Obi-Wan Kenobi S1E6: Part VI

by thethreepennyguignol

First off, let’s say it: that Obi-Wan/Anakin stuff was fucking great.

The climax of this series felt inevitably tied to these characters, and in a lot of ways, the sixth and final episode of Obi-Wan Kenobi feels like it delivers. Obi-Wan flees the transport ship he’s on to lure Vader away to another planet, and the two of them confront each other in what is unarguably one of the series’ most impressive and emotionally-charged fight scenes.

Credit where it is due to Deborah Chow, who directed this episode along with the rest of the series; everything about the way this looks, the way this feels, the way it sounds, is immaculate. The show knows the weight and importance of this sequence, and it imbues every frame with that feeling of history, vitality, and focus; it’s a spiritual successor to the fight at the end of Revenge of the Sith, which is my personal favourite of the franchise, and it feels like both the physical and emotional next step to that story.

And God, the Vader stuff was so right. One of the aspects of this show that I’ve really come to adore is the way they handle Vader as both an iconic cinematic villain and as a functional character in this show; it would have been so easy to allow one to swallow the other, but the focus is always carefully balanced to respect both his legacy and his current plot-relevance. The way that comes together in this episode is downright sublime: his fight with Obi-Wan is gorgeously crafted and rich with imagery and parallels of their time together, and their final confrontation, after his helmet is damaged, is spine-tinglingly impressive. The voice, lilting between Hayden Christensen’s and Vader’s, the one exposed eye, the cinematic language underlining the duality of this character, it all works gloriously well, a remarkable achievement to pull off in as short a sequence as this.

But for all that I love that Vader-Obi-Wan stuff, there’s also…the rest of the episode to deal with. Now, I’ve actually really enjoyed Reva (Moses Ingram), in the rest of the show, especially her face-turn in the last episode, but this one – where she tracks down Luke to Tatooine in an attempt to kill him and take her revenge on Vader at last – is inevitably swallowed up by the enormity of the main focus of this finale.

Which is a bloody shame, because I think this plot as a lot of depth and potential to it, but taking the focus back to Luke, Owen, and Meru – who we’ve seen next to nothing of over the course of this show – and putting Reva’s arc here just feels like it can’t stand up to the Anakin/Obi-Wan aspect of this episode. There is thematic relevance here, of course – Reva taking her revenge on Vader much the same way Obi-Wan wants to settle the score with his old apprentice – and Moses Ingram really delivers in the performance and action stakes, but every time they cut away to this plot, I felt myself deflating a bit. It’s good, but almost nothing in the series could have been good enough to stand up to the stakes of the main story this episode, you know?

I guess that’s the issue in making a show like this. You don’t want to just deliver on the big stories, like Obi-Wan and Anakin, but to explore more of the universe as a whole – but sometimes, the sheer narrative weight those big stories carry is just going to get the better of everything else you try to do. I still really liked this finale as a whole, but I wish we’d had a little more time, separate of the big hitters, to see Reva’s story unfold.

What did you think of this finale? How about this season as a whole? I’m hoping we get another series of Obi-Wan Kenobi, if only to take a step back from the Vader stuff (now it’s been done so brilliantly) and explore other aspects of his life and experiences. What do you want to see from another season, and do you think there should be one at all? Let me know in the comments below!

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(header image via Den of Geek)