Obi-Wan Kenobi S1E5: Part V
I think this is the episode of the season.
I’ve enjoyed the rest of Obi-Wan Kenobi’s first season so far, but there is something special about this fifth part that makes it really stand out. Maybe it’s the relatively simple stakes – Obi-Wan and Leia must help refugees flee from a planet before the Empire and specifically Vader, who are close behind them, close in. But the more focused story allows for us to get into some of That Good Character Shit, and, always, always, it’s what I want to see from the Star Wars universe.
I mean, take the Third Sister in this episode; Moses Ingram has been giving big, over-the-top villain till now, but this episode strips it back in the reveal that she’s actually doing her best to get close to Anakin in order to kill him in revenge for his murder of her friends. It adds depth to the earlier, less emotional performance in retrospect, Ingram’s delivery of this scene is just so damn good. The way she lets the mask drop and cuts through the facade she’s been hiding behind so far makes it perfectly clear just how much control Ingram has over this performance and I know I’m going to love it so much more a second time.
Of course, we have no choice but to talk Anakin and Obi-Wan. This episode, as a wraparound, features a flashback sequence of Anakin and Obi-Wan in duelling practice before the fall of the Republic, and it’s a simple albeit effective way of diving into their understanding of each other. As Anakin prepares to take Obi-Wan and the refugees, and Obi-Wan vows to protect them, they’re both relying on what they know, how deep their connection goes, even though it has completely soured to anger by this point. Hayden Christensen and Ewan McGregor and their chemistry has always been a really appealing part of the franchise, so getting this excuse to see them together again, and a smart way to frame the current storyline, too.
Something else I really love about this episode is how much the show leans in to showing Vader at the height of his power and willingness to abuse it. Use of the Force can err on the side of hand-waving wizardry, but Vader here feels like he’s using it as a finely-tuned weapon. The physical performance is immaculate, precise and focused, but matched with an incredible sense of raw strength; the split-second where he catches the spaceship out of the sky is so good, probably the most memorable single moment of the show so far.
But more than that – the conversation between Reva and Vader makes for the most interesting part of the episode for me. When Vader tells her he has known her plan all along – recognizes her from the slaughter at the Jedi temple all those years ago – underlines the fact that the distance between Vader and Anakin is smaller than it seems. He still remembers what he did, the moment he arguably turned to the dark side. Obi-Wan still sees Anakin first and Vader second, and it’s clear that, even to Vader, the difference between the two isn’t entirely clear.
Anyway. This episode is just a really, really great outing for the series so far, a great mix of old and new elements and a solid, straight-forward plot to keep things moving. It’s satisfying, emotionally rich, and genuinely left me wanting more – and I can’t think of a much better review of this episode than that.
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(header image via Newsweek)