Obi-Wan Kenobi Episode 3 Recap
Obi-Wan and Leia go to Maputo, a planet that used to be a farm but is now being stripped by the Empire. He is trying to use the Force to get to Qui-Gon. Instead, he can only see and remember Anakin and the other bad things that have happened to him. Leia is more optimistic, but she doesn’t know much about the Force or how bad the Empire can be. The Third Sister calls Darth Vader himself from the side of the Empire. Still, the Inquisitors are fighting with each other. The Third Sister and the Fifth Brother fight over who will tell Vader where Obi-Wan is. And in one of the most disturbing parts of the episode, we see Vader’s med droids putting him into his life-supporting armor on Mustafar.
On Mapuzo, Obi-Wan and Leia can’t find the person who was supposed to lead them to safety. Instead, they are picked up by a miner named Freck (Zach Braff), who is friendly but also likes the Empire. It turns out that this is a trap, and Obi-Wan fights stormtroopers at a checkpoint. He is almost surrounded by Imperial forces when his real contact, Tala Durith (Indira Varma from “Game of Thrones”), shows up. Tala Durith is an Imperial officer who is now part of a Jedi Underground Railroad.
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She tries to get Leia away from danger, but Obi-Wan stays behind when he sees that Vader has come to the planet. This is the start of a long-awaited fight between the master and the student. Anakin hates Obi-Wan so much that he says, “I am what you made me” and throws him into a pile of burning slag so that Obi-Wan can feel what it was like for Anakin on Mustafar. Obi-Wan only just makes it out alive because Vader wants to kill him slowly and Tala steps in to help. But since Tala is going to help Obi-Wan, there is no one to stop the Third Sister from taking Leia.
This episode does a good job of showing who Obi-Wan is, both through what he says and what he does. Even when he meets his old friend-turned-rival, he just wants to run and hide. Also, this Obi-Wan is very different from the one who said blasters were “uncivilized.” His casual willingness to use a gun for dirty tricks shows how far he’s fallen from being proud to be a Jedi. The only thing that gives him hope is when he tells Leia how the Force feels. It’s a beautiful way to describe the two characters, and it shows how different they are. Leia still thinks that most people are good. Even though Obi-Wan is sure to pick up some of that optimism by the end of the series, it’s still a nice addition to the mix. The fact that Leia is in the show also makes it feel like a natural continuation of the Original Trilogy. Vivien Lyra Blair has been great in this role for a long time.
Vader is the real star of this episode, though. At first, he doesn’t seem all that scary. The armoring scene has more visual detail than the conversation he has with Reva, which is pretty boring. But by the time he faces Obi-Wan, he’s at the top of his game. James Earl Jones sounds almost as good as he did 40 years ago when he says the bad guy’s threats. Jones’ voice sounds almost like it hasn’t changed at all. Whether that’s because of Disney audio magic or not, it’s a treat.
Some of the action here is too dark and too muddy to reach the heights of the Original Trilogy, which has been copied a lot. I didn’t like how dark it was at the start of the Vader fight until the lightsabers were turned on. Once the two legendary rivals were put in neon, though, the scene got its darkness. The colors here are classic Star Wars symbols, making the fight look like a living movie poster. It just begs to be turned into fan art. Then, when Vader throws Obi-Wan into the fire, director Deborah Chow goes for the kill with the gold of the fire. If there was any doubt that this episode was a role reversal version of Revenge of the Sith, the parallel shots of Anakin burning in front of Obi-Wan take care of that. Vader’s clever and ironic cruelties put him back on top as a great movie villain.
There is also a great direction in other places. The cuts between Reva and Vader make it feel like the heroes are really surrounded. I liked how Natalie Holt’s music had a short beat that went with Reva’s steps as she got closer to where Leia was hiding.
Some other choices didn’t work as well. The first-person lightsaber scenes reminded me of the much cheaper look of the Halo TV series, and some overhead shots look out of place because the setting is so bland. Overall, though, this episode stands out because of how well the characters are done and how exciting it is to see the Prequel actors in real life again. Vader will definitely show up again in a finale, but his fight in the middle of the show didn’t hold back.
The fights between the Inquisitors are still a big part of the show. We don’t learn much more about Reva’s reasons for doing what she’s doing here. Instead, the script shows how the Inquisitors are all trying to get Vader’s powerful favor.
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As for the good guys, Mapuzo has a very Star Wars feel to it. The fact that the miner is a real alien mole is so silly that it ends up being great, just like the scene where the stormtroopers believe Obi-weak Wan’s lies. It helps that Ewan McGregor’s voice really shows how sad he is. Leia may have made up the story about going to see where her made-up father and made-up mother met, but she knows she was adopted and that Obi-Wan is connected to her family in some way. When she asks him if he’s her real dad, it makes sense and hurts her heart to do so. It also keeps up the trend of bringing up both Anakin’s and Padmé’s tragedies.
Even though the lighting and action aren’t the best, “Part III” makes Obi-Wan Kenobi the most entertaining Star Wars TV show since The Mandalorian. Also, you need to know more about the Prequel and Original sagas to understand this one. That’s a good thing right now.