“Revenge does wonders for the will to live,” slimed The Grand Inquisitor (Rupert Friend) at the end of last week’s episode, back from the dead just in time to deliver the show’s most meaningful quote. Revenge drives everything at the end of Obi-Wan Kenobi, as old frenemies Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) and Obi-Wan (Ewan McGregor) finally lock horns, and former Third Sister Reva Sevander (Moses Ingram) scrapes herself off the floor to finish being evil.
Whatever’s driving Reva now isn’t exactly clear, since we now know that she was only pretending to be bad to get close enough to Vader to kill him, but she’s still corrupted by enough of the Dark Side to spend most of the season finale trying to find and murder little Luke Skywalker. Turning up in Mos Eisley on Tatooine, Reva tracks Owen (Joel Edgerton) and Beru (Bonnie Piesse) – the farmers looking after Luke – and prepares her assault.
Striding into the farm like something out of Once Upon a Time in the West, Reva smashes the place up and chases Luke into the desert, only slightly messing up the timeline for a character that later thought nothing exciting ever happens at home. But none of that really matters. All six episodes of Obi-Wan Kenobi have only ever been building to one thing, and here the finale really delivers – giving us round two of the big Anakin vs Obi fight.
Leaving Leia (Vivien Lyra Blair) and the other refugees behind, Obi-Wan lures Vader away to a suitably dramatic-looking moon and prepares for the face-off. He doesn’t really need to fight, and neither does Vader, but revenge and resolution are stronger than common sense for both fighters (and also it’s a good excuse for a great lightsaber battle).
Far better than the CG mess at the end of Episode III, and far less anti-climactic than the geriatric sword-swiping of Episode IV, the duel here is easily the best standoff the two characters have had in Star Wars. Swinging their sabers with heft and aggression, the fight choreography here lands every blow with weight – before Vader uses his force powers to bury Obi-Wan under a pile of rocks.
— Obi-Wan Kenobi (@obiwankenobi) June 21, 2022
Using the love and hope of Leia as his motivation, Obi-Wan finds his full strength and climbs back out of the grave Vader has buried him in, hitting back harder with a big sword slash to the helmet that cracks open half of Anakin’s burned-up face.
“I’m sorry Anakin,” he sobs: here for the apology all along, still blaming himself for creating a monster. “I am not your failure Obi-Wan,” wheezes Darth, half in Christensen’s voice, half in James Earl Jones’. “You didn’t kill Anakin, I did.” Finally free from the guilt, Obi-Wan says goodbye to his old friend and leaves him to Vader, broken and beaten, but far from dead.
Rushing back to Tatooine, Obi arrives just in time to see Reva not kill Luke – carrying him back to the farm in a snotty mess as she realises that she’s not a baddie after all. Everyone’s personal crisis over, the episode ends with a whole lot of wrapping up. Vader apologies to his boss (Emperor Palpatine, played here again by Ian McDiarmid), Leia finds her Princess style by wearing Tala’s old holster, and Obi-Wan agrees to let Owen and Beru take care of Luke, leaving the boy with a little toy starship to keep him interested in his future destiny. Going out on a nostalgic high, Obi-Wan wanders off into the desert and finally meets up with the ghost of his old master, Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson), who leads him off over the horizon.
Unlike the end of The Mandalorian, there’s no tease here for future seasons or spin-offs, but Obi-Wan Kenobi doesn’t need it. What was once planned as a film finishes perfectly here as a self-contained series. It slots in nicely between the trilogies by doing more good than harm, and stands as one of the best Star Wars shows so far.
- If there is room for a spin-off, it surely sits with Reva. Finally choosing the Light Side but still struggling with her Dark Side past, she’s now ex-Sith Jedi with a story still to tell.
- Also left with an unfinished arc: Roken (O’Shea Jackson Jr.), who’s built up here as a rebel-in-waiting but left somewhere on the refugee ship. Could he make an appearance in the upcoming rebel-spy series, Andor?
- Listen out for several nods in Natalie Holt’s final score to the original Star Wars trilogy – not just in Vader’s ‘Imperial March’, but also in Luke and Leia’s own themes.
‘Obi-Wan Kenobi’ is available to watch on Disney+