This discussion and review contains spoilers for Obi-Wan Kenobi episode 5, “Part V,” on Disney+.
When we first learned that the Obi-Wan Kenobi limited series was going to be a thing, one of my main hopes was that it would be able to shed new light on the relationship between the titular Jedi and his Padawan / brother / nemesis Anakin. Though the pair spent several films together, the best moments between them occurred in The Clones Wars. Obi-Wan Kenobi “Part V” finally delivered on that same level of storytelling interactions in live action via its excellent flashback framing.
While the rest of the penultimate episode stumbles a bit with its lack of a coherent foundation and some silly plot beats, being continually transported back to an Attack of the Clones-era training session between the pair of heroes acts as an effective narrative device that I wish would have been used throughout the series.
Before we get to that major throughline, there are a handful of interesting, and disappointing, moments in the episode worth examining. A bulk of the action this week revolved around Obi-Wan, Leia, Tala, Roken, and Haja trying to secure a way for the various folks stranded on Jabiim to escape the planet, all while Vader and the Empire create a blockade around it. The story begins with a quick exposition dump talking about trade routes being open for only a limited amount of time for everybody to escape, but there’s no surrounding information to back it up.
Aside from the aforementioned figures, we don’t know who any of these people are and can’t really get committed to the stakes of the entire scenario. Likewise, Obi-Wan has his heroic moment to give a speech to raise the morale of everybody, but it just falls flat. I was hoping for a moment like Aragorn in Helm’s Deep standing up for the scared fighters in the face of insurmountable odds, but this just landed with a thud.
Like a lot of things in this series, there are echoes of Star Wars past here. The siege feels like part Echo Base from The Empire Strikes Back and part Crait from The Last Jedi. But while those are two of my favorite sequences in all of Star Wars, what we have in Obi-Wan Kenobi “Part V” feels messy and rushed, and I could never really get invested in the action on screen. While the brevity of Obi-Wan has been a blessing in some cases, it’s definitely hurt emotional beats like this one.
The episode is also filled with illogical moments that really pulled me out of the action. The Empire blasts at the door to the base to no effect, but minutes later Reva opens it easily with her lightsaber. Likewise, Reva and Obi-Wan loudly discuss their plan to betray Vader with several stormtroopers in clear earshot, not even trying to keep their voices down. Also, I genuinely have no idea why Vader and the Grand Inquisitor kept Reva alive if they knew she was a traitor. I’m generally not a fan of the nitpicking cottage industry that a post-CinemaSins world has created, but these complete leaps in logic were too much even for me.
That said, I did like the conclusion of Tala’s arc. Her sacrifice worked because we’ve been allowed to spend time with her throughout the past few episodes and understand her motivations in defecting from the Empire and joining the Path. It also highlighted the heroism of droids that has been a focal point in Disney-era Star Wars, which I’m personally a big fan of.
But the main thing that really did work for me this episode was the way the flashback spoke to the emotions of the characters at any given moment throughout the action. The way the episode used smash-cutting from a particular moment back to a character’s face in the present made me think of Lost, which is never a bad thing in my book.
Seeing Obi-Wan and Anakin spar in their training session did a great job of highlighting the fact that Anakin was on his path towards the Dark Side long before the events of Revenge of the Sith. His anger, frustration, and lack of mindfulness proved to be his downfall in their training and continued through his transformation into Vader. It was also just nice to see Hayden Christensen again, with the subtle de-aging effects being put to use wonderfully here, as opposed to other moments in Star Wars that have been incredibly jarring.
Our theories that Reva was one of the younglings in the opening shot of the series were finally confirmed, as well as her motivations of wanting Obi-Wan solely to get an audience with Vader and use him as a distraction to get her ultimate revenge. Obviously that didn’t work out so well, but the final moments of the episode show her seeing parts of the message from Bail to Obi-Wan regarding Luke on Tatooine… which I’m not quite sure how to take. If the Grand Inquisitor could come back from his lightsaber-skewering, I’m sure Reva could too. What she does with this information in the next episode should be interesting, but with all the dangling threads left, I’m growing more curious of whether things are actually being set up for a currently unmounted second season of the show. We’ll have to wait and see.
Vader ultimately got another chance to flex his powers, both when he pulled a Force Unleashed and dragged a shuttle back to the ground, as well as during his extremely one-sided duel with Reva. Watching him block and avoid her attacks without even having a lightsaber in hand felt like a Sith echo of what Luke’s projection would eventually do with Kylo in The Last Jedi, and I’m here for all of that. It got me excited to see next week’s finale, which I imagine will be another rematch between him and Obi-Wan, though this time Ben is back in tune with the Force and will hopefully have the aid of a few pals… Seriously — Qui-Gon’s ghost has to appear next week… right?