The Obi-Wan Kenobi event series has come to an end, and it did so with one of the best hours of Star Wars that has ever been created.
Building on not only the previous five episodes but the entire Skywalker saga, the finale delivered tons of action and emotion, combined with stellar performances and moments that will forever define the way we watch the rest of the saga.
Don’t read any further if you haven’t seen the episode yet, as this review is full of spoilers, but let’s dive in!
As the Path attempts to flee from the Empire with a severely damaged ship, Obi-Wan Kenobi makes the decision to leave and draw Darth Vader away, allowing the others a chance to escape. Leia, Roken, and Sully all push back, insisting that Kenobi needs to stay, but Obi-Wan knows what he must do. He says his goodbyes and takes a shuttle, heading for a nearby planet. Seeing this, Vader orders the Star Destroyer to break off pursuit of the Path and focus on Kenobi, despite the Grand Inquisitor’s advice otherwise.
Vader heads down to the planet alone to face Kenobi. Vader asks his old master whether he came to destroy him, and Obi-Wan says, “I will do what I must.” Vader replies, “then you will die,” and their duel begins. Obi-Wan is far more up to the task compared to this previous meeting, prompting Vader to remark, “Your strength has returned. But the weakness still remains.” Vader manages to get the upper hand (actually the high ground) and uses the Force to bury Kenobi in rocks, leaving him for dead. But underneath the pile, Kenobi remembers Leia and Luke and gathers the strength to use the Force to push the rocks off. He catches up to Vader and surprises him, and the Sith Lord is quickly on his heels. Kenobi uses the Force to lift all the rocks and hurl them at Vader, and then launches a furious assault with his lightsaber that leaves Vader badly damaged – and his mask half-broken.
When Obi-Wan sees Anakin’s face again, he stops. Overcome with emotion, Obi-Wan apologizes to him. But Vader tells Obi-Wan, “You didn’t kill Anakin Skywalker. I did. The same way I will destroy you.” Obi-Wan responds, “Then my friend is truly dead. Goodbye, Darth.” He leaves while Vader shouts at him.
Meanwhile, Reva arrived on Tatooine and sought out Owen Lars. Owen hears of this and rushes back to the homestead, and as he and Beru hide Luke, they prepare for battle. When Reva arrives that night Owen and Beru fight back, doing everything they can to hold her off as Luke flees into the desert. Reva pursues him, while Obi-Wan senses trouble and heads for the planet. Reva finds Luke in the desert and the boy is knocked unconscious, but Reva can’t bring herself to kill him, haunted by images of what Vader did to her. She brings Luke back to Owen, Beru, and Obi-Wan, and they are relieved to see he is still alive. As Owen and Beru take Luke inside, Obi-Wan talks to Reva. She is terrified that she’s become Vader, but Obi-Wan says she chose not to and can choose who she will be from here. She leaves her lightsaber behind in the desert.
Later, Darth Vader speaks to Emperor Palpatine about how he will stop at nothing to find Kenobi, but Palpatine questions him on it, leaving Vader to say, “Kenobi means nothing.” On Alderaan, the Organa family prepares for a visitor: Obi-Wan Kenobi. He returns Leia’s droid to her, and shares sweet moments both with Bail and then with Leia, telling her what her parents were like. He tells both Bail and Leia that if they ever need help again, he’ll be there. And then on Tatooine, Obi-Wan packs up his cave and prepares to move, but stops by the Lars homestead first. He talks with Owen and tells him that Owen was right, that Luke does just need to be a kid, and says that he’ll leave them alone. As Kenobi leaves, Owen calls out to him and asks if he’d like to meet Luke. Kenobi takes the skyhopper toy and approaches Luke, and with a kind smile he says, “Hello there.” He then rides off, but along the way sees the Force ghost of his master, Qui-Gon Jinn, telling him that he’s always been with him, but Obi-Wan just wasn’t ready to see it. Obi-Wan follows Qui-Gon into the jundland wastes of Tatooine.
This episode was absolutely incredible. It’s my favorite episode of any of the Star Wars live-action shows, hands-down, and it stands among my favorite hours of Star Wars ever. I’ve long thought that this series would become a staple chapter of the Skywalker Saga, taking its place alongside the nine pillar films, but it’s even more perfect and more fitting than I could have possibly hoped or imagined. The way it connects to the prequel trilogy and expands on it is incredible, and it ties in perfectly and poetically to the original trilogy to come as well.
There’s a million places we could start, but let’s begin with the duel between Obi-Wan and Vader. We knew it was coming, but it was far better than could have been expected. The start of the duel evoked major The Last Jedi vibes, with the villain – a fallen apprentice of the Jedi Master – departing a shuttle to face the stoic Jedi alone. In that film, Kylo asks whether Luke came to save his soul, to which Luke replies no. Here, Vader asks if Obi-Wan came to kill him, to which Obi-Wan replies that he will do what he must. That itself is the line he used with Anakin in their duel on Mustafar, and Vader responds, “Then you will die” – the same thing he tells Ahsoka Tano years later.
This show has done a brilliant job of showing these two using the Force in these moments and not simply their lightsabers, and that’s on full display here as both Obi-Wan and Vader make expert use of the lightsaber and the Force (for example, Vader throwing a rock at Kenobi’s legs and then going in for a strike with his lightsaber was perfect choreography). Best of all, though, was Obi-Wan levitating the rocks around him and throwing them at Vader. Years later, Luke Skywalker will tell Rey that, “The Force is not a power you have. It’s more than lifting rocks.” What’s clear in that story is that lifting rocks isn’t a bad thing, and Rey’s growth that’s expressed in the movie’s climax is her lifting rocks to rescue her friends. So Luke’s point is that to think of the Force as a power that one wields is foolish, but to allow the Force to flow through you is power. That’s what Obi-Wan does here. As Yoda tells Luke in The Empire Strikes Back, the dark side is not stronger – it’s just easier, quicker, and more seductive. It’s a lot harder for Obi-Wan to embrace the light than it is for Vader to embrace the dark, but in the end we see that the light is stronger. I also think about the lesson that Luke taught Grogu in The Book of Boba Fett, as Grogu was so focused on the one frog that he didn’t see all of them. Last week’s episode of Obi-Wan Kenobi showed that Vader was so focused on one target – Obi-Wan – that he missed the real plan. But Obi-Wan is able to see the bigger picture, and that means he’s able to lift all the rocks simultaneously.
He unleashes quite an attack on Vader too, one that leaves him reeling and damaged. I think this actually sheds a lot of light on their encounter in A New Hope. Compared to the choreography in the prequels that lightsaber duel has been criticized at times in recent years, but this adds a layer beyond the mere factor of age. Because by the time of A New Hope, the last time that Vader faced off against Kenobi he was utterly embarrassed and humiliated in combat, having been surprised that the old man still had it. In A New Hope, then, I see Vader playing it safe, as this time he’s in front of the Imperial forces on the Death Star rather than alone, and he’s cautiously wanting to see whether his old master still has it or not. Maybe I’m reading too much into that, but I think this defeat here can help explain why he takes it a bit easier at that point.
But for as exciting as the lightsaber fight is – and it’s truly thrilling – this show doesn’t forget that the emotion is what’s truly significant, and that leads to the heart-wrenching moment where Kenobi cuts Vader’s mask half-off. It’s an obvious parallel to what Ahsoka Tano would do to Vader in their duel years later (as shown in Rebels), and seeing Hayden Christensen’s face and hearing his voice mixed with Vader’s (James Earl Jones) is beyond perfect. It’s enough to bring Obi-Wan to tears, realizing that this is still Anakin. He apologizes, but Vader tells him that he was the one who killed Anakin, not Kenobi. And ironically, this is precisely what Obi-Wan needs to hear. He’s burdened by the weight of his failures, and that’s compounded even more by Vader telling him earlier in the series, “I am what you made me.” And while that is true, from a certain point of view, it is also true that Obi-Wan isn’t ultimately responsible for Anakin’s fall.
Seeing that, and seeing that after all this Vader still wants to destroy Obi-Wan, Kenobi concludes, “then my friend is truly dead.” When saying goodbye he calls Vader “Darth,” which is a great callback to what Obi-Wan calls him aboard the Death Star too. We’re seeing how Obi-Wan has come to believe that Vader is “more machine now than man, twisted and evil.” We’re seeing how Obi-Wan comes to lose hope in Anakin’s redemption. This was formerly Anakin, but now just Darth. Obi-Wan concludes that Anakin is truly gone. That line is a direct parallel to what Luke Skywalker says in Return of the Jedi. As Vader prepares to take him to the Emperor, Luke says, “then my father is truly dead.” After this, Vader takes a moment in quiet reflection, and this episode adds so much to that moment. Vader had just told Luke that “Obi-Wan once thought as you did,” meaning that just like Luke Obi-Wan thought he could save Anakin and bring him back to the light. But when Luke says this, Vader is forced to realize that he caused Obi-Wan to lose hope, and now has seemingly caused Luke to lose hope. It’s enough to shake him.
And the parallels extend beyond that. There are mainly three figures in the Skywalker saga who make a push to redeem Anakin Skywalker after his fall: Obi-Wan Kenobi (his master), Ahsoka Tano (his apprentice), and Luke Skywalker (his son). Obi-Wan manages to peel back the layers enough to see Anakin’s face, cutting off the left side of Vader’s mask. But he can’t get through to him. Ahsoka manages to peel back to the layers enough to see Anakin’s face, cutting off the right side of Vader’s mask. But she can’t get through to him. But Luke manages to peel it all back, removing Vader’s mask and bringing Anakin back to the light. Luke does it through compassion and love, not through fighting.
Obi-Wan has grown through this series, and it’s been beautiful to see. He started as a Jedi Master who was unwilling to help another Jedi, but here he’s able to show compassion even to Reva. He started as someone who didn’t even want to help rescue Leia, but here he’s willing to sacrifice himself in order to ensure that the next generation survives. He started as someone who didn’t trust anyone, but here he’s willing to entrust his incredibly important mission of taking Leia to Alderaan to Haja and Roken. He started as someone totally broken by his failures, but now he’s come to a measure of peace with them and can move on into the future. Because of all of that, the ending scene of this series is perfect: Obi-Wan can finally communicate with Qui-Gon Jinn, as he’s now able to see him. The Force, as Kenobi said, is a light – and he’s now able to see clearly. This is what we knew was coming from the moment that Obi-Wan first began calling out for Qui-Gon Jinn in the first episode, and the payoff here is so sweet. It’s great to have Liam Neeson back too.
But it’s not just Obi-Wan who talks with his master in the closing moments of the episode – Vader does too. When then see Vader ultimately coming to the place where he must put his personal ambitions and vendetta against Kenobi on hold, because Palaptine calls him out on it. Palpatine suggests that his judgment is too clouded, so Vader says “Kenobi is nothing” – a significant contrast to what he said earlier in the series when he remarked, “Kenobi is everything.” Vader never moves beyond wanting Kenobi, but his master is reigning in that ambition. And on that note, it’s amazing to see Ian McDiarmid back in this cameo role! Perfect. So there’s a sense in which Vader hasn’t grown and is still burdened by his guilt and anger, but we also see that he’s forced to give up his pursuit of Kenobi (or at least suppress it).
I’ve jumped ahead a bit to the final scene, but it’s also worth backing up and re-visiting the scenes with Reva. She’s not in this episode a ton, but the editing makes it clear that she’s looming throughout. The first scene in the episode is of Reva on Tatooine looking for Owen, and it continues o throughout the episode. Owen and Beru were great here, and I love the chance to get to see a bit more from them in this series. I loved how they fought back against Reva and do whatever it takes to protect Luke. Reva taunts Owen by saying he loves him like he’s his own son, and Owen responds that he is. That’s more than just a cover to try to hide Luke’s identity; that’s true. Owen does love the boy, and everything he does – even the cold shoulder he gives to Obi-Wan – is in an effort to protect the young kid. But Reva manages to pursue Luke anyway, and I’m personally really glad that Luke was (1) told it was sand people (that helps explain why he doesn’t like them in A New Hope) and (2) knocked unconscious before he really saw Reva with her lightsaber. That helps to protect the story of the original trilogy that begins nine years later. I’m not crazy about Reva presumably knowing that this is Anakin’s kid (that’s not explicitly stated, but it’s reasonable to guess), and that makes me a bit wary about what stories could come. It doesn’t quite sit right to have someone out there knowing Luke lives, especially with Kenobi knowing it and just letting her leave. But those concerns are mostly about unease over where these stories could lead, but in this episode it mostly works well. It also represents a poignant and powerful moment for Reva, as she realizes that if she were to kill the boy she will become the very thing she swore to destroy. That’s what Obi-Wan accused Anakin of in Revenge of the Sith, and it’s what Reva is faced with here. If she stabs Luke with her lightsaber, she’ll be doing the same thing to him that Vader did to her. It’s a well-earned payoff for the character.
And in the end, she shares a moment with Obi-Wan in the desert, where he offers her the chance to be better. Tala helped him realize that some things you can’t forget, but you can fight to make them better. Here, he’s helping Reva learn that too. She leaves her lightsaber behind, and that’s the last we see of her. There are some parallels here to Rebels with Maul, where Kenobi comforts a former foe in the desert. Even after everything Obi-Wan has lost, even after everything that’s happened to him, he’s still full of compassion – unlike where we met him at the beginning of the series. I’m guessing that if we do get a continuation of this series, it’ll be more focused on Reva, and I think it would be cool if she were to join the Path to help them save young Force sensitive children – like she was once. She couldn’t save her friends from Vader, but maybe she can save others. We have often seen villains turn to the light in Star Wars, but we have very rarely seen them live much beyond that. What does it look like for a villain to return to the light and actually still live to face the consequences of that and try to forge a better path? I think it could be interesting to see that from Reva.
But with all of that said, I’m not going to be a huge proponent for a second season of this series. Continue Reva’s story in some way? Yes! Do another season of this show? No. Now I’m sure that, should it happen, I’ll be very excited to see it and will enjoy it. But this feels like the perfect story, and it feels like it sets it up perfectly for A New Hope. More is not always better, and I’m sort of hoping that this story is wrapped up. Not because I didn’t enjoy it, but because I enjoyed it so much that I think it’s actually the perfect story to tell in this period.
And a big reason for that is the emotional arcs Obi-Wan shares in this episode with Vader, with Leia, and with Luke. I love that he went to Alderaan to see her, and him telling Leia exactly how she reminds him of her mother and her father was absolutely beautiful. It was so well-written and well-delivered. And Obi-Wan sets up what we know is coming nearly a decade later, when Bail and Leia would again call on him for help. Some fans have complained that Leia’s message in A New Hope sounds too formal considering the events of this series, but I think Obi-Wan’s goodbye to her accounts for that too. He says that he’ll be there if she ever needs help again, but that people can’t know or else they’ll both be in trouble. So, in A New Hope, Bail sends for Kenobi and Leia uses that as the reason for contacting him in her message. She can’t make it too obvious, because Obi-Wan warned her not to. But when, on the Death Star, she hears that Ben Kenobi has come to rescue her, it rings a bell – because her old friend has come back for her once again.
Bail tells Obi-Wan that they don’t know how to repay him, but Kenobi says that Leia already has. Because she’s caused him to believe once more. She’s helped him find hope and heal. When we met him in this series he was broken and defeated, a far cry from the Jedi we knew and loved. But by the end of the series, he’s Obi-Wan Kenobi, a stronger Jedi than we’ve ever seen him, and calm, confident, and hopeful for when the Skywalker twins will bring light back to the galaxy.
This series is incredible, and this episode the best of all of it. It’s Star Wars at its absolute best.