Review | Episode four of ‘Obi-Wan Kenobi’ showcases character at the expense of the overarching plot


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Ewan McGregor plays Obi-Wan Kenobi in Lucasfilm’s “Obi-Wan Kenobi.”

By Brandon Raglow, Staff Writer

Now on episode four of a six-episode run, “Obi-Wan Kenobi” still feels like it’s taking its time and letting Obi-Wan grow back into the Jedi he once was, but it’s starting to wear a bit thin. Each episode thus far has shown Obi-Wan taking steps to become who he once was, and this episode does the same. While I appreciate the show taking its time with Obi-Wan’s arc, and it’s fun watching Ewan McGregor reclaim the role he plays so naturally, there’s only so long the show can extend Obi-Wan’s rebuilding process.

Episode four of “Obi-Wan Kenobi” delivers some fun character moments — it’s particularly nice to see McGregor deflecting blaster shots and slashing through enemies again — but the episode itself doesn’t further the plot much. The entirety of this episode seems set up to undo the cliffhanger from the end of episode three, which is why this episode can feel a little light on story. At the end of episode three, the audience is left with a clear goal — Obi-Wan has to recover Leia. At the end of episode four we just have a different cliffhanger to deal with.

After the excitement of last week’s episode with the first real appearance of Darth Vader and the interplay between him and Obi-Wan, it is definitely a little upsetting that it all takes a backseat. Still, this episode gives Obi-Wan room to grow. 

With a definitive mission to rescue Leia and licking his wounds from the previous episode, Obi-Wan really starts to step into his own more decisively than the small steps he’s made to this point. Following the defeat in his duel with Vader, it’s nice to see an Obi-Wan that is starting to look like his old self, setting up a potential rematch that would likely be on more even footing.

There is a short but fun action sequence where Obi-Wan takes on some stormtroopers in a dark room, invisible until he ignites his lightsaber to strike. The scene feels reminiscent of Ahsoka’s appearance in “The Mandalorian.” The lighting and technology behind lightsabers is getting much better, and I want to see how far they can push these types of scenes in the last two episodes of “Obi-Wan Kenobi” and upcoming “Star Wars” projects.

Of course, this show still suffers from some awkward action. At one point an unarmed Tala (Indira Varma), while being escorted by two stormtroopers, jumps them and takes them out. I know that it is basically “Star Wars” canon that stormtroopers are actively terrible, but still the fight scene just looks awkward.

This feeling of the characters never being in any real danger harms the tension even in scenes with more important villains. While Obi-Wan hides Leia pretty obviously under his coat, he walks like 20 feet past two inquisitors. It’s a crowded hallway, so it makes sense that they blend in, but it’s still a little ridiculous. It’s one thing when stormtroopers are incompetent, but the inquisitors are trained, force-sensetive individuals. They’re supposed to be the empire’s answer to the few remaining Jedi, and they got fooled by an overcoat.

Vivien Lyra Blair continues to impress. Child actors have a storied history of not performing particularly well, and “Star Wars” fans have a track record of treating actors horribly. This was especially true with Jake Lloyd, who played young Anakin Skywalker in “The Phantom Menace,” and was infamously bullied mercilessly online and in-person following the dismal critical reception to that movie. While Blair’s performance is very good, it is upsetting to worry about how grown adults and fans will treat this child. They’ve already been horrible to Moses Ingram, who plays Reva.

As a character, the Third Sister has started to grow somewhat stagnant. It’s not that the character is bad, but I am frustrated at the lack of insights the show is giving us. At this point the audience all but knows that Reva has some connection to Obi-Wan and the Republic, and feels that she is owed something because of her backstory. I would have hoped to see some more development in that plot line by this point. 

It’s likely Reva’s arc will conclude in these last two episodes since we know the endpoint for practically every other main character in the show, but that doesn’t mean that the show has to wait until right at the end to give us her motivations. I’m still curious to see how it all plays out, but this episode especially, which doesn’t have very many reveals or twists, could have been a good spot to let her shine.

The portrayal of Vader in this show continues to be a bright spot. While he has significantly less screen time in this episode than the last one, he is just as well done. One of the distinguishing characteristics of Darth Vader is his cool, still demeanor that hides his anger and power underneath. This is of course helped by his suit, which helps to mask his emotions, but the casual way Vader force chokes an imperial officer in “A New Hope” sends a message about who this character is and what he can do. 

This version of Vader is encountering Obi-Wan for the first time since losing to him and nearly dying on Mustafar. He is angry and impulsive, and at times seems to be closer to Anakin than Vader. It’s fun hearing James Earl Jones deliver the lines with this aggressive tone that Vader doesn’t normally have, and Hayden Christensen again does solid work behind the mask.

We also get our first real example of Glup Shitto in this episode. When Obi-Wan discovers the victims of the empire encased in some kind of resin in the Inquisitor’s base, he sees Jedi master Tera Sinube. Sinube was a prominent part of one episode of season two of “The Clone Wars,” and then appeared in the background throughout the run of the show. Bringing back an incredibly obscure character for a small moment is truly the pure essence of Glup Shitto.

We’re now past the halfway mark in this show, and there’s only two episodes to really wrap up the story. I think ideally they should have started to show us what the endgame would look like before this point, but I’m still curious and excited to see where they’ll go and what the end of this series will look like.