinces Reva to take on Vader together. So they hatch a plan together.


This is the plan. I think. Reva releases Obi-Wan and allows him to return to the hangar bay with the rest of the refugees, while Vader lands on Jabiim. Reva seemingly convinces Vader that Obi-Wan is being detained in the hangar, and Vader, strutting like a preening peacock, makes his way to where he thinks Obi-Wan is apparently being kept. Meanwhile, Leia has managed to hotwire the hatch door, and it opens. The refugees then move to take shelter in the transport ship. Why they weren't already inside the ship, ready to go, I don't know. I'm also not sure how Vader fell for the obvious trap. I mean, spoiler, I guess he didn't, as he knew Reva would betray him but why did he let himself be led into walking the whole length of the passage to the hangar bay? Did he know Reva wasn't actually holding Obi-Wan inside as she claimed, but was attempting to flee in the transport ship with the other refugees? I think he knew Reva was lying about Obi-Wan but he went along with everything so he could take down the fleeing refugee ship. Which he does, in spectacular fashion, using the Force. But lo and behold, it was a fake out and the real transport ship flies off into the distance! Couldn't Vader have brought that one down too, or was he caught off guard by Obi-Wan? What Vader wasn't caught out by was Reva sneaking behind his back in an attempt to run the Sith Lord through. Doesn't work, and the way Vader evades all of her attacks using just the Force is incredibly cool to see. Vader is super powerful in this show, make no mistake, and makes his Original Trilogy self seem like a wimp in comparison. In all honesty, he's probably a little too overpowered, but I guess he's being fully fuelled by his rage and the power of the Dark Side. There's a scene where Vader is holding both sides of Reva's lightsaber after defeating her (it turns out to a double lightsaber), and for a split second I thought, is Vader going to execute her like he did Dooku at the start of Revenge of the Sith? But no, he doesn't. Instead, he throws one half of the lightsaber to Reva and proceeds to stab her through the gut. Then the OG Grand Inquisitor makes an appearance, and gloats over Reva for a little bit, before he and Vader leave without properly finishing her off. It doesn't sound like something Vader would do. Maybe Obi-Wan. Reva's will to live is powerfully strong, and as she staggers along the floor she finds Obi-Wan's private communicator. It seems he dropped it back when all the chaos was happening, and you know it will come up later as the camera lingers on it. She picks it up now, and a very scrambled Bail Organa hologram mentions something about Vader's children and how one of them - a boy - is living on Tatooine. Now Reva is in on that secret too, in a very clumsy and ham-fisted way of course. I knew Bail Organa would be nothing but trouble! But she has to be dead now, surely now, right? Don't bet on it. The plot armour may be weaker, but it's still there. The final scene shows a sleeping Luke safe and snug in his bed. Or is he? We'll find out next week! Spoiler: he is.


And that's the end of the episode. The flashback scenes are probably the best thing about it. It was great to see Ewan and Hayden together again, especially the banter and chemistry together. Obviously, it looks like Anakin didn't fully absorb the lesson Obi-Wan was imparting, and the way it plays a role in the present day storyline is very interesting. Hayden looks a bit older than he did, but his acting was better than in the whole of the prequels (probably the direction he was given). Ewan looked great as the younger Obi-Wan, and as other commentators have pointed out, the contrast between the Obi-Wan in the flashbacks and the Obi-Wan in the present day scenes showcase what a wonderful actor he truly is, and how easily the two actors can slip back into their prequel era personas. I hope we see more of them together in the last episode. Now for the stuff I found a bit questionable. I'm making a bullet point list this time. Ready?

  • Why was the crawlspace for the hangar hatch door controls seemingly made for either Jawas or very small children?

  • How does Leia know how to hotwire the controls for the hangar hatch door?

  • Why doesn't Vader land on the planet along with Reva and the stormtroopers? What was he waiting for? He's so OP that he could probably have taken all of the refugees down right there and then, had he just bothered to show up sooner.

  • How exactly do Reva and Obi-Wan communicate through the main hangar door? Do they use the Force?

  • Reva's out of the blue 180 turn after she's been seeing doing very nasty things to people who probably didn't deserve it over the course of the series. If she is so angry, why hasn't she fallen to the Dark Side? Is she actually a Dark Side user, or just a former Youngling who wants revenge? And if she wants revenge on Vader, wouldn't that make a Dark Side user anyway, because only those who practice the Dark Side want take revenge on others?

  • Why didn't Anakin kill Reva in the Jedi Temple when she was a Youngling? He seems to have killed just about anyone else. And why would he keep her alive when she knows that Anakin and Vader are one AND when he knows she was a Youngling, as evidenced by what he tells her when he stabs her at the end of the episode?

  • Why does she hate Obi-Wan so much? Is it because he allowed Order 66 to happen? And what's her plan with respect to Obi-Wan and Vader? Does she just want to use Ob-Wan as bait to lure Vader and distract him while he's fully focused on Obi-Wan? Funnily enough, that's what happens in reverse at the end, when Obi-Wan flees with Leia and the refugees, leaving Reva for Vader.

  • Why was Vader going along with her deception for so long? Was it because she tracked down Obi-Wan? What about before that? Did he need another Inquisitor and she just happened to fit the bill?

  • Why doesn't Vader clinically finish Reva off when he has the chance, when he's been known not to take anything for granted?

  • Why would Bail Organa spout information that Obi-Wan already knew, and at such a convenient time for Reva to hear, too?

  • Where were the Inquisitors this week? They have been nothing but useless all throughout the series.

So that was my review of Obi-Wan Kenobi Episode 5. It had some really cool scenes and others that just didn't work for me. Anyway, that's enough of that for now! Stay tuned for my review of Episode 6 coming next week or the next. May the Force be with you!





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