Obi-Wan Kenobi: Episode 3 Review
*This Review Contains Full Spoilers*
After its two-episode premiere, Obi-Wan Kenobi’s follow-up episode adds some darker and deeper shades to Obi-Wan (Ewan McGregor) and gives viewers a good taste of a fated confrontation.
Now that both Obi-Wan and Leia (Vivien Lyra Blair) are truly on the run from Reva (Moses Ingram), the other Inquisitors, and Anakin as Darth Vader (Hayden Christensen), the series does a much better job creating tenser moments around Obi-Wan being hunted. The planet they end up on is far from safe as Stormtroopers are on the hunt for Jedi. The Empire has such a strong foothold here that even the seemingly friendly driver they come across, Fleck (voiced by Zach Braff), outwardly loves the Empire and is sort of in cahoots with them. The sequence of Obi-Wan and Leia being forced to share the ride with a group of Stormtroopers is perfectly suspenseful and director Deborah Chow really thrives in creating palpable tension.
The stakes constantly feel high and that moment of Obi-Wan nearly blowing his cover leaves a little lump in your throat. There’s even a sequence later with Darth Vader absolutely striking fear in a small village by terrorizing its people to draw Obi-Wan out and I absolutely love how modern Star Wars content is showing the dark and destructive side of Vader’s power. He’s legitimately made into a terrifying force and it’s awesome. Even the build-up to Obi-Wan and Vader’s eventual confrontation is incredibly well-done and full credits go to Chow for upping the tension and suspense. The higher intensity and darkness are also fitting for the kind of place Obi-Wan is stuck in.
From the start of this episode, it’s clear that the news of Anakin being alive is really getting to Obi-Wan. He’s shown begging for wisdom from Qui-Gon Jinn only to be met with words from the past that continue to haunt him and is even imagining a hooded Anakin in the desert. Obi-Wan’s time in isolation has also seemed to make him more ruthless and the way he dispatches a group of Stormtroopers definitely makes the Logan comparisons clearer. The calmer and more reserved Obi-Wan is definitely gone as he smokes the Stormtroopers like a wild cowboy and he’s definitely more reckless than ever before. While he can take care of some Stormtroopers just fine, his bout with Vader shows he’s not all there.
As Leia continually asks him more about what he’s hiding, we get to see Obi-Wan be a little more vulnerable. It’s actually really nice to hear Obi-Wan and Leia talk about her parents and the story Obi-Wan makes up for the Stormtroopers is a great transition to him talking about Padme. The impact that Padme’s death and Anakin’s turn to the dark side has on Obi-Wan shows why he’s so broken and it’s a big part to why Vader absolutely destroys him in the fight they have towards the end of the episode.
Frankly, it never seemed like we were going to get a Vader versus Obi-Wan duel so soon, but this episode delivers a perfect round one thanks to some great build-up. The sequence of Anakin being put together to become Vader is awesome. Vader’s presence can be felt throughout the whole episode and once he appeared in the village, you just knew it was only a matter of time before he came face to face with Obi-Wan and when they did, it was super epic. With Obi-Wan being in a weakened condition, both mentally and physically, it’s no surprise to see Vader wipe the floor with him and the moment of Vader exacting revenge was brutal as hell. It just shows that Obi-Wan is still stifled by the inner demons and even though Vader undeniably wins round one, Obi-Wan isn’t out yet.
Luckily for him, a new pal of his, Tala (Indira Varma), and her loading bot scoop him up and it seems like there is a resistance group that she’s bringing him to. So, it seems like he’s going to get some help and given what happens to Leia, he’s going to need it. Unfortunately for Leia, as she tries to escape to a ship Reva cuts her off and captures her and hopefully this leads to more screen time for both of them. Blair definitely gets some great moments in this episode that let her shine more as an authentically rebellious and caringly curious Leia, but Moses definitely gets sidelined for Vader. It’s not that Moses isn’t a compelling force for vengeance as Reva, but her motivations remain unclear and if she’s constantly going to get pushed to the side when Vader shows up, it’s worrying that she’ll become a lesser threat.
Episode three of Obi-Wan Kenobi feels stronger in just about every way with some valuable time given to dissecting Obi-Wan’s issues. The stakes and suspense certainly feel raised, and any fan will love the little taste the episode gives of Obi-Wan facing Vader.