Spoilers follow for the Disney Plus show – you have been warned. I mean, Obi-Wan Kenobi episodes 1-5 are right there – so if you haven’t seen them already, go watch them now!
Despite a daft last minute long coat-hiding-a-child moment in last week’s episode, it otherwise didn’t put a foot wrong. Vivien Lyra Blair – as the young Princess Leia – continues to be an absolute star, with a genuinely brilliant performance as the plucky young Alderaanian.
Though this week’s episode gets off on the wrong foot with some jarringly aged characters in a flashback sequence (it didn’t look to me as if any de-aging was attempted, though if it has been, it isn’t effective at all), it does soon get back on track – even if we return to that flashback over the course of the episode, as well as others, which are at least shot in such a way that the age of the actors involved isn’t obvious.
This episode sees Obi-Wan, Leia and their allies under siege by the Third Sister, an awful lot of heavily armed Stormtroopers – and Vader waiting to claim his old mentor and friend. It’s brilliantly tense, action-packed and full of genuinely excellent character development, as well as some very – perhaps surprisingly – affecting scenes.
Though I’ve had a few very minor issues with Moses Ingram’s performance over the course of the series so far (the odd stiff reaction and occasionally strange line reading), she really gets a chance to shine in episode five – and absolutely delivers. Any lingering doubts about Ingram – who’s been the target of horrendous racist and sexist abuse online – are completely blown out of the water here. There’s a quietly devastating exchange between the Third Sister and Ewan McGregor’s Obi-Wan which is played to perfection by both actors, but that’s far from the only moment where Ingram impresses beyond anything we’ve seen from her so far.
Some slightly wonky effects aside – and the great stuff far outnumbers the bad – this is another superb episode. It’s a show that’s rapidly becoming one of my favourite Star Wars stories ever. Having been a fan since I first saw The Empire Strikes Back on the big screen as a very young child, that’s not something I say lightly.
Despite the problems that plague every prequel – advance knowledge of knowing where many characters end up, for example, amongst other issues – also being a bit of a factor here, there’s also some startlingly unforeseen developments and great drama wrought from some surprising places. Having not been excited at all for what appeared to be a pretty pointless jaunt into far too familiar territory that would end up being incredibly predictable, I’m very pleased to report that Deborah Chow and the rest of the team on Obi-Wan Kenobi have defied and destroyed all of my expectations in the absolute best way they possibly could.
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