Obi-Wan Kenobi Episode 4 Review: The Process of Healing

Obi-Wan Kenobi Episode 4 Spoilers Ahead

Ewan McGregor in Obi-Wan Kenobi Episode 4
Screenshot via Disney+ ©Lucasfilm

Deborah Chow continues to surpass herself in Obi-Wan Kenobi by diving deep into human struggles and persistence. The show’s fourth episode is a quiet excavation that uncovers different paths towards healing and the decisions that are made as a result of the people we’re trying to protect.

When it begins, Obi-Wan Kenobi Episode 4 uses the Bacta tank as a metaphor for the healing that occurs when submerged deep underneath layers of pain and remaining burns of the past. While it doesn’t give long-time fans of Star Wars any memories of the events of The Clone Wars, it acts as another stark reminder that the Force bond that tethers Obi-Wan and Vader is still decisive despite the diverging plates they’re on. And though the process ascertains to be too much for the former general, he rises from the waters once a little more coherent, asking for Leia’s whereabouts. In the Fortress Inquisitorius, the Princess of Alderaan proves that she’s tough as nails, refusing to budge until the final few moments, where attempts to torture her bring fear centerfold.

“Some things can’t be forgotten.

Ewan McGregor as Ben Kenobi in Episode 4
Screenshot via Disney+ ©Lucasfilm

Ewan McGregor continues to bring his most emphatic performances to our screen with subtle nuances that gnaw at past reminders of his failures and the constantly protruding guilt that worsens with every blow. (It’s not the least bit surprising that Ben’s past is his tightest tether to undo.) As rusty as he is, we knew that he’d pull through physical aches despite what his body demands, falling short with his battle against emotional trauma instead. And much of what it comes down with his persistence through Leia, especially after seeing what Anakin has become as Vader, is persistence to ensure that he does right by her where he failed her father.

It’s a lovely callback to his statement last week in response to Leia asking if he’s her birth father, proving more than anything else that despite his undeniably overwhelming pain, he’s willing to do everything in his power to ensure that history doesn’t repeat itself. She might not know how close in proximity she is to her birth father, but in the difficult times that lie ahead, Leia could be sure of the fact that she wasn’t abandoned, which is ultimately a crutch Anakin began to carry, leading to his descent towards the dark side. Leia grows up believing in hope because she chooses to see Ben’s efforts for the touching decisions that they are—the inability to give up on people and the decision to keep moving despite every haunting current that tries to stop him.

While the Obi-Wan we meet in A New Hope is a man who’s overcome far more, Ben Kenobi isn’t quite there today. He’s no longer fighting to protect himself, and thus, it’s easier to push through the barriers of the past and tap into the resourcefulness that’s long strengthened him as a Jedi. Still, his motives are anything but hazy—where last week it took a few moments to harness the strength to light his lightsaber, it’s more effortless today where Leia’s safety is concerned. Obi-Wan Kenobi Episode 4 essentially tells us that healing starts from an attempt to try even while the road is grim and full of corpses. The discovery that the Fortress Inquisitorius is a tomb, along with Leia’s cries, effectively tug further on Ben’s desolation, pushing him towards exertions that dispute his beliefs from the first episode when he tells Bail “he’s not the man he used to be.”

And it’s true, he’s no longer the man who had the high ground on Mustafar ten years ago, but he’s still learning how to become a better version of himself even while all odds continue to be against him. Ben Kenobi isn’t dying yet—there’s still plenty for him to do, and today, it starts by understanding that despite his beliefs that he failed Anakin, he isn’t going to fail Leia or Luke. In his silence, he continues to remind viewers that despite the jagged rims, the Force stays strong in him, pushing through even while he stumbles.

A Princess in Fortress Inquisitorius

Leia and Reva in Obi-Wan Kenobi Episode 4
Screenshot via Disney+ ©Lucasfilm

Leia Organa once again emphasizes that she’s a product of all four of her parents by enduring a fight. She might be a 10-year-old, but her assertive nature doesn’t come from her smart mouth or her curiosity; it comes from a will to persevere against those who try to make her feel small. And Obi-Wan Kenobi Episode 4 is a shining example of Shakespeare’s “though she be but little, she is fierce”—a child whose loyalties no one could ever doubt because she wants nothing more than to secure that good people are taken care of.

And this nature of Leia’s resistance against the dark side is something that we see far more pronounced in later years, reminding us of the fact that such forms of honor start somewhere. If anyone thinks that perhaps it’s unreasonable or unlikely she’d behave this way today, I suggest hanging out with more kids in the real world, for you’ll find far more maturity and faith in them than adults at times. Leia’s faith in humanity comes from her desires and everything that she’s seen thus far, compelling her to dig into her very own bravery by wanting to protect those she cares for. So, no, Leia wasn’t going to tell Reva anything, even if for a moment she believed that Kenobi was dead and she was entirely on her own. She chose to trust in herself, and she decided to believe in the fact that the people protecting others (Jedis) should have someone on their side too.

Princess Leia and Obi-Wan Kenobi in Kenobi Series Episode 4
Screenshot via Disney+ ©Lucasfilm

The Empire is no longer helping people, and Leia might not make it home, but this doesn’t change the fact that she knows which path to take, even if that means screaming for help during the moments she believes are her last.

The same kid who’ll fight against intimidating inquisitors in her face is the same kid who’ll understand when an adult needs comfort after escaping a difficult mission. And so, Leia reaches for Ben’s hand, leaning back in her seat when he holds her tiny one in return, wordlessly telling him that she’s grateful he came for her while simultaneously ensuring that he understands he’s not alone. A moment as achingly vulnerable as this is precisely why Chow is best at her assignment, showing us where the details matter, emphasizing that big or small, we all break, and sometimes, as long as there’s a hand to hold you through it, the pain is lulled in the process.

The show’s fourth episode wasn’t going to follow a battle as large as the halfway mark because this story’s depth lies in the quiet moments. Rather, this episode was always going to be about stepping stones leading to strengthening the fallen Jedi, giving him the resolve to continue fighting for those who are no longer around to see the ramifications of a man who’s become more machine than human. Whether another big battle lies in the penultimate, the finale, or what we’ve seen in A New Hope, this episode provides us with everything we need to understand that the fight doesn’t end with uncertainties, but it starts with them. We see this through Leia, Obi-Wan, and Tala, whose strength and wit are beautifully part of a larger story. The biggest battle here isn’t yet another lightsaber duel but the persevering strength one exhibits when the world continues to inflict collision after another.

Further Thoughts

  • Maybe, somehow, we could still get flashbacks to The Clone Wars? I’ll keep clowning myself until it happens.
  • LOLAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!! Y’all—if anything happens to this droid when they find out she’s a tracker, I’m going to need a care package to work through my broken heart.
  • Reva and Vader are both so fascinating, and for a moment there, oof, it continues to floor me.
  • But also, I think we can all agree that Vader has never been more terrifying.
  • Listen, say what you what about this episode not being as massive as the last, but Obi-Wan’s lightsaber glistening in a sea of black and red will always be epic.
  • R.I.P. Wade.
  • Obi-Wan and Vader both in the tank!??? Essays will be written about this parallel.
  • Ben and Leia getting away with her hidden under his oversized coat??? I–OKAY. I’ll let it pass because I love this show so much.

Now streaming on Disney Plus: What are your thoughts on Obi-Wan Kenobi Episode 4? Let us know in the comments below.


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