At the end of Part V, Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor), Leia Organa (Vivien Lyra Blair) and the rest of a group who help Jedi find safe haven and new lives are on the run from Darth Vader’s (Hayden Christensen and James Earl Jones) Imperial Star Destroyer, which set up the one possible direction the show could go: Obi-Wan Kenobi splitting ways with Leia and the group in order to lure Vader away. Vader takes the bait, leading to what we’ve all been waiting for: A one-on-one showdown between the former master and apprentice.
It absolutely delivers, not only as an interesting fight that uses a mix of lightsaber and physical combat, but also as a charged character conflict. Since the beginning of the show, Obi-Wan has blamed himself for Anakin Skywalker’s fall to the dark side and transformation into Darth Vader, which defined his character as an unhappy man in exile who can’t live with his own failures.
Likewise, Vader is seething with rage and aching for revenge against his former master, who left him physically deformed and on the brink of death in their climatic battle at the end of “Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith.” Part of Vader is also no doubt really bothered by the fact that Obi-Wan is one of the few jedi that have evaded him, and whom is he unsure if he has surpassed. He also represents one of the few people left connected to his old identity of Anakin Skywalker — the two have history together, and in their fight, it’s clear that his personal relationship with Obi-Wan tugged him a little to the light side of the force and weakened him.
It is in this climactic duel that Obi-Wan finally gets closure for all the horrific things Anakin did in “Episode III” (among others, killing children); Vader outright admits that he is not Obi-Wan’s failure, and that he alone is responsible for his own actions.
We also get some funny business with Reva Sevander/Third Sister (Moses Ingram), who was wounded last episode and learned of the location of Luke Skywalker (Grant Freely), and as such tries to kill him. However, his Uncle Owen (Joel Edgerton) and Aunt Beru (Bonnie Piesse) are packing heat and end up wounding her further. Without spoiling much, she’s left at an interesting place by the episode’s conclusion, as she can’t help but see herself in Luke.
We even get a special cameo from a certain jedi master that’s been teased throughout the series.
Overall, this was the strongest episode of the series. It tied up all the loose ends it needed to, and gave us some truly wonderful character moments between Obi-Wan and Vader. There’s so much pain between the two, and it is only when Obi-Wan truly allows himself let Anakin go and stop blaming himself for how he turned out that he free from his torment and able to overcome Vader.
I can see the outcome of their duel being criticized by fans, but (without spoiling it) I’m not sure how else the duel could have ended. This show as a hole has a major issue in that neither Vader or Obi-Wan can die because both appear later in “Star Wars: Episode IV — A New Hope.”
Now that the series in its entirety is out, it hasn’t always been a smooth ride, but the series had a really strong landing. There have been a lot of complaints on the amount of filler that’s in this show, but memory of that will fade with time. Much like the prequels that McGregor and Christensen starred in, what will stick out are the powerful and unique moments this show has achieved.
“Obi-Wan Kenobi” Season 1: Part VI gets a 9.6/10
“Obi-Wan Kenobi” Season 1 gets an 8/10