Why Obi-Wan Kenobi Part III is the crux of the standalone series

(L-R): Reva (Moses Ingram) and Darth Vader (Hayden Christensen) in Lucasfilm's OBI-WAN KENOBI, exclusively on Disney+. © 2022 Lucasfilm Ltd. & ™. All Rights Reserved.
(L-R): Reva (Moses Ingram) and Darth Vader (Hayden Christensen) in Lucasfilm's OBI-WAN KENOBI, exclusively on Disney+. © 2022 Lucasfilm Ltd. & ™. All Rights Reserved. /

Obi-Wan Kenobi “Part III” is the crux of the series, setting it apart from the other live-action Star Wars shows.

There are many benefits from long-form or serialized storytelling like The Mandalorian or The Book of Boba Fett (which could stretch into multiple seasons or spinoffs), but there is also something to be said about a standalone series such as Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Acting as almost Episode 3.5 of the Sykwalker Saga, Ewan McGregor’s revival series feels cinematic.  It’s only fitting that roughly half-way through the show is when Obi-Wan reaches his low point and ultimately has to build his way back up before the end.  If the story were told over many episodes/seasons, these big moments might not hit the same (Kenobi gets knocked down fairly quickly and has to learn to pick himself up just as quick).

The episode opens up with Obi-Wan really trying to reach out to his deceased former master Qui-Gon Jin through the Force.  He recalls what Inquisitor Reva had told him about Anakin Skywalker still being alive, while Darth Vader is suiting up in a chilling sequence that establishes Kenobi’s former padawan as the primary adversary of the series.

Vader orders Reva to send probes out to find Obi-Wan, threatening to dispatch with her if she fails.  It is what happens on Mapuzo that sets up our expectations for the finale.  Old Ben’s journey across Mapuzo with Leia, and encountering imperial officer turned rebel Tala, marks the start of a very important relationship which leads to The Path and determines the direction of the overall story.

When Obi-Wan Kenobi is face to face with Darth Vader he asks “What have you become?”             To which Vader replies “I am what you made me.” This pays off later when Darth Vader tells him that it was he who killed Anakin. Kenobi can truly see that his friend is dead and that he would be Vader whether he turned him into ‘more machine now than man’ or not.

Kenobi is clearly rusty with his lightsaber as he had just unburied it from the sand.  When he Is smashed to the hilt, it reminds me of when Kenobi drives his hilt into Vader’s machine suit in the final battle. Darth Vader taunts “the years have made you weak” as he chops down on Kenobi not unlike Anakin was in the flashback (though Obi-Wan will get to do his fair bit of chopping in their last fight of the series).

When Vader force chokes Kenobi and throws him into the flames, shouting “now it is you who will suffer, Obi-Wan”, he is referring of course to how Anakin was left burning in pain on Mustafar. Later, when Obi-Wan decides to leave the fight, he is making another choice, different from his fight or flight responses made before he returned to full Jedi form.

Reva finds the Jedi (and other Force-sensitive people) safe house and is able to surprise young Leia, telling her that she would take her from there, which establishes a similarity to Vader but really Anakin who attacked her and the other younglings.  Recall that she is doing all of this to get her chance at revenge on Darth Vader.

Part III was a crucial episode for the Obi-Wan Kenobi series.  The finale works in all of its glory because the series establishes a clear throughline and overall themes conveyed throughout that benefit from it being a limited series rather than an ongoing saga.  Obi-Wan Kenobi getting throttled by Darth Vader highlights the place we find him at the beginning of his journey to enlightenment, whereas once The Path is lit we see the return of Kenobi who chooses to be the great Jedi we all know him to be.