Spoilers follow for the Disney Plus show – you have been warned. I mean, the whole series of Obi-Wan Kenobi is available – so if you haven’t seen them already, go watch them now!
The desperate refugees, with Kenobi and Leia onboard, are being relentlessly pursued by Vader and the Empire. Meanwhile, after discovering Kenobi’s message from Bail Organa, Reva is looking for a very specific target on Tatooine.
This season finale is an absolutely brilliant end to what has been one of the biggest and most pleasant surprises in the line-up of Disney Plus Star Wars shows so far. I may sound like a broken record, but I really wasn’t expecting very much from Obi-Wan Kenobi. Though I could be accused of having such low expectations that it wouldn’t have been difficult to exceed them and impress me, there’s so much more to it than that.
The use of Vader, for one thing, was something that has been done superbly. In this episode, a further confrontation even manages to justify a piece of dialogue that’s long been thought to have been deceptive at best – and an outright, pretty out-of-character line at worst. And it does so in a way that is incredibly smart, dramatically satisfying and genuinely logical as an extension or deepening of Star Wars lore.
Though Ewan McGregor generally seemed a bit awkward in the role of Kenobi in the prequels – naturally, he had his moments, but on the whole it was a little stiff – the same could be said of pretty much any other actor in the prequels, regardless of their role. Thanks to poor writing and listless direction from George Lucas, there are very few performances in the prequels that are memorable for the right reasons. Yet here, he’s been stunning as a beaten, damaged Kenobi – and another sequence with Vader in this final episode is a further testament to just how good McGregor is in the role.
Kenobi’s relationship with the young Leia has also been an unexpected, unforeseen element of the show that’s been wonderful to see develop – and it’s one that continues here, setting up the future events of the saga in a great way.
One slightly less successful aspect of the show has been Reva, the Third Sister – though the fifth episode more than justified her part in the overall fabric of the show. Her part in the finale is a little awkward, as it feels a bit conveniently set up (and the timescales of how everything has ended up taking place near enough simultaneously is also a bit off) – and, more than almost any other aspect of the series, is a thread that suffers from the prequel effect of knowing who will – and won’t – survive the story. That said, Moses Ingram once again gives a great performance, which should – but sadly, probably won’t – shut up the racist, sexist ‘fans’ for good.
Lightsaber battles have felt so fresh over the course of the series, mostly thanks to the way that Deborah Chow has shot many with minimal lighting, often making the Jedi weapons the sources of light in a scene – it gives these sequences a unique look and feel; as well as this, the fight scenes in general have been brilliantly shot and choreographed.
There’s a few brilliant cameos too; though at least one of them feels like little more than fan service (and suffers from looking a bit odd too), it’s great payoff for long term Star Wars fans.
Which is something that can be said for the entire series of Kenobi, now that all’s said and done. Though we know the fate of near enough every character, there’s been more than enough surprises and genuinely important character moments that it’s felt like essential viewing for Star Wars fans.
It’s recontextualised – perhaps even redeemed – some awkward and/or disappointing moments and developments in more than one of the older movies – and the Star Wars universe now feels richer and more satisfying as a result. Perhaps the biggest wins of all are the significant new contributions to the saga from McGregor and Hayden Christensen as Anakin/Vader; both of whom disappointed in many ways during their original appearances. Now, there can be no doubt that they’re the right people, in the right roles, at the right time.
After the massive disappointment of The Book of Boba Fett and an insonsistent – though overall very good – few series of The Mandalorian, it feels great to have a live action Star Wars show that barely puts a foot wrong over its entire duration.
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