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Obi-Wan Kenobi Episode 5 Review: The Weaknesses That Hinder Victory

Obi-Wan Kenobi Episode 5 Spoilers Ahead

Hayden Christensen and Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker in Obi-Wan Kenobi Episode 5 flashbacks
Screenshot Courtesy of Disney Plus ©Lucasfilm

Deborah Chow continues to bring to our small screens episodes full of epic battles coupled with emotional beats worthy of immense, unyielding praise. Obi-Wan Kenobi gets better and better because everyone involved is thoroughly invested in telling profoundly moving, honest, gratifying, and deeply relatable stories.

As a penultimate episode, Obi-Wan Kenobi Episode 5 is a shining exhibition of the weaknesses that hinder victories and the strengths that nudge people forward while giving them a purpose beyond survival. We’re closer to the end than we were in Episode 1, and though the stakes are higher than they’ve ever been, Chow’s exploration of emotional vulnerability and the idea of found families anchors the series with an abundance of strength far more colossal than even the Force.

The Youngling Who Survived

Moses Ingram as Third Sister in Obi-Wan Kenobi Episode 5
Screenshot Courtesy of Disney Plus ©Lucasfilm

From the moment she appears, Moses Ingram as Reva indicates to the audience that there’s far more to her impulsive fixation on Kenobi. Through subtle nuances and grazed expressions, she prompts viewers to look deeper within, and the show’s penultimate episode finally confirms what many of us had suspected since the first episode.

Darth Vader wouldn’t reveal his identity to just anybody. When the series indicated that Reva knows, it boiled down to two probable outcomes—her resourcefulness or his carelessness, both of which could have worked. Still, Joby Harold delivers the shrewdest angle through Reva’s past, broadening the Star Wars universe more innately. Reva was indeed present at the Order 66 massacres, and as the sole youngling who survives and witnesses Anakin’s brutality, she harnesses her strength with the ambition to destroy him.

In an intense, incredibly outstanding episode, the performances do as much as the story’s outline, and Ingram deserves credit where credit is due because the conversation with Obi-Wan wouldn’t have been as palpable without Reva shedding pieces of her armor too. As an episode that used flashbacks wisely, showing us a child whose light was lost and an adult who’s fighting through darkness for the only family she’s ever known, results in a haunting interaction that thematically actualizes “the light will fade but is never forgotten.”

Reva’s bravery, much like her appetite to survive, shouldn’t be questioned by anyone; simultaneously, neither should her ambitions and the detail that she’ll do anything to ensure that she fights until her final breath. While the conversation with Obi-Wan is one thing, the duel with Vader tells us that even if it doesn’t occur today, she’s a key player in his downfall. As much as Padmé believes there’s good in Anakin, we also know that despite the horrid machine Vader has become, there are still scraps of a man left inside—the same man whose need for victory blinds him. Through the reveal that Rupert Friend’s Grand Inquisitor did, in fact, survive, both he and Vader focus on demoting Reva as opposed to approaching a more functional outlook.

In short, two people who’ve risen from impactful blows should’ve been wiser than to leave her alone to die. Whether her time is soon or in the distant future, Reva’s journey isn’t quite over yet. She now knows about Tatooine, and she knows that there’s a more significant connection between Obi-Wan and Leia. However, what she does with this knowledge will indicate whether her strengths lie in the persistence to fight or if her need for victory will blind her as it does Anakin.

Tala’s Sacrifice

Tala in Obi-Wan Kenobi Episode 5
Screenshot Courtesy of Disney Plus ©Lucasfilm

While characters like Reva and Anakin fight for vengeance, Tala is fighting for a second chance. Still, in an episode that exhibits foils at the forefront of battles, we could look at the contrasting parallels between Tala and Reva while examining how choices shape a person. Through profound losses, Vader and Reva chose to harness darkness, but Obi-Wan and Tala continue to fight for the better days. In what contributes as another confirmation, we have answers to why Tala takes the risks that she does, explaining to Obi-Wan that her survival during an attempt to help Jedis escape leaves her trapped in a never-ending cyclone of guilt. “You’re right, Ben,” she tells him, “some things you can’t forget, but you can fight to make them better,”—thus, sealing her tragic fate while reminding us of the people who’ve sacrificed for the eventual demise of the Empire.

It’s not the least bit shocking that we’d witness beloved deaths in a penultimate episode, but Obi-Wan Kenobi Episode 5 doesn’t annihilate people for the sake of vicious storytelling; it does so to remind us that the road to victory was never an easy one. Ben Kenobi’s losses, whether he’s known them for years or a few days, shape the man he endures to become, leashing in the strength to go on fighting against all odds to ensure that balance returns to the Force. And to watch Tala fight until her final breath, only to see NED-B show with his actions how much he cares for her, was a stunning callback to Episode 3Actions speak louder than words, and in this galaxy, a droid’s loyalty continues to be a beacon of strength amidst final explosions.

Tala will likely be another figure that orbits around Obi-Wan’s guilt, grieving him further in his survival. Still, she wasn’t alone in her passing, choosing with every last ounce of strength to fight for the people she believes are worth sacrificing for. This death wasn’t her end, but ultimately, the beginning of her true freedom from the horrors she lived through. As heartbreaking as it is, Tala’s presence and Indira Varma’s performances in this series contributed brilliantly to the overarching story in a vast showcase of goodness that will be long remembered by characters and fans alike.

Hindrances

Hayden Christensen as Anakin Skywalker in Kenobi series
Screenshot Courtesy of Disney Plus ©Lucasfilm

Obi-Wan Kenobi Episode 5 finally delivers much-needed flashbacks, and though they might not be in the Clone Wars era many of us were hoping for, Chow seamlessly interweaves them into the story, jumping back and forth with tasteful cuts and draws to remind us of how far a Padawan and his Jedi Master have come. 

And thus, to watch Hayden Christensen and Ewan McGregor return to their roots in a face-to-face duel during the better days is yet another detail that makes the series as perfect as it can be. Anakin Skywalker always wants more, and often, it’s that same thirst that blockades his victories, catering to his weaknesses as opposed to his strength. It’s not wrong to want success, but for it to be the sole purpose and desire coupled with a need to show it off hinders the importance of fairness. 

Darth Vader in Kenobi Series Part V
Screenshot Courtesy of Disney Plus ©Lucasfilm

Still, in what spawns one of the most stunning scenes, Vader wielding the Force to ground the transport only to discover that it’s a decoy and everyone’s safety escaped was ingenious. Because ultimately, as terrifying as Vader is, he is more concerned with Obi-Wan’s downfall than with the task at hand. The same can be said for his decision to walk away from Reva later. To do something themselves, one must not be searching for glory amidst the win, but there are still ways to go until the events of the Death Star and even longer until a redemption.

Moreover, we can see a brilliant juxtaposition to Vader’s carelessness through Leia, whose decision to step forward isn’t marred by ill will. Instead, she harbors the confidence in knowing that she can handle the assignment because she knows what she wants along with her role in this fight. Leia Organa might be a kid, but she’s learning from her mistakes, and though she once ran away, today, she is grounding herself in the things that matter. She is staying put, taking her time, and doing everything necessary to ensure they all leave Jabiim safely.

Tactics

Ewan McGregor as Ben Kenobi in Part V
Screenshot Courtesy of Disney Plus ©Lucasfilm

Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi might still be a bit rusty, battered, bruised, and combating a whirlwind of internal warfare, but his proficient approach to challenges remains unparalleled. As always, he thinks first, acts second, finding the necessary motives to reach through to those who’ve armored themselves. In his brokenness, he finds the means to continue battling, and it further reminds us why he remains the only hope left a few years later.

Ben Kenobi is many things, but he is first and foremost a man with an immense heart who allows himself to feel even when he shouldn’t. He’s accomplished in veiling what’s essential, but his emotions never fall into that equation because every loss for him is one he carries and holds onto. And today, there shouldn’t have been further losses because his plan should’ve worked to stall appropriately. While it does to a degree, it isn’t enough because the brotherhood that continues to haunt him is still his most tremendous heartache. To answer, Reva’s question, no, there’s no way Obi-Wan could truly kill Anakin even if/when he thought he did because he kept him alive through every nightmare and every move he made, regretting and blaming himself for his brother’s descend. It’s largely Anakin’s, too, because while his focus cannot go elsewhere, he gears his attention towards the only family he has remaining.

Still, Obi-Wan’s time isn’t over yet and though his better days are behind him, how he’ll find the freedom from the trenches of his own grief depends entirely on how hard he tries, like Tala and everyone else who’s suffered in the hands of the dark side’s reign. To continue to find the light, to return Leia home, and most importantly, to forgive himself is a long and winding road he’s still walking on.

Obi-Wan Kenobi Episode 5 is an enamoring penultimate that thoughtfully brings grand-scale battles and profoundly potent developments to the small screens that exponentially improve the Star Wars lore. In allowing Christensen and McGregor to take the reigns through flashbacks, the mini-series proves that the potential for exquisite storytelling would’ve been unmatched if the prequels had been given a stronger screenplay. 

Further Thoughts

  • LOLA IS BACK! LOLA IS OKAY! LOLA AND LEIA SAVE THE DAY!
  • I’m actually never, ever going to get over the fact that every expression Hayden Christensen wore in this episode was a brilliant display of how much talent he’s always had. Petition to have Deborah Chow continuously direct Star Wars. I’m begging.
  • Never underestimate my ability to historically ugly sob at a “may the force be with you.” Tala, ILY.
  • Haja’s return was fantastic and I’m so glad we got to see Kumail Nanjiani again.
  • Leia’s little face when Obi-Wan places his hand on her after she asks for Tala. I hate it here. Leave me here to sob.
  • Obi-Wan trusting Leia with the task? Yes, that’s right.
  • Bail Organa, my dude, code names would’ve been cool.
  • It’d also be really cool if Ewan McGregor could just … not be so great so I could stop crying over his performances.
  • EVERY SHOT IN THIS EPISODE. Yes. A thousand times yes!
  • That scene where Vader turns to look at Reva????? I don’t think Vader’s helmet has ever been more terrifying.
  • Luke Skywalker sleeping while the world blows up. Yeah, makes sense.

Now streaming on Disney Plus: What are your thoughts on Obi-Wan Kenobi Episode 5? Let us know in the comments below.

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