OBI-WAN KENOBI EPISODE 3: Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker were promised a “rematch of the century.” Darth Vader’s presence elevates what may have been a little weaker follow-up to last week’s terrific one-two combo in Obi-Wan Kenobi’s third episode. Aside from that, Reva dials in an attempt to advance her career on Mustafar, and an Anakin apparition appears on the mining colony of Mapuzo before Vader unleashes the famous villain at full force in the episode.

Obi-Wan and Leia, affectionately dubbed ‘Little Leia’ on social media, make their way to the nearest spaceport on Mapuzo before the saber match. Leia flags down Freck (voiced by Zach Braff) to help her evade the Empire’s legion of Stormtroopers stationed on the planet after a sweet back-and-forth.

As a journey, it’s somewhat formulaic and reveals the inherent flaws of prequels. Despite the episode’s efforts to make Obi-Wan and Leia appear more and more helpless, we know they survive the ordeal. A glimpse into people who are open to accepting the Empire can be found in Freck, the Empire’s bootlicker-in-chief. The possibility that Obi-Wan had a brother raises some intriguing lore questions that will no doubt be discussed for years to come on Reddit and other communities. Disney Plus will release an Obi-Two spin-off in 2026.

Reunited, the Inquisitors gather away from Maputo. It appeared like the group was more like a bunch of arguing kids in the prior episode. Moses Ingram’s Reva takes authority in this scene, which is a little more complicated because of the presence of Ingram. In a time when the Empire’s internal politics seem to come down to who can stab the most people in the back first, it’s refreshing to see Sung Kang’s Fifth Brother strike back with venom in the struggle to stick by Darth Vader’s side.

A Leia/Luma slur causes Freck to sell his hitchhikers to the Empire, and we get a brief glimpse of the saga’s first major battle. Ewan McGregor’s choreography is noticeably better in this episode compared to the prior two, where he seemed to stumble a bit (hello, Force backflips). In the midst of the storm, Tala (Indira Varma), an Imperial spy, rescues Leia and Obi-Wan and rushes them through a secret tunnel system to evacuate the planet. Except Obi-Wan isn’t going. In order to deal with an impending threat, Han tells Leia’s sidekick Tala to follow him.

If Anakin’s ‘cameo’ earlier in the show didn’t leave you breathless, you’ll be at the end of this one. Everything about Darth Vader is spot-on in the show. Vader from the Original Trilogy, replete with James Earl Jones’ thunderous voice, and the horror slasher from Rogue One are both embodied in him. Is he even capable of killing innocents while searching for Obi-Wan? That’s what the Star Wars media portrays.

Things only get worse for Obi-Wan. Obi-Wan resolutely refuses to engage in a duel with Darth Vader in the dry desert. Runs instead. A little deflating at first, but it makes perfect sense for this character. The Jedi Master is no longer as powerful as he used to be. There will be no match when the two ultimately meet. Rather than battling with lightsabers, the two engage in conversation. Obi-Wan screams, “What have you become?” “I am what you made me,” Vader replies matter-of-factly, inflicting more damage than a flesh wound could.

Vader paws at Obi-Wan like a cat playing with his prey when he attacks. Obi-lightsaber Wan’s duel with Darth Vader was never going to be anything like the Duel of the Fates, but Vader’s savage slashing and slicing was a character beat. It’s as devastating as any complex conflict.

Vader has one more robotic ploy under his sleeve now that Obi-Wan is beaten and wounded. The Sith Lord, in a move that would make the Emperor pleased, tries to set Obi-Wan on fire, much as he did to Anakin on Mustafar’s lava banks. Obi-charred Wan’s body is even dragged through the flames by him in a particularly brutal scene. There is a slew of scenes that are both shocking and instantly recognizable, but their reunion is well worth the wait. Those who feared the pre-A New Hope reunion between Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi would not live up to expectations and can now rest easy.

Of course, Obi-Wan is still alive and well, ready to continue the war. Fortunately, Tala comes to the rescue of the Jedi while Reva, who has been waiting for Leia for a long time, gets her chance to enter the Imperial hierarchy. It’s not quite the gut-punch ending of The Empire Strikes Back, but it’s on a similar road. In the end, the hero has failed, and the future is now a mystery. We can only hope that Obi-Wan manages to get some direction, whether it comes from Qui-Gon Jinn or someone else. Is anyone up for a rematch?

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