The rematch of the century has at long last come to fruition. This Obi-Wan Kenobi finale review explains how Part 6 gives Star Wars fans exactly what they were hoping for going into this series.
Ewan McGregor and Moses Ingram both perform very well to give Obi-Wan and Reva very satisfying resolutions. However, the pacing doesn’t capture the drama as well as it could.
Obi-Wan Kenobi is available on Disney Plus.
This Obi-Wan Kenobi finale review may contain spoilers.
Story: Obi-Wan and Reva Finding Peace
This is an action-heavy episode, so the writing is rather simple. Ultimately, the resolution of this series is about finding peace. Obi-Wan and Reva needed to experience the events of Part 6 to obtain whatever amount of closure they could from their pasts. Thus, reaching new levels of contentment.
Obi-Wan’s arc is particularly well done because it serves as a great transition from Ewan McGregor’s Obi-Wan into Alec Guinness’s Obi-Wan. He starts out a broken man with many regrets. Obi-Wan confronts those demons by looking what’s left of Anakin in the eye and apologizing for his role in what’s happened to him. While Obi-Wan doesn’t get the result he’s hoping for, confronting his regrets does give him the closure he needs to move on. Then he transforms into the wise and content man that sets Luke on his path in A New Hope.
Characters and Performances: Healing Tears
Ewan McGregor’s best moment is when Obi-Wan finally looks at what’s left of his old friend. Upon seeing Anakin’s miserable state, he is nearly reduced to tears. Which is very out of character for Obi-Wan, and this is the perfect moment for it. Anakin is the embodiment of everything that Obi-Wan needs to confront, and facing all that pushes him further past his emotional limit than anything has before. McGregor acts this out by faltering his voice and holding back the tears, which is the perfect way for Obi-Wan to have this moment.
Hayden Christensen was only unmasked briefly, but he made it very meaningful. The grin as he told Obi-Wan that it was really him that killed Anakin both shows that Anakin’s ego is still in there, and that Vader is more a monster than a person. Finally, that yell at the end gives the audience goosebumps because it puts just how tragic Vader’s endless desire for victory truly is.
Moses Ingram gave Reva a good ending as well. Her inner conflict is felt when she stands over Luke with the chance to kill him. This turmoil continues when she brings Luke back to the farm. She sobs because she feels that she has failed to avenge her fallen friends. Her limp shoulders go a long way in conveying that she feels like a failure. Obi-Wan assures her that they would not want revenge and that she can bring them peace by realizing that. This arc has a very open-ended conclusion, so Star Wars fans may see Reva again in other shows.
Pacing and Editing: Sacrifices Tension For Even Pace
Here’s the major point of criticism in this Obi-Wan Kenobi finale review. The finale begins on Tatooine, where Reva intimidates a water merchant for information about Owen. Following that, the scene cuts to the ship that Obi-Wan and Leia escaped on being chased by Vader’s Star Destroyer. This order doesn’t make sense considering how the previous episode ended. Reva was left alone, badly injured, and without a ship, just before Vader began his pursuit. Yet she improvised a bandage and traveled to Tatooine before Vader’s Star Destroyer caught up to Obi-Wan’s ship? That seems very unlikely.
There are more cuts between the Obi-Wan storyline and the Tatooine storyline throughout the rest of the finale. In addition to the timing not adding up, these constant interjections undermine the tension between Obi-Wan and Vader. Ultimately, these cuts sacrifice dramatic tension for the sake of pacing each arc evenly. That whole storyline building up to and during the duel would be so much more dramatic if the cuts to the Tatooine storyline were placed differently.
Here’s how the first few scenes of the finale could have been ordered to avoid sacrificing the tension. The episode opens with Vader’s Star Destroyer chasing Obi-Wan’s ship. Followed by Obi-Wan trying to convince everyone that he should leave. He then talks to Leia and leaves to face Vader. Onboard the Star Destroyer, Vader leaves to meet Obi-Wan. Now, in this brief window of time, the Tatooine storyline begins with Reva at the water merchant’s stand. Then the scene cuts back to Vader landing on the planet’s surface and the whole duel proceeds uninterrupted. After that, the remainder of the Tatooine storyline is told in the order that it was shown in, followed by the conclusion scenes.
That order would effectively utilize the tension of the encounter between Obi-Wan and Vader.
Cinematography and Sound: Facing What’s Left Of Anakin
This episode’s main event is the lightsaber duel between Obi-Wan and Darth Vader. It’s well choreographed, well-acted, well shot, and the sound of those sabers clashing is epic. Also, it has some elements of both the training duel that was shown in Part 5, and the Mustafar duel from Revenge of the Sith. The cuts to the Tatooine storyline are the only flaw.
Darth Vader Unmasked
The best directed moment of Part 6, and the whole series, is when Vader’s mask is broken. The light shining on Vader’s face is mostly the red glow coming from his lightsaber, but just after Obi-Wan’s apology the light from his blue lightsaber shines through a little bit, making Vader’s face briefly turn purple. This symbolizes Obi-Wan’s words reaching Anakin, which is what Obi-Wan needed to get closure and move on with his life.
Following that, the shot where Vader falls to the ground and yells “Obi-Wan” is the best shot of the finale. It uses Vader’s terrible physical state along with the angle to show how sad and pathetic his mental state is as well. Finally, that yell is awesomely eerie, and it tops Maul’s similar moment in Rebels.