I cannot wait for the next episode of Obi-Wan Kenobi, and I say this with extreme sincerity. This is the BEST Star Wars thing to happen since 2005.
If there is a bright center to Star Wars, this episode is the closest to it. I honestly cannot begin to comprehend how phenomenal the Obi-Wan Kenobi limited series is. And halfway in, I honestly cannot find any faults with this story. It is packed with action, epic dialogue, ASMR-inducing events, and beautiful designs that make this probably the pinnacle of Star Wars storytelling.
BEN & LEIA
We immediately catch up with Obi-Wan and Leia, with Obi-Wan dealing with the heavy knowledge that his former apprentice is alive. The last time he saw Anakin Skywalker, he had de-limbed him and well….set him on fire. Ewan McGregor’s facial expressions are Oscar-worthy because he is almost in a state of PTSD trauma, as he “hears” the voices of Anakin, Qui-Gon, and Yoda reverberating in his memories. He and Leia appear safe for the moment. And the little future freedom-fighter asks Obi-Wan what having the Force feels like. Leia is such an inquisitive child, and I am delighted fans are treated to this dimension of her.
Much like how he will explain the Force to her brother in 9 years, Obi-Wan delivers a powerful metaphor from the perspective of the Force. Imagine yourself in the dark, he says. Then you turn on the light. You feel relief, Leia answers. Yes, that is how the Force feels (at least for a light sider). I absolutely love it.
THE RETURN OF DARTH VADER
The show wastes no time revealing Vader. His voice is James Earl Jones AT HIS BEST. And his character completely matches the Vader we know and love to hate from the original trilogy. He is super determined to get revenge on Obi-Wan and promises the Third Sister the position of Grand Inquisitor if she succeeds in finding him. How she knows that Vader was once Anakin is still a mystery. And the Grand Inquisitor is still “dead” despite it being a major continuity error because he is the main antagonist in the first season of Rebels. Which takes place a few years after this show. I have, however, hope that they will explain this away in due time.
Upon arriving at the rendezvous point, Obi-Wan’s PTSD kicks in as he sees a mirage of his former apprentice in the arid fields of the mining world they are on. That is perhaps the first appearance of Hayden Christensen as Anakin Skywalker in over 15 years! Obi-Wan and Leia show ingenuity as they walk into the belly of the beast, and are quick to outsmart and outfight the hapless Stormtroopers they encounter along the way. They also encounter an extremely helpful alien, that is modeled after a star-nosed mole, named Freck. Poor Freck. He legitimately wanted to help them, but he supported the Empire and was yet another obstacle in our heroes’ way.
LEIA AND THE FORCE
Leia’s ability to read emotions is very apparent in this episode, and she may be realizing for the first time that she is Force-sensitive. She insists that Obi-Wan knows her real mother, and while he denies it, she couldn’t be more right. Obi-Wan also shares the flashes of memories of his parents and brother from when he was taken by the Jedi Order. And it reminds me of Legends when Obi-Wan recalls his family and even his brother named Owen. It’s fascinating to think Obi-Wan Kenobi’s brother may be out there somewhere, living an even more normal life than his estranged sibling. And unaware of how pivotal his brother is in the affairs of the greater galaxy.
Now, I think the real treat of this episode is Vader arriving at the mining world and confronting his former master. Deborah Chow and her writers did an excellent job in making this encounter as different as possible from the epic first lightsaber-duel-ever between Vader and Obi-Wan in A New Hope. Much like being chased by Freddy Kreuger in a nightmare, Obi-Wan can barely parry his former apprentice’s strikes as he runs, unable to muster the strength to truly engage him. “You have grown weak over the years.” Yes, it’s true. Obi-Wan hasn’t practiced lightsaber dueling in a decade so it makes perfect sense that he is rusty. “What have you become?” Obi-Wan says in horror. “I am what you made me” Vader counters. Also true. The reason he has become more machine than man is due to that fateful duel on Mustafar. Vader attempts to give Obi-Wan a taste of his own medicine as perhaps the best revenge method I’ve ever seen. But I won’t go into too much detail, as it is a spectacular treat that needs to be experienced firsthand.
We are at the halfway point of this monumental series, and there is so much more excitement coming that I can barely contain it. I also want to add that the new character of Tala is quickly becoming a fan favorite, as she is the first person I can recall in live-action media to use the term Force-sensitive-ha. I cannot wait for the next episode, and I say this with extreme sincerity. This is the BEST Star Wars thing to happen since 2005. Yes, I said it!
Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi is streaming exclusively on Disney Plus now.
Max Nocerino is a regular Staff Writer for The Future of the Force. He is a passionate Star Wars fan and loves the literature of the galaxy far, far away. Follow him on Twitter where he shares his love of the Force frequently!