I won’t lie that my feelings about Obi-Wan Kenobi were a bit mixed throughout my viewing experience. There are strong personal moments sprinkled throughout and Ewan McGregor once again showcases why he was the perfect choice for this role. There were interesting plot threads and while it did seem to drag out at times, the story cohesion and personal touches made it feel just that, personal. Yet, some gripes still gathered throughout especially when it came to the action and some sequence staging. Even with all that, I can’t deny that the final episode hit me emotionally in all the right ways.
I am not going to call this a perfect finale, as the limited series still had to do some jumping to keep its plot threads together. The Vader conflict wasn’t really directly tied to what would be the final sequences, as Obi-Wan had to rush home due to Reva going on a rampage while chasing down a young Luke Skywalker. While many will try to point to canon issues this sequences causes, Luke never sees Reva’s face or even her lightsaber. So, he just fled from whatever he thought might be chasing him due to what Beru and Owen were warning him about.
Still, that’s jumping the gun on this episode’s true strength; it’s an emotional rollercoaster throughout in all the best ways. A lot of the emotional core depends on the previous episodes as well as your own investment into the Prequel Trilogy. May it be the showdown between Obi-Wan and Vader with its strong emotional climax; or just the tender greetings with a young Luke Skywalker. The series is definitely focused on Kenobi and many of the characters surrounding him reflect that very tale.
There still is a conflict if that many pieces are truly moved from the Prequels going into the Originals, yet it’s less about story development but character exploration. Owen’s powerful line as he says that Luke is his son while fighting off Reva was definitely a moment the character truly deserved. After his harsh criticism earlier on, it gave him a nuance and highlighted the journey we never got to see in the originals. It adds context and seeing him fight Reva alongside Beru to protect the kid highlighted that very thing.
Yet, even Reva’s arc comes to an emotional arc. Her vengeance had pit her on a path of no true return, if it weren’t for that last bit of humanity catching up with her. She’s definitely highlighted as fighting as much as she could to stay alive, and she knows Luke’s connection to Vader, but she lost herself in the rage thinking if she can’t take the man himself, she’d do it to his legacy. Even if he may never truly find out given that it was a secret kept from him. The flashes to her simply becoming the same as the man she vowed to kill reflects her arc in this story. Even if it was a bumpy one, Moses Ingram gives one hell of a performance in this episode.
It’s an emotional climax that might be among the better final episodes of a Disney show. Yet, the road to it simply was one of its bumpiest as well. At least this time around, the action is quite a bit more focused and the camera stops shaking. We get Kenobi’s iconic pose and see him regain his strength with some spectacular visuals of the Jedi Master showcasing what he is truly capable of. Him actually forcing Vader to his knees was a rather surprising direction but echoed the flashback that we watched in a previous episode. Vader’s rage is what defines him and it’s also the obsession that becomes his downfall.
Finally, we got a good look at Hayden Christensen behind the mask, and he really gave it his all. The way his voice overlaps with that of James Earl Jones added a unique showcase of how these two sides of the same coin meld together. The way he takes away Obi-Wan’s grief and points to his actions being his own were powerful to say the least. His obsession then continuing even beyond the mercy shown by his master once more, only to continue his hunt with a fitting cameo by Palpatine trying to discourage him and keep his focus on the Empire’s growth.
Leia also gets a small farewell, as we see her put on a rather similar outfit that combines elements from her future look and even some Padme in there. Didn’t expect an origin for her blaster, but it was a nice touch and rounded out her design. Kenobi coming to visit to bring her back the droid was a nice little touch, as it also shows that the Jedi Master has finally broken free from his old life. Though the ending especially seems to hint at him going on a journey, which muddles the concept of this series being a limited series even more.
Also, the cameo finally happened. After all the theories after the first mention of Qui-Gon Jinn and Liam Neeson pretending he’d never do it, there he is just waiting around for his former Padawan to figure things out on his own. There does seem to be an open aspect to this ending that may lead into another story, and we don’t quite see what the future has in store for Reva. At first I assumed she succumbed to her wounds, but Kenobi helps her up; ironically highlighting how he did for her what he couldn’t for Anakin.
Overall, Obi-Wan Kenobi definitely ended on a high note. perhaps one strongly dependent on your nostalgia, but a high note nonetheless. while I do wish aspects of the show were tweaked a bit and the action wasn’t as jumbled as it was, it definitely was a series I am glad I got to witness. The cast carry the show and its emotional storyline that is more a love letter to those that grew up with the original series, while also giving some characters a bit more character development they otherwise only had in our memories.