Obi-Wan Kenobi: Episode 5 Review
*This Review Contains Full Spoilers*
After last week’s lackluster prison break episode, Obi-Wan Kenobi mostly bounces back by focusing more on its villainous characters as they put the pressure on Obi-Wan to come out of hiding.
Since the debut of Reva (Moses Ingram) in the first episode, there’s been a lot of pressure for this character to make a strong mark and so far, that hasn’t been the case. Ingram has certainly made the character engaging to watch through her performance, but Reva has struggled to fill the large shoes she emptied in the first episode and large parts of her story have been kept secret for some reason, until now. After finally getting in Vader’s (Hayden Christensen) good graces and gaining the title of Grand Inquisitor, Reva corners Obi-Wan (Ewan McGregor) in a rebel base and finally divulges why she’s hellbent on capturing him.
In an unexpected turn of events, it’s revealed that her intention is not to kill Obi-Wan, but rather kill Vader. Given how much she’s been by Vader’s side and been an absolute terror to Obi-Wan, it’s a pretty shocking turn for Reva’s character and it nicely connects to a pivotal moment for Anakin in his turn to the dark side. A moment from Revenge of the Sith that’s still constantly talked about by fans is when Anakin kills a group of younglings, and it turns out that Reva was one of those younglings. Although she escaped Anakin’s wrath then, she looks to exact her revenge and while her turn to being an anti-hero makes sense for her real intentions, it is a little underwhelming and overdone for this franchise.
Star Wars is no stranger to backpedaling its villains at the last second and making them more of anti-heroes or moving away from the dark side altogether. It happened with Boba Fett, Kylo Ren, and even Darth Vader back in Return of the Jedi and is an overused story thread in Star Wars. Also, with her having killed a fan-favorite villain like the Grand Inquisitor (Rupert Friend) in the second episode and showing some great potential to be an awesome new villain, it’s disappointing to see her arc make a less villainous turn. It just feels like no one knew what they really wanted to do with Reva’s story and that sense of indecision can be felt in the episode’s final moments.
Death used to be a meaningful part of Star Wars storytelling, but recently, specifically in this episode of Obi-Wan Kenobi, it doesn’t even matter. After getting her ass handed to her by Vader, Reva gets stabbed in the gut with her lightsaber and rather than having a conclusive tragic death with her character, she’s somehow alive and well enough to now go hunt Luke. Even crazier is that the Grand Inquisitor has been alive this whole time apparently being fueled by “revenge” to not die after getting stabbed by Reva’s lightsaber. I get that people have survived worse lightsaber slashes in the past, including Darth Maul getting cut in half, but death is becoming so meaningless in this franchise that I’m seriously questioning if Tala (Indira Varma) might still be alive after a grenade exploded in her hand.
The stakes need to ramp up if this series is going to go out with a bang, but this episode does present some epic moments and surprisingly emotional story beats that do make up for its weaknesses. While Obi-Wan’s personal journey still feels rushed in this episode with him being in top fighting form and not acknowledging his inner turmoil with Anakin enough, there are some good moments for him in this episode. It was cool to see him try to turn Reva on his side and get the rebels to safety through his small sacrifice. Tala’s sacrifice was also surprisingly emotional and has a great gut-wrenching effect on Obi-Wan that feels impactful. Also, there’s a great flashback sequence to a fight between Obi-Wan and Anakin that justifies Christensen’s return as the character and is one of the many action moments that excel in this episode.
If this is just a taste of what we could get into the finale, I’m all in because the action here is epic and thrilling. The big gunfight between the rebels and stormtroopers is perfectly frantic and nerve-racking. The flashback fight between Obi-Wan and Anakin is full of sweeping thrills and super nostalgic of the best parts of the prequel trilogy. Plus, the fight between Reva and Vader is undeniably epic and just one part of how Vader is shown to be a terrifying force. This episode characterizes Vader perfectly by making him a malevolent being through how he toys with Reva in their fight, even fighting without a lightsaber for most of it, and pulling the ship back with just the raw power of the force. Vader is ready to fight Obi-Wan and hopefully this series delivers one hell of a finale duel.
While this episode doesn’t exactly nail Reva’s big moment in the spotlight and utilities some overdone elements and issues with Star Wars, Part V is the most engaging episode by far with its epic moments surrounding Vader, fantastic fight sequences that feel nostalgic and new, and strong story beats showing potential for the finale that’ll likely see Obi-Wan pushed to his limits.