Letting Go of the Past – Review of “Obi-Wan Kenobi” Part VI

Like Jacob Marley in A Christmas Carol, the past can and often does bind us in chains, keeping people from moving forward. Part VI of the limited series Obi-Wan Kenobi is laser focused on letting go of the past to potentially create a better future for oneself and what happens when one refuses to let go. Part VI is a fitting end of the series, bringing closure to many of the principal characters and providing a glimpse of how the board is set up for the events that follow in Star Wars: A New Hope.

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

Picking up where Part V left off, there are two distinct storylines presented. The first involves the refugees from the Path attempting to escape Darth Vader’s Imperial destroyer without the ability to jump into hyperspace. The second involves Reva, still badly injured from her failed attempt to kill Vader, arriving on Tatooine to seek out Owen Lars and Luke Skywalker. While I am not a fan of jump cuts like this in finales, the twin story arcs worked well, with the action cutting away at the right moments to increase the tension in both stories.

Reva’s quest on Tatooine soon becomes apparent, since she was able to hear at least some of the message Bail Organa sent Obi-Wan in the last episode. She doesn’t know the extent of Luke’s connection to Vader, only that Vader “knows” about the children and they are “important” to Vader. Due to her misunderstanding of Organa’s message, Reva sets out to murder Luke, hoping that this will somehow avenge her fellow Younglings who were struck down by Vader during the Jedi Purge. Her decision to take such a drastic and clearly evil action is born out of the trauma Reva has had to carry for ten years up to this point.

Without Obi-Wan to protect them from Reva, Owen Lars’ first reaction is to run and hide, which is smart considering his first encounter with Reva back in Part I. It’s Beru who stands her ground, showing a definite Mama Bear streak as she produces two blaster rifles from a hidden compartment in the wall. We never got to see much of Beru and Owen in the Star Wars films but here we see two people who have come to love Luke as their own son and are willing to put their lives at risk for their nephew. With Reva as injured as she is, Owen and Beru are able to fend her off for a time when Reva assaults the Lars homestead but they are ultimately no match for the former Inquisitor. The pair do manage to give Luke enough time to escape into the desert, with Reva in pursuit.

Juxtaposed with Reva’s pursuit of Luke is the equally relentless pursuit Vader engages in with Obi-Wan. Knowing that the Path refugees cannot escape and will eventually be destroyed by the Empire, Obi-Wan opts to leave them behind in a shuttle and divert Vader’s attention. As Roken points out, this is not entirely a selfless act on Obi-Wan’s part. Even Obi-Wan himself recognizes that part of his decision is to confront his former friend and apprentice one last time. There’s a heartfelt moment between Obi-Wan and Leia before the former departs. Obi-Wan has come to care for Leia deeply in their time together and it shows in Ewan McGregor’s performance in the scene.

The fight scene that many fans have been clamoring for since the start of the limited series finally arrives and it doesn’t disappoint. Obi-Wan and Darth Vader clash in an epic fight, using the rocky, alien terrain around them to full advantage. Fully in command of their abilities, the two former friends and comrades go back and forth with neither gaining the upper hand initially until Vader nearly buries Obi-Wan alive after causing a small sinkhole to appear and then filling it with debris.

When Obi-Wan finally emerges from this tomb, he manages to do what no one up to this point in the series has done: defeat Darth Vader. We as the audience watch as Obi-Wan deftly uses the Force to pummel Vader with rocks, throwing him about like a rag doll, and showcasing why he truly is one of the strongest Jedi from his era. The final blows see Obi-Wan smash the breathing apparatus on Vader’s chest and slice off a portion of Vader’s mask, revealing the horribly burned face of Anakin underneath.

Here, we get the scene that I’ve been waiting for since Part I: Obi-Wan practically weeps as he apologizes to Anakin for his current circumstances. The weight Obi-Wan has carried for ten years is his guilt over the fall of Anakin Skywalker. When he learned in Part II that Anakin was alive and was Darth Vader, it sunk Obi-Wan’s into an even further pit of guilt and remorse. Despite having his face partially obscured by the mask, Hayden Christenson manages to infuse both rage and resignation in his eyes as he tells Obi-Wan that he killed Anakin Skywalker, not Obi-Wan. My take on this moment is that Vader is attempting to goad Obi-Wan into killing him in a bid to end the miserable existence he’s been living since their duel on Mustafar. Instead, Anakin’s statement has the reverse effect, allowing Obi-Wan to accept that he was not responsible for his friend’s fall to the Dark Side, which has always been the truth. Anakin Skywalker chose to become Darth Vader due to his lust for power and his inability to accept that death was a natural part of life. Obi-Wan leaves the badly injured Sith Lord to his fate, choosing to show mercy to his former friend and accepting that the man he practically raised is truly gone. Vader, on the other hand, cannot let go of his past and because of that, he is locked in this place of hatred and self-loathing. When Vader screams Obi-Wan’s name, it is both out of rage and out of a desire for his former master to end his existence.

Reva also has her cathartic moment at this same time. Finding Luke in a cave near the Lars homestead, Reva manages to knock the boy out and leave him at her mercy. Looking down on the unconscious body of Luke, Reva sees herself as a child and flashes back to the face of Anakin Skywalker as he slaughtered his way through the Jedi Temple. Ultimately, Reva cannot bring herself to kill Luke (which was always a given since this is a prequel series) but the reason for it is simple: despite all her trauma, she is not Darth Vader. When Reva returns Luke to Owen and Beru, Obi-Wan has just arrived from his duel with Vader. Reva breaks down in tears as she admits to Obi-Wan that she couldn’t bring herself to kill Luke and asks if she has become like Vader. Obi-Wan tells her the truth when he says she hasn’t because she showed mercy. Reva has spent ten years trying to avenge her fellow Younglings and that weight has kept her from fully accepting her trauma and moving on from it. When Reva throws down her Inquisitorial lightsaber, it is the moment that she finally lets go of the pain and anguish that has kept her going. Where this takes her from here is anyone’s guess. I have to give Moses Ingram a great deal of credit for her performance as Reva. By the end of this series, Reva is beginning to heal and I would greatly enjoy seeing Reva return to the Star Wars universe in a future story.

The endcap of Obi-Wan Kenobi involves a number of scenes that provide closure for all of the main characters, save for Vader. Still wrapped in chains of his own making, Vader is admonished by Darth Sidious (a cameo from Ian McDiarmid returning to his most iconic role) for his obsession with Kenobi. Because Vader remains willfully resistant to letting go of his past, he is trapped in the hellish existence of Darth Vader, serving as little more than a puppet for Sidious’ plans. Obi-Wan returns to Alderaan, where Leia has decided to take her role as part of the Organa family more seriously, even though she’s wearing Tala’s holster (a gift from Obi-Wan before he went off to fight Vader). We get another wonderful moment where Obi-Wan tells Leia how much she has gained from both of her parents. While he refuses to say more, Leia clearly accepts that while she does not know her birth parents, her adopted parents are all she needs.

Lastly, Obi-Wan visits the Lars homestead before heading off to his new home in the Jundland Wastes. Obi-Wan admits to Owen that the man was right about Luke needing to just be a boy for now, which allows Owen to show Obi-Wan a new level of respect, encouraging the old Jedi Master to introduce himself to Luke and give him the toy spaceship he bought back in Part I. We last see Obi-Wan riding his mount into the mouth of the ridge where he’ll soon make his home, only to encounter the Force Ghost of his master, Qui-Gon Jinn. As Qui-Gon tells him, he’s always been there but Obi-Wan is now ready to see him.

We’re left with a hopeful ending to the Obi-Wan Kenobi series, which is exactly what it should be. There’s been a great deal of criticism directed at this show over its run and frankly, I don’t get it. From beginning to end, this story has been about Obi-Wan Kenobi confronting and releasing the trauma of the Clone Wars and his perceived failure with Anakin Skywalker that led to the rise of the Galactic Empire. By the end of the series, Obi-Wan is where he should be: free of his guilt and ready to for the adventure that will ultimately lead to the redemption of his former apprentice and the rise of the next generation of heroes.

My book series The Atalante Chronicles is now live on Amazon for Kindle, Paperback, and Hardcover Print-On-Demand. Your support is greatly appreciated.
Blood And Stone, Book One in my series, is also available on Smashwords (Affiliate Link)
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