Obi-Wan Kenobi Part VI Review
After the previous episode of Obi-Wan Kenobi finally revealed Reva’s motivations and anger towards the titular character, it seemed like Deborah Chow and the crew had been holding back during the previous episodes. In a case of “too little, too late” and perhaps a justification for why Obi-Wan Kenobi should have just been a feature-length film, the sixth and final episode of the series emphasizes a lack of significance to everything that has happened so far. With a flash of its hand and plot points progress and resolve themselves, characters remain barely moved, and Obi-Wan finds himself back to his old self before the Jedi fell.
The latter point continues to be the sticking point for the series as Obi-Wan Kenobi set itself up to bridge the gap between the Obi-Wan we saw in Revenge of the Sith and the Obi-Wan in A New Hope. However, by the end of the six episodes, Obi-Wan is barely confronted with any perceived failure of his former padawan-turned-sith-lord.
Which is odd because the strongest point of the episode is its duel between Darth Vader and Obi-Wan – a confrontation that sees Obi-Wan having regained his strength and Vader more focused on killing his former master than ever before. Again, Chow employs slight flourishes that give the fight a bit of energy until it eventually devolves into a quick two-line summation that absolves Obi-Wan of any guilt and fails to really dive any further into Anakin’s unquenching anger towards his former master. It surmises the series up to this point very succinctly: focused less on its characters and more on expanding its IP.
Despite the show’s title, the actual focus appears to have always been on Reva – a character that the show hid the motivation of until its penultimate episode. When it finally made its reveal there were some subversions (her true aim was to kill Vader, not Obi-Wan, but she still hated him too), but nothing that the show really got to wrestle with until this final episode. A commitment to the dark side is now just one kill away as she hunts down Luke Skywalker after a brazen attempt to kill Vader was obviously foiled.
Reva joins the likes of Haja and Tala in being characters forced to be bad in order to do something good. In fact, Obi-Wan Kenobi’s entire set-up revolves around the notion that Jedis cannot be Jedis anymore, but that they still find it in their nature to do good. As a central thesis, Chow explores this through the people we immediately assume to be evil or shady. Their shorthand – whether it’s how they’re dressed (Tala), their perceived intent (Reva), or their less-than-noble pursuits (Haja) – is intended to off-put the audience and let the characters show themselves in their true light when it doesn’t disadvantage themselves.
Unfortunately, Obi-Wan Kenobi is a show about a Princess who needs to eventually be wielding a blaster and a Jedi who needs to keep being a Jedi. The decision to include Luke within all of it seems trivial based on how little the series seems preoccupied with him until this final episode. Darth Vader’s inclusion makes a lot of sense picking up where the show does but winds up feeling muted due to the decision to stop Vader from continuing his vendetta against Obi-Wan because Darth Sidious calls him out on being a bit too passionate.
Part VI unfortunately could never have made up for the episodes prior. It was always going to be a case of “too little, too late” because there was never anything substantial in the previous episodes. It was a bare-bones narrative aided by extravagant window dressing. At its most complicated, it diverges two plotlines just for the sake of variety – Obi-Wan facing Darth Vader and Reva hunting Luke. A decision that seems haphazardly put together because those plotlines don’t converge, one just falls apart. It just so happens that the one that disintegrates is the Vader/Obi-Wan conflict that was set up and dictated by the show as crucial to its main character.
The sixth and final episode of Obi-Wan Kenobi isn’t disappointing on its own merits and in fact, might be one of the better episodes in the miniseries. It’s technically proficient with some very Star Wars moments, including the idea of Roken, and Haja to a lesser extent, taking on importance beyond their ambitions. While disappointing as a culmination and supposed justification for everything prior, Reva’s arc still holds weight even if she never really felt like more than a driving force for other characters to become stronger.
Where Obi-Wan Kenobi is disappointing is that even in its wrap-up of the events of the series, it doesn’t feel like anything really happened. Darth Vader went on a little side quest to hunt down Obi-Wan, and Obi-Wan found out Anakin was alive and a very bad guy. The adventurous young Princess Leia barely evolves as a character despite witnessing some distressing events, and Luke just sort of existed. Reva is now a character that has seen more development than anyone else over the course of the series, but why it matters more than any of the other characters who were good people doing bad things is unknown.
At the end of the day, Obi-Wan Kenobi was a show of content. The hardcore Star Wars fans will latch onto every new piece of lore or expansion upon already established canon (the origins of someone’s blaster holster has never been so riveting!) but what that information does for the grander narrative and themes of rebellion and hope that have encompassed the series seems unimpactful. A self-seriousness permeates throughout it all as if it all matters greatly to the balance of the universe, but in reality, it’s a much more personal story that the series never really contends with beyond a surface-level approach.