A Wretched Hive of Scum and Villainy – Review of “Obi-Wan Kenobi” Part Two

With two episodes of Obi-Wan Kenobi dropping on the same day, I felt it was easier to break up the reviews by episode rather than do a single review for both. Part Two of Obi-Wan­ Kenobi finds our erstwhile Jedi hero traveling to the planet Daiyu to rescue the kidnapped Princess Leia Organa. While there, Obi-Wan comes face-to-face with his own past and the fateful choice he made ten years previously during Revenge of the Sith.

Spoilers ahead, so don’t read if you haven’t watched Part Two of Obi-Wan Kenobi.

The planet Daiyu is a new addition to the Star Wars cannon and fits the bill for a largely lawless den of bounty hunters, spice traders, and criminals.  One of the more heart wrenching moments early on is Kenobi coming across a disheveled Clone Trooper (played by Temura Morrison). For a brief moment, Kenobi is stuck with fear, remembering the role the Clone Army played in executing Order 66 and wiping out the Jedi. But this is Obi-Wan, so his compassion takes over and he gives the trooper a few credits. It’s a quick scene but it reinforces the idea that while the Clones were the tools used to eradicate the Jedi Order, they were discarded just as quickly by the Empire (a fact shown most clearly in Star Wars: The Bad Batch). As Kenobi make his way into the city, he is accosted by a young woman who wants to sell him spice (one of the most prevalent narcotics in the Star Wars universe). She slips Kenobi a glass jar of the sand-like substance into his robe, which will come in handy later.

Looking for answers, Kenobi is soon led by a street urchin to Haja Estree (played to perfection by Kumail Najiani), a con man who convinces people he’s a Jedi in order to bilk them out of credits but also ensures they make it safely off-world. To say that Kenobi is non-plussed that someone is impersonating a Jedi to rip people off is an understatement. This is not the same Kenobi who considered blasters as an uncivilized weapon back in Revenge of the Sith. Here, he holds a gun to Haja and demands to know where someone like Leia might be kept without giving away that he’s a Jedi.

I like how this episode was structured, particularly with Obi-Wan having to come up with underhanded means of reaching Leia. For those that have watched Star Wars: The Clone Wars, we know that Obi-Wan is comfortable in an espionage role but this is something far different. Without any kind of backup, Obi-Wan has to approach this task with trepidation and more than a little fear. Using his wits, he manages to make it into the holding area where Leia is being kept, only to be attacked and restrained by Vect Nokru and the bounty hunters that kidnapped Leia in the first episode. Using the jar of spice he received earlier and a breathing mask he nicked to get in to the building, Obi-Wan is able to overpower the bounty hunters and eventually find Leia.

While I’ve never been a big fan of child characters in stories, I have to give a massive amount of credit to Vivien Lyra Blair as the young Princess Leia. I found it endlessly amusing in the first two episodes that such a tiny person could cast that much shade at the adults around her. While precocious and stubborn, Leia is insightful and respectful, showing the seeds of the passionate Senator and freedom fighter we will see in the Original Trilogy. The scenes between Leia and Obi-Wan are fun to watch, particularly once Leia fouls things up by trying to run away after the Third Sister broadcasts a bounty for Obi-Wan to the entire planet. With the Inquisitors now hunting him and Leia trying to run away, Obi-Wan is caught in a terrible predicament.

When Leia tries to jump across rooftops and fails, Obi-Wan has to make a snap decision to save her, calling upon the Force to stop her descent to the ground below. We see the strain it takes for Obi-Wan to do something that ten years before would have been an easy accomplishment, showing that Obi-Wan has essentially cut himself off from feeling the Force during his exile. It is only after she is saved does Leia begin to trust Obi-Wan and go with him willingly. And with the unexpected help of Haja, Obi-Wan and Leia have a way to get off Daiyu that won’t cause them to run afoul of the Empire.

A small subplot that develops in Part Two of Obi-Wan Kenobi is the ambitions of the Inquisitors, specifically Reva (the Third Sister). When the Grand Inquisitor arrives and reprimands Reva for kidnapping an Imperial Senator’s daughter to lure out Kenobi, you can see Reva bristle with barely contained rage. Whatever is driving Reva to pursue Obi-Wan with such single-minded zeal is deeply rooted. As I mentioned in my last review, it would not surprise me if Reva is one of the Jedi Younglings shown in the opening minutes of the series and she somehow blames Obi-Wan for what happened to her.

The confrontation at the end of the episode was tense for all the right reasons. Obi-Wan is still reluctant to use his lightsaber, preferring instead to hide and direct Leia to prep the barge they’ll use to escape. But when Reva explains that Darth Vader is still alive, Obi-Wan freezes. Based on his expression, Obi-Wan was convinced that Anakin had died on Mustafar. The revelation that he left his friend and brother behind to live a tortured existence shatters something in Obi-Wan. The arrival of the Grand Inquisitor and Reva striking down her superior gives Obi-Wan the break he needs to escape with Leia. But as the episode comes to a close, Obi-Wan stares off in the distance, only managing to whisper Anakin’s name.

Darth Vader Awakens. Source

Which then leads to a jump cut to a badly-scarred man with a respirator floating in a pool of liquid (a bacta tank). Darth Vader’s eyes snap open, revealing the yellow-rimed eyes he possessed on Mustafar just before he was immolated. Vader is now aware that Obi-Wan is alive and from the rage-filled expression on his face, the man formerly known as Anakin Skywalker is going to want a reunion with his former master.

Two episodes down and already Obi-Wan Kenobi is shaping up to be an excellent entry in Star Wars television. The slow build-up of the first episode pays off in the second, with Obi-Wan having to connive his way into rescuing Leia, only to have Leia complicate matters even further. There are bound to be more twists and turns in the coming episodes and I can’t wait to see how things play out.

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