Wednesday, June 15, 2022

REVIEW: 'Obi-Wan Kenobi' - Obi-Wan Recognizes Darth Vader's Attack Patterns While Reva's True Motives Are Revealed in 'Part V'

Disney+'s Obi-Wan Kenobi - Episode 1.05 "Part V"

Imperial forces attempt to draw Obi-Wan out.

"Part V" was written by Joby Harold & Andrew Stanton and directed by Deborah Chow

For two decades, Luke Skywalker was largely protected from the harsh realities of war throughout the Galactic Empire. Leia hasn't had that same luxury. At 10 years old, she was kidnapped and had to quickly adapt to a disjointed resistance in order to return home. Her spirit burns so brightly. She remains a crucial asset in the field. Her importance radiates from a young age. Bail and Breha Organa tried their best to keep her safe. Obi-Wan has faced the same burden. He knows exactly how powerful Darth Vader has become. He remains horrified over the past. He fears he has failed his mission. No secret stays buried for long. These individuals understand each other so well. It's hard to fool any of them. Parts of this story are already set in stone. However, this series has set out to demonstrate the harsh realities of what it took to remain steadfast in opposition to the dark forces. To Obi-Wan, Darth Vader will always be Anakin Skywalker. His young padawan was turned by the dark side. His abilities in battle are still the same as they always were. Obi-Wan trained Anakin to be mindful beyond simply being as vicious and strong in combat. It's also necessary to be aware of one's surroundings and the weak spots of one's opponent. Obi-Wan knows Darth Vader is blinded by his quest for vengeance. He needs to kill one of the last remaining connections to his past. And yet, that history is so important. Luke and Leia are in the dark about it for a long time. It's only upon gaining that clarity that they offer their father a path towards redemption. Even then, it's still positioned as a grand sacrifice in the name of doing something good. It's a return to a once simpler nature. At this precise moment, Darth Vader is consumed by the darkness. That doesn't make him blind to the other threats against him. Throughout the season, it's been clear a crucial aspect of Reva's story was missing. Context clues made the inevitable reveal seem obvious. She was at the Jedi temple when Order 66 was issued. She survived that massacre by pretending to be dead. As such, she's motivated by seeking vengeance against the man who took away the only family she ever knew. However, it's largely an open secret. The other inquisitors have long demeaned her because they knew where she came from. They knew her past connection to the Jedi. She has fought to prove herself. That creates a parallel between her and Darth Vader. Obi-Wan similarly told Anakin he was forever prevented from becoming a great Jedi if he only cared about proving that he belonged. Darth Vader understands the impulse within Reva. As such, he's never truly betrayed by her actions. It's simply a matter of when she strikes against him.

Of course, the narrative also makes it incredible convenient when two characters survive being stabbed in the chest with a lightsaber. It's meant to be a massive reveal when the Grand Inquisitor returns to prove how Reva hasn't been successful with anything she's strived to do all season. She betrayed what she professed her loyalty to. It was all for nothing. She isn't killed though. Instead, she makes the grand discovery that there is another child of importance. Luke is living in tranquillity on Tatooine. Obi-Wan can sense the great danger he's in. He's powerless to stop any of it from occurring. He knows when to fight and when to buy time to save lives elsewhere. Obi-Wan comes to understand what motivates Reva. He uses that to his advantage. He wants to get the resistance to safety. That includes protecting Leia. In doing so, he must confront his padawan. He knows how to manipulate the situation to his benefit. The Force reveals so much. Darth Vader is powerful with it. That's on display when he grounds and tears apart a ship. All he needs is the Force in order to defeat Reva in battle. He's also just as impressive with a lightsaber. Reva is no match for him. But this episode is about sacrifice and what it means for those left behind. Obi-Wan and Tala can never forget the past. They can simply act in a way to potentially make up for it. Obi-Wan couldn't save the younglings when Anakin attacked. Tala was tricked into believing the Empire was good. And now, she's willing to sacrifice herself to disrupt Reva's invasion. It's still not enough. These conflicts are agonizing and drawn out. The resistance can escape but the danger never truly leaves them. That's been a predominate aspect of the entire franchise. The world is never safe for too long. People feel hopeful about the world that can emerge once these forces of evil are removed from power. It's simply so much trickier to make that a reality. It forces people to wear their emotions on their sleeves. They have to fight for what they believe in. They require others to also operate in good faith. That is never a guarantee. Instead, this world is full of corruption. Power is so easily corrosive. The lure of the dark side is appealing. Darth Vader wields so much power. Again, that's not enough to defeat Obi-Wan. He doesn't achieve what he ultimately wants. Even when that ultimately does occur, it's a hollow victory because the next generation of the conflict has already risen. Obi-Wan receives that dignity and grace eventually. Right now, he's simply terrified and weary. He's seen the brutality of this conflict. He's fought to keep Leia safe. He's pushed her into more danger. Darth Vader is still coming. Meanwhile, Luke is now in danger from Reva. Her injuries may prevent her from taking immediate action. That impulse is still present in a world where people are fundamentally reduced down to the choices between good and evil they take on a daily basis.