REVIEW: ‘Obi-Wan Kenobi,’ Episode 3

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Obi-Wan Episode 3 - But Why Tho

Obi-Wan Kenobi Episode 3 marks the series’ halfway point, and it’s an episode that pulls out all the stops. After being recruited to save Leia Organa (Vivien Lyra Blair) from Daiyu, Obi-Wan (Ewan McGregor) takes the young princess to the mining planet of Mipuzo to secure safe passage back to Alderaan. However, the Jedi Master is rattled to the core by the revelation that Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) is alive and has transformed into Darth Vader. Vader orders the Third Sister (Moses Ingram) and her fellow Inquisitors to track down Kenobi so that he can confront his former master.

Showrunner Joby Harold, along with writers Hossein Amini, Stuart Beattie, and Hannah Friedman, continues to explore the toll that the fall of the Jedi Order has taken on Obi-Wan – as well as the fact that Vader’s alive. Throughout the episode, Obi-Wan remains guarded and cautious about Leia’s safety, believing that Haja Estree (Kumail Nanjiani) led them astray. It’s a far cry from the Jedi Master who always had an open ear and a kind word for anyone who came to him – but then again that was before Order 66 and his apprentice’s betrayal.

Once again, McGregor showcases a range of emotions with merely a look or a stare, and viewers can feel the pain radiating off of him in waves. In the same vein as Oscar Issac in Moon Knight, McGregor is treating the series as less than an adventure in the Star Wars universe and more of a character study, which makes for a better watch. Lightsabers and blaster fights are great, but it’s the characters that have made Star Wars such an enduring story. McGregor, Harold, and director Deborah Chow have taken that to heart as they peel back the layers of what makes Kenobi Kenobi.

It also helps that McGregor is surrounded by some truly stellar scene partners. Blair is an absolute revelation as Leia; not only does she behave like an actual child would – asking a million questions about Ben’s former life – but there are times when she manages to channel the late Carrie Fisher’s performance as Leia, down to the decisive way in which she handles things. Ingram bounces off Sung Kang and Rya Khilstedt as the Fifth Brother and Fourth Sister, respectively; the way they circle and threaten each other like a pack of wolves is a reminder that the Dark Side and ambition aren’t a great mix. And Indira Varma brings her trademark regality to the role of Lyra, a revolutionary who smuggles Jedi off-planet in an underground railroad.

But the standout of the episode is Christensen. He steps back into Darth Vader’s armor with ease, giving the Sith Lord the fearsome presence he needs. Similar to how Pedro Pascal and his stunt doubles give Din Djarin a world’s worth of characterization via movement on The Mandalorian, Christensen’s lumbering gait as Vader is the stuff of nightmares – there are scenes in this episode where he feels more like a creature from a horror movie than a Star Wars villain. The cherry on top is James Earl Jones returning to lend his signature voice to Vader. Every line of dialogue Vader speaks in this episode will send chills down viewers’ spines.

The highlight of Obi-Wan Kenobi Episode 3 is the lightsaber battle between Obi-Wan and Vader, as Chow stages it with growing intensity. Obi-Wan is forced on the defensive, while Vader’s rage and cybernetic enhancements give him the edge over his former teacher. Under Chow’s direction, the fight is staged at night, with clouds of dust rolling over the inky black sky. The only sources of light are Obi-Wan’s cobalt blue blade and Vader’s fiery red, cleaving through the night and locking together. A similar effect is used on Vader’s fortress on the planet Mustafar, with blazing hot streams of lava cascading into the smoky air.

Obi-Wan Kenobi Episode 3 delivers the battle that fans were waiting for, as the Jedi Master and Darth Vader finally come face to face. With the episode ending on an intense cliffhanger, the next three episodes could go in any direction. At this point, I trust Chow and Harold to deliver a satisfying conclusion.

New episodes of Obi-Wan Kenobi premiere Wednesdays on Disney+.


Obi-Wan Kenobi Episode 3
  • 9/10
    Rating - 9/10
9/10

TL;DR

Obi-Wan Kenobi Episode 3 delivers the battle that fans were waiting for, as the Jedi Master and Darth Vader finally come face to face. With the episode ending on an intense cliffhanger, the next three episodes could go in any direction. At this point, I trust Chow and Harold to deliver a satisfying conclusion.