The Empire tracks Obi-Wan Kenobi down on Jabiim, bringing with them memories of the past that shed new light on the present.
Reva installed a restraining bolt on Leia’s droid L0-LA in last week’s episode, but this doesn’t simply allow her to track the group’s whereabouts. The technology also allows Reva to operate the droid remotely, allowing her to shut down the facility and lock Kenobi and the others within using L0-LA. Leia volunteers to explore what’s going on in the vent system, and despite some reluctance from Roken, she climbs up a ladder and enters the vent system under the watchful eye of Haja (Kumail Nanjiani).
Obi-Wan receives a message on his holoprojector, and he steals away down one of the cavernous corridors to listen to the message that Bail Organa (Jimmy Smits) has left for him. Like any father of a kidnapped child, Bail is worried about Leia’s fate, but he is also concerned that Darth Vader may have learned the truth about who the children are. He informs Obi-Wan that he is headed to Tatooine to offer help to Owen—a risky message to send across the galaxy, even Kenobi is the intended destination. Before Kenobi returns to the rest of the group, Tala (Indira Varma) joins him in the corridor and speaks to him about why she does what she does. And if this speech didn’t spell the end for her, I would have honestly been surprised.
When Reva comes on Jabiim, Obi-Wan devises a strategy to keep them at bay, giving the crew ample time to construct their escape vessel and maybe restore power to the systems. Through the thick metal door, he and Reva have a talk, and Kenobi tries to persuade her to join his side. Kenobi, like the rest of the audience, surmised that Reva’s acts aren’t totally consistent with the other Inquisitors, and that it’s personal—which it is. Reva was one of the Jedi younglings featured in the premiere, and this is how she knows Darth Vader is Anakin Skywalker, according to their chat.
Kenobi’s attempts to sway Reva are unsuccessful and she and her Stormtroopers begin to attack. Most of the group is able to survive the siege, but there are tragic losses. As they retreat down a corridor, Tala is struck in the stomach by a blaster bolt, and rather than die in vain or try to limp out of the situation, she opts to go out in a blaze of glory with NED-B—giving Kenobi and the rest of them more time to escape. It’s a tragic end to a character who had a lot of potential, but it is also reminiscent of Rogue One, where the stakes are high, and the losses are tragic. Following Tala’s death, Kenobi devises a plan to surrender, much to Roken’s chagrin. But Kenobi is confident that surrendering will give them the most time to escape, considering Vader is after him, and he assumes that playing into Anakin’s particular brand of overconfidence will provide Reva with a perfect opportunity to get her revenge.
Vader and Reva engage in a duel that mirrors the flashbacks between Anakin and Obi-Wan—with Reva taking on the role of the ambitious Padawan who is easily bested by the Master. Darth Vader runs her through with her own lightsaber and taunts her with further failure. The Grand Inquisitor (Rupert Friend) strolls in, entirely recovered from Reva running him through in one of his stomachs, and goads her about revenge. Defeated and left to die, Reva makes a discovery that will undoubtedly lead to major repercussions in the finale.
The fifth episode of Obi-Wan Kenobi is a masterclass of skillfully integrating flashbacks that actually propel the story forward. While the flashbacks may not have been what fans were hoping for, they were exactly what the episode—and the series—needed. As fun as it would have been to see flashbacks of the brotherly bond between Anakin and Obi-Wan during the Clone Wars, they wouldn’t have had the same impact as the simple dueling scene. Not only did it tie in with Obi-Wan’s plans to play into Darth Vader’s fighting style, but it also drew much-needed parallels between Reva and Anakin. The combination of Joby Harold’s keen understanding of what’s at the heart of Star Wars, in tandem with Deborah Chow’s exquisite ability to draw the most out of every scene, has easily made Obi-Wan Kenobi one of the best programs to come out of this new era of storytelling.
Obi-Wan Kenobi is streaming now on Disney+.