REVIEW: ‘Obi-Wan Kenobi,’ Episode 5

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Obi-Wan Episode 5 - But Why Tho

Obi-Wan Kenobi Episode 5 once again shifts gears, this time to a tightly paced thriller. After rescuing Leia (Vivien Lyra Blair) from Fortress Inquisitorus,  Obi-Wan (Ewan McGregor) returns to Jabiim with Tala ( Indira Varma) and Roken (O’Shea Jackson Jr.) to help the refugees stationed there. However,  Reva (Moses Ingram) has tracked them down and is ordered by Darth Vader (James Earl Jones) to bring Kenobi to him. While Obi-Wan holds off Reva’s forces, the Third Sister reveals more about her past and her surprising connection to the Jedi Master.

The thing that’s impressed me most about Kenobi as a series is how it manages to bring new dimensions to both Star Wars: A New Hope as well as the prequel trilogy. Granted it isn’t the first Star Wars project to do this, but given Obi-Wan’s importance in the overall Skywalker Saga this series takes on new weight. This is especially true of the flashbacks in this episode, which jump back to the time that Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) was Obi-Wan’s apprentice as well as the events of Order 66. Even though the viewers know these characters’ fate, director Deborah Chow still stages these scenes with enough emotional weight to crack even the hardest of hearts. I also appreciate that this episode comes with a viewer warning before it begins, as even though this is a series about space wizards and laser swords there are still some heavy moments involving children.

And when it comes to the main action, Chow knows how to build tension and character development. Though the refugees manage to barricade themselves in a hangar, Reva’s stormtroopers are packing enough heavy fire to penetrate said doors, and enough forces to overwhelm them – there were moments where I was at the edge of my seat. And once again, Vader is a terrifying presence as he uses the Force to rip apart doors and literally halt a spaceship in its tracks. Props go to Christensen for mimicking Vader’s lumbering gait, as well as slipping back into the role of the younger Anakin with ease.

The standouts of the episode, however, are McGregor and Ingram. McGregor has made the most out of his reprisal as Obi-Wan during this series. He’s tapped into the Jedi Master’s underlying regrets, as well as his compassion and both come to the forefront as he confronts Reva. And Ingram has managed to make Reva one of the most compelling antagonists in Star Wars history. She’s angry, but there is an underlying reason behind her anger and that reason finally unfurls, alongside a surprising twist. A large part of why these emotional moments work is due to Andrew Stanton, who co-wrote this episode with series showrunner Joby Harold. Stanton is well known for being a major creative force at Pixar, helping shape hits like Toy Story and Finding Nemo as well as helming the highly underrated John Carter. So of course it makes sense that he’d manage to make the audience sympathize with Reva.

The rest of the cast brings their A-game, as well. Varma gets to share more moments with McGregor and gets the big hero moment of the story. Blair continues to win hearts as Leia, as the young princess plays a major role in helping everyone escape. And Jackson Jr. gives off a strong, commanding presence as Roken, to the point where I hope we see more of him in a future Star Wars project. Even Kumail Nanjiani returns as swindler Haja Estree, who’s now on the side of the angels – and still retains his wry sense of humor.

Obi-Wan Kenobi Episode 5 highlights the tragedy of the prequel trilogy while adding more depth to said prequels and Star Wars: A New Hope. With only one episode left, this series is shaping up to be one of the best Star Wars projects in the space saga’s streaming era. My hope is that it continues to play to its strengths, as well as stick the landing.

The series finale of Obi-Wan Kenobi will be available to stream on Disney+ next Wednesday.


Obi-Wan Kenobi Episode 5
  • 8.5/10
    Rating - 8.5/10
8.5/10

TL;DR

Obi-Wan Kenobi Episode 5 highlights the tragedy of the prequel trilogy while adding more depth to said prequels and Star Wars: A New Hope. With only one episode left, this series is shaping up to be one of the best Star Wars projects in the space saga’s streaming era. My hope is that it continues to play to its strengths, as well as stick the landing.