In the wake of his devastating defeat at the hands of Darth Vader and the re-capture of Leia Organa, we find Obi-Wan Kenobi at his lowest point at the beginning of Part 4 of this six-episode story. How will he respond?
That’s what this episode is about, and it’s another tremendous chapter in a really great series.
Let’s dive in to a review of this episode, but be warned that full spoilers are ahead, so if you haven’t seen the episode yet don’t venture any further!
Tala and her droid transport a semi-conscious Obi-Wan Kenobi to Jabiim, where he is quickly put in a bacta tank to heal from his wounds. While in the bacta tank, however, Kenobi is reminded of his encounter with Darth Vader, and he and Vader – both in bacta tanks – sense one another and are pained by it. Now conscious, Obi-Wan pulls himself out of the tank and asks Tala where Leia is. It turns out she is being held prisoner at the Fortress Inquisitorious, where Reva interrogates her. Reva tells Leia that Kenobi is dead and that no one is coming to save her, and tells her she’ll let her go home if Leia just reveals the location of the Path. Leia refuses. Reva makes preparations to torture her until she reveals the info.
Meanwhile, Kenobi – wearing Jedi robes – and Tala meet with Roken, a rebel sympathizer allied with the Path on Jabiim. He lost his wife to the Empire, as she was Force-sensitive, and he wants Kenobi gone due to the number of people hunting for him. But Kenobi asks for help recovering Leia, who knows all their locations. Roken reluctantly agrees to help and shows schematics of the Fortress, and Kenobi and Tala devise a plan to infiltrate it using Tala’s Imperial Officer disguise.
Tala lands in the Fortress hanger and makes her way to an access terminal, where she is able to guide Kenobi from afar. He swims to a hatch opened by Tala at the base of the Fortress, allowing him to enter. He sneaks through the base thanks to Tala’s guidance but stumbles upon a tomb, discovering the Empire’s true secrets there. Entombed in an amber-like substance are tons of Jedi, including Tera Sinube an a yongling. Horrified, Kenobi then hears Leia’s cries and urgently tells Tala to create a distraction. She does by calling for Reva’s attention and telling her that she’s a spy that infiltrated the Path and knows their location: Florrum. Meanwhile, Kenobi kills the stormtrooper guards with his lightsaber and rescues Leia. As they make their way through the hallways they are spotted, causing Obi-Wan to spring into action and defend him and Leia with his lightsaber. Reva is then alerted to his presence and storms off, while Tala escapes and meets up with Kenobi and Leia. Obi-Wan holds the water from a cracking window long enough for them to escape, then uses the Force to cause it to burst and drown the pursuing troopers.
Disguised, Obi-Wan, Leia, and Tala make their way through the hangar toward their ship – but Reva catches up to them with a large squadron. But before she can fight them, two rebel ships arrive and begin firing in the hangar. This allows the others to make their escape, boarding a ship and taking off. In the escape, one of the two rebel pilots is killed.
In the aftermath, a furious Darth Vader marches in and begins Force choking Reva for her failure, but she reveals that she’s put a tracker with Kenobi. Aboard the rebel transport, Leia and Obi-Wan share a touching moment – while Lola, Leia’s droid, begins emitting a signal.
This was another thrilling episode, one that moved at a rapid pace and was filled with plenty of tension and action. We actually saw the infiltration of the Fortress Inquisitorious in this episode, something I wasn’t expecting quite yet, and more importantly we saw a more resolved and confident Obi-Wan Kenobi for the first time in the entire series.
When we meet Kenobi at the beginning of the episode, he’s haunted by his defeat at Vader’s hands and is dropping in and out of consciousness, not really aware of what’s going on as he’s saved by Tala and placed in a bacta tank to recover. In the first episode, Obi-Wan is extremely hesitant to get involved, worried about whether he’ll fail again in another mission, this time to protect Leia. It’s fear and failure that has kept Kenobi out of the game, and Bail Organa knows that. But now, at this point, what has happened? Not only has Obi-Wan realized that his failure ran deeper than he could have imagined – Vader is still alive! – but he also has just failed again in his new mission to rescue Leia Organa. His fears have been realized. And yet he’s hit the bottom, and has in the process found some strength to continue. As Luke Skywalker will tell Rey decades later, “confronting fear is the destiny of a Jedi.” And that’s what Obi-Wan is having to do in this series.
The moments of him in the bacta tank are an expert piece of visual storytelling and editing, as it’s put together with Vader in a bacta tank as well. Both of them have been gone through the fire – literally – and while Anakin’s wounds are obviously worse), the parallels that were set up in last week’s episode are further developed here. Vader went through the flames, and he’s worse for it. He’s consumed by his hatred, a vengeful force of evil. Kenobi went through the flames, but he comes out better for it. When he emerges from the bacta tank, there’s no question in his mind about what to do, unlike in the first episode: no, he’s going to save Leia. He dons Jedi robes and is resolved to do what it takes to save her.
So as the episode progresses, we actually see a character resembling the great Jedi Master we once knew. Roken even calls him “general,” which is a nice touch (and it seems that’s a status that he’ll continue to keep, as in A New Hope Leia calls him, “General Kenobi” at one point). Roken is hesitant to jump in and help rescue Leia, but Obi-Wan has no such questions. This is a complete reversal from the first episode; in that one, Obi-Wan was the one who needed to be persuaded to help, but in this one Obi-Wan is the one persuading others to help. It shows how far he’s come. Then aboard the transport to Nur, he uses the Force on a small object, and Tala mentions that he needs more than just physical healing. It’s starting to happen, but contrast that with Kenobi struggling to use the Force in this small way to how later in the episode he uses the Force to hold back the weight of the whole ocean from pouring into the hallway. He’s growing. And presumably, I would guess, that means he’ll actually be able to communicate with Qui-Gon Jinn soon as well.
And the whole rescue in the Fortress Inquisitorious was just so great. Seeing Obi-Wan fighting back and defending himself with his lightsaber was so satisfying, and it made the slow build-up in the first three episodes so worth it. And the moment of the lights going dark in the interrogation room, only to be illuminated by Kenobi’s lightsaber as he took out the guards, was just fantastic. The whole thing really felt a lot like Fallen Order, and I mean that in the best way. In that story, set five years prior to this series, Cal Kestis infiltrated the Fortress and narrowly escaped, and there were plenty of echoes of that here. (As a side note, I loved actually hearing the names “Fortress Inquisitiorious” and “Nur” in this episode!) It’s a bit strange that the Empire would have two significant security breaches of a Jedi infiltrating the base, but I suppose two in ten years isn’t that bad. There were also echoes of A New Hope as Kenobi snuck through the base, and even used the Force to distract some guards at one point as well.
By the end, it’s the rebels aligned with the Path who show up to save the day. At the beginning of the episode they said they weren’t fighters, but it’s clear they are now. This isn’t the Rebel Alliance Star Wars fans are familiar with – that hasn’t been formally aligned yet and won’t be for many years – but there are plenty of different rebel cells operating across the galaxy. It would seem that this one is independent from the others, aiming to rescue Jedi. Roken wants to save others, since he was unable to save his wife. I do feel like (and this is a very minor critique) the sequence of Roken deciding to help felt a bit rushed, as he almost immediately went from thinking Kenobi was a danger to thinking he’d help them. And when Wade died in the rescue, it was really the first time we actually knew who he was. It’s not necessary for the audience to have a deep backstory with the character because the real impact is how it affects the in-universe characters in the story, but it all felt a bit too rushed. But like I said, that’s a minor critique, and nothing that took away from my enjoyment of the episode whatsoever.
And while the Path is motivated by helping others find freedom and safety from the Empire, Reva has found the opposite. She’s become one of them, and is looking out only for herself – as are the rest of the Inquisitors, it seems (the Fifth Brother missed Kenobi walking right by him because all he could think about was taking Reva down). She had everything taken from her, just like Roken did, but she’s responded very differently. Roken responded by trying to help others avoid the same fate. Reva, though? She had everything taken from her as a kid, and her response is to threaten to take everything away from another kid, Leia. Reva tells Leia that the braver she seems the more scared she really is, and I think that’s an appropriate summary of Reva too. She comes across as bold and brave, but inside she’s afraid and seeking her own gain. She’s trying so hard, and yet can’t quite reach it (because I don’t think she intentionally let the heroes escape; I think it was more of a contingency plan just in case). But she knows the consequences of failure, and that’s surely part of the reason for the fear. Because even though Vader only gets brief screentime here, it’s still a highlight. His entrance is terrific, as you can tell he’s absolutely furious at Reva. He’s still a terrifying figure, even in a brief scene like this.
(One quick side comment related to all of this is that I loved how Leia resisted Reva’s probe, yet Reva didn’t learn she was Force sensitive. It reminded me of what Vader will say in A New Hope a decade later when he says of Leia, “her resistance to the mind probe is considerable.” There’s a reason Vader used other torture methods, and if Vader couldn’t get through, of course Reva wouldn’t be able to either! I like to think of this as both showing Leia’s strength and showing how she’s able to resist even Vader down the road.)
And the ending scene of her grabbing Obi-Wan’s hand was just so sweet and so great. I loved it. Finally, it seems, Obi-Wan has grown to trust someone and care about them in this period of darkness. And the two of them share a connection. This furthers what I’ve said earlier in the series, but I think we’re seeing very clearly why Leia would name her son Ben years down the road.
Two other thoughts come to mind of things to address from this episode, and these will be the final two in what has already been a lengthy review.
The first is regarding Tala, who is a major player in this episode and is awesome. She also faces any fears she has and is willing to risk it all to help save Leia. She’s a great character.
The second is regarding the tomb that Kenobi stumbles upon in the Fortress Inquisitorious. Roken states early in the episode that they don’t know what the Empire is hiding in the base, but Obi-Wan discovers it. He finds the bodies of dead Jedi, preserved in this chamber. As Hera Syndulla said in Rebels, Mustafar – and its system – are where Jedi go to die. It’s a horrifying moment, and we recognize Tera Sinube as one of them – the old, kind Jedi Master who assisted Ahsoka Tano at one point in The Clone Wars. We also see one of the younglings who was killed. There are plenty of others, too. So what are they all doing there? Well it’s obvious that it’s a shrine of sorts, with these Jedi kept as trophies of kills. But I think that there are likely other reasons too. For one, in Rebels the Inquisitors use the body of Jedi Master Luminara Unduli to lure unsuspecting Jedi, who only discover that Luminara is dead when it’s too late. So perhaps, in a sick twist, the Empire is keeping these bodies as potential bait for other Jedi. But it’s also possible that the Empire is keeping them for future cloning experiments that might happen, as we know that Palpatine had a very significant interest in cloning.
Regardless, it’s a pretty dark and haunting reality. It’s a clear reminder to Kenobi of what has happened to the Jedi – but also a reminder of what he can help stop from happening to others. And that was really at the heart of this whole episode, as we see Obi-Wan Kenobi beginning to emerge back into the light after a decade of darkness. He confronts his failures, confronts his fears, and emerges from the flames more resolved and more determined. This episode is a great look at that, with some truly thrilling tension and action that is a heart-racing good time. Deborah Chow just gets it, and this whole series is great. And with two episodes left, I cannot wait to see what happens from here.