Don’t you do this to me, Star Wars. Not now, not today, you can’t do this to me seventeen years later.
Vader’s Star Destroyer is chasing the escaped ship, but their shields are dying and their hyperdrive is ruined. Obi-Wan decides that he must give himself up to Vader in order to distract him; Leia doesn’t want to hear it, though he tries to convince her. The refugees and Roken all try to argue him down too, but Roken finally realizes that something about this is personal, and lets him go (Leia sends Lola with him). Vader, sure enough, insists on following Obi-Wan’s little escape ship to a nearby planet. As they meet for a final clash, Reva arrives on Tatooine and asks a local about the location of Owen Lars. Said local warns Owen when he comes to town with Luke to pick up a repair part for their speeder.
Obi-Wan and Vader enter into a lightsaber fight. Vader is impressed that Obi-Wan’s strength has returned to him, and they both begin using the Force to throw boulders and rock pillars at each other. Eventually, Vader opens a hole in the ground and buries Obi-Wan, then leaves him there. Obi-Wan struggles to emerge until he thinks of Leia and Luke—he makes it out from under the debris. On Tatooine, Owen comes home and tells Beru (Bonnie Piesse) that someone is coming for Luke. He means for them to run, but Beru believes they’ll have a better chance of standing and fighting. They prepare their home for an attack and hide Luke in a closed room with one escape route, telling him its Tuskens that they’re worried about.
Obi-Wan gains the upper hand in his fight with Vader, breaking his breathing apparatus and slicing open his helmet. Finally, he can see Anakin inside and makes the choice to talk to him: He apologizes for everything, and Anakin in turn tells Obi-Wan that the fate of his apprentice was not his failure—that Anakin is dead and Vader is the one who killed him. Obi-Wan accepts that Anakin is gone and leaves a beaten Vader there alone. Reva attacks the Lars homestead, fights off Owen and Beru, and sees Luke escape out of his panic room. She heads after him and chases him through a rock scramble, but Luke falls and hits his head, unconscious by the time she reaches him. Reva draws her lightsaber to kill the boy, but flashes back to herself in the Jedi Temple as a child.
Obi-Wan rushes back to Tatooine and lands at the Lars home, finding Owen and Beru frantically calling for Luke. Reva returns with Luke in her arms, but he’s unharmed. Owen and Beru rush the boy away, leaving Obi-Wan to talk to Reva. She feels ashamed for not avenging her peers, but he assures her that this action honors them far more than murder would have. He tells her that whoever she wants to become is her choice now. Reva leaves her lightsaber in the sand.
On Alderaan, Leia dresses herself in clothes she prefers and the blaster holster that Obi-Wan gifted her. Breha brings her out to meet their next guest—it’s Obi-Wan, who returns Lola to Leia and tells her that she is very much like both of her parents. He gives her a hug and promises to be available to Bail should they need him again. Back on Tatooine, Obi-Wan cleans out his cave and brings the toy he meant to give Luke back to the Lars home, promising that he won’t bother them again: He agrees that Luke needs to grow up as a normal boy. Owen asks if he’d like to meet the kid, and Obi-Wan agrees. As he heads back into the desert, the ghost of Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson) is waiting for him; he’d always been around, but Obi-Wan hadn’t been able to connect with him before now. Their journey begins.
How… dare they??
The thing is, I’d been hoping they’d use this exact device because they used it to such great effect in Vader’s confrontation with Ahsoka in Rebels. Slicing at the helmet so that we get this heartbreaking interchange between Vader and Anakin is the smart move, and even though they’ve done it before, they were right to reuse it. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, just hurt me with it.
But, look… I will never recover from the fact that the end of this fight is about both of them giving each other what they need. This isn’t actually a battle, it’s catharsis that they’re offering each other freely because they can’t help themselves. This entire confrontation culminates in saying the right words so that they can each walk away from it stronger. Obi-Wan finally apologizes to Anakin, acknowledges his mistakes, reveals how badly the loss has scarred him. Anakin tells Obi-Wan that he is not the man’s personal failing—that Anakin Skywalker was murdered by Darth Vader. And it’s important because this is about contextualizing the narrative that Obi-Wan will eventually give Luke in the trilogy, his “from a certain point of view” nonsense. But we didn’t know that it was Anakin who gave that to him. Anakin releasing him from fault and owning his own part in his fall. Anakin telling Obi-Wan that it’s okay to let him go.
And it hurts all the more because this impulse is precisely what Luke sees in Vader, that scrap of agonized decency that convinces him that his father is still under that mask somewhere, waiting to be redeemed. What Obi-Wan takes as the final word on Anakin’s existence, Luke sees as the ruse it really is. Tragedy in Star Wars works because of its inability to go anything less than Full Fucking Opera: This, right here, is where it’s at. This is what we came for. Let it soak in, seep between the cracks of your sarcasm and incredulity. Let them ruin you—it’s what they do best.
I am inconsolable. I’ll be fine.
You can leave me here, thinking of Anakin Skywalker giving his best friend the ability to walk away from him again, miraculously less broken than the last time. Thinking of Obi-Wan Kenobi taking the out that his apprentice is giving him with both hands and hauling ass away from that planet, choosing to believe that Vader killed the man he loved with all his heart. Thinking of Anakin surviving that savage beating on the words I’m sorry, for all of it because he never imagined that he’d get to hear them. Thinking of Obi-Wan channeling all the grief he feels for Anakin into loving his children instead.
All of this means I’ll let go of the little things in this episode, like the fact that the escaped ship is somehow evading a Star Destroyer that should have enough firepower to destroy it in a few hits, and also a tractor beam to pull them in. (Is Vader playing with his food here? Maybe, but then you need to say so. …please say so, in fact.) Or the fact that they definitely neglected to tell us that maybe all of these refugees are Path operatives? Which seems like a big deal and also a ridiculous, bad idea? Also, why couldn’t the Star Destroyer just keep up pursuit if Vader and Obi-Wan are both using tiny ships to go after each other? This is real basic stuff, friends.
Add to that, the timeline is utterly borked because Reva gets to Tatooine in maybe five minutes? But I will admit to loving the misguided, but utterly badass way that Beru insists upon defending their home, and Owen’s relative discomfiture over this revelation about his wife. Not a good plan, but also oddly endearing watching the two of them make the attempt. They do love that boy, even if they’ve got no idea how to raise or protect him.
I’ll stay mad over the fact that Reva got none of the character development she deserved, but the end of her part in this story was solid. I’d mentioned before that I was expecting the redemption arc, but I appreciate that following said redemption, we actually get a moment where Obi-Wan validates what Reva’s been through and how she feels. It’s not enough, but the exchange is still beautifully done, and of course, we get the chance at seeing more of her in the future. (Because this is what Star Wars is now. However, should I get to see Obi-Wan and Reva team up some time, I might forgive some things.)
We finally get a spot where Obi-Wan acknowledges that Leia has two whole parents, and that she takes after both of them. The fact that he thought of her and Luke to gain the strength he needed to continue fighting is a thing that I’m not prepared to handle right now, come back to me in a few… years, I dunno. I also love that he gifts a ten-year-old a blaster holster, not because that makes any sense whatsoever, but because Breha sees that on her child and is like “…you know what, I’m gonna let that one slide.”
And then, of course, we got the cameo we’ve all been hoping for: It’s Qui-Gon Jinn, back to teach Obi-Wan how to Force ghost himself, and maybe offer up a decade’s worth of free therapy after up and leaving him at the worst possible moment in life. Look at the (blue) man. We’ve only waited decades for this reunion. (No one remembers the one that happened in Clone Wars, it was complicated, okay?) Of course, now I want another series, which is just Qui-Gon’s ghost every time he was trying to reach out to Obi-Wan and unable to throughout his life. Star Wars sitcoms, what have I been saying.
This series left itself wide open for another season, which everyone involved has already publicly endorsed, if they can find the right story. I admit to utter hypocrisy on this one: The series itself has been pretty messy in terms of writing, but if Ewan McGregor and Hayden Christensen want to keep going and get some much-needed closure on these roles, then I want that for them. I can feel both ways about that.
Sand and Jawa Junk:
- Obi-Wan got the final con in on Haja Estree, though. Letting the man know he’ll take him at his word despite everything he’s done? Oh, it’s over. Estree must do good things from now on because one actual Jedi believed in him.
- The weird
lowhigh key arousal in Vader’s voice when he realizes that Obi-Wan has his groove back and that’s resulting in him actually enjoying the fight? Take it easy, honey.
- I’m sorry, but the stupid consistency of Obi-Wan calling him “Darth” when he doesn’t call him Anakin, like the real point is that when Obi-Wan called him that in A New Hope the naming conventions hadn’t been decided yet, but within the canon it’s been reframed as this denial of individuality on Obi-Wan’s part: If he’s not Anakin, he’s just Darth, reduced to being Sith and nothing more, and I love how sharp and petty and sad it is.
- Look, if you buy the Emperor’s ridiculous “Force dyad” thing he pushes with Rey and Kylo during the sequel trilogy, then you pretty much have to acknowledge that Palpatine missed the Force dyad right under his nose because Obi-Wan and Anakin can do all the same stuff. And this would explain how Anakin could eventually Force ghost without the training. Ahem.
- When Reva brought Luke back to the homestead I was genuinely upset for Owen and Beru because the last time someone carried a body to their home like this, it was Anakin bringing back his dead mother (who was Owen’s step-mother). So that was probably pretty horrifying for them both even without worrying about Luke’s health.
- Reva leaves her lightsaber behind like everyone else and their brother, and now I’m laughing over this idea that Tatooine is just lousy with discarded lightsabers. Everywhere you go, tripping on lightsabers. Whoops, there’s another one.
- He finally said HELLO THERE, we were all holding out for it, don’t pretend you weren’t.
- You knew Obi-Wan would eventually have to give Luke that toy because it’s the very same skyhopper that we see an older Luke messing with in A New Hope while he’s hanging out with Threepio and Artoo. Not gonna tear up about that next time I watch that at all.
Well, we’ve come to the end, friends. See you at the next Star War, I suspect.