Obi-Wan Kenobi: Part V
June 15, 2022 2:09 AM - Season 1, Episode 5 - Subscribe

Imperial forces try to force Obi-Wan out of hiding.
posted by EndsOfInvention (73 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I'm still really enjoying this. Another solid episode, bringing threads together and confirming who the Third Sister was and what she saw. I don't love that she's found out about Luke but that's okay, she's just got to die for that secret to be kept. They are driving very close to the line of messing with the set-up of the original trilogy but right now I think they're getting away with it. Loved the flashback to Coruscant with Anakin and Obi-Wan. You really have to give Hayden some time out of the mask to make it really worth it to come back.
posted by crossoverman at 2:35 AM on June 15, 2022 [2 favorites]

Very TLJ of this episode, which kinda breaks the ongoing read that each episode echoes the earlier movies though TLJ itself echoed ESB sooo... maybe...
posted by cendawanita at 4:39 AM on June 15, 2022

I dunno you guys, this episode felt pretty dumb to me.

- Use big laser to shoot door ineffectually, while Reva simply cuts through it in 2 seconds.
- Obi Wan puts away lightsaber during a battle, lady friend dies for no reason
- Obi Wan is taken back inside behind the door for no reason so he can easily escape from the stormtroopers
- Darth Vader can catch one ship taking off, but he can't catch another ship behind it that takes off
- Stab Reva but leave her alive so she can be in the next episode. Also the Grand Inquisitor that she stabbed shows up, which not only feels cheap, but tells us that lightsaber stabs aren't that big a deal.
- Bail Organa is stupid and blabs about Luke over the holo communicator, which has no form of security like a fingerprint ID or even a PIN lock. He mentions Owen by name so Reva knows exactly where to go.
- No TIE fighters or anything guarding the hangar when the Rebel ship takes off

There already are no stakes to this show, because we know Obi Wan, Leia and Luke all live. I don't understand why they write episodes where things happen in such a stupid way.
posted by Fleebnork at 5:25 AM on June 15, 2022 [19 favorites]

This episode was disappointing because the story is relying on emotional beats, which the plot points don't reinforce or echo.

So Reva has just been killing her way to the top in order to get close to Vader so she can kill him? That makes sense, sure, but not the sudden admitting of that to Obi Wan of all people. Mind you, the actress was killing it by showing a bit of remorse and confused at that moment, but character and story wise, it doesn't make much sense to go soft when she's so close to her goal.

Fleebnork mentions a ton of other weak plot points, which I agree with. As a viewer, I'm left confused and disappointed why the creators chose to weaken the story.

Hell, at this point, tiny Leia is starting to get annoying with her plot armor. Evading kidnappers in forest in a poorly plotted and edited sequence, ok I'll swallow it. Being the only person small enough to crawl through some ductwork and fix a few connections? Yeah no, y'all need to put some bomb ass side dishes if you want expect me to enjoy these astonishingly weak main course.

this episode felt pretty dumb to me

What is dumb but Star Wars persevering?

posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:50 AM on June 15, 2022 [1 favorite]

The action scenes felt very odd and non-compelling. I had to stop myself from yelling GROND! when they brought out that big gun to take out the flimsy door.

BUT! We got to see Hayden again! I'm surprised at how emotional I got seeing those two together again.
posted by orrnyereg at 6:00 AM on June 15, 2022 [1 favorite]

A great deal of this was indeed dumb (perhaps dumbest: Bail's truly shit opsec—even I would know to say "If Vader has found out about the you-know-whats / I'll head back to you-know-where"), but I seem able to enjoy it anyway, so far. The house of plot-convenience-cards threatens to full-on collapse in the finale, though (e.g.: does Obi-Wan have the "Sense Compromised Communication Device" Force power?).

I get the impression that the whole "Anakin having to prove himself" thing may have been put in here to explain why we are seeing Vader showboating now (his badass Force Tractor Beam thing, his fight with Reva) but not when he confronts Obi-Wan on the Death Star.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 6:10 AM on June 15, 2022 [1 favorite]

Still a lot of janky plot elements/holes here, yeah. Vader ripping that ship apart and the fight with Reva were great though.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 6:19 AM on June 15, 2022 [4 favorites]

I’ve come to the realization that spectacle-oriented cinema, which is what Star Wars has always been, is not unlike porn. The plot doesn’t matter. The characters’ motivations don’t matter. All that matters is that they show us what we came to see; the money shot, if you will. In this case, it’s Darth Vader being a bad-ass, but only up to a point, because we also want to see the heroes escape.
posted by wabbittwax at 6:37 AM on June 15, 2022 [6 favorites]

Honestly star wars has become more and more incoherent the more they want the force to be cool.

Back in the original trilogy it made you pretty good at fighting, able to lift heavy objects, and at its ultimate expression, blast lightning.

But now it can kind of do anything it makes it hard to know why it doesn't. The kind of power Vader displays here (and various spin offs) just indicate a weird restraint from Vader (why not grab peoples ships from the sky during the battle for the death star).

I have no idea why this show thinks bringing Luke in is dramatically interesting. We know that Luke not only survives but is relatively unaware of whoo Kenobi is, its just weird.

I found the final sequence baffling. Why does Reva send Obi Wan off on his own? I actually thought she was agreeing to his plan for a second.

I also assumed that Darth Vader was going to murder Reva, so expected Obi Wan to show up and save her, thus completing the loop of her accusation of him not doing so in the past.

Instead we got the much less dramatically satisfying scene of her getting stabbed and them leaving her alive for no reason. Admittedly she really should just die from that stab wound, but there is simply no reason I can see for them to leave her alive.

Honestly what am I meant to care about in this show? Some of the fight scenes are fun, but the characters are barely there and the plotting is ridiculous.

I really wish they would actually tell some original star wars stories. Theres so much source material out there; they could go the route of marvel and make characters who were not popular (iron man, ant man) household names, rather than just repeatedly going "look! Its that guy you know from that thing you like!" Its just so disappointing to me
posted by Cannon Fodder at 12:26 PM on June 15, 2022 [6 favorites]

Bye, Indira Varma! Truly the female Sean Bean. Until next time!

The performers were killing it (as it were), but I have to agree that the story was pretty weak stuff. First off, am I missing the point of Star Wars if it bothers me that nobody evil can just stay evil? Reva is a great villain, but I'm afraid I can already tell she's going to be a boring hero. She actually can't kill Darth Vader, for obvious reasons, so what are they even going to do with her now?

Please don't get me started on the "ten-year-old saves the day" plot. Leia stayed on the right side of precocious for four episodes; this was a little much.

But also...why in the world would a bunch of Siths leave Reva there to bleed out, when at least two of them are only alive because their own opponents didn't finish them.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 12:38 PM on June 15, 2022 [15 favorites]

But also...why in the world would a bunch of Siths leave Reva there to bleed out, when at least two of them are only alive because their own opponents didn't finish them.

Usually the answer is because he put a tracking device inside her, and now she will lead them straight to…something?
posted by snofoam at 5:33 PM on June 15, 2022 [3 favorites]

Man, tough crowd.
posted by crossoverman at 5:36 PM on June 15, 2022 [9 favorites]

Sparring using live lightsabers, where the tiniest mistake means amputation, feels... unwise?

Voices shouldn't carry though a foot-thick blast door! When Obi-Wan reached out with his hand I thought that he was trying to force-communicate with Reva, a la the scenes between Ben and Rey in The Force Awakens (some of the most compelling in the movie, IMO). Doing so might have shared Reva's experience of Order 66 directly with Obi-Wan, intensifying his sense of guilt.

Reva returning Obi-Wan inside the Dabeem base under the command of two guards when she has dozens of stormtroopers standing around her with nothing else to do makes no sense at all. Leaving him outside and attempting to stab Vader in the back while he's focused on the man is an actual plan, and what I thought Obi-Wan had proposed.

Like the tunnels of the previous episode, the interior of the Dabeem base was confusing and poorly portrayed: it felt like the transporter landed in front of the main door that the stormtroopers tried to attack, which made the refugee's last stand there have some strategic value. If that wasn't the case, why not immediately retreat behind a second blast door when the Imperial assault made if through the first one?

At no time was a second ship so much as glimpsed in the hangar, even when Vader was bringing down the first, until the moment that it took off.

It's a small point, but "How long will it take you?" "Three, four hours" "You have one"... is hackneyed, drag-it-out dialog. Why not just say "You have an hour?"

As mentioned, no Imperial air cover over the base. A Venator-class Star Destroyer carries a full complement of fighters: why not use them?

Things I liked:
  • Reva's turn actually surprised and pleased me.
  • Vader casually toying with Reva, and using the lesson he learned from sparring with Obi-Wan, was well-done.
  • It's amazing how much de-aging visuals have improved in just a few years. The aforementioned sparring scenes might have been shot during the original prequels.
  • Vader tearing chunks off the transporter ship reminded me of his appearance at the end of Rogue One. His portrayal here, as pitiless, devious, completely obsessed and utterly terrifying all at once - the Reinhard Heydrich of the Empire - is very well-done, I think.

posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul at 5:46 PM on June 15, 2022 [4 favorites]

I am enjoying the show, but it is a difficult proposition from the get go, because the need to have continuity with the movies means essentially nothing is allowed to happen. Plus, the more existing characters they involve, the more constrained they are. Also, four out of five episodes so far end with Obi-Wan barely escaping from the bad guys. For me, this makes the series feel like it is treading water.
posted by snofoam at 5:48 PM on June 15, 2022 [1 favorite]

I've enjoyed this series, but now I get why they didn't turn it into a feature film. There just isn't enough story, and as several others have pointed out here, each episode has largely been the same set of events over and over. They have done a good job tying in the prequels and the animated shows, and I think the one big takeaway is establishing that Obi-Wan did have some relationship to Leia prior to A New Hope. But it's all just filler, and would have been a total dud as a feature film, just like "Solo".
posted by briank at 6:34 PM on June 15, 2022

Everything silly and nonsensical is made moot by Vader finally being terrifying and powerful onscreen imo. The being able to take down one ship and not two is exactly why Kenobi did it, Anakin expends himself all at once so fake outs, feints and dodges are effective against him. Which is a point this episode makes, 3, 4 times. Vader is like an athlete who gets all through college on pure talent and just being better than everyone else. When he actually goes up against Kenobi his talent isn't enough. He needs to do the work and study the film. Padawan he will always be.

For a moment I thought they were going to make Leia murder her little friend droid. That kid's been through a lot.

I am a little surprised Disney hasn't invested in action choreographers. Even Lucas knew to bring in Ray Park to really bring an urgency and technique to the fights for the prequels. They should take a page from the Wick franchise and bring in specialists to direct and shoot the fights because whew, the shootouts are severely lacking technical direction and are a bit painful.
posted by M Edward at 6:36 PM on June 15, 2022 [13 favorites]

when at least two of them are only alive because their own opponents didn't finish them.

Maul is still alive at this point, so that’s a third Sith that’s happened to.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 7:06 PM on June 15, 2022 [1 favorite]

There more I think about this episode, the more annoying it gets. Oh, NOW, Vader is so angry and powerful that he can pull spaceship outta the sky and start ripping it apart in his quest to find Kenobi, but when he had Obi-Wan literally right before, just separated by a little fire, he can't do anything? That makes no goddamn sense.

Where is all this power in later movies? Like in Empire Strikes Back, when Vader can see the Aluminum Falcon taking off on Hoth, but does nothing to stop it.

Why do creators, particularly in Star Wars, continue to make up nonsensical stuff that makes no damn sense? The first three episodes of this series were great, but now it's as if they've written themselves into a corner as they try to have Obi and Darth interact, but not too much, and yeah that makes no sense.

Currently the world doesn't make so I would really like my fiction to make to the impossible and have a world (galaxy, whatever) make some kind of sense.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:13 PM on June 15, 2022 [5 favorites]

Best part of this episode? Coming here and reading:
"... when Vader can see the Aluminum Falcon taking off on Hoth..."
and hearing in my head "Al-you-min-ee-um Falcon".

In the end though; it's not terrible tv if I don't think about it too hard. Certainly has moments. But I think said it Cannon Fodder best:
"I really wish they would actually tell some original star wars stories. "
Full stop there though. I really don't care about wheat may or may not have been cannon elsewhere. Just a little more world building and exploration please. Like how do all these desert planets support huge fauna? Seriously - how does a galactic empire work when no one apparently picks up the phone or answers their email? Like logistically how do you hold it together? Are there parts of the galaxy that are just a generation (or two) behind on current events and aren't much bothered by the main storyline? How does that work?

There's a certain starters-ness about Star Wars. It doesn't have to be Palpatines all the way down. Why not play in the space a little and see what falls out? Might run into a few kinks, some knotty story telling problems that could be interesting. I'm sure nothing a little massaging couldn't work out; just get in their and palpate.. aww shit.
posted by mce at 8:29 PM on June 15, 2022 [4 favorites]

The de-aging effects were still pretty offputting to me. Vader ripping chunks out of the ship was pretty badass, though.

I started out disliking this show and warmed to it the farther it got from Tatooine; I fully expect to dislike the finale.
posted by jordemort at 8:55 PM on June 15, 2022 [1 favorite]

mce — apparently that’s the direction Lucas Film is moving with Taika Waititi’s project .
posted by nathan_teske at 8:58 PM on June 15, 2022 [3 favorites]

Oh, another weird moment. At the end of the episode, the lead rebel guy comes up to Obi Wan and tells him in an undertone that the hyperdrivr isnt working and the imperials are jist behind them. Then he looks at Obi Wan and, seeing his expression, asks "whats wrong?". whats wrong? The thing you literallly just said! As it turns out Obi Wan just had a premonition, but it was just a really weird moment
posted by Cannon Fodder at 10:16 PM on June 15, 2022 [6 favorites]

ANAKIN: I just slaughtered an whole friggin' Tusken town!
PADME: Anakin, what's wrong?
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 3:34 AM on June 16, 2022 [3 favorites]

“whew, the shootouts are severely lacking technical direction and are a bit painful.”

That's an understatement. The three-dozen stormtroopers sort of stumbling into the refugees was one of the stupidest, most boring action scenes I've ever seen.

What's most annoying is that some of this isn't in the script, but just in how extremely lazy the directing is. And, more generally, this show feels like it's trading entirely on nostalgia and character beats and very occasional coolness and just waving away everything else as unnecessary. It's cynical.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 4:51 AM on June 16, 2022 [3 favorites]

Crazy theory about the finale:
Obi-Wan has to evac Luke while still ferrying Leia around; in the process, the kids somehow find out that they are both children of Vader; and Obi-Wan takes the kids to Dagobah because only Yoda can memory-wipe them. (Hence Luke saying there's "something familiar" about Dagobah in ESB.)
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 6:17 AM on June 16, 2022 [6 favorites]

I don't comment on metafilter very often, but I thought this episode was incredible and then was surprised to read this thread. Then I remembered when I saw Rogue One and thought it was one of the few Star Wars movies to really broaden the universe, actually depict an insurgent war, and one whose characters seemed alive and heterogeneous, neither fairy tale serial swashbucklers nor Star Tours extras--and then I came on Metafilter and saw the entire commentary was focused on the last ten minutes when Darth Vader appears, as if the rest of the movie didn't exist.

So, I thought this episode was actually the most momentous in terms of plot, but I think this is true only if you think others characters matter aside from Obi-Wan, Darth Vader, and Leia. (I think in many ways, watching these movies and shows as a Star Wars fan can ruin your enjoyment. You become a continuity accountant, and vast swatches of the narrative go invisible; I think this leads to a paradoxical trap where the audience is sick of the nostalgic trilogy characters but don't notice anyone aside from them!)

To put this another way, I think this episode improves a lot if you realize Reva is actually the protagonist of this show, with Obi-wan almost always reacting to her. This is another case like the original trilogy of the villain being better than the hero. I've found her to be one of the most compelling characters in the Star Wars universe--a charismatic, morally ambiguous Jedi-type who seems dangerous and righteous, complicit and morally vengeful. Star Wars has generally not been able to do this type of character very well (e.g., Anakin and Kylo Ren), partially since it doesn't quite know hot to do morally ambiguous leads especially outside of macho mavericks. Obi-Wan, DV, and Leia are all fairly flat characters, capable of only minimal character development, while this episode actually showed Reva as someone who has subtext, a history, and a character arc. The actress who plays her, Moses Ingram, is arguably one of the best actors in the franchise, somehow magically able to capture these complex contradictory flickers of cruelty and moral mission and does a version of the Anakin arc much better than the prequel did. This episode was totally different from all the other episodes (which were highly repetitive, entertaining escape yarns about Obi-wan) in that we finally got more of her character development! This episode, we got Riva's motivation and the culmination of a mission we didn't even know was happening, her assassination attempt on Darth Vader. Her decision to just say fuck it and go for him also added more characterization for Obi-Wan: was he trying to help her be a good person or was he simply a manipulative bastard like we now know all Jedi are?Her fight was one of the best lightsaber fights ever, partly because it reflected Riva's sense of valiant failure against a sublime force. She turned, but unlike the previous times this has happened, she did it alone and got wounded and left for dead, just like DV himself.

I also loved Indira Varma's character and her droid's sacrifice. She'd been developed enough in a few episodes that I didn't think she was totally expendable and that gave another character beat within the attack sequence. I would have loved to see a miniseries about Tala being a mole within the empire--another kind of character we haven't quite seen in this way and someone much more complex than, say, Cara Dune. I could have totally imagined a Rogue One-style spy series about her being undercover.
posted by johnasdf at 7:31 AM on June 16, 2022 [33 favorites]

She actually can't kill Darth Vader, for obvious reasons, so what are they even going to do with her now?

What if she did though, and the big twist is that the DV in EP IV onwards is actually the second DV, and he just pinched the armour and the cool JEJ voice emulator after original DV was killed in the Obi Wan miniseries. It ma be that Kumail Nanjiani's character is the real DV we see from Ep IV. He is a conman and in the wrong place at the wrong time. That would make for another spin off set around the time of the original trilogy.
posted by biffa at 7:39 AM on June 16, 2022 [8 favorites]

Palpatine was reconstituted after being chucked down a hole - isn't the power to cheat death his whole shtick? Maybe Vader gets killed at the end of this and Sheev has to grow another one in a vat - it would explain why Vader seems so much stronger here than in Episodes IV-VI.
posted by jordemort at 7:49 AM on June 16, 2022

I love getting to see this out-of-control, ego-driven, still-a-Padawan version of Darth Vader, with power just rippling out from him (grabbing that ship, ripping it open, FUCK YEAH). It makes the calm, cold Vader we meet in Ep IV make a lot more sense, and further develops the arc from Anakin Skywalker to that Darth Vader.

Man, tough crowd.

A natural consequence of the Golden Age of Creative Content, or whatever we're calling the surfeit of creative work we're currently enjoying--as Disney produces more and more Star Wars shows and movies, the audience will continue to become more critically savvy and demanding. (Or worse, disinterested. Meet the continually-rising bar of audience expectation or lose them, so it goes.)

I think this episode improves a lot if you realize Reva is actually the protagonist of this show

This is a giant frame shift for me, and makes the show make a lot more sense, actually. (To be fair, I only thought it was about Obi-Wan Kenobi because it's called Obi-Wan Kenobi, so maybe if Reva is intended to be most prominent in the narrative then maybe call it something else? Hamlet isn't about Laertes, is all I'm saying.)

I also loved Indira Varma's character and her droid's sacrifice.

Me too, and way more to that story was shown than told: I noticed that every time Tala reunited with that droid, she was visibly anxious until she could touch it and know it was OK; the kind of lampshaded line when we meet the droid initially, that they're not 'allowed to speak' (not that they can't); the droid sacrificed itself protecting her....
posted by LooseFilter at 7:55 AM on June 16, 2022 [7 favorites]

I only thought it was about Obi-Wan Kenobi because it's called Obi-Wan Kenobi

I don't disagree but I've been watching from episode 2 with the realization (along with my own middle-aged reflection) that his lot in life is to BE a Supporting Character to all the Main Characters in his life. This show is like a serious version of that stormtroopers' Cops parody that went viral during the early internet.
posted by cendawanita at 8:06 AM on June 16, 2022 [4 favorites]

While I agree there are silly things about this show, and about this episode in particular, it's Star Wars and that comes with the territory, I can shrug that off for the most part if it has some positives, and this does. What most impressed me about this episode relates to Loosefilter's point about Vader – seeing this stage in Vader's development is the first time I've actually started to believe that prequel Anakin and original trilogy Vader are the same character. This version of the character has the cold ruthlessness and terrifying tenacity I recognise from back in the day, but with some of the impetuous weiner-ness of Anakin, and the business in this episode with working through him having to chill out a bit to truly master his powers finally makes the narrative make sense. It's okay TV, but it's masterful retconning and rehabilitation of the prequel character. I didn't expect that to happen, or to be so here for it, but I am. Go figure.
posted by threecheesetrees at 8:33 AM on June 16, 2022 [12 favorites]

I enjoyed this episode fine and it didn't seem either better or worse than any of the other episodes. It's middlebrow entertainment featuring the very appealing Ewan McGregor and that's enough for me. I continue to be impressed somehow they've managed to salvage a decent story out of the mess of the prequel movies.

johnasdf's comment highlighting the other characters is great. Reva has been a favorite of mine from the start mostly because the actress Moses Ingram is so good. I sorta agree with kittens-for-breakfast's comment that it would have been better to keep her as a simple villain. But I don't think she's turned a hero. Instead she's even more Sith than most of the Sith, bending all her powers to hatred and vengeance and ascending the Sith ranks the only way Sith can. Maybe she has a soft spot about murdering children, at least it seems to have helped convince her to give Obi-Wan and crew time to escape. I wouldn't count on that going very far though.

Also agree that Captain Tala Durith and the droid were good characters, in part thanks to the actor Varma's strong perforrmance. I wouldn't have minded more of them but then again it's nice to have well fleshed out minor characters, too.

So nice for them to give Hayden Christensen a little bit of work! The de-ageing stuff didn't work for me though, he's lost the boyish charm that was the one thing he had going for him in the movies.

There's only one more episode.
posted by Nelson at 9:27 AM on June 16, 2022 [2 favorites]

I have to admit that I was fully admitting Vader to try to push Reva to go deeper into her hate and try to turn her into his apprentice. But I don't think the way the episode resolved supports that any longer. I agree with the impressions above as this showing a nice transition phase between Anakin and full-on, cold, calculating Vader. There's no reason for him to be exactly the same person as he is in ANH; he has a decade of growth to go, too.

I for one enjoyed the episode, in spite of some of the oddities that have been mentioned above. But the thing I do struggle with is that they continually buff the power of the Force to the point of nigh omnipotence when it seemed somewhat limited in the original trilogy.
posted by synecdoche at 11:34 AM on June 16, 2022 [1 favorite]

Yeah I'm glad its working for you johnasdf. My problem with Reva is that because they had hidden her motivation until now I had found her fairly boring. This last minute twist makes her a bit more interesting to watch. Buuut.. how much screen time does she get? The framing of this episode was about Obi Wan and Anakin, so I dont think its unreasonable to focus on them. And that plot has just underwhelmed for me
posted by Cannon Fodder at 1:10 PM on June 16, 2022 [1 favorite]

She actually can't kill Darth Vader, for obvious reasons, so what are they even going to do with her now?

She's going to figure out Vader has kids and try to get revenge on Vader by killing them. She'll go to Tatooine, fight Obi-Wan, and Obi-Wan will end up back in the desert watching over Luke.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 1:20 PM on June 16, 2022 [1 favorite]

I admit that I found Reva's decision to take on Vader just then kind of incomprehensible. She had spent so long building up to the point where she had access to him, and didn't wait until he was in a vulnerable position? She knew how powerful he was.

On the other hand, waiting wouldn't have done her any good, since Vader and the Grand Inquisitor had known all along what her game was, and were just using her quest as a tool to draw out Kenobi.

I did think she missed an opportunity to really lay into Obi-Wan (and the rest of the Jedi) for not coming back to save any of the children. But even that didn't justify the incredible waste of lives, of both the refugees and the Stormtroopers, during that assault on the refuge.

I sympathize with her pain, but the collateral damage is too high to make me root for her, especially since we all knew she wasn't going to beat Vader. (I just hope that, if she survives, the show remembers that she killed a whole bunch of people for no particular reason, just like Darth Vader.)
posted by suelac at 1:21 PM on June 16, 2022 [1 favorite]

On another note: I thought the lightsaber battle between Reva and Vader was oddly dissatisfying. The show had positioned her as terrifying in her determination, but she flailed around quite ineffectually during that fight. Yes, Vader was more powerful, but she came off as relatively unskilled.

Perhaps it was the fault of the fight choreography, and it was meant to look like more than it did?
posted by suelac at 1:23 PM on June 16, 2022 [1 favorite]

as Disney produces more and more Star Wars shows and movies, the audience will continue to become more critically savvy and demanding.

Some of the commentary in this thread isn't critically savvy, though. It's just flat-out critical. It's focused on minutia and trying to find holes in continuity and logic in a space opera. I've had a mixed relationship with the SW universe since, uh, Return of the Jedi? I'm not uncritical of the franchise. The prequels were bad. The sequels were, in some ways, worse. The TV series are a mixed result.

Somehow, this series has made me care more about what George created in the prequels. Tough job. I think the story has found a good niche to explore in the continuity. I think the character relationships are interesting and the character arcs make sense.

One of the absolute highlights of this episode to me was the flashbacks - not just to see those version of those characters again but also because they cut back to Vader. He was thinking about it. Anakin is inside that suit. That's the first time I really felt that in relation to Hayden and the prequel version. Ewan has been doing a great job showing us how he feels about Anakin's turn (when Reva said "Do you want Anakin dead?" - Ewan made me feel that connection he has) but that intercutting between Padawan Anakin and Vader was really powerful.

I guess some people are always going to argue about whether if you shoot the buttons on a door it will force them shut or keep them open, but all of that hyperfocus on silly detail doesn't seem savvy to me.
posted by crossoverman at 4:24 PM on June 16, 2022 [8 favorites]

Wow, check out all the nitpicking hatewatchers! Wait until you get to the part in the saga where the Empire's weapon of extreme mass destruction gets destroyed because not one single person on the construction crew double-checks the blueprints for what must have been the most expensive government project in history, and therefore misses the Achilles heel that the rebels found in nothing flat! Damn, that's gonna suck for ya.

Seriously, folks, of course it's more about the emotional beats than fretting about the layout of the base or whatever. We know that OWK, Luke, Leia, and Vader are going to get out of this more-or-less intact (although the dehelmeted Vader of the original trilogy has a bad scar on his head that I suspect we'll see created at some point); Reva, who knows, but I'm glad that she survived this. She will probably go on to hatch plots against Vader, and while I don't think that she's going to go against the kids specifically, she wouldn't be above using them to try to lure Vader into a trap. (She kind of did that already.) Maybe she'll work through some of her stuff and end up joining the rebellion kind of reluctantly.
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:21 PM on June 16, 2022 [6 favorites]

I basically enjoyed this, as I have the entire series. Having Darthybaby rip a ship out of the sky and tear it apart like tissue paper was very satisfying - and illustrates that he's at least as strong in the force as Kylo or Rey.

So nice for them to give Hayden Christensen a little bit of work! The de-ageing stuff didn't work for me though, he's lost the boyish charm that was the one thing he had going for him in the movies.

Yeah, I didn't think it was effective at all - kept thinking how old Hayden looked.
posted by coriolisdave at 8:45 PM on June 16, 2022 [2 favorites]

the benefit of having the children of the prequel trilogy generation now are themselves adults is i'm getting to enjoy the fruits of their obsessive attention online (and also finding "AOTC stans" is legitimately entertaining to me, someone who watched that particular installment multiple times at the cinema despite the general fandom attitude at the time*). Only bringing that up to say, while *I* don't recall anything, apparently Anakin's colouring in the flashback isn't quite canon (the robes is more ROTS?), so I quite like the idea that it's Anakin reprocessing his memories - esp since I don't think they did much post-production deaging beyond on-set makeup, because they've managed to dress Obi-Wan younger simply because they don't have to play up his skin textures so it's more like McGregor's actual complexion, dodgy lacefront wig aside. Admittedly, that is a fanwank, but it's one I enjoy. And don't think I didn't notice the way the blue lightsabers' aura did a lot of heavy lifting too in keeping the visual illusion.

*I'm not even kidding - it's been entertaining reading all these adults just fully losing their minds seeing new footage of Anakin, the way I've been when Luke showed up in The Mandalorian.
posted by cendawanita at 9:22 PM on June 16, 2022

I'm not hate-watching this; I'm enjoying it. Contrast that to the Boba Fett show, which I had to abandon.

I think the core elements of the show are outstanding: all the leads, the character beats, Darth Vader force-demolishing a shuttle. It's fun!

I've been critical — justifiably, I think — of the numerous inexcusably lazy fails that regularly appear in the episodes. I'm not (much) upset at the typical Star Wars plot absurdities and contrivances; rather, I think parts of the production such as set design and directing have been egregiously, hard-to-ignore stupid such as: Leia's forest escape, the mismatch between dialogue and landscape when Obi Wan and Leia land, not walking around the gate, the shambolic shootout between the stormtroopers and the fugitives who were all basically milling around in a crowd together, the spectacle of the door-blasting laser cannon only to see Reva casually slice through the door moments later. Stuff like that.

Stuff that even a casual audience notices and thinks "huh?". These things have all been mentioned in reviews, recaps, on twitter, here. They've been hard to miss.

What chaps my hide is that they were all avoidable by just a little more care and attention to detail.

This is the sort of thing you see in old broadcast network television when there were 24 episodes a season, extremely formulaic scripts, and low budgets. Or on other cheap and hurried productions. It happens when people are rushed, when they don't really care, when there's not enough money, when they disrespect the audience, when a production is troubled and departments aren't working in concert. None of this should be the case on a tentpole Disney+ series featuring beloved characters. And core parts of the show are quite good!

In short, shoddy workmanship pisses me off. Some people on this show are working hard and doing great. Others are phoning it in. And there isn't really an excuse for it at this budget and visibility.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 10:47 PM on June 16, 2022 [1 favorite]

Oh my GROND I love this show so much you guys and I genuinely feel sorry for anyone not just dying of glee watching each and every minute. Three different times during this episode I turned to my spouse and said THIS SHIT IS SO RAW like some moron watching pro wrestling. Truly an entertainment made for me. I hope they make Reva comics so I can see more of her hating Darth Vader and furiously sucking up to him hoping to get enough promotions that she can murder him in solitude. I expect with her last dying breath she lightsabers Obi-Wan's phone so Vader can't find Luke.

Only thing that didn't work for me was the deaging! I felt like they were more aggressive with McGregor than Christensen and thus Obi-Wan looked younger than Anakin. Like for reals we were supposed to believe that old man was a PADAWAN?! No waaaa. Hayden Christensen looks great IRL but they needed to apply a bit more of that Pixie Dust to get him to a point where he was convincingly younger than he was when Revenge came out.
posted by potrzebie at 10:49 PM on June 16, 2022 [5 favorites]

I really dont think its fair to characterize those of us not enjoying the show as much as being hung up on plot holes and contrivances.

I dont mind, for instance, that Reva found the hologram despite it being super convenient. I do mind her and apparently the Grand Inquisitor having the ability to shrug off what really should have been mortal wounds because the plot says so.

I mind that the plotting is confusing enough that I dont actually know if Reva intended to let Obi Wan go? Did she think he was going to help in that final scene? Did he think she was helping him? Because if thats true (and from a casual inspection at least some people think thats what happened) it makes Obi Wan seem incredibly callous, to not even express regret that he is leaving Reva to die. And if its not true, we have to accept that once again Reva has left her prisoner with an embarrasingly small guard duty for no damn reason.

I'm sorry, this stuff isnt cinema sins, its not pointing out minor contrivances, its pointing out major plot points which should greatly inform character are being very poorly communicated to the audience!

Again Im glad the show works for you, but as I and others made clear, the emotional beats just arent there for me, and thats because of poor plotting and low stakes, ignored for a focus on some cool looking scenes
posted by Cannon Fodder at 11:44 PM on June 16, 2022

My read was that both Reva and Obi-Wan know he doesn't have the heart to take Vader out himself, but he was going to try to get Vader good and tired and leave him for Reva to take a crack at. Whether he actually believed she had a chance, I have my doubts. The training they give inquisitors seems pretty unimpressive; definitely seems like they're limiting them so they never actually have the power to be a threat to any actual sith.
posted by potrzebie at 12:09 AM on June 17, 2022 [1 favorite]

I did really love the Reva/Vader fight. The lightsaber portion could have been a bit better, but Vader basically just toying with her using only the Force was extremely cool.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 1:39 AM on June 17, 2022 [5 favorites]

AOTC was actually a decent movie. Easily the best of the prequels.

How can I disagree, a person who actually watched it five to six times during its theatrical run here?

I'm definitely more like potrzebie in how I'm enjoying the show. All I can say is, wow, it turns out I really am unreasonably fond of Obi-Wan and the prequels' characters than I expected. Even while I'm in agreement with the criticisms on this episode in particular (the pacing and sense of urgency felt off, and for me I'll hang that to the cuts to Leia's bit which tonally didn't feel so much in danger despite being of a piece), I'm sorry, I think this show captured my heart the moment it opens and my long-dormant fanficcy fan side blinked and went, oh my god, they're actually doing it. 45k, hurt/comfort, found family, angst, weekly updates.
posted by cendawanita at 1:43 AM on June 17, 2022 [4 favorites]

the spectacle of the door-blasting laser cannon only to see Reva casually slice through the door moments later

I do think SW bases can be a great source of tension but maybe only if you have the budget, because it's a very shoot and wait/trench warfare setup so it's hard to sustain energy if you don't also put in screentime on the escape bits (per ESB; TLJ) which this episode probably had to cut , except streaming shouldn't have time constraints, so it felt both inert and undercommunicated (other examples: Reva letting Obi-Wan getting the jump on the troopers; what was it Leia was looking for and why it took 'so long'). But this bit with the blast doors I thought was very clear: she could slice through it because it's the weakened section from the laser cannon. Obi-Wan really was just buying time (as he said).
posted by cendawanita at 1:52 AM on June 17, 2022 [1 favorite]

I’ve come to the realization that spectacle-oriented cinema, which is what Star Wars has always been, is not unlike porn. The plot doesn’t matter. The characters’ motivations don’t matter. All that matters is that they show us what we came to see; the money shot, if you will.

I think James Cameron's T2 was one of the earliest examples of this. A series of porn-vignettes, if you will, strung out into a long film tied together with plot and exposition (foreplay) -> hardcore action (hardcore action) -> explosions (climax); repeat.
posted by mikelieman at 7:32 AM on June 17, 2022

side comment: AOTC edited version on youtube is entirely watchable and the Naboo romance is great... this scene discussing dictatorship vs democracy is written off as flirting chat but the whole "the system doesn't work... people should be made to agree" "who's going to make them? you?" said with a flirty giggle ha ha is terrifying in retrospect
posted by St. Peepsburg at 8:11 AM on June 17, 2022

ok here's my take on Kenobi.... I freaking love it y'all!! There is a lot of show not tell writing that puts nuance into Obiwan and Vader like I'd not seen before. I was shocked how happy I was to see Padawan Anakin, rat tail side braid and uncanny valley de-aging effects and all. And his character suddenly popped out to me: Anakin was always so stiff and awkward with his moves and flat speaking style.... as Vader also has this restrained and minimal and plank-of-wood like fighting style and minimal with his words. That fight scene with Reva was great, you see completely his mastery of the force. (Stopping the ship though earned a shouted out "WTF is that!!") Even side comments, like "he'll attack right away, he's not patient enough to wait" and suddenly Vader's character turned from Blank Bad Guy Doing Bad Things into an agent with motivation and decision making, impulsive and angry and power hungry, trying to fill an internal void. You get to see so so much more of Vader in this show it's entirely a delight.

Vader is contrasted with Kenobi whom we witness up close as a reluctant introverted character; also minimal in his words, he prefers to be on the side, observe, run, hide, anything but fight. He had entirely disappeared, living life as an invisible worker at a butcher's shop with questionable health code adherence. He starts off so feeble and out of practice. He never overtly expresses his guilt, but the scene ep3 where vader comes in and he is fearfully watching through the blinds, not wanting to face up to his mistake but needing to see him still says it all. The rally speech he tries to give in ep5 before Vader invades is uncomfortable and in no way a natural leader or interested in power. He's completely lost his swagger from his earlier years (I'm remembering the cocky smiles he used to give before doing something cheeky in EP2).

They better not fuck up the Luke thread that's starting and my huge complaint already (since Luke is 1000% my favorite character of all time) is that as a kid I always pictured him that kind of beach blonde that you know will turn darker as he grows up but at 10 years old should be still sandy AF.

My other complaint... ep2 or 3 they did that silly shot where "evil villain suddenly turns his head toward the camera" bit with Vader and I was like hell no, Vader doesn't head snap, he slooooowly turns and faces you so you feel the dread and the weight of him.

This show is total popcorn on plot, Leia is twee for sure, but it's surprisingly tense for knowing no one is in true peril, but watching the characters every week sparks joy, the light saber fights are not CGI to hell, when I first heard James Earl Jones speak I was completely delighted, Rupret Friend is channeling the emperor, and Ewan McGregor is phenomenal at incorporating another actor's physicality and mannerisms while entirely carrying the emotionality of the plot. Love love love this show.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 8:40 AM on June 17, 2022 [6 favorites]

I enjoyed the episode, but I don't don't know why Reva didn't attack Vader while he was distracted using the force to act as a tractor beam pulling that ship back. She could have been right behind him--no one was stopping her.

And who puts all of their important wiring in such a high tiny space that only a small flying droid and a child with a ladder can get to?
posted by ceejaytee at 8:41 AM on June 17, 2022

The people who built my house, ceejaytee.
posted by Nelson at 8:49 AM on June 17, 2022 [19 favorites]

cendawanita, preach. It's uneven and weirdly paced and if this were my introduction to the franchise I'm not sure I'd be enthusiastic...but seeing these actors playing these characters in the situations the show is putting them in is something I'd never have bet on seeing and it's just so easy to focus on the positive because I'm so happy to be watching this at all.

If you're having a hard time enjoying this IDK how you're still tolerating Star Wars. There is a ton of much less compelling Star Wars content out there. This show has so much heart, world class acting, and fleshes out an unexplored-on-screen period of one of the most important characters in the narrative of the Skywalker saga without falling into the "get it, he CHOSE the name Solo" trap. I'm here for it and so sad it's ending next week.
posted by potrzebie at 10:01 AM on June 17, 2022 [3 favorites]

Oh also I completely interpreted Leia's entire experience this episode as "little girl has taken one electronics class and thinks she can handle an important task, volunteers for it and realizes she has no idea what she's doing, and fakes confidence hoping she'll figure it out before it becomes an emergency and she has to admit she was out of her depth". Speaking as a former overconfident little girl who was often totally full of shit about my own abilities I felt seen by Leia's arc. I do think this is probably me identifying way too much with Leia rather than anything that actually showed up on screen, but it also makes more sense than any other interpretation.
posted by potrzebie at 10:06 AM on June 17, 2022 [1 favorite]

I'm enjoying the way it's trying - fairly successfully, I think - to unify the aesthetics and feel of the prequels with that of Star Wars (1977) (or to give it it's proper name "Star Wars, you know, the first one") and that of Rogue One. In mood, it's generally quite Rogue One-ish, but there are shots (for example, Vader in his Battlecruiser) which could have come from Empire Strikes Back.

For the record, since I first saw Star Wars, you know, the first one, in 1978, I assumed that Leia knew Kenobi very well, so none of this is any kind of surprise, though I am enjoying it. I'm assuming that at the end of the series she will come into possession of Artoo Deetoo.
posted by Grangousier at 2:34 PM on June 17, 2022 [3 favorites]

I am really enjoying this show too. Yeah I get that bits of it are a little silly maybe but I'm watching this show for the emotional resonance and that I got in this episode, in spades. I was so excited by the flashback scene! I got all kinds of emotions seeing Hayden C and Ewan M in a scene together after so long. I kind of felt that Hayden Christensen's acting in the flashback had gained a little gravitas - that he felt like the fully fleshed-out character he is in Clone Wars, still a learner, but one with skill, experience and ambition, rather than the whiny Padawan he is in the first two of the prequel movies.
posted by unicorn chaser at 2:48 PM on June 17, 2022 [4 favorites]

OBW can’t kill him, he still loves him and despite dispatching numerous white suits to their next lifetimes he’s not a killer at heart. And the guilt. You can’t fuck up with a student and then kill them to run away from your mistakes.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 2:55 PM on June 17, 2022

Theres so much source material out there; they could go the route of marvel...

I laughed at this point (before the comment went on to talk about the MCU) because the show feels like the modern Star Wars comics from Marvel. Elaborate, sometimes fun, adventures happening between two of the movies that's never even been hinted at before. Even Reva fits in because the Darth Vader comic is a revolving door of brand new baddies who try and backstab Vader and easily get taken down. Bonus points if it turns out Reva was sent by the Emperor as a test.

Paraphrasing (I think?) the Hello Internet podcast: I fully understand Star Wars is a fictional work. But then I watch some of the newer stuff and think "come on, it's not like that really happened".
posted by Gary at 3:03 PM on June 17, 2022 [2 favorites]

Gary: I totally noticed this too, I will selective pick which parts of cannon I will allow into my SW universe. This happened but THAT was artistic license etc etc.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 3:16 PM on June 17, 2022 [1 favorite]

I think that's a pretty normal way to engage with a fictional universe as big as Star Wars! I basically refuse to accept TRoS as canon. I just don't concede that's how it went down. I'm not sure what did happen, but it wasn't that.
posted by potrzebie at 5:57 PM on June 17, 2022

I basically refuse to accept TRoS as canon.

Have a look for the orignal Ep IX script, Duel of the Fates, online. That feels far more satisfying to me.
posted by crossoverman at 8:33 PM on June 17, 2022

I'm very much enjoying this. I was a teenager when episode IV arrived, and, obviously, hated the wait between installments, always willing to overlook the minutia for the sake of enjoying being once again immersed in such a fun place.
I now have a Mandalorian cosplaying teenager who also simply looks for the good before dissecting the silly or the just plain bad. We watch together and pause when something excites us, and then talk over each episode before popping in here to catch what we might have missed.
As a complete aside, the best SW thing we've done together was Galaxy's Edge at Disneyland (just this past April). We spent hours walking around simply marveling at the attention to even the smallest detail and somehow managed to save "Rise of the Resistance" (a "ride") until near the end. It is mind-blowingly immersive and fun and so entirely different from what I expected that it's hard to even describe it as a ride.
posted by OHenryPacey at 12:38 PM on June 18, 2022 [1 favorite]

This was pretty fun.

I ve really been enjoying Reva's character and the duel with Vader was great, I just imagined her screaming "I was a child"! In a melodramatic Mark Hamill "NOOO!!!" mode, but the actress is more understated while evoking that in me.

I liked the subtle way they are introducing dark side force healing, but the writers are being too subtle about things.

So much of the lore development in this series is just whooshing over people's heads, as "plot holes!!!@$$$!" because I think the writers wanted to focus on character moments.

It s also good to avoid explaining lore, because you can duck the whole "but that s not how the force works!" Griping by showing and not telling.

Basically, there s no way for the writers to win.
posted by eustatic at 12:50 PM on June 18, 2022 [5 favorites]

The de-aging worked on me, because except for one brief moment I honestly thought they were showing us a clip of a prequel (I haven’t watched them since they came out).
posted by schoolgirl report at 5:42 AM on June 20, 2022

This episode was the closest in time I've seen Annakin and Vader on screen, and it reinforced how I've never bought Hayden Christensen as Annakin/Vader. Vader has a gravitas and menace that I don't believe the Annakin character can grow into.
posted by kirkaracha at 7:49 AM on June 21, 2022 [2 favorites]

But Christensen is playing Vader? But I guess you mean how Christensen has been playing Annakin.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 9:05 AM on June 21, 2022

Yeah, sorry. I don't buy Annakin as played by Christensen turning into Vader.
posted by kirkaracha at 9:19 AM on June 21, 2022 [3 favorites]

I agree, actually. I've mostly wiped the prequels from my memory, but despite his dark turn at the end, I think I felt the same way. This episode didn't do much to persusde me, either.

The problem is that Lucas set out to do something with Annakin/Vader that I think required an exceptional acting talent, and a very particular one at that, which Christensen isn't.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 11:07 AM on June 21, 2022

RIP to Vader's past life, one more episode to go and no one remembers it's spelled 'Anakin'.

(Tangentially, this show is making me curious enough to check out The Clone Wars animated series and I think a couple of other titles. I avoided them because I had this notion the movies ought to be enough but I guess it's a world of expanded media nowadays.)
posted by cendawanita at 11:39 AM on June 21, 2022 [4 favorites]

Rogue One was how to do emotional beats AND somewhat-consistent story telling. They had a constraint and they worked WELL with it.

This? Clunky clunky CLUNKY. Emo Ewan is good,.......Reva is played by a strong actor but her lines. Good god. They are AWFUL.
posted by lalochezia at 7:42 PM on June 23, 2022 [2 favorites]

synecdoche: I have to admit that I was fully admitting Vader to try to push Reva to go deeper into her hate and try to turn her into his apprentice.

Yeah! This is why the Emperor is a better Sith than Vader. The Emperor tried to flip Luke while Luke was trying to kill him, and Reva is a lot farther down the Dark Side than Luke ever was. She's already been hunting Jedi for you! It wouldn't have been too hard. But no, he just disposes of her, without even bothering to kill her? I'm not saying it's unrealistic, just that Vader... is not very good at being Sith. Too much a padawan still, maybe the idea that he could take an apprentice hasn't occurred to him yet.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 10:34 PM on November 2, 2022

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