Obi-Wan Kenobi Episode 3 Spoilers Ahead
Deborah Chow continues her brilliant streak by bringing the kind of episode that could’ve been part of an extraordinary feature film to our small screens. Chow proves yet again that now halfway through the series, Obi-Wan Kenobi is a strong, notable piece of the Star Wars universe. As Ben and Princess Leia continue on their journey towards safely returning her to Alderaan, the writing and directing further bring vulnerability centerfold, allowing viewers to piece together why this connection was so vital to A New Hope and, later, the sequel trilogy.
The episode doesn’t waste a single beat of its shorter run-time to ensure that it continues to set the stage for who these characters are and who they’ll grow to be as it emphasizes the jagged edges that soften when presented with the reminders that good still remains.
Are You My Real Father?
In the canon universe pertaining strictly to the films, Leia Organa knew two fatherly figures—the closest she’d come to eminence in Bail Organa and the hope she found herself holding onto in Ben Kenobi. She’d come to know stories of Anakin Skywalker, but he’d never be the person she could’ve met or spent time with. He was, at this point, too far gone, and if we even get glimpses of what that could look like, only the next episode will, though no one would know but the audience and Kenobi.
Still, in an utterly harrowing scene, Vivien Lyra Blair continues to hold her own masterfully the moment she realizes that Ben’s story to the Stormtroopers is part of the secret he’s keeping. He might deny it further, noting that he wishes he could say he was her father, but she knows when she looks into his eyes that he did, in fact, know her father.
And at such a young age, with fire bursting through her spirit and clever belief steadying her every move, she reminds us that she’s just a little girl with missing pieces that she yearns for at the end of the day. The issue with little kids in media (or even in the real world) is that adults don’t always need to treat them as so—sometimes, you have to look them in the eyes and tackle their fears head-on, answering their questions as best as you could without damaging them further. And despite their rocky start, at this point, Ben understands this concept, treating her not so much as an adult but choosing to trust in her abilities to grasp significant components. He doesn’t hold off telling her about her father by diverting with a story of his own because he doesn’t think she can handle the truth but because he knows how dangerous it could be if she learns it now.
And so, Ben does what he does best—he fixes the broken things while continuing to fight even while he’s visibly struggling. It’s no longer easy to wield the Force like he used to be, but when he can’t sleep (and communicating with Qui-Gon doesn’t work still), he fixes Leia’s droid, Lola, in an attempt to ensure that at the very least, he doesn’t leave her lacking before she’s finally home.
After her childlike belief gets them caught before Imperial Officer Tala (Indira Varma) rescues them, we learn that it’s all starting to set in for her. Eventually, the running gets to her, prompting her to confess that she didn’t mean to run away and that she misses home. And while she won’t be home for a while, the promise Ben makes to her is one that he intends to keep, only following a different path while he believes, with everything in him, she’ll be safe under Tala’s protection.
She’ll make a good fighter one day rings more true than any words spoken in the show because everything we’ve seen so far exhibits how and why Leia Organa becomes the general we know and love. Her stamina intermingling with curiosity makes her the resourceful woman we know, but it’s her love for humanity and all species that make her worthy of a leader’s title—one worth following to the ends of the galaxy for.
What You Made Me
Hayden Christensen finally dons the Darth Vader suit while James Earl Jones brings back the terrifying voice that could make anyone run. 10-years-later and such a machine is more threatening than anyone else can be. He still wants to make Obi-Wan pay for making him the way he is, but that idea instead continues to show that he still doesn’t understand the consequences of his own actions. Star Wars has always done an exemplary job of showcasing the importance of agency and what its control equates to in harboring strength.
Where the Jedi Alliance isn’t exactly great for its cult-like operations, the Sith fall in the same trenches. In more ways than one, agency is often stripped from these characters, but Obi-Wan Kenobi Episode 3 reminds its audience that, if nothing else, these characters have always had a choice. Obi-Wan might have been taken from his family against his will at a young age, but he chose to stay with the order as an adult. Anakin might’ve been tempted by power, but he chose to give in to the dark side of the Force entirely. And then we have someone like Tala, women like Reva who’ve shifted their alliances based on what they’ve seen and what they’ve gone through, the presence of agency becomes that much more riveting within the universe. Because that’s just it—they’ve all had the opportunity to make choices and where they stand today is because of their own decisions. Decisions that are brought on by weighing risks and deciding which path will suit them best, each character is torn in directions that make for captivating storytelling.
Obi-Wan didn’t make Anakin Skywalker into Darth Vader. Palpatine did. But also, it’s what he chose to become, selecting to believe that the dark side of the Force could give him more powers than the light ever could, losing everything in the process. There are ways to go before his abilities can be met by an equal, but the series bringing this kind of a lightsaber battle to our screens halfway through the season is a genius move. To see the blue and red lightsabers light up while having a clear picture of what years of loneliness and sadness do to different people is something that’ll haunt me for years to come. If it’s only when you close your eyes that you can see the way, then where will this fall lead Obi-Wan? If his pain has just begun, then we’ve seen nothing yet, and it’s torture to even think about how it’ll all unveil for us.
To emphasize this notion of pain just beginning, it’s essential to look into Reva as a character and that brief expression Moses Ingram wears in her eyes as she grazes her hand against the Jedi Alliance symbol. If fan theories are true and she’s the one whose life was spared during the Order 66 killings, then her loyalty to Vader makes all the more sense. Regardless, there’s a story here, and uncovering the layers is already a riveting treat as she continues to be just as fascinating as an antagonist as Vader is as a villain.
As a foil of Tala in this episode, there is something tremendous she’s hoping to gain here, and whether that’s the job as Grand Inquisitor or something more that we don’t yet know of, the risks she’s willing to take are directly in line with what she believes is worthwhile. She’ll take kidnapping Leia into her own hands if necessary, but at the end of the day, something tells me (or maybe I’m just hoping) that we could see a change of heart in her.
To Feel Safe
Like the Force, good people make the world feel safe, except the hero of our story is past believing in their existence. Titled after one character, no matter who enters the equation, the story and Ewan McGregor’s performances never once divert from emphasizing whose journey we’re following. Picking up from the moment we left off in Episode 2 with Obi-Wan learning that Vader is alive, we watch him grapple with that truth from the moment he tries to communicate with Qui-Gon to the very end when he’s lost yet another battle to the dark side.
Obi-Wan’s broken spirit isn’t an overnight fix, and McGregor is unparalleled at showing us every gaping wound inside of him even when he says nothing. The perpetual desolation in his eyes brings to our screens a sky studded with dimmed stars, and every moment of it is as heartbreaking to watch as it is utterly compelling. It isn’t going to be easy for him to understand that hope survives, and the fact that the show continues to crystallize that he’s far from okay is what’s worth paying attention to.
Where he was once strong and spirited, stray pieces of the dark past replace every ounce of the Kenobi that was once full of light. Still, he tries, and that’s where his character’s endurance reminds us why he’s a symbol of hope. Every part of him was terrified and profoundly heartbroken when he felt his presence through a disturbance in the Force within a few short hours after learning that Anakin was alive. And it’s fighting through those terrors even while he’s breathless in all sense when we see how much he gives.
The Jedi aren’t supposed to attach themselves to people, only pain they will find, as Yoda’s voice in the echoes reminds us, but where Obi-Wan was always loyal to the alliance, he would’ve given every part of him to those he loves. (There’s one person he would’ve left the Jedi Order for entirely had she merely said the words.)
Obi-Wan, much like Leia, attaches himself to people and things even while he knows he shouldn’t—even while he pretends that’s not the case. Anakin was his brother, and though he uses past tense love in Revenge of the Sith, it’s in this episode where he makes it clear that no part of that love for his old friend has faded despite all the sorrows that have barred their path. Jaded and refusing to believe in the good that remains, nothing is more straightforward than the fact that he’s trying, even after his harsh tone jolts into a little girl’s innocence. He wants nothing more than to believe in the fact that people can be good, but right now, that’s not the story that’s unfolding in front of us. This story is about what leads a broken man towards understanding that there’s still immense strength buried underneath his rugged edges.
Obi-Wan Kenobi Episode 3 is an astounding episode that thematically pushes the plot forward through character-driven moments that are meant to probe the deepest corridors of grief. Much like in the first episode, it lays down most of the groundwork in its quiet moment while delivering action-packed, edge-of-your-seat gripping scenes. It fleshes out our villains a little bit more while concurrently reminding us that strength isn’t a name or the power of the Force, but the choice to believe in something more significant, even while life continues to knock the characters down.
- There’s actually nothing more adorable on this planet than how little Leia runs or walks. Vivien Lyra Blair continues to be an absolute star.
- I didn’t notice it last week, but can we talk about how badass Reva’s outfit is!?
- If anyone could form words to talk about how brilliant Obi-Wan and Vader’s battle was, you’re a true hero.
- If multiverses existed here, then maybe there’s a universe where Padmé actually chooses Obi-Wan. Because, no offense, but really … who wouldn’t?
- Obi-Wan telling Leia she can’t talk and Leia being the first to talk? There’s no better 10-year-old on this planet.
- I kind of, sort of miss Tatooine.
- TELL ME MORE ABOUT THIS BROTHER, STAR WARS.
- Qui-Gon has to appear at some point towards the end, but will we actually get Quinlan Vos too!?
Now streaming on Disney Plus: What are your thoughts on Obi-Wan Kenobi Episode 3? Let us know in the comments below.