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Star Wars Obi-Wan Episode 5: Dramatic Moments and How to Destroy Them

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Be warned: Big spoilers for everything in episode five.

I already talked last week about the fact that I’m not doing this to spoil Star Wars. On the contrary, I want good, engaging, enchanting new stories in this universe – I got sterile prequels, directionless sequels, Boba Fett and Obi-Wan. Rogue One was okay because it was different. The Force Awakens and The Mandalorian, which were far from perfect, are nonetheless a hard-to-entertain light sparkle in the dreariness that Star Wars has been to me for generations now. And yes, the animated series are a blind spot for me and probably will remain so.

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Episode five of Obi-Wan Kenobi is what I would call the “best” yet in terms of revelations and suspense. But the quotation marks should already signal that it was far from being good. There were some very good dramatic moments where I actually felt something (Ned-B was the best character on the show!). Too bad they were often not deserved. After the gate has fallen, why do you first defend the wide, open antechamber instead of the narrow passage behind it? Why are people just standing around shooting? Don’t think I didn’t notice because of the shaky camera!

That’s what I watched too: A show like a cold shower for my Star Wars love. (Pictures are from the last episode because I’m faster than Disney’s press server)

This was what felt like the twentieth time that Star Wars proved that none of those responsible have a clue how to pull off an interesting shootout (recall the storm out of the besieged bar onto the street in season one of The Mandalorian!) . No wonder the Jedi consider a blaster an uncivilized weapon. What’s happening here looks like kids playing police in the playground with twigs, broken broomsticks and leaking water guns. But ok, otherwise the stormtroopers wouldn’t be able to land a hit. The fact that in the subsequent retreat Tala and Ned were the first to think of blowing up the tunnel, and no one else had this idea, also shows that this moment was also written “backwards”: the authors wanted this sacrifice and have the rest of the story written around it.

In general: The Empire shoots at the gate with the cannon for minutes, only for Reva to slit it open with the lightsaber after her dialogue with Obi-Wan, like I did the bag of disgusting ready-made Carbonara yesterday afternoon. Why not like this? Because otherwise you wouldn’t have been able to whisper to each other through the thick steel door beforehand! And meanwhile, no one thinks of parking the Star Destroyer over the freighter’s possible escape route, should the resistance eventually get the bulkheads open. No, you just let them flee – and then you’re lucky that their hyperdrive fails, allowing you to relive Obi-Wan and Vader’s clash in episode six.

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Typical Star Wars character development: You learn a pinpoint detail about each character that isn’t terribly important.

The revelation that Reva is one of the Padawans who survived Order 66 and is now after Vader is psychologically interesting and also played quite well, but ultimately not believable. What else is she willing to do to insinuate herself closer and closer to Vader, whom she’s not sure she’ll ever be able to kill? How many murders and genocides does she want to commit for him in the next few years (decades?)? But it doesn’t matter, because of course Vader knew all this all along – and then fails to kill Reva a second time. Will anything ever be accomplished in this series? By anyone? Weak.

The good thing: It wasn’t all made unexciting. But again, there’s Obi-Wan convincing Reva to act now, with a “Let’s end this together” at the episode’s most interesting moment, only to split seconds later (suddenly unbound!) despite being closely guarded by two Stormtroopers to free again with Gun-Fu. What was the plan again? “Vader will only have eyes for me,” says our “hero,” and then he just takes off with everyone else. It’s clear that Reva, so left alone, then takes her time with her attempted assassination of the man in black and then announces herself screaming. Was that what you meant by “ending it together”?

I really don’t understand how something like this ends up in the script? Oh yes, it only says “Vader finds out about Reva and defeats her in the subsequent fight!” As I always say, it’s spelled backwards: those cornerstones of the plot came first, the rest of the show is bent in such a way that they can happen.

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Figures are positioned to serve a purpose, then cleared away. Bye Tala. You deserved more. But in this universe there are only a handful of characters who are allowed to be more than an NPC.

The annoying side note of this episode would be that the alleged bug Revas was also a remote control or reprogramming for Leia’s droid, which the girl of course promptly discovered at the moment relevant to the plot, and nibbled it off like chewing gum freshly glued under the school desk. It was clear that the child would save the day and manage in what felt like 15 minutes, for which base boss Roken would have needed “three to four hours”. Although of course this escape, as mentioned, only succeeds because the Empire didn’t want to set up a blockade in the orbit of the planet.

So there we are: the last episode before the grand finale was a succession of effective moments and not without suspense, but none of it felt deserved or momentous. Obi-Wan drags himself across the finish line it seems – and Reva with a lightsaber hole in his stomach, presumably heading for the Tattooine to smack Vader by killing Luke? What we already know: In the end, Luke will be sure that his secret and that of his sister will be kept for a while. If all you expected from this was to close the gap between episodes three and four, you can probably come to terms with that. But let’s face it, this could have been so much more.

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