This latest episode of Obi-Wan Kenobi brought a smile to my face.
Just as “Part IV” paid homage to Episode IV (A New Hope), “Part V” managed to bring back the feels of my favorite Star Wars film – Episode V (The Empire Strikes Back).
Right off the rip, Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi find themselves in a flashback training sequence, on Coruscant, serving as a reminder of the relationship between Jedi Master and Padawan. It makes sense that there would be a flashback at some point now that Hayden Christensen is reprising the role of Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader. Their dynamic from the prequel trilogy (specifically in Episode II and Episode III) is instantly re-established.
Darth Vader invites Reva onto his ship, and she assures her master that the tracker is in place. Naturally, Vader orders the captain to advance on Jabiim (where those involved with ‘The Path’ reside) as he tells Reva to lock the enemy down. Princess Leia’s droid ‘Lola’ (L0-LA59 as she introduced her to Tala’s loader droid NED-B) is set to sabotage the resistance base – everything in this sequence reminded me of a Fix-It from the classic film Batteries Not Included (1987).
Obi-Wan can sense that there will not be much time and begins to plan their escape. When Roken cannot open the hangar doors to begin evacuation, Leia decides to help by crawling into the ventilation shaft.
Reva and a platoon of stormtroopers along with a couple of purge troopers (or at least they LOOK like the ones you would fight while playing EA’s Jedi: Fallen Order) are overwhelming the rebel base, and Obi-Wan decides to try and negotiate with Reva to buy time. It is here that we get some reveals to what has been hinted at throughout this series: What is Reva’s motivation?
Newly appointed Grand Inquisitor Reva admits to Obi-Wan that she was a youngling at the temple during Order 66, confirming a payoff from the opening flashback sequence in Part I that she was one of those younglings and left for dead by Anakin. Another clue to support this was the youngling seen at the Fortress Inquisitorious in the tomb filled with fallen Jedi.
Obi-Wan tries to sway Reva to fight Vader alongside him, but she refuses to trust him and orders an attack. The shootout is intense, though the stormtroopers do hold up their reputation as being terrible marksmen, and it is a visual thrill to see General Kenobi on the front lines defending the assault with his lightsaber (also couldn’t help but notice Roken using a bowcaster similar to the great Chewbacca’s iconic weapon of choice).
On a smaller scale, the battles and the general energy of Darth Vader in this episode remind me of the Empire invading the Echo base on Hoth in The Empire Strikes Back.
In the heat of the action, Tala is shot and dying alongside her loader companion droid NED-B. Obi-Wan fights on, but Tala shoots the door to prevent him from interfering with her thermal detonator – a sacrifice move reminiscent of IG-11’s attempt in Chapter I of The Mandalorian.
When Obi-Wan, remembering Anakin’s battle tactics from their numerous training sessions, realizes that Vader will not stop until everybody is dead, he must also make a bold move. Kenobi’s decision to give himself over to Reva parallels the training flashbacks, as he is proving that patience is the path to victory for the Jedi. He tells Roken there are other ways to fight and tells Haja to watch over Leia while he is gone.
The choice to go to Vader in the interest of helping his friends is also similar to Luke’s choice in Empire – to abandon his Jedi training and try and save the people he loves. Obi-Wan reminds Reva that he is handing Darth Vader to her on a silver platter, after all he’s discovered that it is her mission to put an end to the Dark Lord of the Sith for what he did to her and the other younglings. This time she sees Kenobi’s play and sends him with some stormtroopers behind the blast doors.
Obi-Wan uses this opportunity to take out the guards and rejoin the escapees. Leia reconnects with Lola after realizing that a restraining bolt was preventing her from acting as her normal self. With power restored to the hangar, everybody begins to board the transport.
Vader touches down to see to Kenobi himself, as Reva tells him that she has him secured behind the blast doors. Furious, he tracks down a ship departing from the hangar and uses his Dark Side Force powers to bring it down.
Fortunately, the first ship was a ruse (where have we seen that before… The Rise of Skywalker, a la Chewy!?) and the Path people are able to get away to safety: with Ben Kenobi and Leia Organa on board. As foreshadowed by the training sequence, Obi-Wan’s escape is yet another victory over Anakin/Vader.
Convinced that this is her moment, Grand Inquisitor Reva attempts a coup on Darth Vader. Anybody who has seen Vader in comics or in the video game Jedi: Fallen Order will know that this guy is not to be trifled with. After an exciting show of lightsaber skills and ruthless Force powers, Vader puts Reva back down to the ground, flashing back to when he was Anakin attacking her at the temple.
It is important to highlight the connection between Reva’s craving for revenge as a youngling and the predicament she finds herself in now, especially given that she is now the third character to duel Darth Vader in live-action next to Obi-Wan Kenobi and Luke Skywalker.
The original Grand Inquisitor reveals that he is still alive, and he tells her they will leave her in the gutter where she belongs. In a twist that will leave us on the edge of our seats until next week’s Part VI finale, Reva finds the comm. link left behind by Ben – revealing that Bail Organa will return to Owen Lars’ homestead on Tatooine and see to the boy (a young Luke Skywalker!). Recall that Reva has already had one harrowing encounter with Owen on Tatooine, and could likely put the pieces together on what Bail’s holographic message is referring to.
The stakes couldn’t be higher heading into the final episode of what has proven to be an incredible series for Ewan McGregor’s Obi-Wan Kenobi. Where I really thought the series ramped up when Darth Vader & Obi-Wan Kenobi had their first encounter in Part III, it will be even more exciting to see how their final encounter will play out – given where we know the story is headed in IX years’ time.
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