The following recap contains spoilers.
For weeks, viewers have been teased about possible cameos, the rematch of the century, and an ending to the series that would tie in neatly with the trilogies it is wedged between. There have been doubts across various episodes, introductions to characters that people haven’t quite connected with, and complaints about quality. But episode six wasn’t just the best episode of the series – it may be the best piece of Star Wars content that we’ve ever witnessed, up there Vader and Luke’s fight in The Empire Strikes Back and Vader’s redemption in Return of the Jedi.
The episode doesn’t take long to raise the bar from all that we’ve seen in the past month. Ben Kenobi hatches a plan to lure his old Padawan away from The Path (and most of all, Leia). Darth Vader takes the bait, of course. The series has done a great job in demonstrating how obsessed the Sith Lord still is with taking down Obi Wan Kenobi above all else, much to the annoyance of the Grand Inquisitor. We arrive on a dark planet which is ideal for the flashing blue and red of lightsabers representing good versus evil. And we get to see both Obi Wan and Vader at their prime. The flash of the prequels is replaced by power and precision.
During the epic battle – the most emotional and powerful lightsaber battle ever filmed – Reva is on Tatooine searching for Owen and Luke. Despite a lightsaber going through her body, she lives and only has a limp to show for it. Owen and Beru fight gallantly to protect young Skywalker, but it is only a distraction to the real battle many planets away.
Obi Wan has regained his connection to the force and matches Vader blow for blow, rock for rock. Vader starts off stronger, burying his former Master and attainting the high ground (an opportunity missed by not commenting on this fact) but visions of Luke and Leia flash, and the battle resumes. Both use new force moves to showcase strength: Vader emits the force into a crater, while Obi Wan raises half the planet’s boulders and flings them at Vader like bullets. It’s enthralling and visually stunning. But when Obi Wan strikes Vader’s breathing unit and mask, we are gifted with one of the greatest scenes you will ever see.
‘Anakin is gone. I am what remains,’ Hayden Christensen’s disfigured Anakin says, in a section of dialogue that interchanges his voice with James Earl Jones’ robotic tone. We see a slice of burned Anakin, his eye and mouth, and it’s enough to send chills with every line. Obi Wan’s apology hits home. Ewan delivers it at Academy Award level. When we hear Vader/Anakin state that it is not Obi Wan’s fault, it feels like there is still good in him somewhere. But the final words between them are perfectly setting up A New Hope – he says he will destroy Obi Wan, and Obi Wan laments the loss of his old friend. It is here that we are treated to an epic scream of ‘Obi Wan’ that surpasses Maul’s scream of Kenobi in Star Wars: Rebels. The use of both voice actors and the robotic/human juxtaposition is enough to etch in the memory of all Star Wars fans forever. Here, Obi Wan takes the victory. See you on the Death Star, Darth.
Back to Tatooine, Reva bypasses Uncle and Aunt. She chases Luke into the desert and captures him with ease. But flashbacks of Anakin destroying younglings steadies her hand, and we see a mini-redemption as she brings Luke back and disposes of her weapon. Touching dialogue between Leia and Obi Wan beforehand brings the emotion again, as he discusses the traits she shares with her real mother and father. This brings in the force theme, music that soars and hits home due to not being used at all in the series previously. Likewise with Vader’s signature track: we see him fully recovered (well, a new helmet and machine?) talking to a familiar character. The Emperor is back, talking to Vader like an old friend in the same way that he sucked him in to the dark side initially. But Vader sheds his focus from Obi Wan, ready to unleash hell on the galaxy.
With all tied up, Obi Wan is introduced to Luke Skywalker. He utters the line ‘Hello there’ and it’s enough to end the series on a high. But there’s one more cherry for the cake. As he rides off, a force ghost appears. Qui Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson) returns for the first time (in body) since 1999. It’s a spine-tingling moment of nostalgia, a perfect finish for both characters. It feels like the end to the story of Obi Wan, despite not being chronologically last in the saga. It feels like the bow to our childhood and teenage years.
I sincerely hope it remains a limited series, because you won’t get as fitting an ending as that.
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