Just like that, we’ve seen half of the Obi-Wan Kenobi series. I’m already wishing it was longer as I’m enjoying this series quite a bit, but I also understand the desire not to pad the show with unneeded filler. Part III certainly had downtime, but it never feels like filler as it’s in service of character. But when things get intense, oh boy do they get intense. Let’s break it down.
Part III wastes no time reintroducing us to Darth Vader-and yes, James Earl Jones is back voicing the character and sounding much crisper and meaner than he did in Rogue One. In fact, a neat subtle detail I noticed was that Jones seemed to be channeling Hayden Christensen a bit in his scenes. The tones, pitches and speed of his lines called to mind Hayden’s portrayal of Anakin in Revenge of the Sith and I thought that was an exceptional yet extremely subtle detail. If you didn’t catch it, rewatch some of those scenes and listen to his voice.
After suiting up, Vader sits on his throne in his castle and gets up to speed with the Third Sister. She traced the cargo ship and reported Kenobi’s whereabouts to the Sith Lord. Most impressed with her ambition, Vader promises her the title of Grand Inquisitor should the mission be successful, something the Fifth Brother isn’t too happy to learn. Vader is seemingly relishing the idea of pitting the Inquisitors against each other, likely because he’s not too crazy about them to begin with. The question remains if the Grand Inquisitor is actually dead, which would contradict canon, or if he’s still alive and Vader is keeping that ace up his sleeve. I’m guessing the latter.
Ben lands on a mining planet with Leia and attempts to meet a contact to get off-world and back to Alderaan. Vivien Lyra Blair continues to shine as a young Leia, who poses as her daughter of Ben while the duo is on the run. After hitching a ride with a miner voiced by Zach Braff, the duo finds themselves sharing their ride with some stormtroopers, who naturally question them. Ewan McGregor and Lyra Blair have great chemistry together and Leia certainly keeps Kenobi on his toes. After botching their cover, Kenobi makes up a fiction about how the child recently lost her mother and tapped into his memories of Padme. Leia, wise beyond her years, puts two and two together and deduces that old Ben actually knew her real mother. Meanwhile, Ben confides in her about scant memories of his youth before the Jedi, including the possibility that he has a brother, but he’s not quite certain.
The duo is eventually saved by Tala (Indira Varma), an Imperial who also works as a double agent smuggling Jedi and others off-world by means of “the path”, an underground tunnel that leads to the docking bay. We learn that Kenobi isn’t the first Jedi to use her smuggling route (Quilan Vos survives!) and that the Rebellion is starting to form as an idea, in some way shape or form. Ironically, Kenobi’s pessimism toward other people is what leads directly to the final act. If Ben had just stayed at the rendezvous point, all would have ended nicely, but he’s a distrusting and impatient person now and had to go off on his own. As a result, Vader was made privy to his location.
Part III is certainly one of the most intense Star Wars anything we’ve seen to date. From a stormtrooper being bisected on energy beams to Vader Force-chocking random civilians in hopes of baiting Kenobi out of hiding, this episode was dark. Cruellest was Vader sparking some fuel and dragging Kenobi into the flames, just so he could share Vader’s pain and taunting with the line “I am what you made me”. Chills. This version of Vader is pure evil and reminded me heavily of 80s slasher icons like Jason Vorhees or Michael Myers, appearing out of nowhere and walking slowly and deliberately towards his target.
I wasn’t expecting Vader and Ben to duel so early on in the show, but it most certainly was welcome. Like The Force Awakens (hey, I don’t have a review of that on the site!), the crew use Force FX sabers on set to allow for the LED lights to illuminate the set and the cast in a natural glow. Considering this scene is shot in the dark, the red and blue glow really cut through the dark in a way we didn’t get in the original or prequel films. The duel is very in line with the original trilogy, with meaty, heavy swings from Vader and very deliberate and calculated choreography. Not only that but Kenobi is wildly out of his league due to his state of mind. He’s afraid to even ignite the blade and when he does, it’s reactionary to his emotions, rather than with the intent of engaging. Vader mops the floor with Kenobi, but he’s ultimately spared further interrogation and torture due to Tala sparking further flames to separate the two.
While this is going on, Reva finds Leia and will likely use her as bait to draw Kenobi back to Vader. If Reva is one of the children from the opening scene of Part I, she’ll literally be going from a Force-sensitive taken by the Empire to an Imperial Agent taking Force-sensitive on their behalf. Of course, I’m sure Leia’s identity will remain a secret, but the irony is still there. But by luring Kenobi back out with Leia, Reva will certainly be bidding for that promotion and validation within the Inquisitor ranks.
But what did you think of Part III? Let us know in the comments!