Lightsaber + Sand = Fire?
Episode 3 of Obi-Wan Kenobi starts with Obi-Wan on his ship, attempting to communicate with Qui-Gon, reaching out and asking for help. While sat on his ship, there’s really slick scene where we cut back and forth between Anakin becoming Vader and Obi-Wan hearing echoed flashes of the past, mixed in with Reva’s taunts that Anakin is still alive. “He’s coming master.” Obi whispers to himself, as Vader is released from his tank.
Vader communicates with Reva, telling her that he’s been watching the woman for quite some time and implores her to prove herself. If she can do that then the position of Grand Inquisitor will be hers. If she fails? Well, she won’t live to see the light of day. No pressure then… and thankfully no ramifications for her actions either which is a bonus!
Back with Obi though, and he manages to fix Leia’s little robot, Lola. That comes just in time too, as they touch down on Mapuzo, which is a mining system. Following the coordinates, the pair walk as Obi explains how the Empire have ravaged everything. The place they’re on used to be full of fields and families. Now though, it’s a wasteland.
Reva figures out that Obi is on one of the mining systems, having discovered the manifests proving as much. She shrugs off Fifth Brother’s threats, who rasps at her that she’s not in charge. But then, Vader has put her in charge of the hunt so technically this Fifth Brother has no authority here. On Reva’s order, probes are sent out.
On Mapuzo, Leia ends up stopping a creature called Freck who offers them a ride to town. Naturally, Obi-Wan plays second fiddle here as Leia hops aboard and leads the charge, Obi follows. However, stormtroopers arrive and decide to hop aboard too.
Apparently none of these guys recognize Obi-Wan, even when he slips up and calls Leia by her real name. Despite being incredibly suspicious, they manage to make it through without any of the stormtroopers recognizing Leia’s name, shrugging off Obi-Wan’s slip-up and not alerting any of the authorities. Instead, they leave the transport and head off to find “the Jedi” they were hunting.
Freck is suspicious of the pair though, and leads them to an Imperial checkpoint all the same. There, a probe arrives to check on Obi-Wan. Of course, it flashes up on the scanners who they are, so Obi-Wan uses Freck as a human shield to kill the troopers and save Leia too.
When more troopers show up, Obi-Wan and Leia are saved by a rogue agent. Unfortunately, they appear to be too late, as Reva tracks down their location on Mapuzo. The Empire quickly close down all ports too, making getting on and off the planet very difficult.
For now, Obi-Wan and Leia are led to a safehouse, where the rogue agent explains are dotted throughout the galaxy. Thety’re trying to link one system by calling it “The Path”. This path leads to Jabiim in order to give Jedi new identities and get them off the system. Anyone who’s force sensitive are hunted, although she admits she’s not sure what happens to the kids after they’re captured. One of the Jedi Obi-Wan recognizes, Quinlan, is actually one of the people helping to smuggle younglings out.
Midway through leaving, Obi-Wan senses something and immediately begins breathing heavily. It’s Vader. He arrives in town and senses Obi-Wan. In order to draw him out, Vader uses the Force to kill an innocent man. obi-Wan instructs the rogue agent to take Leia away, through a hidden passageway leading out to their destination. She urges her to take Leia back to Alderaan.
While Obi-Wan and Vader fight, with the latter easily overpowering Obi-Wan, he manages to somehow ignite the sand with his saber, as a big patch emanates angry orange flames. It burns Obi-Wan. Despite using the force earlier in the episode, Vader watches helplessly as the rogue imperial agent shows up and uses a blaster to stop a stormtrooper approaching him. Her droid picks up Obi-Wan, Vader gives up and walks away.
Meanwhile, Reva manages to find the hidden passageway Leia used earlier in the episode. Through the power of editing and teleportation, she manages to make it through the passageway ahead of Leia… somehow.
The Episode Review
I mentioned in the previous episode that the editing in this show is really poor and the final part of this chapter exemplifies that perfectly. From what we can see, that passageway the rogue imperial officer led Leia down is a straight path with no deviations. If there are alternate paths, we weren’t shown that so we’re going based on what the screenplay is showing us. Somehow, Reva manages to get to the other side of the passageway ahead of Leia, kill her pilot and wait for Leia before she can run to the other side. Really?
That’s before mentioning the Vader and Obi-Wan fight which is a neat inclusion but then is thwarted by said rogue agent using a blaster (which Vader could just use the force to bring to him. We’ve seen him do this in Empire up at Cloud City). He doesn’t do that though, and stands around like a melon watching as Obi-Wan is saved.
The other problem here stems from the whole transport ship ordeal. Somehow these stormtroopers don’t recognize Obi-Wan or know that he’s a prolific Jedi that has gone into hiding, despite Reva desperate to track him down. It’s something we saw last episode too but it’s worse here, especially as Obi-Wan slips up and calls Leia by her name. Would he really do this though? Nothing in his character from the past would suggest he’d make such a silly mistake, although one could argue he’s just out of practice given he’s been in isolation.
However, Leia is actually pretty spot on and the actress is doing a really decent job bringing her character to life, which is a bonus. The visuals and general aesthetic of the show are okay, and Ewan McGregor is great in his role, with this working well to bridge the gap between the prequel and original trilogy.
I mentioned before about Mary Sues and while Reva is written a little better here, it still begs the question – why aren’t there any ramifications for her actions against the Grand Inquisitor? Couldn’t Vader have force choked her a little for disobeying the chain of command, despite the fact he’s been “watching her” all this time? Is he not concerned that she could do the same thing to him? If there’s no order then what’s to stop the whole hierarchical chain of command turning into pure anarchy.
As I said before though, there will be people who love this show and I’m glad for them but compared to so many other sci-fi series out there in this space, Obi-Wan Kenobi is a disappointingly mediocre-at-best effort.