Friday, May 27, 2022

REVIEW: 'Obi-Wan Kenobi' - A Rescue Mission Forces Obi-Wan to Reckon With the Power That Now Lords Over the Galaxy in 'Part II'

Disney+'s Obi-Wan Kenobi - Episode 1.02 "Part II"

On a dangerous crime-ridden world, Obi-Wan becomes a target.

"Part II" was directed by Deborah Chow with story by Stuart Beattie & Hossein Amini and teleplay by Joby Harold

For a decade, Obi-Wan has denied the ways of the Jedi. He lived in hiding because that was the only way to survive. He couldn't provide salvation for other Jedi who sought him out. They only ended up dying. That's the ultimate fate as dictated by the powers of the world. Obi-Wan has to live a small existence. He can only focus on menial tasks and surviving long enough to train Luke. That's his mission. He is taken out of that comfort because Leia was taken. He tracks her down across the universe. In doing so, he confirms Reva's suspicions that Obi-Wan and Bail Organa remain indebted to one another. That's a connection that can fruitfully be exploited. It goes against the ways of the Inquisitors. However, Reva is willing to do anything to obtain this massive bounty. Obi-Wan is the only Jedi of value. He's the only one with a history with Darth Vader. Of course, Obi-Wan doesn't even know his padawan is still alive. He has no idea what Darth Sidious has done to him. And yes, the first glimpse of Darth Vader isn't him in his trademark mask. The breathing sound effects ring out still. However, it showcases a man traumatized by the world but still alive. Obi-Wan has lived a life in hiding fearing the worst. The threats are so much worse than he previously believed. That's stunning. He had to become the man he once was for this mission. However, he's reluctant to wield his lightsaber or use the force. Of course, he still calls out for his former master, Qui-Gon. He still seeks to train his mind. That hasn't produced many results. Instead, he has only grown harden against the world. No one wants anything to do with him. Him opening up to anyone may only invite more threats into his life. He can't risk that. He needs Leia to understand the magnitude of him coming to save her. Instead, she runs away because he gives her no reason to trust him. She rightfully deduces that he's hiding things from her. She also realizes he was the reason why she was taken. Her life was placed in danger simply because someone was hoping to get to him. Reva notes it's not the most heinous thing the Inquisitors have ever done. She took action when others were too scared or complacent. No one wanted to believe hunting Obi-Wan was still a worthwhile endeavor. Reva could see how tantalizing the prize still was. She puts things into motion. She yearns to be respected by those who follow the same cause. Obi-Wan knows the Inquisitors are well-trained. They are Jedi who surrendered to the dark side. They cannot be redeemed. They made their choices. Even then, a social hierarchy exists with Reva being treated as less than even though she still rules with absolute viciousness.

Obi-Wan must rely on hope in order to escape this situation on Daiyu. It's a lie when he's told a Jedi lives below the city willing to help those in need. Instead, it's nothing more than a con man capable of deceiving people. However, Haja really does help people in dire need for a price. Obi-Wan can see through the illusion right away. Meaningful information is still provided. In fact, all those connected to the force understand the priority Haja has in this narrative. He yearns to be of service. He fulfills that role. He can only stop Reva for so long. She spends this adventure mostly leaping from building to building in epic displays of physical prowess. It's impressive seeing young Leia do the same. She wants to escape this dangerous situation. She doesn't believe Obi-Wan is trustworthy. She needs to experience his good nature. After that, she is more than willing to open his eyes to a new perspective. That's enriching to his worldview as well. It's something he hasn't had in a long time. It reminds him of Padmé. He's proud to see the characteristics passed on to her daughter. He feared Luke was mimicking his father on Tatooine. He wanted to intervene but was denied from doing so by Owen. That's more worrisome because Obi-Wan knows the path Anakin walked. He wants to save others from succumbing to the same temptation. He sees Padmé's spirit in Leia. That's rewarding. He cherishes that. However, he's still terrified over what he has to become to save her. His fear calls out to Reva. She is more than capable of tracking him down and confronting him. She knows to bring him in alive so Darth Vader can celebrate the glory of killing his former master. That's where all of this needs to inevitably go. That's not an outcome that can happen quite yet. That means Reva is interrupted when it comes time for this confrontation. That delays Obi-Wan having to fully become a Jedi once more. He can make a quick escape with Leia. They make it off planet without having to battle the person who made all this happen. Instead, Reva simply refuses to let anyone take this potential glory away from her. She is more devoted to the cause than anyone else. She won't let the Grand Inquisitor steal recognition for this scheme. She continues to put plans into motion. They work because she looks out at the city and sees where the attention goes. She needs people to hunt down Obi-Wan so it's easier to locate him. She goes against what her fellow Inquisitors want to do. It's helpful for a brief moment. It still only builds to her killing the Grand Inquisitor. That's her leaving her mark and ensuing nothing can stand in her way. She will hunt down Obi-Wan regardless of what anyone else demands. That may bring her closer to Darth Vader. Yet Obi-Wan remains terrified of the darkness that still radiates through this world. His connection to Anakin's children is bright. However, the extent of the threats against them is more pronounced than he was ever willing to admit. He was blind to it for too long. He must now reckon with that even while knowing he's powerless to stop the world at large from embracing this darkness.