Of all of the cameos from all of the characters from all of the iterations of Star Wars that present up in Obi-Wan Kenobi, the one I hoped for the toughest isn’t even alive anymore. Thankfully for us prequel followers—once more, we’re on the market!—being useless is now not sufficient to maintain a superb Jedi down.
Sure, that’s Liam Neeson because the Drive ghost of Qui-Gon Jinn, returned from the useless in the end to assist information his former pupil Obi-Wan Kenobi. Based mostly on the wide-open door on which this sequence ends, Obi-Wan could nicely want the assistance.
That large second could overshadow a lot of what else occurred on this closing (?) episode, so let’s go over that good and fast. With the intention to save the refugees from the Jedi/Drive-sensitive relocation program referred to as the Path from the Darth Vader–helmed Star Destroyer that’s firing on them, Obi-Wan jets off on his personal and lures Vader into battle. Even buried underneath tons of rock and rubble, Obi-Wan remains to be a greater fighter than Vader and will get the very best of his former pal, as soon as once more strolling away earlier than dealing the killing blow.
In the meantime, former Third Sister Reva heads off to Tattooine to trace down and kill Luke Skywalker, whose existence she discovered of within the communiqué from Bail Organa to Obi-Wan that she discovered. I’m not fairly positive why—to get again at Obi-Wan for his failure to guard her as a child, I suppose—however she will be able to’t undergo with it, and returns the boy to his courageous adoptive dad and mom Owen and Beru Lars, each of whom risked their lives towards the lightsaber-wielding ex-Inquisitor somewhat than let her seize Luke and not using a struggle. Obi-Wan basically tells her to go and sin no extra.
Kenobi’s truly fairly a busy boy even after the mud settles. He heads to Alderaan to return Leia’s droid LOLA and want the woman the very best, telling her she inherited good qualities from each of her mystery-shrouded organic dad and mom. He returns to Owen’s farm to fulfill Luke and provides him a toy ship. (How this squares with the truth that neither Luke nor Leia by no means appeared to have met Obi-Wan previous to the occasions of A New Hope is past me, however oh nicely.)
And eventually, he and Qui-Gon experience off into the space, to observe and wait and put together for that one closing mission. It’s a young denouement, and it makes it onerous to get too labored up in regards to the continuity points it raises; I imply, are you gonna get mad at poor Obi-Wan Kenobi profitable over the hearts of two little children? The man may use a bit gentle in his life! And hey, he even will get to drop his catchphrase. Say “Howdy there,” Ben!
If I could elevate a quibble with how this episode of Obi-Wan Kenobi works, it’s the truth that folks maintain leaving their grievously wounded enemies alive. Darth Vader does it with Reva; Obi-Wan does it with Darth Vader; a whole Star Destroyer does it with the ship filled with Path refugees, on Vader’s orders. If any two folks in all the galaxy are acquainted with the perils of not killing somebody while you had the prospect, it might be the previous Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan, the man who didn’t kill Anakin when he had the prospect—and but!
In Reva’s case and that of the refugees, I assume they’re leaving them open for future spinoff initiatives; in Vader’s, nicely, he’s Darth Vader, and he kinda wants to stay round. However in that case, why write your self right into a nook by leaving him at Obi-Wan’s mercy after which having the previous Jedi merely stroll away?
Which results in a bigger concern I’ve in regards to the present: Why, precisely, does it exist? Like so many Star Wars tie-in initiatives, it dances between the raindrops of present continuity, whereas sometimes shifting that continuity to its personal ends. Like, we type of knew Obi-Wan needed to whip Darth Vader’s ass, as a result of Vader tells Obi-Wan he was “a learner” the final time they met.
However establishing a pre-existing relationship between Obi-Wan and Leia—and on this episode, even Obi-Wan and Luke—provides a complete lot to the prevailing canon. And for what? A six-episode present with all of the visible aptitude and emotional heft of a Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order minimize scene? I don’t assume the sport is well worth the candle. (This is the reason stuff like “Why didn’t he simply kill him when he had the prospect?” is popping up in my thoughts—not as a result of I’m some CinemaSins-style pedant, however as a result of the mission’s total sense of delicate aimlessness gave my mind an opportunity to query plot holes I’d in any other case overlook.)
All that being stated, it’s actually not all unhealthy. The duel between Obi-Wan and Vader shouldn’t be my favourite factor on this planet, but it surely did appear to attempt to carve out a tonal house between the all-out emotional warfare of the climactic struggle in Revenge of the Sith and the cool, collected encounter between two masters aboard the Dying Star in A New Hope. Actually the visible and sound of Vader/Anakin together with his masks cracked half-open, creakily claiming credit score for “killing” Anakin Skywalker—which, as Obi-Wan will at some point say, is “true…from a sure perspective,” was a memorable and welcome twist.
I even loved Obi-Wan’s parting shot of calling Anakin “Darth,” which isn’t a reputation however an honorific, and which he’ll do once more on the Dying Star years later. (As many have stated, George Lucas nearly actually initially supposed “Darth” to really be Vader’s first identify, not a title like “Lord,” however plans change; right here, it appears like an insult, which is definitely how Obi-Wan supposed it.)
I additionally wish to give a particular shoutout to Joel Edgerton’s transient however highly effective work as Owen Lars, the grizzled moisture farmer who’s been elevating Luke as his personal. Bonnie Piesse is sweet as his spouse Beru (a job originated by Shelagh Fraser), too, however Edgerton actually feels just like the gruff, protecting, no-bullshit man performed by Phil Brown whom we meet in A New Hope. Edgerton is nearly as good at this in his personal manner as Ewan McGregor is in capturing a few of the vocal mannerisms of Alec Guinness. He is aware of that the age scenario between himself and Guinness actually can’t be defined away, so he spent the entire sequence going onerous on Obi-Wan’s total sense of loss, failure, weariness, getting old himself earlier than his time. It’s spectacular work.
In order that’s the place we’re left with Obi-Wan Kenobi—an interquel that solutions some questions that wanted answering, supplies some solutions for questions that didn’t, and raises new questions fully. It doesn’t do that work with practically the brio of, say, Rogue One, an interquel that took actual tonal dangers and neatly tied itself off on the finish (to the detriment of any characters you may need needed to see reside to struggle one other day, however nonetheless). Obi-Wan is clearly designed to be open-ended, as every little thing from Reva’s survival to the climactic look of Liam Neeson as Qui-Gon Jinn’s Drive ghost makes clear. The place will it lead, and can you comply with the place it goes?
Sean T. Collins (@theseantcollins) writes about TV for Rolling Stone, Vulture, The New York Occasions, and anyplace that can have him, actually. He and his household reside on Lengthy Island.