Post prequels, a bit of a sticky point with A New Hope and Empire Strikes Back is how Obi-Wan has no problem sending Luke to kill his former best friend and Jedi brother-at-arms.
Part III made time for some nice bonding moments with Obi-Wan and Leia as well as the reunion he definitely didn’t want any parts of with his former apprentice.
It would have been ridiculous to show the Star Wars Celebration crowd — and Disney+ viewers — half the series in one weekend, but seeing Darth Vader face off with Obi-Wan in a real, not imaginary duel just a few days later was a brilliant call.
The Jedi’s mantra is feeling The Force. So far in the series, a crucial subplot is Obi-Wan’s near complete lack of connection.
It’s why last episode’s rooftop shootout lasted so long with random bounty hunters while Obi-Wan could blast General Grievous with a kill shot on his first attempt. And it’s why he still can’t communicate with Qui-Gon Jinn. And using the lightsaber to any degree of efficiency? Forget about it.
This is the backdrop of this episode. Obi-Wan tries to lay low with Leia and get to a spaceport while evading Darth Vader’s ever tightening grip. Hearing James Earl Jones still bringing it as the voice of Vader in 2022 is amazing.
Obi-Wan finds getting Leia to follow his directions is an impossible task as she hitches a ride for them with an alien (Zack Braff) who seems a little too happy with the Empire. This leads to a tense encounter with some Stormtroopers where Obi-Wan unintentionally starts reminiscing on Padme.
We get some valuable insight that Obi-Wan vaguely remembered having a brother before being sent to the Jedi Academy. He wishes he could remember his sibling, which helps explain why he bonded so tightly with Anakin, who in essence became the brother he always wanted.
The alien did validate Obi-Wan’s suspicions leading them to a Stormtrooper blockade. Fortunately, Haja’s contact was legitimate and they’re rescued by Tala Durith (Indira Varma). Tala quickly became disillusioned with the reality of the Empire and is helping to run the Jedi Underground Railroad to ferry Jedi to safely.
There’s a fun Easter Egg with a note scribbled on the wall from Quinlan Vos, a fan favorite Jedi, that had an expanded role in Clone Wars.
Just as Tala preps her charges to flee, Obi-Wan is paralyzed by dread as Vader arrives.
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Director Deborah Chow’s take on Vader definitely seems inspired by the Rogue One portrayal, which basically made Vader a horrifying menace dismantling anything in his path to achieve his objective.
Short of a Clone Wars flashback, we’re not really going to see Hayden Christensen much, but it’s incredibly cool that he’s the one walking around in Vader’s armor.
Obi-Wan opts to distract Vader to give Leia a chance to escape. Ironically, he’d do this again for Leia and Luke in A New Hope. I love these parallels to the Original and Prequel trilogies.
Vader gets the drop on Obi-Wan in a field. There’s a moment when it looks like Obi-Wan is ready for the rematch, but he’s in shock at what Anakin has become. This closes another New Hope loop as Obi-Wan wasn’t shocked his apprentice was wearing a rebreather and all black armor.
Obi-Wan wants exactly none of Vader’s smoke and tries to avoid a fight. Vader is incensed and charges at Obi-Wan. It’s hardly a memorable duel as Obi-Wan isn’t ready physically or emotionally for this fight.
Ewan McGregor is doing a masterful job of conveying Obi-Wan’s intense grief and sense of loss, which is heightening his fear.
Vader goes for a plus one in cruelty as he ignites a small fire and literally drags Obi-Wan into it so he can feel the burn. That was super petty and mean. Tala returns to bail Obi-Wan out as the increased flame is too much for Vader to go through to kill Obi-Wan. And it felt like Vader was content to let Obi-Wan suffer this time.
There’s some fitting symmetry in these events playing out in the third episode. Anakin got burned to a crisp in the third installment of the prequels.
Reva’s subplot seems more complex than her simply wanting to be Starscream to Vader’s Megatron.
We’re definitely gonna need some details on how her Force instincts are so supremely on point. She managed to circumvent Tala’s escape route to catch up to Leia, posing as the pilot taking her to Alderaan.
Reva doesn’t need to be super Force sensitive — unless she’s also a daughter of Palpatine — and it’d be nice to see her actually struggle or get a hunch wrong occasionally.
Watching the show at 3 a.m. probably isn’t the smartest choice since I’m way too hyped afterwards. As long as the show continues at this pace it’ll be worth a little lack of sleep.
Rating: 9 out of 10
Photo Credit: Disney
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