OBI WAN KENOBI: The final review of the series

Obi Wan Kenobi, the tv series dedicated to the homonym Jedi Master, concluded its journey on 22nd June 2022 with a great finale that has left the fans eager to see more.

The series of 6 episodes was directed by Debora Chow, produced by Lucasfilm and distributed on the streaming platform of Disney Plus.

Ewan Mcgregor and Hayden Christensen reprised their respective role of the Jedi Master Obi Wan Kenobi and his apprentice Anakin Skywalker who was corrupted by the Dark Side and became the Sith Lord Darth Vader.

Obi Wan Kenobi takes place after the prequel trilogy, in particular 10 years after Episode 3 Revenge of the Sith. It follows the adventures of the homonym Jedi Master after the fallen of the Republic and the Jedi Order due to the Emperor Paplatine and his Order 66.

In this article we make a general report of the series, we analyses some of the best and meaningful moments. So, SPOILER ALLERT for those who have not watched the series yet.

THE BURDER OF THE PAST

Obi Wan nightmare

“Train yourself to let go” is what Master Yoda tells Anakin in Episode 3 when the young Jedi ask him for advice for his visions.

“Let the past die. Kill it, if you have to. That’s the only way to become what you were meant to be” is what Kylo Ren/Ben Solo tells Rey in Episode 8 The Last Jedi to do in order to become what she is destined to be.

The truth is that forgetting the past, letting it go emotionally, killing it to become what is destiny to be, is not easy and Obi Wan well knows that.

Survived to the Order 66, the ex Jedi Master lives isolated on Tatooine. He works in a slaughterhouse under a false identity while secretly he watch over the young Luke Skywalker. It has been 10 years since the events of the Clone Wars, Obi Wan is not the same, he uses another name Ben and he is haunted by his past.

Recurring nightmares disturbs his dreams, in his mind memories of the past, of the mistakes, of the wrong choices repeat themselves. The sense of guilt devours him.

Who we see is not the man we used to know, the patient and skillful Jedi, the brave General of the Republic. No, who we see is a tired, lost, afflicted, tormented man who can’t let go the past and that continuously relive it.

ESCAPING FROM THE PAST

What Obi Wan has lived can be considered as a traumatic event. The Jedi Master has seen his friends die, the family who saw in the Jedi Order has been exterminated, and everything he believed has been destroyed.

What do we do when we live a traumatic experience? The psychology says that there are different ways to cope with that. However, one of the first things we do is run away.

Run away is a natural mechanism, it is what together with the fear has allowed us to survive as a species for million years. It is the so-called mechanism of “fight or flight” and what do we do when we can’t fight? We run away.

It is exactly what Obi Wan does in the series, in the fight against his past, he runs. The Jedi tries in every way to run away from his past. Keeping an eye on Luke is the perfect occasion, and the perfect excuse, to take distance from the place where everything happened.

Changing name is another strategy to escape and to survive.

Our name identifies us, defines us, and differs us. Changing our name means changing our identity and this can have a huge impact. In other words, changing name means creating another version of ourselves behind which we can hide.

It is certain that changing name and identity is necessary for Obi Wan to survive, indeed the Empire is still looking for the Jedi to kill them all. Hiding can be the only way to survive.

However, Obi Wan hides himself physically, indeed, he lives in a cave far way in the desert, but above all he hides himself psychologically and emotionally behind another identity and he seems unrecognizable.

Nari: What happened to you? You once were a great Jedi.

Obi Wan: The time of the Jedi is over.

(Obi Wan Kenobi Ep.1 S.1)

Another thing Obi Wan does to escape is hiding everything can remind him his past. The lightsaber is buried in the desert, the old clothes and accessories are closed in old boxes, and everything is hidden form the sight so that is in the mind. It’s an attempt to repress, to remove the past but it does not work because it torments him in every moment.

FEAR TO FAIL

After Leia has been kidnapped, Bail Organa asks immediately help to Obi Wan who surprisingly refuses. The Jedi claims that he can help the friend because he is no longer the old man and he cannot leave Luke.

Actually, these are just excuses and the ex senator knows it. For this reason, he invites the Jedi to forgive himself, to go over, to forget the past in order to save the young Leia.

Obi Wan is afraid to fail again, to not be able to save Leia as he wasn’t able to save her father but Organa trusts him and there is no one in the Galaxy that can save Leia better than the Jedi.

Obi Wan Kenobi: I can’t. I told you, I’m not the man you remember.

Bail Organa: You’re going to have be!

Kenobi: I can’t leave the boy.

Organa: This isn’t about the boy, and you know it! You’ve made mistakes. We all did. It’s the past. Move on. Be done with it. You couldn’t save Anakin but you can save her.

Kenobi: And what if I can’t?

Organa: There is no one i trust more with my child than you. Please, old friend. For her.

(Obi Wan Kenobi Ep.1 S.1)

Being afraid to fail is a great obstacle for anyone; it holds us back from acting, from experimenting, from living. It is the main reason of the missed opportunities, of what wasn’t but could be and of regrets.

The failure can have a huge impact on the self-confidence and can take a person to surrender in front of the difficulties and to avoid the challenges. However, the failure can also have a positive side.

It has always been said that we learn from our experiences, both good and bad. The failure is one of them. As Master Yoda tells Luke in Episode 8 The Last Jedi “The greatest teacher failure is”.

Obi Wan has to understand that he cannot only forgive himself and his mistakes but he has to learn from them. Running away, hiding won’t erase the mistakes, it won’t’ change them and above all it won’t help him to prevent him from making other ones. He can do that only accepting what happened and learning from it.

Master Qui Gon does not show to his old youngling just for this reason and Obi Wan calls him many times. When finally Obi Wan understand, the old master appears with an emotional cameo of Liam Neeson and tells him “I was always here, Obi Wan. You just were not ready to see”.

THIS IS THE WAY

Leia: What does it say?

Obi Wan: Only when the eyes are closed can you truly see.

Leia: See what?

Obi Wan: The Way.

(Obi Wan Kenobi Ep.3 S.1)

Confront your own feelings, free your mind from the doubts and accept what can be considered unacceptable, do not become obsess with only one task, accept the death. These are more or less the rules of the Jedi Code. Every Jedi has to follow them in order to reach the equilibrium, the peace and serenity necessary to fulfill the duty to help who needs.

It’s clear that Obi Wan, since the Order 66, has not been able to follow those rules anymore and we have seen that in the previous  paragraphs. He can accept that he could not save Anakin, he is concentrating on the task to protect Luke as a distraction from his thoughts and feelings and he closed himself form the Force. In other words, Obi Wan has lost the way.

 So, in the light of what has been said, for all those criticizes that Obi Wan does not seem himself, the reason should be clear now. It is not bad writing or bad characterization; it is the representation of a man who has lost everything: family, friends and his identity. Above all, he has lost hope and we can say that from what he tells to a young Jedi who has come to him for a help.

Obi Wan: You want my help? Take this. Walk into the middle of the desert and bury it in the ground. Stay Hidden. Live a normal life.

Nari: What about the people that need us? What About the fight?

Obi Wan: The fight is done. We lost.

(Obi Wan Kenobi Ep.1 S.1)

This representation of Obi Wan afflicted and tormented could justify the rhythm of the series that is not so fast. Many fans indeed has complained that the rhythm of the series is a bit slow and struggle to become faster. However, if we take count of what has been said before, we can say that maybe the rhythm is voluntarily slow to emphasize this aspect.

It’s been 10 years since Obi Wan has touched his lightsaber, since he sensed the Force and trained. Therefore, it is understandable that when he moves his movements appears slow and heavy. When he uses his lightsaber, it seem to be heavier than it actually is. When he uses the Force, it seems to cost him a lot of strength. The rhythm of the series seems to want to emphasize this effect and to make more realistic mood and the physical state of the protagonist.

Indeed, the rhythm seems to change and became faster towards the finale, above all in the duel between Obi Wan e Darth Vader. After this duel, we can see a different Obi Wan, almost the man of old times.

BATTLE OF THE HEROES

Star Wars fans have always wondered if Obi Wan and Anakin had never met before their duel on the Dead Star in Episode 4 A New Hope. The series of Obi Wan Kenobi answers to that question and to many other ones. Moreover, it explains some things that are told in the movies.

In the Disney Plus series we can see two duels between the Sith Lord and the Jedi Knight.

THE DUEL ON MAPUZO

Obi Wan Darth Vader first duel

The first duel is in the third episode and in this one Obi Wan realizes for the first time what his old apprentice has become.

Exactly like him, Anakin isn’t also the same. The ex Jedi has been corrupted by the Dark Side, he is blinded by hate and anger and he would do anything to catch Obi Wan. Arrived on the planet Mapuzo, Darth Vader does not hesitate to kill some people of the village where Obi Wan and Leia are hiding, he even snaps the neck of a young boy without a blink. Everything to force the old master to show himself.

The Sith Lord well knows that he can’t just stand by and wait to see, it is against the Code.

Indeed, Obi Wan decides to intervene, he pulls Anakin into the desert and engage a duel with him. The Jedi Master is shocked to see what Anakin has become, he is no longer the boy of his memories, and he seems more like a machine than a man. Here becomes more meaningful how Obi Wan describes Darth Vader to Luke in Episode 6 The Return of the Jedi. “He is more machine now than man, twisted and evil” he tells Luke. There is no hope for redemption for Darth Vader for Obi Wan but not for Luke.

This first duel between them finishes with the Sith dragging with the Force his old mentor in the fire. Many fans have wonder why, despite having the high ground, Vader didn’t kill Obi Wan. He could have gone through the flames (like he does in the comics) and kill him once and for all. Instead, the Sith Lord seems to hesitate, he lifts the Jedi and then he pushes him into the fire claiming “Now you will suffer, Obi Wan” with his robotic voice.

Darth Vader’s purpose is not to kill Kenobi, at least not immediately, but to make him suffer like he, it’s implied, had made him suffer. The scene is almost poetic and reminds the audience the duel on Mustafar of Episode 3. It seems that Anakin is revenging for being left to die in the flamea on Mustafar but there’s more than that. His anger is deep, it seems that he is revenging against the master for being betrayed by him when it’s the opposite.

Actually, from what we can see in the prequel trilogy, there has always been a certain mistrust in the Jedi Council towards Anakin, a certain concern in Obi Wan for him. This has made him doubt himself and has made him wish to prove himself. These feelings, together with the fear to lose the people he loved, have allowed him to be corrupted by the Dark Side. Moreover, there is the possibility that Anakin does not realize to be in the wrong side as Dave Filoni says in a comment.

“Anakin Skywalker thinks he never switched sides. He thinks he’s still fighting the good fight. He thinks Obi Wan betrayed him. He thinks Padmé betrayed him and that led to her, and their child’s, death. He thinks the Jedi were staging a coup against the Republic. He thinks the Republic was weak, and that’s why it became corrupted and fell apart despite Palpatine’s attempts to save it. Overall, he internally hates himself for everything that occurred because he thinks that he wasn’t strong enough to make things right”

Dave Filoni about Darth Vader

Anyway, in this first duel, Obi Wan realizes what has happened after 10 years of darkness to Anakin but the conviction that there is nothing to do to bring him to the Light rises in him in their second duel.

THE FINAL DUEL

Obi Wan pose

Kenobi and Vader duel for the second time on a desert planet in the last episode of the series. Obi Wan and Leia are on a ship with other fugitives and they are followed by Vader and his Imperial Cruiser. The Jedi decides to drag the attention of the Sith so to give the possibility to the Princess and the others to save themselves. He knows that Anakin will follow him because, as he has told Reva in a previous episode, the Sith sees only him.

Both land on the near desert planet and engage a duel. The duel is as almost beautiful as the one they have in Episode 3 and in a certain way, like the previous one, it reminds that to the audience.

The only difference is that the Jedi Master does not seem strong enough to fight and indeed Vader wins, he pushes him in a hole and buries him with some rocks using the Force.

But it’s not over for Obi Wan, the thought of Leia and Luke, his desire to protect them gives him the strength to keep fighting. So the duel continues and this time Dart Vader is defeated, a sowrd slash by Obi Wan damages his mask and we can see part of his face.

Here is one of the most beautiful scene, for the direction and photography. Darth Vader rises up while Obi Wan calls for his old apprentice.

“Anakin is gone. I’m what remains” says the Sith with a certain satisfaction in the voice and the expression. Obi Wan cries while he ask forgiveness and for a moment, it seems we can see the old young Jedi under Vader’s Mack, sorry and unsure about what to say and do.

The lightsabers’ lights reflect on the faces of the two fighter but above all they alternates on the visible part of Anakin’s face. “I’m not your failure, Obi Wan. You didn’t kill Anakin Skywalker, I did” the Sith pants. Vader’s robotic voice alternates with the old Jedi’s one like the blue light alternates with the red one on his face.

The light is blue and it’s Anakin’s voice for a moment, the only visible eyes belongs to the old young Jedi apprentice and it seems like if a teardrop is about to fall but then everything change. The blue light turn off and the red one replaces it, revealing the yellow eye of the Sith who seems to smile under his mask.

Vader’s words are hard and hit Obi Wan deeply and make him definitely thinks that his young apprentice, his brother and friend really died. There is no hope for him anymore.

The dialogue reveals the inner conflict of Darth Vader, it’s like two entities are fighting inside him. Some talks about two different identities like if the Sith can be bipolar but this ideas does not seem to suit with the character.

Some fans have also noticed that what Dart Vader tell Obi Wan seems to contradict what he has told him in their previous duel. Indeed, in their duel on Mapuzo, he answered the Jedi saying, “I am what you made him”. So, in their first duel it seems that Anakin considers Obi Wan the cause of what happened to him while in their last duel, on the contrary, he tell him that substantially he is not the cause.

An explanation to this apparent contradiction can be that Anakin wants him to suffer and makes him suffer saying exactly what he knows can most hurts his old Master. In the first case, the ex-Jedi apprentice tells him that is the Master’s fault if he has been corrupted and now he is evil. In the second case, the ex-apprentice destroys the old Jedi’s hope to get back his padawan, his friend and brother who in the past he claimed to love.

Anyway, the dialogue make one more time more meaningful what Obi Wan says in the movie, in particular what he tells Luke about his father’s death. Darth Vader was a Jedi that Kenobi had trained, he betrayed the Order, joined the Dark Side and killed Luke’s father. Therefore, “From a certain point of view” he was right, Dart Vader actually killed Anakin Skywalker when he joined the Dark Side.

The duel finishes with Darth Vader calling for Obi Wan but it’s Anakin’s voice to scream. It’s like if this was a cry for help that Obi Wan does not listen to because already too far.

MISTAKES AND PLOT HOLES

Obi Wan Kenobi is not a perfect series but no one is after all, there is always something that does not work, as it should. In the of the Disney Plus series, there some moments that seem to screech, as we have said before, there are some contradictions and some apparent non-correspondence with the movies.

One of these non-correspondences is in the second episode.

“I’m just going to take you to him. Lord Vader will be pleased. You didn’t know. He’s alive. Anakin Skywalker i salive and he’s been looking for you for a long time”

(Reva in Obi Wan Kenobi Ep.2. S.1)

With these words Reva reveals to Obi Wan that Anakin is stilla live and he is looking for him.

Reva Sevander is one of the new characters introduced in the series. Played by Moses Ingram, she one of the Inquisitors of the Empire, also knon as Third Sister. She works directly for Darth Vader, she kidnapped Leia in order to catch Obi Wan. Knowing that the old Master fought with her (adoptive as we know but she does not) father Bail Organa in the past, the Inquisitor knew that the Jedi would have helped him to rescue the princess so it was.

In the second episode, the young Sith stalks Obi Wan and reveals him this shocking news that shouldn’t be so shocking actually. The situation is a little bit confusing, it is not clear if Obi wan is shocked to discover that Anakin is Darth Vader or that he is still alive.

The most logical thing is the second one because ObiWan has been in exile for 10 years believing that Anakin was dead. However, he knew that Anakin was Vader.

In Episode 3 Revenge of the Sith, after the Order 66, Kenobi checked with Yoda the security recordings and discovered that Anakin had assaulted the Jedi Temple and he had killed all the younglings. He also discovered that the young Jedi had been corrupted by the Dark Side and he had become a Sith named, or titled, Darth Vader.

After the duel on Mustafar, Kenobi left Anakin agonizing through the flames after cutting his limbs.

Obi Wan shocked

So yes, he is shocked to know that Anakin is alive, not that he is Vader because he already knew that. Moreover, the revelation leads to ask: Is it possible that Kenobi has never heard anything about Vader in 10 years? It’s possible if we consider that he has been almost totally isolated from everything for 10 years.

Anyway, another example of a weird or confusing scene is in episode 3, that one about the tunnel that seems circular. Many fans have talked about it on social media.

While Obi Wan is fighting against Dart Vader, Leia is helped to escape through a secret tunnel of the Rebellion. Reva is tracking the little princess, she discovers the existence of the tunnel and it is not clear how she can find the other exit of it. Leis runs through the corridor and finds the young Inquisitor in front of her.

The scene as it is taken makes the audience think that the tunnel is circular.

Actually, an explanation can be that it was clear for Reva that the tunnel would lead to some landing strip and, give that Mapuzo is a minerary planet, there weren’t many of them. Therefore, Reva had only to find the nearer landing strip in line with the hypothetical direction of the tunnel in order to find Leia, so she could catch her.

These are two imperfections that do not compromise totally the quality and the enjoyment of the series, which is for many fans better than the sequel trilogy.

THE FLASHBACK

Obi Wan Flashback

In this final report about the series, we can not mention one of the most nostalgic moment. It is the flashback included in the 5th episode that takes us back in time, in particular at the time of Episode 2 Attack of the Clones.

Anakin and Obi Wan are training, the young padawan is impetous while fighting against his Master. He is aggressive, almost violent, while Obi wan is calm, he only defends himself and dodge his apprentice attacks.

It’s clear the difference in their fighting styles, Anakin wants to win but it is not his training point, it is not a Jedi point. The Jedi Code indeed establishes that the aim of a Jedi is to protect and help who needs it. The lightsaber can be used only to defend, not to attack.

Anakin instead attacks strongly, almost angrily, because he wants to prove himself but this, as Obi Wan tells him, will be his udoing.

“Your need for victory, Anakin, it blind you” says the Master. When he can take Anakin’s weapon he adds “You are a great warrior Anakin but your need to prove yourself is your undoing. Until you overcome it, a Padawan you will still be”.

These words are meaningful because they include everything that has exactly happened to the young apprentice and we have seen it before. His desire to save the people he loved, his need to prove himself and to get trust have led him to the Dark Side of the Force. Until he overcome these feeling, he will be always a Padawan.

Indeed, after 10 years, Anakin is still aggressive, fiery, and blinded by his need to win. In the series, he wants Obi Wan and he don’t see anything else than the Jedi, he destroys anything can get between him and his purpose. It is an example the scene in episode 5 where he holds with the Force a ship and opens it like a box only to find that Obi Wan is on another ship, hidden behind that one, under his eyes.

Darth Vader is still an apprentice and he will always be because he is always overwhelmed by his emotions and needs.

In Episode 4, in the scene of the duel between him and Kenobi on the Death Star, when he sees his old master the Sith Lord claims “I’ve been waiting for you Obi Wan. We meet again at last. The circle is now complete. When I left you, I was but a learner. Now I am the master”.

Darth Vader claims to be a Master, so to have learned to control his impulses but actually, it hasn’t. In the series he almost chokes to death Reva for having failed him, he does it many times in the movies to the Imperial Generals and Admirals who fails their tasks.

In Rogue One, Vader crosses the entire ship to get back the stolen Death Star plans. He is unstoppable, he kills whoever tries to stop him without hesitation and he destroys every obstacle on his path.

IN CONCLUSION

Obi Wan Kenobi is not a perfect series, like any other series, it has strengths and weaknesses.

It has a little fan service, a little nostalgia but it also has new elements and it takes some of them form the comics, the animated series and the books.

Among the new elements, there are the new characters like the aforementioned Reva, Tala played by Indira Varma and Haja played by Kumail Najiani. Among those who come from the comics and the animated series there are the Inquisitors like the Great Inquisitors of Ruper Friend.

Moreover, the series answers to some questions. We have talked about one of them, about if Darth Vader and Kenobi have ever met before Episode 4. Another one is: How did Leia know Obi Wan before Episode 4? Why did she trust him? Now we know.

The young Vivien Lyra Blair has been really good at portraying the young Princess Leia. She has really well portrayed her personality. The little droid LOLA is an homage to the beloved Cherrie Fisher who had a little bird named Lola when she was a child.

Luke, played by Grant Feely, has not appeared often but we know that he will be a great hero and a great Jedi in the future (Luke is unrecognizable in the sequel trilogy by the way).

Among the known faces of the Galaxy far far way there are  Jimmy Smits, Simone Kessel, Joel Edgerton, Bonnie Piesse who have reprised their roles of Bail Organa, Breha Organa, Owen Lars and Beru Lars of the prequel trilogy. Ian McDiarmind has also come back in the role of the Emperor Palpatine in a final cameo.

To conclude, the series is brief and leaves the sensation that there is more to see. Like Master Qui Gon says “Come on. We’ve got a ways to go”.

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