Episode three of Obi-Wan Kenobi carries on from where the last episode left us, on the goods transport. Obi-Wan Kenobi is shown to be Jedi meditating perhaps for the first time in ten years,
As he does the video intercuts it with a suiting up sequence of Darth Vader, giving us a reminder of exactly how much lasting impact the battle had on both of them, and this scene is overlaid with Audio flash backs to his battle with Anakin that changed everything, and this is very topical as "their long awaited meeting has come at last"
This is a line coming from a New hope when originally Darth Vader and Obi-Wan(Ben) Kenobi were said to meet for the first time since their battle on Mustafar, and there was a lot of concern online that the pair meeting in this show is going to ruin this meeting in New hope, has it?
Well, it's complicated. firstly, I personally think that as a whole, it enhances the entire thing as a whole, but first let me play my own Devil's Advocate.
On the one hand, yes the line said by Darth Vader, "When I left you, I was but the learner, now I am the master." has lost all its Validity, as now there was an event in between the battle in The Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, and that's a huge deal as it brings down the weight of this battle, as it was meant to signify a battle between two people who were once brothers and now are the worst of enemies.
And the fact that Vader was searching every nook and cranny of the Galaxy for so long, for Obi-Wan, for the man responsible for his current condition, without any fruit, makes every clash of their swords mean that much more.
And on top of that the fact that Obi-Wan dies by his own choice at the end of this battle gives credence to how good his choice of hiding place for Luke and himself was, as it implies that Obi-Wan and by extension Luke was found out only when Obi-Wan wanted them to be found, in spite of Vader's efforts. Which is a big Deal as it is established multiple times in all forms of star wars media, how important, Both Luke and Leia were to finally bringing down the Empire and that this was something that Obi-Wan along with the Bail and Yoda Predicted, which is why they chose to hide the pair in the first place!
Now, with them meeting not in twenty, but ten years, half the time than original and keeping the fact that this was Obi-Wan being forced out of hiding, i.e. Vader found him before intended, takes away validity from how good of a job they did at hiding Luke and Leia, because now, not only can Luke's location potentially be at risk if they capture Obi-Wan and torture him for information, The reason Obi-Wan is here, is because LEIA IS KIDNAPPED!
So now both their only hopes for Galaxy are potentially at risk, granted, now one actually found out who Leia is and what is her importance, and no one would dare harm her as she is the daughter of an important senator, and on top of that, it is even established in A New Hope that Leia was always kind of hidden in plain sight i.e. she was in the public eye, but no one knew her importance, and I can infer that because A New Hope begins with her capture, as shown below, but still, do you see the issue?
But now, that I have said all the Negatives, let me go over why I still liked the fact that This clash took place.
Firstly, post, new hope and the original trilogy, a lot of media such as the Prequel Trilogy (Particularly Revenge of the Sith), the Clone Wars and Rebels Animated show, The Sequel Trilogy(Though that has little to no bearing on pretty much anything in this show as the timeline of that is so far into the future from the events of Kenobi), A litany of extended media such as games and comics and spin offs such as Rogue One have added a lot of Context to star wars and this battle on the death star in question.
Let's go over some of that, Media such as Rebels, and Rogue One have shown what kind of impact the Empire has had on the Galaxy and what power they hold, in fact Rebels in particular, introduced us to the inquisitors who are force users, specifically trained and used to hunt Jedi. It is a little weird that in these twenty years, Kenobi never even came close to capture or a confrontation with Vader, no matter how good of a hiding place Tatooine maybe, given that it's in the outer rim and the Empire has little to no hold there when compared to other planets, and Vader would never personally go there as he was a slave there and he hates that place, but little to no hold when compared to other planets is still a lot of hold, seeing exactly how powerful the empire is.
Now, in a new hope itself Leia, and the rebellion as a whole is shown to know about Obi-Wan Kenobi and his status as a Jedi, which would make sense considering that Bail Organa who was pretty high up in the rebellion knew Kenobi personally, and the fact that Leia and Obi-Wan interact in this show, ads further to why she would trust her, but the vibe that I got was that the rebellion as a whole somewhat knew about Obi-Wan, how? Unless of course, he came out of hiding to help them at least a few times? And he had a reputation on Tatooine as a "wizard". So that further makes it less believable that he never came close to capture.
And also if we aren't to believe that he helped the Rebel Alliance at any point, his reputation as a wizard still stands, and he also acted calm and collected during his battle with Vader, now let me tell you why none of this makes sense.
We always knew that Kenobi and Anakin were like brothers, and the Clone Wars Animated show added much context to that, now if we go back to the fight on Mustafar, Obi-Wan was forced to fight his brother, to almost death and leave him dismembered and burned to a crisp near the lava flow of Mustafar and this broke him so much that he couldn't even bring himself to make the killing blow.
We have seen multiple times in multiple star wars media, how such trauma can affect force users in particular, how they cut themselves off from the force or turn to the Dark side, even that aside, real world psychology shows us, how such trauma can affect a person and while the nightmares and general lack of motivation and settling into a monotonous lifestyle which is shown in episode one supports this, that is besides the point, the point is, there is no way in hell, Obi-Wan would be high functioning enough to help the Rebel Alliance, and/or gain the reputation as a wizard, especially considering that the way force users are treated, forced him further to cut himself off from the force, and the fact that her wasn't allowed within ten meters of Luke for more than ten minutes, the one thing that could have given his life some purpose i.e. training and taking care of Luke also didn't exist, that just makes it more ridiculous, he would be a wreck.
It is therefore extremely important that something rekindle his connection to the force, and at least give him reason to pull himself out of the depression he surely faced in these long twenty years, and this confrontation with Vader is a worthy candidate for this exact thing.
Also, Kenobi thought Anakin dead, he had some suspicion that that wasn't the case, but given his mental state, he wouldn't dare entertain the idea, granted the information that Vader is Anakin could be relayed to him in many other ways, what could not be done in any other way is make him any calmer about facing this monster, an embodiment of all his mistakes and the main Reason for his life being the way it is. For him to have that calm demeanor during the fight on the Death Star, he had to have confronted Vader at least once, if not face to face, then at a distance.
Let's talk about the fight itself, this fight is way more like how a fight between Vader, and an Obi-Wan who hasn't touched the force or a lightsaber in a long time would go, now granted, a lot of compromises were made in A New Hope due to technical limitations. But what I am pointing to isn't related to that, what I am pointing to is the fact that, Obi-Wan would totally be destroyed, yes even in A New Hope Vader mentions that his powers are weak, but two things, this could just be overconfidence on Vader's Part and/or a Deliberate attempt by Kenobi to hide his strength and secondly, Kenobi still held on long enough to act as a distraction to cover Luke, Leia and Han's escape.
And another thing I liked is that Vader Burns Obi-Wan, a direct result of him wanting Kenobi to face some semblance of the pain he faced on Mustafar, which is another thing, Vader wouldn't go for a direct strike that killed Obi-Wan, he would make him suffer, but granted the argument can be made that once again Kenobi did that on purpose to end the battle short and not give Vader the chance to do exactly that, which is an argument I agree with. But that doesn't take away from how satisfying this is, and also once again ads to my point of how was Kenobi this calm and collected?
Now, after Ranting on this thing for so long I would like to talk about some other aspects of the episode, the beginning is what you would expect, it's Kenobi and Leia navigating this planet and we are given some insight into the history of how this planet used to be populated, but is now being mined dry by the Empire.
Kenobi and Leia hitch a ride on a transport who later rats them out on an outpost, and while on the transport, we get some insight into Obi-Wan's past and a somewhat critique of the Jedi as we finally see the practice of Taking kids from their families by the Jedi Addressed directly and with no mincing of words, stormtroopers prove to be useless once again. Like what the actual fuck dude he was sitting right next to you.
They meet Kaja's contact, who is an imperial defector named Tala which is when Vader comes to search for them, Leia and Tala, are sent away by Kenobi to meet the Pilot who is to take them off world while a masterful scene is played during which Kenobi senses Vader's presence, and watches with terror in his eyes as he tortures the common people to draw Kenobi out, then the two confront.
and Tala leaves Leia who assures her that she can find her own way, to go help Obi-Wan and in the meanwhile, Reva, finds out about their secret way out, known as "the Path" and kills the pilot and takes Leia.
There is also a reference to Quinlin Vaas from the Clone Wars on the path's wall and Kenobi calls him by name.
Now to see if Episode four is better or worse than Episode Three.