Ricky Church reviews the fifth episode of Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi…
The fifth episode of Obi-Wan Kenobi did not waste any time at all getting into the conflict as Darth Vader and Reva made their move against Obi-Wan and his new allies. The action was well balanced with the emotions from several characters, most of all Moses Ingram’s Reva in a few surprising ways. This penultimate episode to the series definitely places itself as a contender for the best episode.
‘Part V’s potential immediately rose with its opening scene of Hayden Christensen and Ewan McGregor as Prequel-era Anakin and Obi-Wan before Attack of the Clones, Padawan hair-braid and all. Given how much Disney+ has relied on its de-aging technology in other Star Wars series and even the films, it was a pleasant surprise to see it was not used on Christensen throughout the flashback scenes. Christensen immediately had the same youthful energy of Anakin in Attack of the Clones when he was arrogant, egotistical and rather reckless. The chemistry between him and McGregor was still there and it is easy to see from these sequences how, despite Obi-Wan’s confidence in Anakin and their camaraderie, Anakin believed Obi-Wan to be harsh and overly critical as he once told Padmé.
The flashbacks also did well complimenting the present story by showcasing just how well Obi-Wan and Darth Vader know each other. Even if it wasn’t a physical confrontation, the pair’s mental battle as they fully predicted each of their moves provided plenty of tension as well as bittersweet feelings from how close they once were. It’s an interesting point that even after all this time, Anakin/Vader has never gotten past most of the faults Obi-Wan tried warning him about, namely his need for victory blinding him as Vader was so filled with rage and focused on Obi-Wan that he didn’t see the escape coming. It’s a nice bit of character work the show is doing for both Obi-Wan and Vader that further drives home their connection.
The character work didn’t stop at Obi-Wan and Vader, but extended to much of the supporting cast. Indira Varma got a few poignant scenes, explaining more to Obi-Wan why she chose to work against the Empire, and her death was fairly emotional between Varma’s body language, facial expression, Natalie Holt’s score and Varma’s delivery of the classic “May the Force be with you” as her final words. O’Shea Jackson Jr. got a few good moments as Roken and Vivien Lyra Blair continued to channel Leia’s take-charge attitude to get things done.
The standout, though, is Moses Ingram as Reva’s backstory and motives were finally revealed. While it may not have been a surprise to learn she was one of the younglings from the premiere’s opening Order 66 scene, Ingram beautifully conveyed just how much it traumatized her, leaving her with feelings of self-loathing and survivor’s guilt. It especially hit hard when she described hiding under the bodies of her friends and feeling them go cold. Ingram’s portrayal revealed new layers to Reva and how she projected those feelings onto Obi-Wan for failing to protect them from Order 66 or noticing many of the red flags Anakin raised prior to turning to the Dark Side (because let’s face it, as heroic and good as Anakin was, many of his actions and beliefs seen in the Prequels or The Clone Wars set off some alarm bells). The fact she wanted vengeance against Vader to the point she was willing to slightly work with Obi-Wan to achieve it was a very nice twist for both the story and her character.
Of course, there are very few people who can stand toe-to-toe against Vader in a fight and Vader’s power was on full display as he pulled the spacecraft out of the air and schooled Reva in a lightsaber fight, simply dodging her blade and didn’t even bother to use his own lightsaber. The action throughout the episode was great between the Imperial’s assault and Vader and Reva’s fight. The battle down the narrow tunnel gave a sense of claustrophobia as Obi-Wan and the rebels fought in such a tight space and it was cool to see Obi-Wan take on a couple of Jedi: Fallen Order‘s Purge Troopers. Though if there is one complaint to be had, it is that the camera was too shaky throughout the sequence. A steady cam would have been more beneficial as the shakiness just made it a little too chaotic to tell exactly what was going on in some parts, even in the lightsaber fight. Everything was still well choreographed and acted during the action, but just could have been steadier.
‘Part V’ of Obi-Wan Kenobi served as a great penultimate episode to the series with its action, twists and character analysis. Moses Ingram shined as Reva, delivering new depths through her trauma and pain while McGregor and Christensen’s chemistry was as if no time had passed at all for both actors. The action was tense and exciting even if it could have been shot better and with the episode’s final twist and Reva’s fate still in play, it is sure to be an exciting finale next week.
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