Darth Vader is one of the most famous villains in all of fiction. He’s essentially the person the Emperor would send to kill the Boogey Man. But, while fans can sympathize with his tragic descent into darkness and can take solace knowing that he’d die trying to make amends, that doesn’t change the fact that he was still a villain. An incredibly terrifying villain that makes fans and Jedi run in terror. And, as the new episode of Kenobi shows, not even his former master is immune to that fear.
Obi-Wan is the Cool Uncle Leia Never Had
Picking up where the last episode left off, Obi-Wan’s on the verge of having a massive panic attack. Anakin Skywalker is alive and has fully embraced being Darth Vader. This episode makes it clear that he’s struggling to keep his composure for Leia’s sake.
Episode 2 saw Obi-Wan and Leia establish a very fun dynamic. Obi-Wan is the cynical and world-weary mentor who sees everyone as a potential enemy. In contrast, Leia’s the wide-eyed idealist that always tries to see the good in others. They work great together, and given the foregone conclusion of A New Hope, they’ll both leave a positive impact on each other.
In one particularly heart-wrenching scene where Obi-Wan has to make up a quick lie about Leia’s name, the Princess quickly realizes something important: he knew her birth parents. It’s a testament to Leia’s ability to understand people and her strength in the Force, but she chooses not to press the matter at Obi-Wan’s advice. Regardless of where she came from, Leia found herself a happy new family, and she shouldn’t take that for granted. Unfortunately, Obi-Wan doesn’t take his memories of the Jedi Temple as such.
The Jedi Survive
Despite all the claims by the Sith and the Empire that they wiped out the Jedi, fans know otherwise. Dozens of Jedi would survive Order 66, and while most of them would be hunted down by Darth Vader, a few still escaped. As it turns out, there might be a reason why.
Last week hinted that there was an underground movement seeking to help Jedi and other Force-Sensitives flee the Empire. This week, though, confirms it when they come to help Obi-Wan and Leia. It’s even confirmed that a fan-favorite character is assisting the group in saving the Force-Sensitives of the Galaxy.
While this news may seem like a good thing for a Galaxy in darkness, the classic film’s foregone conclusion sours it for fans. Unfortunately, it’s possible that this Underground Railroad-esque group will not survive the miniseries due to the heat that Obi-Wan will inevitably bring with him.
Darth Vader Curb-Stomps Kenobi
In a moment that’s been seventeen years in the making, the episode climaxes with the arrival of Darth Vader, Inquisitors in tow, to hunt down his former master. From this point on, the entire episode takes on elements of a horror film.
Rather than outright confront Darth Vader, Obi-Wan is visibly terrified by the Sith Lord’s presence. Not because he outclasses him, but because seeing how he’s become a cyborg monstrosity due to his decision to leave him to die sickens him to his core. All the Jedi can do is run, but Vader refuses even to let him do that.
As always, James Earl Jones delivers with the emotion of the legendary Sith Lord. One can feel the barely-contained rage in Vader’s voice as he systematically beats his former master and brother into the ground. Vader wants to repay the Jedi for leaving him to die, so much so that he won’t even kill him outright. However, even if Darth Vader is evil, one cannot blame him for being vengeful towards Obi-Wan. Thankfully, Obi-Wan’s new allies save him from what’s to come. However, there’s one problem: Leia’s been captured by the Third Sister, AKA Reva.
A Rescue Mission to Save Leia
Publicly, the Empire would have no choice but to return Leia to Alderaan and her family. Secretly, though, they will not. Even if Darth Vader never learns she’s his daughter until after he dies, the Inquisitors may realize she’s Force-Sensitive. And the Sith have been hunting down every Force-Sensitive child they can find.
The evidence lines up: the second half of the miniseries will see Obi-Wan having to overcome his PTSD, find a way to save Leia, and face Darth Vader once more. Given the high expectations that fans have, their third-round will need to be incredibly satisfying to watch.
This was a great episode, one that continues the momentum of the premiere of last week. It adds on even more emotion and depth, as well as the reunion that fans had been wanting for years. Unfortunately, Darth Vader has started the hunt, and he will tear the Galaxy apart to get to Obi-Wan.