Spoilers for Jedi Fallen Order are included in this article.
Part V of Obi-Wan Kenobi marks the penultimate series of the series and it feels like the show has finally become the show I think a lot of fans wanted it to be. While action-heavy, the plot focused heavily on Kenobi and Vader while also pulling the veil back on Reva and allowing Leia to do something more than getting kidnapped. But is it too little too late?
After planting a bug inside Leia’s droid Lola, the Empire quickly tracks and traps Kenobi on the planet Jabiime. Power to the base is cut off and Vader orders the Third Sister, now The Grand Inquisitor, to begin the attack. The whole siege is framed against a sparring session between Obi and Anakin before the events of Attack of the Clones. Flashy prequel-era lightsaber combat is on display again and it’s a welcome return. The scene is used to frame Anakin/Vader’s impatience, using brute force to dominate rather than cunning tactics. This parallels Vader’s eventual attack on the fleeing group. Shoddy CGI aside, he uses a quick and brutal Force attack on the shuttle to drag it out (calling back to The Force Unleashed game), only to be duped thanks to a decoy. It’s a nice framing device and a great way to give us a nice Jedi lesson.
But that’s not the only reason for the flashback scene. In a nod to the “I am the master now” line from A New Hope, Vader clashes blades with Reva shortly after this and uses Kenobi’s own technique against Reva, claiming her saber as his own. Likewise, Anakin is filmed on the right-hand side of the frame during the prequels and showcases him as the learner, but as Vader, he’s filmed from the left side of the frame, showcasing his transition to the Master, with Reva now seen as the impulsive and brash learner. That said, I do wish the episode was longer (only 41 minutes with credits and recap), which would have allowed us more time with the flashback scenes, which were very brief.
We also get to learn more about Reva. It shouldn’t come as a surprise, but she was indeed one of the children we saw in Part I’s opening scene and Anakin slaying the Jedi during Order 66. This explains how she knows that Vader is Anakin. She’s also not working for him but trying to get in close to him to kill him, something I’m sure a lot of fans saw coming but I’m also sure was a more welcome revelation as it finally gave some context to the character, who up until this point was kind of just a schoolyard bully, rather than a character onto her own. It would have been much better to introduce the conflict between her principles and the Dark Side earlier on in the show. Likewise, with the introduction of the prequel era scene as a framing device, I think the show would have benefitted by having weekly flashbacks between Anakin and Obi-Wan after Part II, to really illustrate the guilt and internal conflict Kenobi was likely feeling.
She does indeed decide to confront and ambush Vader, but the Dark Lord of the Sith definitely saw this coming and was playing Reva from the beginning. While she swings her saber furiously, Vader simply dodges calmy out of the way, using the Force to push and pause Reva’s attacks before claiming her double-bladed lightsaber as his own, breaking it in half and giving her one of the blades. Vader naturally wins this conflict and reveals that the original Grand Inquisitor did survive his attack. Was it because he has two stomachs? Rupert Friend seems to think so, but the plot chalks it up to “revenge”. Bizarrely though, both characters allow Reva to live, which allows her to find Kenobi’s transponder, with Bail’s message about the boy on Tatooine still in the memory. Looks like we’re back to the desert planet on the last episode for a confrontation with both Reva and the “rematch of the century” with Vader as well, so it might be a busy episode. But I don’t buy sparring Reva, it’s wildly out of character, especially since Vader killed Trilla for less in Jedi Fallen Order.
Deborah Chow’s action in Obi-Wan Kenobi has been a bit rough around the edges, but the scenes do feel better in Part V. While there are a few instances of quick cuts and shaky cam, the action does feel chaotic in a good way when it came to the stormtroopers assaulting the base. But what’s up with the stormtroopers not being able to hit anyone? The rebels (as we’ll call them), had zero cover and were just fighting in the open, but there was no sense of danger as the Empire couldn’t hit their targets except for Tala, who sacrifices herself with a thermal detonator to wipe out the troopers. Ironically, Tala was one of the more developed characters on the show but it’s also a shame we didn’t get to learn more about her.
The lightsaber fights could have used some longer shots, but the action was easy to follow and entertaining to watch. It was great to see a duel focus so heavily on Force powers, rather than just lightsaber combat. I am a bit confused concerning the Order 66 revelations, where we learn Vader stabbed a young Reva at the Jedi Temple and left her to die, but she somehow ended up as an Inquisitor and Vader knew she was the same youngling from the temple that he stabbed and seemingly left alive. I won’t critique this aspect just yet, as we still have one episode left and the show can still answer this question, but it is something that’s flagged. Also, Reva had no business igniting her saber that early when confronting Vader, why not just ignite it with the hilt at Vader’s back? Reva would know better.
Likewise, a lazy moment of the show that’s written in to manufacture a confrontation was Bail messaging Kenobi and providing critical information. Why would Bail, a senator and someone whose very against the Empire, send a non-encrypted message to a Jedi on a secret mission and provide the location of a hidden and important child? He could’ve been like “Where are you, message me” but of course, we need to have Reva chase Kenobi or Vader, so this gets her there. It feels very lazy.
Next week, I’ll have the review of Part VI as well as a review of the show as a whole, but I think it’s safe to say Part V was a solid episode that reflects what this entire series should have and could have been, which kind of makes it a frustrating episode. Let’s hope this uneven series can stick the landing in the end. But just like my thoughts on Moon Knight by the end, I can’t help but wonder if this should have been a movie.