Review | ‘Obi-Wan Kenobi’ episode six sticks the landing and delivers a satisfying conclusion


Disney+ Media Kit

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

By Brandon Raglow, Staff Writer

In a series finale full of lightsabers, blasters and returning characters, it’s the character dynamics that really shine. We get more of this series’ spectacular incarnation of Darth Vader battling Obi-Wan. We have only a few but very strong moments with young Princess Leia (Vivien Lyra Blair) as she calms down some kids by showing them her droid Lola, and later slipping that droid into Obi-Wan’s robes. Obi-Wan himself shines through Ewan McGregor’s excellent performance.

In “A New Hope,” Alec Guinness plays Obi-Wan Kenobi as a wise old desert hermit very well, as I mentioned in my review of the first episode. Guinness plays Obi-Wan with a depth that is impressive, given that he probably didn’t know as much about the character’s backstory as we now know. But, given what we know about Obi-Wan and Anakin’s relationship, and where it left off at the end of the prequels, it feels a little weird that Obi-Wan seems so calm when facing Darth Vader. 

This episode provided that in-between step that felt missing. A chance for Obi-Wan to come to terms with the loss of his old apprentice and prepare himself to help his son.

In my last review, I wondered if director Deborah Chow and her team would stick the landing, particularly in regards to how the show has handled Obi-Wan’s relationship with Leia. The end of episode five implied that the drama would shift to Luke on Tatooine, which to me felt like a missed opportunity to finish strong with Leia, since this show has focused so much on her and her importance to the Star Wars saga. 

And while Obi-Wan leaving to draw Vader away from the refugees works, it’s still disappointing that we don’t get to see Vivien Lyra Blair more involved in the climax of the show. Of course, it doesn’t feel like there’s a lot they could have done, given how much we know about Leia from the next movies in the chronology.

The fight between Vader and Obi-Wan in episode three was a one-sided beat down. The rematch in episode six feels like the proper fight we were waiting for. Again, the stakes are limited by the fact that we know they both have to survive, but the drama between these two characters more than makes up for it. 

“Obi-Wan Kenobi” borrows a beat from “Rebels.” In their duel, Obi-Wan slashes Vader’s helmet across the left side of his face, revealing the scarred and burned face of Anakin Skywalker behind the cold mask of Darth Vader. While it’s been done before, this visual works, and lets us hear the voice of Hayden Christensen, Anakin’s voice coming from the body of Darth Vader.

In this fight, Obi-Wan finally regains his full connection to the force, and through fighting and besting Vader, Obi-Wan realizes that his former apprentice is truly dead and gone. Only Darth Vader remains. Obi-Wan leaves Vader behind and returns to Tatooine to help Luke.

Giving Owen (Joel Edgerton) and Beru (Bonnie Piesse) more time to shine also works very well. In “A New Hope,” Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru seem to exist solely to be killed offscreen and send Luke on his hero’s journey. When Owen and Beru show up in the prequels, it feels like it’s just to set up their roles in “A New Hope.” 

In “Obi-Wan Kenobi,” Owen and Beru feel like characters with goals and motivations beyond the overarching machinations of the Empire or the Jedi. We get to learn so much about their relationship to their ward, Luke, through their ardent defense of him from Reva. And at the end of the episode, when Owen finally relents and introduces Obi-Wan to Luke, we get the most fan service I have ever seen crammed into two words.

It feels like Reva’s arc kind of reached its culmination in the previous episode and so it feels somewhat stretched out here. Reva’s purpose for living was to kill Darth Vader, but it feels like her plan to kill Luke instead doesn’t make that much sense. It seems like she’s aware of the fact that Vader doesn’t know about the children, so why would he care if they die, and even if he did know, why does she think he’d care? 

Though the climactic moments with Reva chasing Luke through the desert and seeing herself in the unconscious form of Luke as she contemplates finally getting revenge still works, even if the framing around it is a little awkward.

The ending overall feels very satisfying. The decision to focus on the emotional journey Obi-Wan goes through to become a Jedi Knight again seems like a good one. I imagine that many wanted Obi-Wan to immediately be as cool as they remember him being from his previous incarnations, but the way Chow and her team did it is much more satisfying. 

The show is a slow burn, each episode giving us a few small steps in Obi-Wan’s development. But by the end of the show, in the final battle with Vader, we get to see the fully realized Jedi we remember, and because the show held out on us, it feels better. Though, it does feel like the only reason Obi-Wan let Vader live is to keep the timeline intact.

After all of the drama of the show resolves, we get to see a short, sweet epilogue of Obi-Wan visiting Leia on Alderaan to return her droid “Lola.” In it, Obi-Wan tells Leia a little bit about her parents. It’s an emotional scene, and McGregor plays it with newfound resolution on Obi-Wan’s role in Anakin’s fall to the dark side. 

Across this episode and the series as a whole, McGregor’s acting as Obi-Wan is a joy to watch. We also see a short cameo from Liam Neeson, reprising his role as Qui-Gon Jinn. Neeson’s performance as Qui-Gon is one of the best parts of “The Phantom Menace,” so to see him come back, however briefly, felt great. Though I wasn’t surprised, because the show telegraphed the cameo heavily. 

The Grand Inquisitor barely shows up in this episode, and it’s pretty clear that the reveal that he was alive at the end of episode five was included solely for the sake of canon. That whole storyline having so little effect on the plot makes it feel like the Grand Inquisitor’s death was just to get people talking and theorizing online about how they would resolve it, and it feels like a cheap tactic now that the series is over.

Ewan McGregor has said he is open to another season, and while it feels like the story is completed, they do leave the show on a note that feels like it could branch into a new show. Obi-Wan has rediscovered his connection to the force, and his belief that he can help people, and it seems like he might go out and do what he can to help. I worry that adding too much more to the “Star Wars” timeline in between this installment and “A New Hope” will make everything feel too crowded, but I’ll wait to see if a second season is even greenlit.