OBI-WAN KENOBI EPISODE 3 REVIEW & BREAKDOWN: THE MASTER AND FORMER PADAWAN MEET AGAIN
Warning: Major Spoilers for Episode 3 of Obi-Wan Kenobi
The Star Wars franchise is undoubtedly in the midst of expansion, as we are currently witnessing something we never thought we would: Ewan McGregor’s Obi-Wan Kenobi and Hayden Christensen’s Darth Vader sharing the screen once again, after the violent fight in Mustafar in Revenge of the Sith. The previous episodes helped establish familiar worlds and newer characters, charting new territory for the titular Jedi Master, who seems to have lost the essence of who he is in the last 10 years. Episode 3 heightens the pathos of the events that occurred in Star Wars: Episode III, driving home the streak truth of Anakin turning to the dark side, and becoming Darth Vader.
OBI-WAN KENOBI EPISODE 3: RECAP
OBI-WAN’S GUILT AND THE BURDEN OF THE TRUTH
The episode opens with Obi-Wan meditating, attempting to connect to the Force ghost of his former Master, Qui-Gon Jinn (played by Liam Neeson in the prequels). Unable to establish a connection, Obi-Wan dwells on the past, which rushes to him in the form of flashbacks. He’s obviously reeling with the implications of Reva’s (Moses Ingram) reveal that Anakin is still alive, and has become a feared Sith Lord named Vader. Still on the freight ship with a young Leia (Vivien Lyra Blair), Obi-Wan explains how the Force works, essentially how it evokes a sense of safety in its users. This is one of the many moments that hint at Leia’s Force-Sensitive nature, given her natural curiosity in the matter.
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FORTRESS VADER AND THE SHEER TERROR EVOKED BY A SITH LORD
Next, we get a glimpse of Vader’s fortress at Mustafar, along with the throne room first featured in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. James Earl Jones is back to voice Vader, granting the character with the aura of terror he is known best for, and the lines uttered are terrifying, to say the least. Vader asks Reva to find Obi-Wan, and assures her he will make her Grand Inquisitor if she succeeds — he immediately follows it up with a chilling threat, which is not an empty one, by any means. To actually see Christensen in the bacta tank, followed by a long montage of the suit being worn, along with artificial limbs being fitted, is memorable, as it encapsulates the pain that has transformed him into the man he is today.
Vader’s fortress is mirrored by the Inquisitorius fortress on Nur, which is a similar, militaristic structure, drenched in metallic back and gleaming red. Reva makes her way through the daunting space, and the hallways seem familiar, as the fortress is the final stop for Cal Kestis in Jedi: Fallen Order. The Fifth Brother (Sung Kang) does not appreciate Reva’s boldness when it comes to communicating directly with Vader and reminds her rather harshly that he is next in line to become Inquisitor. While the Grand Inquisitor’s death breaks canonical integrity, it is possible that he is not dead at all, but is set to return later in the narrative at some point.
AN UNLIKELY SOURCE OF AID
Meanwhile, Obi-Wan and Leia arrive on Mapuzo, a mining planet on the Outer Rim, where they travel to the rendezvous point provided by Haja Estree (Kumail Nanjiani). Not seeing anyone there, they decide to hitchhike their way to the port, and an alien driven named Freck (Zach Braff) decides to give them a ride. However, Freck is an Imperial loyalist through in through, in support of the “order and control” introduced by the Empire. This is pretty ironic, as the Empire stripped major and minor planets of their resources, displaced local inhabitants to station their outposts, and killed thousands to further their agenda in the name of order in the galaxy.
While Freck rats them out to the stormtroopers, Obi-Wan manages to use his blaster to take them out (they go out in hilarious fashion, as always, highlighting their general incompetence, which is a running gag in Star Wars). More troopers arrive, but they are saved by Tala Durith (Indira Varma), an Imperial officer who is actually Estree’s contact. She leads them safely to an abandoned warehouse.
OBI-WAN KENOBI EPISODE 3: REVIEW & ENDING EXPLAINED
KENOBI AND VADER MEET
Perhaps the most intense scene in the series so far, we see Obi-Wan sense Vader’s presence, and sure enough, the Sith Lord is on Mapuzo with the Inquisitors, personally present to weed out Obi-Wan. Vader in this scene highlights the extent to which Anakin fell, as he indiscriminately kills innocent people, Force chokes his way through the area and is irreverent to lives around him, as a whole. This is the first time Obi-Wan has seen Anakin as Vader, as is absolutely terrified by this transformation. Gone is the kind-hearted, compassionate Jedi Knight he once knew, as intense pain has pushed him over to the ways of the Sith.
The confrontation between Vader and Obi-Wan after 10 years has been executed extremely well. Obi-Wan stumbles through the dark, and Vader emerges from the shadows, unsheathing his red lightsaber to fight his old Master. Obi-Wan has not used his lightsaber in a very long time, hence the hesitation to directly confront Vader, which explains his first instinct: to run. Moreover, Obi-Wan is in shock, as it is perhaps too emotionally damaging for him to the true extent of Anakin’s fall, which urges him to ask: “What have you become?” To which, he answers: “I am what you made me.” This is bound to cut Obi-Wan deep, as he already harbors a lot of guilt because of what happened all those years ago.
Episode 3 is stunning to behold, especially the sequences in which we see the Inquisitorius fortress and the night-time duel between Obi-Wan and Vader at Mapuzo. Vader seems pretty intent on making Obi-Wan suffer, as he most likely holds him responsible for his predicament, Padme’s death, and the possible loss of his children. If only Vader knew the extent to which Obi-Wan was willing to go (and has already done so much) to protect both of his children, maybe things could have been a little less embittered with the thirst for revenge. However, the feelings will only fester over time, until Luke is able to make Vader see the good in himself in Episode VI.
For now, there’s Reva to watch out for, as her vitriolic hatred from the Jedi way could be due to her past, as she might have been among the few younglings who survived Order 66 and was then trained as an Inquisitor soon after. Young Leia’s life is clearly in danger, as we see Reva try and apprehend her in the end, while Obi-Wan is saved (again) by Tala, and suffers from burns on the left side of his arm. Things are only going to get more intense from here on, and Obi-Wan would need allies, and a stronger connection to the Force, if he is to find his way back to the man he was (to a certain extent, of course).
Episodes 1-3 of Obi-Wan Kenobi are currently streaming on Disney+.