In episode 4, Obi-Wan executes a stealth mission to get the child back in a nostalgic mission of old school Star Wars… for better or worse.
Last week was the showdown fans had been waiting for where Obi-Wan and Vader faced off again after 10 years. While I mentioned in my review that wasn’t a fan, apparently, I wasn’t the only person. As the fan divide over the series is starting to become more evident and the critic’s scores are starting to trend downward (but still stand pretty strong).
For me, it’s Vader that’s the problem. His dialogue and really just demeanor, reek of prequel Anakin Skywalker more than the original series Vader. I don’t see this changing. So for fans hoping things will be different, I’m unfortunately going to say: don’t hold your expectations up.
The beginning half of this shorter episode was intriguing as it was in many ways, a callback to Star Wars espionage stories. The kinds of sneaking featured in The Phantom Menace and A New Hope. Still, Obi-Wan the series seems focused on a singular goal: rescuing Leia while utilizing the resources of this underground Jedi Railroad.
While decent enough for a basic story, we’re also, deconstructing and sort of ruining, a lot of this resistance’s movement for the sake of saving the princess (which, if you critically analyze A New Hope, shares similar sentiment). This isn’t too bad though it does vex me in terms of more continuity issues.
Why? Well, because it’s pretty obvious now that the series is really playing into Jedi: Fallen Order in terms of its imperial tone; given all the details about the inquisitors, and really, just the overall bleak ‘capture-and-kill’ them all approach of the empire.
Though there won’t be any Cal Kestis appearances in this one, I do think the show is taking an interesting approach in bridging old versus new Star Wars. Even for someone like myself, who, after they deleted all of Star Wars: Legends, sort of stopped strictly adhering to canon or really following the storylines.
The Obi-Wan Problem
This episode sees Obi-Wan get his groove back proving that he’s still in great shape. This beckons the question for me, as to which Obi-Wan are we dealing with here? The Prequel or Original series?
The problem is that the show does an awful job of aging/treating Obi-Wan like he’s washed up, but then in this episode, confirms that he’s basically just Obi-Wan from the Prequel series with a bit of rust.
This infuriates me as it has a lot of fans because if this was the case, there was no reason for last week to play out like it had, as in almost no time, and for very little reason, Obi-Wan gets his groove back. No Force Qui-Gon to train him. No real delving into the Jedi ways.
It’s just that Obi-Wan is officially back to the old form for the convenience of the story. This is what I am really starting to hate about this series. As we explain more in our detailed spoiler review below.
Star Wars Fans and Racism
This is Moses Ingram on IG, speaking about the racism she has endured since becoming #Reva in the new @Disney Series @obiwankenobi. Because white folks have no problem accepting Wookies & beings with 3 eyes, but they draw the line at people of color.
— April (@ReignOfApril) May 31, 2022
First and foremost, let’s address the bigger issue in the Star Wars room. That was the racism over Reva, experienced by actress Moses Ingram.
In a public statement visible above, the actress had pointed out just many people made comments insulting her about her race. This is unacceptable behavior given that she’s really just a good actor playing the bad person as a role.
If you’re expecting less fuel in this episode, well, don’t, because Reva’s more diabolical than ever before, representing what was most evil about the Inquisitors and what the Empire was.
It’s also compelling that Lucasfilm/Star Wars made a comment almost immediately after the news hit the internet. As you can see below.
A personal message from Ewan McGregor. pic.twitter.com/rJSDmj663K
— Star Wars | #TheBadBatch now streaming on Disney+ (@starwars) June 1, 2022
That said I’ll be clear where I stand: Moses Ingram is amazing as Reva and that hate is stemming from misguided hate over a fantastically badass performance.
I stand with the actress and the toxicity from the fandom, is sort of why I stopped being as hardcore of a Star Wars fan as I used to be.
Spoiler-filled Review/Recap of Part IV
First the Book of Boba, and now, Obi-Wan. It seems like Star Wars is getting their kicks in having people overutilize the bacta tanks. Given how well they healed Boba from the Sarlacc, perhaps it’s understandable why and sort of fixes any permanent burn scarring Obi-Wan could have suffered at the fate of Darth Vader in the last episode.
Soon after, Obi-Wan and Tala seek further aid from their underground network, asking Roken, played by O’Shea Jackson Jr (Straight Outta Compton, where he played his father, Ice Cube), for aid.
The actor’s role in Obi-Wan is brief compared to Flea, Kumail, or Zach Braff (who played the mole-person, Freck) but it should be noted, that Roken also calls Obi-Wan, General.
Essentially implying that he has some knowledge of the Clone Wars. He also reveals that his wife was a force-sensitive person too, taken, and likely killed by the inquisitors, like many of the people the underground had tried to help.
Still, Obi-Wan and Tala press forward on their mission is to infiltrate Fortress Inquisitorious in order to rescue Leia.
Much of the execution plays in the stylings of The Phantom Menace and Attack of The Clones, in that the story feels very nostalgic and secretive. Befitting origins of the Rebel Alliance.
Support System Tala
Indra Varma is still awesome as Tala, and I’m rather glad the actress is getting some recognition after having such a longstanding career.
She was not only a major player as Ellaria in Game of Thrones, but also had roles in Luther, Human Target, and her earliest role in Kama Sutra: A Tale of Love. The actress often plays a love interest or supportive partner.
Reports say that Tala was originally meant to be Obi-Wan’s romantic interest. I know many fans are sick of poorly written romances in Star Wars, but I actually kind of regret that they didn’t pursue this direction, given that the actress has made a pretty fantastic career of it and knows how to do the role better than most actresses.
That said, Tala is still an absolute badass. Still pressing the role of the high-ranking Imperial officer, while also, just throwing down when necessary as a skillful combatant. Fully embracing the superspy role in this series as she plays everyone at Fortress Inquisitorious with skill.
There’s a moment where she shines pulling rank against an imperial security officer, which sort of reminds audiences, just how authoritative this character is in terms of her on-screen presence.
At least, until she eventually meets Third Sister Reva, who doesn’t buy into her distraction.
Reva: I don’t know if you’re lying to me or for me but we’ll see
As said above, Reva is easily the most diabolical character in the series. In many ways, proving to be more sinister than Vader himself (who to be honest, is sort of a one-dimensional killing machine, lacking a lot of the gravitas of the original trilogy Vader it seems).
How she interrogates people, and just her overall cruelty, is just amazing in a villainous way, which is odd, what’s instigating a lot of frustrations that toxic fans may have.
Seeing her start the process to torture a child Leia, is horrifying. As is her overall cruelty in how easily she accepts these sins as undeniable facts necessary for the system of life within the empire.
Leia’s only saved by an intervening Obi-Wan and Tala, who upon request for a distraction, tries misdirecting the inquisitor to Florum.
But Reva doesn’t buy the act which leads to Tala’s last desperation play: admitting she was a spy working as a secret spy, effectively playing both sides for the sake of her secret imperial mission (she wasn’t. It’s just a really bad lie).
Before things get any worse, a shoot-out begins just as Obi-Wan makes his move to rescue the princess.
Obi-Wan’s Mission Is A Lot of Callbacks
Obi-Wan’s rescue mission begins with a swimming Obi-Wan, a callback last seen in The Phantom Menace (Disney+ even suggests watching it at the end of the episode) and Revenge of The Sith.
The infiltration goes off without a hitch, as Obi-Wan has had a surprisingly great history of sneaking into places such as the Death Star and Utapau.
When Obi-Wan explores Fortress Inquisitorious, he does find signs of a tomb, with many bodies of force sensitives entrapped in a fluid, presumable preserved or dead.
It’s then that the old Jedi Master is able to sense an under duress Leia, as he coordinates with Tala to save her while using the darkness to strike down the stormtroopers guarding her.
It’s sort of awkward to look at as Stormtroopers are harder to cut down than droids (I guess it’s the armor?), but then the episode gets… enthusing yet utterly confusing.
Because Obi-Wan, when pressed on both sides by a droid and some stormtroopers, suddenly becomes a re-learned Obi-Wan again.
His lightsaber prowess and badassness returned back to his Revenge of The Sith days, where The Jedi Master deflected bolts, used the force, did some twirls, and really, just became a lot of what who he used to be when last we’d seen him in the story.
This begs to question, where exactly are we in terms of Vader and Obi-Wan? As the continuity feels even further off and closer to Prequels than Originals, making last week’s duel more questionable than ever.
Regrouped but cornered, Obi-Wan, Tala, and Leia do manage to escape. Thanks to the timely intervention of some speeders.
Seeing Reva reveal to an angry Darth Vader, revealing that this was ‘her plan all along’, does make this series infuriating, however, as that’s exactly the same kind of logic Tala was using in saying that she was a spy, pretending to be a spy, that was in fact: a spy for the other side…
After starting off hot the series has cooled down for me tremendously, as so many of these issues could have been resolved with one tiny statement: that Obi-Wan was disconnected from the force this entire time in hiding.
If they’d set up that this journey was Obi-Wan’s reconnecting to that Force in order to save Leia, I think this could’ve been a stronger series.
The fact that we don’t say it outright left a lot of this ambiguity in a bad way, leaving fans semi in the dark, in terms of Star Wars continuity and really just overall show expectations.
Seeing Obi-Wan’s physicality and prowess in these last two episodes just exacerbates this, as if he’s still in fighting shape, there’s really no reason to not have some of his skills intact. Which, we end up revealing here… conveniently after the epic duel fail episode.
Right now, I don’t know why this was made into the series. It feels in-between prequel and original Star Wars, yet somehow, doesn’t sell us on either because we know where these characters will be in the next chapter. Cool to see? Yes. Necessary? Absolutely not so far.
Though there is still time to find the heart of this series: whether it’s Obi-Wan’s redemption with his relationship with Leia, him taking the first steps to become Sir Alec Guinness, or just some sort of tragic retcon that comfortably resets us and sets us up for A New Hope.
I do like the show. I just… put it on par with Revenge of The Sith at this moment. Good in an entertaining way but not great and a message that I’m not entirely clear of except that: The Empire was eviler than we realized.
Mostly, I’d rather have an Inquisitor series or play Jedi: Fallen Order. That’s not a good thing for a show called Obi-Wan Kenobi.