It’s ‘Obi-Wan Kenobi’ part four and the show goes full ‘Episode IV’. Kenobi has to infiltrated an Imperial base and rescue Princess Leia. This all seems very familiar and even more so if you have played ‘Jedi Fallen Order’ as the climax of that game is borrowed liberally, too.
But I loved it. This is Star Wars comfort food and I could eat it all day. Star Wars is something that you fall in love with at a young age with an accepting eye. It’s mythic, broad stoke storytelling that’s designed for everyone to understand and enjoy. There are deeper and recurring themes if you want to look for them but it is designed to be seen by casual viewers as well as hard-core fans. I’m not saying Star Wars shouldn’t be criticised but it should be watch through a lens of was that fun and looked cool rather than does that make logical sense. If you are trying to make logic out of Star Wars your brain would have exploded before the end of the Original Trilogy.
A wounded Obi-Wan swims through murky waters without goggles or a light but he locates the entrance to the base. Does that make sense? No. Does it look cool? Yes.
Obi-Wan wanders around the Imperial based in his pseudo-Jedi grab. Would a disguise have been more sensible? Yes. Did Obi-Wan disguise himself on the Death Star? No and no one was complaining then.
Did Obi-Wan describe Stormtroopers as being accurate shots in ‘A New Hope’? Yes. Do they fail to shoot and kill him here, even when he has his back turned? Yes. People have complained that it didn’t make sense that Vader didn’t kill him in the previous episode and now about this. This is fictional storytelling. The history of entertainment would be a lot shorter if heroes died that easily. Plus there was enough up roar about the Grand Inquisitor getting stabbed and breaking Star Wars canon. Do people really think Obi-Wan should have died in these situations? This style of pulp fiction is designed to put our heroes in perilous situations that they just walk away from. It’s called dramatic license, it’s something that happens so regularly that there’s a term for it.
I might be sounding like an ‘Obi-Wan Kenobi’ apologist but it’s time to switch that adult brain off and just enjoy if you want to.
The big reveal and emotional gut punch of this episode is something that has been building since the first season of ‘Rebels’. The Mustafar system was described as “the place Jedi go to die” and here we witness the full meaning of that. When Obi-Wan realises that he is in a tomb of hunted Jedi it is a gasp out loud moment and a massive new bit of Star Wars canon. McGregor plays it perfectly with a shake to his voice. This is the lowest depth for Kenobi and from here it all becomes about him building himself up again.
His desire to save Leia, who’s getting better with each episode, opens him up to the Force again, a Jedi’s power truly comes from their compassion for others. He starts the episode barely being able to move a small piece of metal and ends it by holding back the full weight of the ocean. Again, this is another thing that should be embraced and not complained about. Talk to people about ‘Jedi Fallen Order’ and most will say how great Vader is in it. That game finishes with a scene that mirrors what we get here. The glass in an underwater tunnel in the Inquisitor’s fortress is shattered and Vader uses the Force to stop the water but the distraction allows the heroes to escape. Here it’s Obi-Wan holding back the water to allow the escape but all you can hear is the vocal minority crying about the glass breaking being stupid and that Kenobi wouldn’t be strong enough. The whole point is to show his power growing and he is embracing who he is again.
While this is all coming across as a bit of a rant, I can see flaws in in the episode and most of it comes down to how it was shot. The technology that is being used, while effective, does have it’s limitations. The stages they shoot on are not large enough for big crowd scenes resulting in oddly composited shots and CGI extras that stand out a mile. The shots of ships taking off and landing also look flat and weightless with the model work from ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ looking better than what we get here. But while these effects aren’t cinema standard they are still better than the majority of other TV shows.
This episode tells us something new about Star Wars and delivers character development that brings Kenobi closer to where we first met him in 1977. Vader now knows where Kenobi is and we are now set up for a thrilling final two parts that will answer questions that have been hanging around for forty five years and give as the promised rematch of the century.