Obi-Wan Kenobi Part III – Getting Back to The Path

With the arrival of today’s episode of Obi-Wan Kenobi, we are now half-way through the series…and it continues to rule.

This morning brings Part III of Obi-Wan Kenobi on Disney+, and picks up the story pretty much where we left things off. As new allies appear, Obi-Wan must find a way to trust once more, but things are about to get a whole lot worse for him…

As I did with the debut episodes, I’ll be diving deep into spoiler territory for this recap. So if you haven’t watched yet, come back once you’ve checked it out!

Looking for Help

Having narrowly escape Daiyu in the previous episode, confronted with the knowledge that his former Padawan (Anakin Skywalker) is still alive, Obi-Wan and Leia are on their way to Mapuzo. Going off the sole hope that Haja didn’t lead them into a trap, the pair are hoping to find some allies on the planet that will get Leia back home to Alderaan.

Although the episode didn’t dwell very long on this shuttle trip to the planet, it features one of my favorite character moments so far. Once again, we get to see the compassion Kenobi still has, despite his new grumpy exterior, as he fixes Leia’s Lola droid during the trip. On top of that, I loved hearing him talk to Leia about the Force.

As audiences, we know that Leia is Anakin’s child and ultimately has the Force as well. So it’s neat to see how Obi-Wan dances around it, while still going into teacher mode as he talks to her. Again, we are beginning to see glimpses of his former self coming through, and how it explains the Force to Leia as feeling like the light turning on in the darkness, is a fantastic analogy.

This is the old Obi-Wan we knew. The one who took great care with younglings and distributed wisdom in nuggets everyone can understand. It was a touching scene between the two and shows Obi-Wan begin to move beyond his “funk.”

That’s something this episode does very well in a number of ways; setting the stage for Obi-Wan to rediscover the man—Jedi—he once was. His time in exile has left him jaded and mistrustful of everyone. Though he took a leap of faith with Haja (more out of necessity of the moment), he’s still not willing to let his guard down.

As they reach the rendezvous point they were given, Obi-Wan feels they’ve been led astray. He doesn’t even wait a couple minutes to see if anyone shows up, but immediately starts moving once again in search of their own way off the planet. It’ not too long before they come across Freck (a mole-looking alien), a local who offers to give them a ride to the port.

It’s a funny little encounter, as Freck is clearly on board with the Empire, even offering rides to Stormtroopers along the way. It makes for some interesting banter, getting to see how other parts of the galaxy view the Empire, while providing some serious tension as the pair continue to try and avoid capture.

Well…it doesn’t last long! Turns out Freck is REAL friendly with the Imperials on the planet and basically gives up Obi-Wan and Leia at one of the route’s checkpoints. This leads to a short, but fairly thrilling shootout (one dude got cut in half!), that ends with Obi-Wan FINALLY meeting up with the person who was supposed to meet/help them originally: Tala.

Following “The Path”

Played by Indira Varma, Tala Durith is an Imperial officer who happens to have a good side to her. After being disillusioned with the Empire, she now uses her position to help others in need…specifically Jedi and other Force-sensitives who need to hide from the Empire’s deadly Inquisitors.

As she escorts Kenobi and Leia to a hideout, she talks briefly about her own past and how she’s been helping. She’s part of “The Path” which isn’t directly explained but is essentially a sort of “underground railroad” consisting of people willing to help Force-sensitive people escape/hide.

Considering Haja’s words to Kenobi in the last episode, it seems like a safe bet to say that he’s also part of this Path. Personally, I love this idea, and really enjoy seeing how groups outside of the Rebel Alliance (which is still nascent at this time) are doing things to fight back and help against the Empire.

I’m not just saying that because this scene managed to give us a QUINLAN VOS reference either. I mean, that is ridiculously awesome. The Jedi, who got name-dropped in Revenge of the Sith, but was a prominent main character in the old Clone Wars comics managed to survive Order 66.

It’s something fans have wondered for some time as the character was supposed to have a cameo in Revenge of the Sith showing him cut down during Order 66, but it was ultimately never shot. Legends comics implied he survived (with a child of his own no less), but his fate has been somewhat nebulous. The Darth Vader comic series in 2020 name dropped Vos as a Jedi the Empire thinks is alive, but today’s episode brings full confirmation. Not only did Vos survive, but according to Tala he’s helped with younglings over the years for The Path.

The name drop has some importance beyond being a fun reference for fans, however. It also helps serve as an important realization to Obi-Wan. Not so much that he isn’t alone, but that there are others still helping.

Obi-Wan’s isolation has been one of self-pity and sorrow. He’s allowed his skills to slip, seeking to hide from the Force rather than use it to help others; even going so far as to turn away from those who need assistance. He’s spent so long feeling defeated, losing trust in everyone else, the idea of others surviving—friends even—and still helping is a shock. Even as he’s chastised Leia and Owen (in regards to Luke) about not being aware of the larger galaxy, we see it’s really Kenobi himself who’s lost touch

I’m loving this aspect of the show, which seems geared towards showing how Obi-Wan eventually gets his hope back. It’s coming through in subtle ways that both reinforce the character we know (from both eras), while allowing us to see a brand new side to the Jedi Master. He’s lost his way, but we’re seeing the kernels of him beginning to understand it might be okay to find hope once again.

The Man in Black

Of course, the big thing in today’s episode, following on from the tease at the end of Part II, is seeing Vader once again. As teased in the trailers, we initially see Darth Vader being, quite literally, put together inside the confines of his castle on Mustafar, before being contacted by Reva regarding Obi-Wan.

It’s the shadow of Vader that follows Kenobi through the episode, having just learned of his survival from their last duel. Hell, he even has hallucinations of Anakin (without the armor) as they drive along early on. It’s a neat moment that shows how deeply the knowledge affected him…But he won’t have to wait long to actually see his old apprentice once more.

As Tala prepares to get Leia and Kenobi out via a hidden tunnel system, the Dark Lord himself arrives on the planet with the other three Inquisitors in tow. Vader makes his way down the street, maliciously attacking random villagers in an attempt to draw Obi-Wan out. It’s a brutal sequence, reminiscent of the Rogue One hallway scene, but also somehow more primal. You can sense the rage simmering within, as he doesn’t hesitate to do whatever’s necessary to get at Kenobi.

This is something I loved about having Hayden Christensen back within the suit. Anakin, in the Prequels, has a certain…bearing. A way to his movements that feel unique to him and his commanding personality. Having him in the suit brings those elements back and hammers home it is ANAKIN inside the suit hunting down his old Master. It’s a subtle thing, but one that adds another emotional layer to the performance.

Obi-Wan sends Tala and Leia away with the intent of distracting Vader so they can get away. A choice that leads him into direct confrontation with the Sith Lord, and a severe ass-whooping.

Overall, I loved how this “fight” went down. Vader, constantly popping up as Obi-Wan attempts to hide, feels like an old-school horror movie villain. He’s always there, and there’s no escape and it’s clear Kenobi is way out of his depth. As Vader even says, Kenobi has grown weak over the years; having failed to keep up with his Jedi training, while Vader has been honing his dark side powers while hunting Jedi for the past decade.

This fight isn’t about Vader winning, however. A few Lightsaber clashes and it’s clear how things are going. Rather this is all about revenge. Vader doesn’t merely want to kill Kenobi, he wants him to suffer in the same way he has; even going so far as to pin Obi-Wan within fire to watch him burn alive.

It’s a “holy shit” moment. This isn’t just cruelty for cruelty’s sake, but a personal lesson. The failure Vader can’t get passed as he continues to blame Kenobi for all the horrors that have befallen him.

With the help of Tala and the NED-B droid, Obi-Wan is able to escape his torment. Though they’ve lost sight of the Jedi Master, Reva has been doing her own thing and managed to find (and kill) the pilot who was going to help Kenobi and Leia escape. Yep, Leia is once again captured, this time directly in the hands of the Inquisitor and we’ll have to wait till next week to find out what happens next!

Emotionally Engaging

While today’s episode tone things down a bit from the action we saw previously, it does an excellent job of hitting multiple emotional character moments. Aside from the previously mentioned Kenobi/Leia moment at the beginning, their chat in the back of Freck’s speeder is another powerful scene.

Leia asks Kenobi about her birth mother, even inquiring if he’s her real father, and it feels like a punch to the gut. As he tells her how he wishes he was her dad, even bringing up his own family (he has a BROTHER!!) that sense of regret is almost palpable. Here, we’re seeing him experience this pain from a new perspective. He’s not only seeing things from his own loss, but seeing how these events have impacted the children, even though they’ve been left in loving homes.

It hits HARD. I mean, we’ve known about the Skywalker twins for decades now, and how their true parentage shaped their destinies. But this is really the first time we’ve been confronted with them as CHILDREN dealing with the consequences of certain events and how it affects them.

On one hand it’s incredibly sad, but on the other, it allows Kenobi’s empathy to once again shine through. He opens up about his own past to discuss things (his birth family) he likely hasn’t discussed with anyone else. Through Leia, Kenobi learns to open up once more.

Beyond those moments, I was impressed with how hard the dialog between Vader and Kenobi managed to hit me. We’ve known this confrontation was coming, but it’s hard to prepare for such a meeting. Vader telling Obi-Wan he’s “what you made me” is a cutting line that I’ll be thinking about for a while.

In all, I’m continually impressed by the level of emotion this show has managed to bring to the story, and much of it has to do with the performances we’re seeing. Even the short sequences with the Inquisitors, seeing their in-fighting, and Reva’s ambition, brings a layer of tension I wasn’t expecting.

They don’t feel like your typical villains who are simply there to give the antagonists a reason to move through the plot. They have a depth to them which makes their menace/threats more visceral. All the more impressive considering their minimal screen time and dialog.

What’s Next

As I mentioned earlier, the major point of the story seems to be getting Obi-Wan’s groove back. He needs to shake free of his hopelessness and find his own way back to the Jedi path. This encounter with Vader, summarily getting his ass handed to him, should serve as something of a wake up call.

More than just needing to defend himself, and Leia, in this moment, it’s a realization that if he REALLY wants to protect Luke in the long run, he’ll have to find a way back to himself. Of course, he’ll need to get patched up first.

I’m sure that’s what we’ll end up seeing in next week’s episode, as Tala gets Obi-Wan away and hidden long enough to heal, while Reva once again uses Leia to try and draw him out. Ultimately, I think they’ll make their way to Jabiim. Perhaps Obi-Wan will encounter another Jedi who’s been helped by The Path (maybe even Quinlan Vos, though I’m not holding my breath for a cameo) and begin opening himself to the Force once more.

This will be essential as I’m sure him and Vader will meet once more in this series. I mean, we know Kenobi ultimately survives until the events of A New Hope, but I’m very interested to see how he manages to come back from such a defeat.

As for Leia, I’m curious to see how much longer she’ll be hanging around before making it back to Alderaan. Will Kenobi get her back home safely before facing down the Inquisitors and Vader once more (he has to get them off his trail somehow before returning to Tatooine), or be along for the whole ride? Should be fun to see…

Easter Eggs

Once again, today’s episode manages to include some DEEP CUT Easter eggs for fans. Some seeming to expand on Easter eggs from last week, and pulling from old novels I never thought I’d see referenced:

Writing on the Wall – Quinlan Vos isn’t the only Jedi reference in today’s episode, though you’d have to do some work figuring out the others. If you look at the writing on the walls inside the hideout and translate the text from Aurebesh, there are three Jedi names pulled straight from the old Expanded Universe: Djinn Altis, Roganda Ismaren, and Valin Halcyon. The first two (Djinn and Roganda) come from the Children of the Jedi novel.

Djinn Altis – Altis served during the Clone Wars, though he ended up splitting from the Jedi Council in key ways, ultimately creating his own sect of Jedi using the Chu’unthor (pictured above) as a mobile academy.

Notably, he was the one who trained Callista, the first person Luke fell in love with in the Legends material. He also popped up in the old Republic Commando novels, helping Kal Skirata and his clones/Mandalorians hide after Order 66 was issued.

Roganda Ismaren – she was another Jedi Purge survivor and served as a primary antagonist in Children of the Jedi. In that novel was revealed she’d been captured by the Inquisitors (yes, even Legends had them) and taken to Coruscant. There, she survived and ended up becoming one of Palpatine’s concubines, and ultimately one of his “Hands.”

She gave birth to a son (Irek) through an affair, and taught him the nature of the dark side and was positioning him to become the heir to Emperor Palpatine before he died. Obviously we don’t get any of that from seeing her name on the wall, but it’s a really cool reference nonetheless, especially considering how her son becomes Lord Nyax…

Valin Halcyon – The other Jedi mentioned on the wall actually has a connection to an Easter egg from last week: Corran. Corran was the Force-sensitive kid Haja helped get to Corellia, which seemed to be a clear reference to the Expanded Universe character, Corran Horn. NOW we have Valin Halcyon making his way into canon.

In Legends, Valin Halcyon was a Jedi who survived the Jedi Purge and ended up taking the name “Hal Horn.” Hal Horn was Corran’s father who was eventually killed by the bounty hunter Bossk, but not before leaving a message for his son which prompted Corran to begin his own Jedi training under Luke. Obviously, things are a bit different, but getting both Corran and Valin canonized within the last two episodes is pretty damn fantastic.

Jabiim – Jabiim gets a name drop during the episode as where The Path has been sneaking survivors out to. In the old Legends material, Jabiim was the site of a massive battle during the Clone Wars which resulted in one of the Republic’s most devastating losses. Nearly 30 Jedi and thousands of clones were killed in the battle.

Interesting enough, the recent novel, Star Wars: Brotherhood canonized a battle of Jabiim, though didn’t get into the details of the encounter. I’m curious to see if the show dives into what happened during that conflict.

Fortress Inquisitorius – We’ve seen it in trailers, but today’s episode showed us the Inquisitors’ home. Initially revealed in Jedi: Fallen Order, it’s neat to see the, mostly underwater, fortress make the jump to live-action.

James Earl Jones – As revealed by the credits, James Earl Jones does indeed return to voice Darth Vader. I have no idea if it’s a mixture of his voice and the fancy new voice-AI stuff they used to recreated Luke’s younger voice in other shows, but it sure was awesome hearing him again.

I have a strong feeling I missed some Easter eggs, but these were definitely fun ones.

Overall, Obi-Wan Kenobi continues to be great. About the only thing I didn’t like out of this episode were the Lightsabers themselves. I know, it’s a weird thing, right, but the amount of glow they cast off was just a bit too much and kept distracting me. That and the sparks coming off of them when they connected.

Even so, that’s a REALLY minor gripe and isn’t taking away from my love of the show so far. It’s hitting all the right notes in terms of the story, emotion, and character beats. We’re halfway through and it’s quickly becoming one of my favorite modern Star Wars stories on screen. If it can stick the landing in the final episodes, I think Obi-Wan Kenobi is going to go down as one of the best all around.

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Editor-in-Chief: Writer and cartoonist who went to college for post-production, he now applies his love of drawing, movie analysis, filmmaking, video games, and martial arts into writing.