Review | ‘Obi-Wan Kenobi’ episode five gives fans many anticipated reveals


Disney+ Media Kit

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

By Brandon Raglow, Staff Writer

After four episodes of slow, careful build up, episode five of “Obi-Wan Kenobi” finally gives us some of the release and reveals that viewers and “Star Wars” fans have been waiting for.

Before we return to where episode four left off, episode five opens on a Coruscant skyline. As the camera slowly pulls back, we see the familiar ponytail and padawan braid of Anakin Skywalker. Obi-Wan enters, and after a little playful banter, they draw their lightsabers for a training duel.

Back in the present, Obi-Wan and Leia land back on Jabiim. The pair, with Tala, find the refugees in a hurry to get out before their trade routes close, not knowing that the empire has tracked them down with Lola. We see that Haja has become a fugitive and comes to Jabiim as well. Lola slips away and begins causing problems as the empire shows up and Obi-Wan once again steps up to act as the general he was in the clone wars.

Intertwining the drama of this episode with the flashbacks to the Obi-Wan and Anakin of the “Attack of the Clones” era works really well. I know a lot of people, myself included, were waiting for some kind of flashback to the prequels, and this feels like a smart way to accomplish that. There’s not too much that it feels like fan service or distracts from the plot in the present, but the pacing of the fight in the flashback and the overarching plot of the episode line up neatly. It’s clear that Deborah Chow and the writers thought a lot about where the flashbacks, each portion only about a minute at most, would fit into the larger picture of the episode.

I assume some CGI was used to de-age Hayden Christensen, and while it didn’t work perfectly and Anakin clearly looks older, it works well enough for the suspension of disbelief. Hayden Christensen, despite all that, plays Anakin very well in this episode. His mixture of arrogance, pride and shame works with the beats of the episode and in the larger context of the prequels. 

Watching his expression of pride at beating his master morph into one of disappointment when Obi-Wan is able to steal his lightsaber is great, and it gives good insight into Obi-Wan and Anakin’s relationship. It also shows some of Obi-Wan’s failings as a master that lead Anakin to the dark side. Obi-Wan is able to look past Anakin’s dark musings throughout that fight, and while he gives Anakin some encouragement, he leaves Anakin alone in the anger and disappointment of loss.

Episode five finally gives us some explanation for the hints about Reva’s (Moses Ingram) character. When Reva comes to the planet to besiege Obi-Wan and the refugees, Obi-Wan negotiates with her and starts to discern her true goal. We learn that Reva’s whole purpose for hunting Obi-Wan was all to get closer to Darth Vader in order to get revenge, as she saw Anakin kill all her friends and almost kill her in the Jedi temple as a youngling during Order 66. 

Reva and the empire break into the base, and there’s an extended battle sequence with stormtroopers and refugees fighting back and forth. As the refugees are falling back to a secondary position, Tala (Indira Varma) and her droid are holding the line when Tala takes a shot to the stomach. Obi-Wan can’t get back to her, and Tala’s droid positions itself to shield her when it shuts down, giving Tala enough time to activate a thermal detonator as she sacrifices herself. It’s a well-done dramatic moment and it’s reinforced later when Leia comes out of the vents where she’s been working and asks where Tala is.

Haja (Kumail Nanjiani) dropping Obi-Wan’s communicator with Bail Organa’s (Jimmy Smits) message on it as they load into the transport feels like a contrived moment in order to continue the plot in one final episode. While those around him were running onto the shuttle, and Haja was trying to follow them, surely he could have just turned around and picked it up quickly. He even turns around to look at this important thing Obi-Wan gave him before he left and just chooses to leave it. It’s a minor thing, but it feels like the last episode’s plot will center on this, so it’s frustrating that it’s from such an obviously forced moment.

I know I’ve mentioned it in every episode review, but seriously, Vivien Lyra Blair is amazing as Leia. Obi-Wan vouching for her even as a child is such a lovely moment, and the look of admiration Leia gives feels so genuine. 

Despite my failure to do so, the show is remarkably consistent at calling Obi-Wan, “Ben.” Given the title of the show, I hadn’t expected Obi-Wan to keep using Ben past the first episode or two. I like that they stick to the nickname, as it makes the show feel like more of a lead into “A New Hope,” where Obi-Wan is only actually called Obi-Wan a handful of times.

With so many slow, dialogue-heavy scenes intercut with intense action in this episode, it’s very easy to notice that the sound mixing in the show is not great. The action scenes are so loud and the calmer dialogue scenes are almost inaudible, making me play a game of chicken with the remote where I leave the volume up to listen to the dialogue and then have to rapidly turn it down when a sudden action scene starts.

This episode also gives us what has immediately become one of my favorite Darth Vader moments. Every part of the scene, from Vader pulling down the ship as it tries to take off, to Vader beating Reva without ever drawing his lightsaber. Vader barely dodging out of the way of Reva’s lightsaber strikes and using the force to effortlessly push her blade and her aside is so fun and showcases Vader’s power. 

Similar to Obi-Wan and Vader’s fight in episode three, it feels almost like Vader is toying with his opponent. He beats the Third Sister and steals her lightsaber without even drawing his, and then breaks it in half and gives back the other half, giving her another chance, where he again easily beats her. It almost feels like Vader is just showing her that she never had a chance.

After Vader wins, the Grand Inquisitor (Rupert Friend), alive and seemingly completely uninjured, walks to his side, and Vader reveals that he knew Reva was the youngling from Order 66 all along. The reveal that the Grand Inquisitor survived was expected and felt dramatic enough with his monologue about revenge, which was fun, but there is no explanation for how he survived. That being said, I’m not certain it would be better if there was one. He survived, we knew he would, so why dwell on it?

The episode ends with a cliffhanger implying that the final episode will bring young Luke into the fold. I’m just curious how the last episode will handle Leia. Will Obi-Wan just drop her off on Alderaan and race to Tatooine to protect Luke? That might feel a bit anticlimactic for a show that has, up to this point, tried to show that Leia is as important as Luke. But even so, I’m excited to see if Chow and her team can stick the landing.