Princess Leia has been captured. She’s aboard an impenetrable structure run by the Empire and our heroes must infiltrate it to rescue her. Wait, are we talking about Star Wars: A New Hope or the latest episode of Obi-Wan Kenobi? They’re both episode fours. Frankly, it could be either, which was one of the cooler aspects of the fourth and latest episode of Disney+’s new Star Wars show. It also borrowed heavily from the excellent video game Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, and yet we still have some mixed feelings. Let’s dive in.
When last we left our favourite Jedi Master turned hermit, Obi-Wan (Ewan McGregor) had been burned by his old pal Darth Vader (Hayden Christensen), while Princess Leia (Vivien Lyra Blair) had been captured by the Third Sister Inquisitor, Reva (Moses Ingram). I assumed more would be made of the fact Vader did to Obi-Wan what Obi-Wan did to him — leave him to burn in flames — but Obi-Wan’s scars are merely a bump in the road for the Jedi. Tala (Indira Varma) brings Kenobi to Jabiim and throws him in a bacta tank, but the tank mostly lets Kenobi’s mind run wild. He can’t stop thinking about Anakin when, like a person who leaves the house without their wallet, he finally realises he’s missing something: Leia. Tala introduces him to a new character named Roken (O’Shea Jackson Jr.) who is not happy Kenobi is there.
Roken knows how valuable Ben is to the Empire and, since the Inquisitors killed his Force-sensitive wife, he’d rather keep away. That sentiment lasts all but two seconds though as Roken quickly agrees to help Kenobi. He reveals Leia’s most likely location is the Fortress Inquisitorius on Nur, which this band of would-be Rebels has an awfully impressive amount of information on (they know Vader is on his ship? Do they have a live feed?), and Obi-Wan decides he has to go there. Tala says she’ll go too, as her status with the Empire should get them on board. And so it begins.
Meanwhile over on the Fortress Inquisitorius, Reva is interrogating Leia hard. She knows the young princess has information on the Path, the nickname given to the underground network where Jedi and other Force-sensitives are being smuggled and hidden, and she wants it. She tells Leia that Obi-Wan is dead and even with that knowledge, Leia won’t budge. In fact, she messes with Reva and fights her attempts to use the Force to suck the information out, both of which almost gain Leia Reva’s respect (or so I read from Ingram’s performance, which is taken up a further notch in this episode, and remains a consistent highlight of the show). Eventually, though, Reva has had it, and decides it’s time to get the information the old fashion way: torture. Yes, Star Wars is about to torture a young child.
As this is happening, Tala arrives at the Fortress and it’s simply gorgeous. Seriously I just wanted her to stop walking through the hangar so I could explore the frame and see all the bells and whistles. Which, coincidentally enough, is what you can do in Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order — because the entire final level takes place here. When someone in the episode says they don’t know anything about the Fortress, I half expected Cal Kestis to pop in with a quick “Hello there.” But, alas, nothing.
Back to the episode. Tala has to get Obi-Wan into the Fortress. Which she does, though she encounters a significant amount of resistance from her “fellow” Imperials. At every turn, officers just have that gut instinct that Tala shouldn’t be there. So much so that, eventually, she has to murder one to keep her cover. It adds a nice extra level of suspense as Obi-Wan enters from under the water (a very cool moment, and also very Fallen Order!) and sneaks through the hallways looking for Leia.
As Kenobi explores the Fortress, avoiding seeker droids along the way, he eventually enters a place we haven’t seen before: a tomb the Inquisitors keep in their Fortress filled with Jedi and Force-sensitive people alike. It’s a shocking moment but, for Star Wars fans, ripe with possibilities. However, though you can feel free to correct us in the comments, the only recognisable person we saw looks like Jedi Master Tera Sinube, first introduced in The Clone Wars. That, and a Youngling, which says everything we need to know about the Inquisitors.
At Kenobi’s request, Tala distracts Reva so that he can rescue Leia. The resulting visuals — the red-lit torture room illuminated by the bright blue lightsaber swinging around — were excellent. However, Reva fairly quickly realises that Tala is lying to her about everything. Both actresses give excellent performances in this scene, Varma especially, because at times I thought she was telling the truth about being a triple agent. Other times you could see why Reva thought she was lying. It’s all very nuanced, and tense in the way a classic “disguised hero caught red-handed” moment should be. But it’s all cut short: just as Reva is about to mess Tala up, the alarms sound. Obi-Wan Kenobi and Princess Leia have been found out.
What results is a fun action sequence where Obi-Wan breaks out his lightsaber to slice up some Stormtroopers and Purge Troopers, deflect some blaster shots, and even use the Force to drown a bunch of people. Again, this whole conceit of Leia being captured, interrogated, rescued, and the heroes have to fight their way out is pure A New Hope. And the idea of a Jedi infiltrating the Fortress to help Jedi at large is very Fallen Order. A nice blend of the new school and old school. But it’s an important moment for Obi-Wan too, still struggling with a return to his “old” self, slowly but surely stepping back into that noble role because he has to for Leia.
Obi-Wan and Leia reunite with Tala and have one more room to traverse in order to escape: the hangar bay, which is bustling with Imperial activity. Wearing not-so-convincing disguises, but good enough in the chaos, the trio almost makes it to Tala’s ship… until Reva arrives. She calls them out and is ready to make good on her promise to Lord Vader about bringing in the Jedi when, out of nowhere, a pair of ships arrive and start firing. It’s a pair of T-47 airspeeders (several of which you saw retrofitted for the snow in The Empire Strikes Back) who blow away a bunch of troopers and cause enough of a distraction so one ship flown by one of the Jabiim Path networkers, Sully (Pen15‘s Maya Erskine), can rescue Tala, Leia, and Obi-Wan. As they’re getting away though, the Fifth Brother (Sung Kang), who has spent the episode just livid at Reva, shames her into blowing up the other ship, flown by a pilot named Wade. RIP Wade.
Obi-Wan, Leia, and Tala are safe thanks to Roken sending in his friends, but Darth Vader is not happy. He’s about to kill Reva over her failure to secure Kenobi when she mentions that she put a tracker on them. This pleases the Sith Lord and he lets her go. The episode ends with Leia holding Obi-Wan’s hand in a loving way and her droid, Lola, beeping red because we realise the tracker isn’t on one of the ships: it’s on Leia’s droid. Which will lead Vader and Reva not just to Kenobi, necessarily, but to his biological daughter.
I have to be honest here. I have very mixed feelings about this episode of Obi-Wan Kenobi. On the one hand, it was a super fun rescue mission with excellent action. I loved the new characters, and exploring the Fortress Inquisitorius was wonderful. There’s also the fact the episode really locks in the trust and bond between Obi-Wan and Leia which plays out in A New Hope. On the flip side, we’ve now seen four episodes of Obi-Wan Kenobi and two of them are about him rescuing Leia from being kidnapped. Obviously, that’s a high-stakes, dramatic situation — especially here — but I couldn’t help but feel a tiny bit cheated out of a new story when not only had we seen this story two episodes ago, but in the movies and games as well.
Nevertheless, there are two episodes of Obi-Wan Kenobi left and so many questions to be answered. Where’s the Grand Inquisitor? Will we see Vader and Leia meet for the first time? Does Reva survive? And where do things leave off between Kenobi and Vader in a way that sends the Jedi back to Tatooine to watch over Luke? We’ll find out soon.
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