Into the Belly of the Beast – Recap/Review of “Obi-Wan Kenobi” Part IV

One of the arts of storytelling is juxtaposing your protagonists and antagonists, mainly through the use of foils, with the hero and the villain being diametrically opposite from the other but sharing some similarities. In “Part IV” of the Disney Plus limited series Obi-Wan Kenobi, the titular character must infiltrate the base of the Imperial Inquisitorius to rescue Princess Leia from the Empire, specifically the Third Sister, Reva. What follows is a tense episode that makes use of juxtaposing both Obi-Wan and Darth Vader as well as comparing the young Princess with the hardened Third Sister.

Spoilers ahead, so don’t read if you haven’t watched Obi-Wan Kenobi “Part IV”.

Picking up relatively quickly from “Part III”, Tala takes the wounded Obi-Wan back to Jabiim, the nexus planet for the Path’s operatives. Wounded and delirious, Obi-Wan is submerged in a bacta tank to heal. We see jump cuts between Obi-Wan in the tank and Darth Vader in a similar tank as Obi-Wan is forced to relieve the assault he endured at the hands of his former apprentice. The feeling I got from the scene is that Obi-Wan is connecting to Anakin through the Force and is for the first time getting a glimpse of what his former friend endures every day from the injuries Anakin suffers from.

Barely healed but determined, Obi-Wan and Tala plan to infiltrate the headquarters of the Imperial Inquisitorius to rescue Leia, who is currently in the hands of Reva, the Third Sister. Despite the age difference between the two, Reva and Leia are made of much the same material, so to speak. Both of them are strong-willed but Leia applies her will toward helping others whereas Reva has long since given up on such notions. Given what Reva says to Leia during the interrogation scenes, I’m convinced that Reva was one of the Jedi younglings from the cold open in “Part I” and her experiences after the Jedi Purge (as well as whatever Imperial indoctrination she’s been through) have removed any vestiges of her humanity from her. To me, Reva is someone who was broken on a fundamental level and then rebuilt. Moses Ingram continues to impress me with her performance. There’s just enough under the surface of Reva to know that the pain she inflicts on others (including a child, which an altogether different level of depravity) is something she acutely feels within herself. Contrasting that to the young Princess Leia, who is showing signs of the woman she will become later on, is a brilliant move on the part of the episode’s writers.

The rescue mission is tense, with Tala and Obi-Wan both encountering obstacles that they have to overcome. I’m really enjoying Indira Varma’s performance as Tala. There’s a saying I’m rather fond of: “Even in the most decadent society, someone will choose decency”. Tala is that person who chooses decency and empathy, putting her in stark contrast with Reva and the rest of the Imperial cronies who occupy the Inquisitors base of operations. As we soon discover during Obi-Wan’s trip through the base, the Inquisitors don’t just hunt down rogue Jedi and Force-sensitive children. Those who resist and are killed by the Inquisitors are preserved in an amber-like substance in macabre displays. It isn’t enough for the Inquisitors to stamp out the last holdouts of the Jedi. Instead, they must display their fallen prey like trophy hunters, proud of their ability to take life. As an elderly Obi-Wan points out to Darth Maul in Star Wars: Rebels: “If you define yourself by the power to take life, the desire to dominate, to possess…then you have nothing.”

The final beats of the episode are action-packed but not overly so. Tala, Obi-Wan, and Leia nearly manage to escape the hanger bay of the Inquisitor’s stronghold but are held up by Reva and the Imperial soldiers. A pair of Path operatives attack at that moment, with one of the pilots losing their life in the process. But we soon learn that Reva has a plan. She reprogramed Leia’s droid Lola to serve as a homing beacon the Empire can track back to Jabiim, setting the stage for at least the next episode, if not the final two episodes.

Despite what I’ve seen from some sites online and other reviewers, I’ve been enjoying Obi-Wan Kenobi quite a bit. Star Wars canon is a murky thing at best. To borrow a quote (I cannot recall who said it): “Continuity is your friend until it’s your enemy. Then, you ignore it to tell a better story”, which perfectly encapsulates my feeling for this series. I couldn’t care less about Star Wars canon or continuity at this point. What I want is to experience a good story and for me, that is what Obi-Wan Kenobi has managed to accomplish through its first four episodes. I’m looking forward to seeing where the story goes from here with only two episodes left.

My book series The Atalante Chronicles is now live on Amazon for Kindle, Paperback, and Hardcover Print-On-Demand. Your support is greatly appreciated.
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