Review: ‘Obi-Wan Kenobi’ Part V Reveals Satisfying Truths

Part V of Obi-Wan Kenobi provides a lot for Star Wars fans to sink their teeth into. The latest episode provides many climactic moments for the series’ main players, while also taking opportunities to look back and explore other characters’ backstories and motivations.


Anyone hoping this episode will provide answers – mainly around Reva’s obsession with Obi-Wan – will be happy here, even if the delivery is a little odd depending on your own interpretation. Part V also gives us possibly the greatest demonstration of Vader’s powers so far in live action, perhaps even greater than the wildly popular hallway scene from Rogue One.


One thing the Disney era of Star Wars has always done incredibly well is respect the character of Darth Vader. There’s never been a time when Vader looks weak or outmatched, to the point where simply escaping him is considered a huge victory. The comics have shown just how powerful Vader is, and now Obi-Wan Kenobi is the closest we’ve ever gotten to seeing that power on-screen.


Ewan McGregor and Vivien Lyra Blair are predictably excellent. Ewan’s emotional range is impressive, as Obi-Wan learns new truths and defends his friends in the way that a Jedi should. Lyra Blair has been consistently evocative of the Leia we all know and love all series, and that doesn’t change here.


Those who have had issues with the way some fight scenes have been shot might have further complaints at times, but otherwise this is an engaging and entertaining episode.


Spoilers ahead…


Anakin Skywalker in Obi-Wan Kenobi


Seeing Obi-Wan and Anakin in flashbacks as master and padawan was immensely satisfying, particularly for anyone with nostalgia towards the prequel trilogy. I can’t work out if there was de-aging technology in use here – it seems likely that there was, but both Ewan McGregor and Hayden Christensen looked noticeably older than they did when they filmed Attack of the Clones. Hayden’s naturally youthful face helped create a sense of disbelief but if there was a deliberate attempt to de-age the pair, then it failed miserably.


The practice duel itself was wonderful though, carrying layers of meaning both for the episode’s present day and for the two characters in general. Seeing Anakin so aggressive and dismissing the concept of mercy as weakness must have been incredibly alarming for Obi-Wan, as it acted as an ominous warning of the man Anakin will become. Clearly he dismissed it as something he’d have to work on as his master, but it was a great example of continuity for Anakin.


Anakin Skywalker smiling in Obi-Wan Kenobi


It also served as a great tool to show us how much Obi-Wan still knows his old padawan. At the end of the duel, he lectures Anakin that “your need for victory… it blinds you” and “your need to prove yourself will be your undoing”. From that, we can see in the present day how this lesson informs Obi-Wan’s plan to protect the Rebels and escape Vader. Obi-Wan knows that Anakin’s narrow focus on winning will make it easier to dupe him.


It also helps us understand Vader’s line in A New Hope in a new context – “I was but the learner, now I am the master” – Vader needs to prove to Obi-Wan that he is superior and has become more powerful than he will ever be. It shows that perhaps Vader unconsciously elevates his old master above him in terms of status, which is interesting because Vader already won and Obi-Wan lost in the grand scheme of things. There shouldn’t be anything left to prove, but it clearly stings that he lost their duel on Mustafar and needs to show Obi-Wan just how much better off he is.  By the time they meet on the Death Star, he has grown beyond this need.


Darth Vader from behind in Obi-Wan Kenobi


We also finally learn Reva’s backstory, why she’s so obsessed with bringing down Obi-Wan and how she knows Vader’s true identity. Flashback moments show Reva as a youngling in the Jedi Temple during Order 66, as she witnesses Anakin kill her fellow Jedi (and possibly stab her?). It’s easy to understand how Reva’s hatred would swell, leading her to blame Obi-Wan for his failings as Anakin’s master. It makes sense now that she would target Obi-Wan to fuel her need for revenge, which would simultaneously allow her to get closer to Vader and give her an opportunity to kill him.


I thought the delivery of this was a little odd. While I loved that Obi-Wan did the work and discovered it for himself, rather than Reva doing the big reveal, I found his statement that Reva was “hunting him” to be very odd, considering she’s been bending over backwards to get his approval all season. Certainly we can see how her need for revenge informs her actions in hindsight so it isn’t a huge contradiction, but that specific wording felt strange to me.


Reva defeated in Obi-Wan Kenobi


It was also refreshing to see that Reva will not be redeemed, like Anakin and Ben Solo were in the main films. This is a character who has always wanted to kill Vader, and will not be turned to the light by Obi-Wan. Reva instead serves another role to show where living a life full of hatred and revenge will get you.


She was foolish to believe she could ever best Vader – doubly so, given the reveal that Vader knew everything about her past and motivation the entire time – but even the way she tried to do it, by stabbing him in the back, felt like a dark side move rather than the actions of someone who can be redeemed.


Darth Vader in Obi-Wan Kenobi


The reveal that the Grand Inquisitor was in fact still alive was fun too. I imagine some fans will want answers as to how exactly he survived being stabbed in Part II, but his line – “Revenge does wonders for the will to live” – provides all the explanation we need. We’ve already seen Maul survive being bisected through force of will and desire to take revenge on Kenobi, so it’s not difficult to imagine the Grand Inquisitor surviving a stab wound.


The Grand Inquisitor in Obi-Wan Kenobi


I thought the episode handled Tala’s death well. We’ve known almost from her introduction that she became disillusioned with the Empire and has been fighting to right her wrongs ever since. In a private conversation with Obi-Wan, she reveals that she inadvertently helped the Empire round up a family of force sensitives and was unable to stop them being killed – the women and children too – and you can see the pain in her face as she recounts the story.


Indira Varma was a wonderful casting choice, depicting Tala’s regret and sorrow wonderfully. It goes a long way to justifying the end of her arc, sacrificing herself to save Obi-Wan and the other rebels by activating a thermal detonator in the middle of a crowd of stormtroopers. It was a surprisingly poignant moment that I didn’t expect to come from this character.


Tala in Obi-Wan Kenobi


I found it interesting to note the parallels between the siege of Jabiim and the Battle of Crait in The Last Jedi. Both battles featured a small group of rebels hiding in a dusty old base facing overwhelming odds, relying on an old Jedi to buy them time while a dark side user leads the attack to batter down the thick metal door.


Vader electing not to ignite his own lightsaber in his fight with Reva provided an interesting reflection of Luke’s decision not to attack Ben on Crait. Of course, Vader eventually uses Reva’s own weapon to stab her, but it can provide an added dimension to Luke’s actions in that film, using the skills inherited by his father nonviolently for good.


Reva leading stormtroopers in Obi-Wan Kenobi


I will say though, as fascinating as I found those parallels, some of the shots that zoomed out from the fight left a little to be desired, almost taking some of the intensity out of the fight. The camera work reminded me a little too much of that CGI fan edit of Obi-Wan and Vader’s fight on the Death Star that you can find on YouTube, but perhaps I’m being too harsh.


I also found the rapid zooming in to Anakin’s face in Reva’s flashbacks a bit jarring; it was clearly meant to capture Reva’s trauma, but I don’t think this was the right technique. It felt amateurish compared to some of the other cinematography, which I did like; the use of shaky cam captured the general chaos well as the rebels fled from the Empire.


However, the episode did a wonderful job of showing Darth Vader in all his glory. That shot of him bringing down the rebel ship has echoes of The Force Unleashed, and is on par with the crazy power levels he shows in the comics.


Darth Vader bringing down rebel ship in Obi-Wan Kenobi


Surprisingly, it looks like the finale will have two separate conflicts to wrap up next week. We presumably have one final fight between Obi-Wan and Vader to come, while the ending of this episode showed Reva learning of Luke Skywalker’s existence on Tatooine. She could only make out a partial message, but she seems to put two and two together and realize that any child Obi-Wan is protecting must have something to do with Anakin. It’s a bit of a leap but she’s clever and a sense of disbelief is probably required here. The mention of Owen’s name means she knows exactly where to look after their confrontation in Part I.


Obi-Wan Kenobi has certainly not had any pacing issues, yet it gave us plenty of excitement this week and there is still a surprising amount to wrap up ahead of the finale. I can’t wait to see how it all ends.


For more thoughts on Part V of Obi-Wan Kenobi, make sure to tune into our YouTube channel tonight, as our friends from The Resistance Broadcast will be having a live discussion on the episode at 9pm ET. You can also check out James Baney’s spoiler reaction video:



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Josh is a huge Star Wars fan, who has spent far too much time wondering if any Star Wars character could defeat Thanos with all the Infinity Stones.

Josh Atkins

Josh is a huge Star Wars fan, who has spent far too much time wondering if any Star Wars character could defeat Thanos with all the Infinity Stones.