The link between Obi-Wan Kenobi and Darth Vader is unshakeably strong, which awoke anew in “Part II” when Reva told Obi-Wan the news of Anakin Skywalker’s survival and later had them both suffering in bacta tanks in “Part IV,” and “Part V” sees them basically both remembering the same training lesson between them as they barrel towards a confrontation once again. From the moment I recognized Coruscant in the opening shot, I knew it was flashback time, but I still wasn’t quite prepared to see Hayden Christensen as Padawan Anakin and Obi-Wan almost in his full mullet mode, placing this scene likely somewhere close to the start of Attack of the Clones, I was left grinning ear to ear every time either Obi-Wan or Vader seemed to be mulling on this particular moment.
Regardless, I brought up how these two were remembering the lightsaber training battle together because it felt like if Obi-Wan said something that brough us to the flashback, it was during a moment in their little battle that he had the upper hand or noticed something about Anakin’s aggressiveness, so his favorite teaching moments, while if Vader was shown proceeding the next flashback part, it seemed to focus on Anakin letting out some anger, taking his Master down a size.
In the scene, while the duel starts on friendly terms, Obi-Wan calls out Anakin’s growing aggressiveness, saying Jedi try to preserve life while Anakin counters mercy can’t defeat an enemy, and since he even thinks of ‘defeating’ instead of subduing as a priority confirms he’s not quite on the right path.
Regardless of all the potential proving Anakin needed to do back then, what about now, as Darth Vader? If anyone needs to prove themselves, I’d say it’s Obi-Wan “Ben” Kenobi.
Backing up a bit, Vader summons Reva for updates on her tracking beacon on Leia’s Lola, and when she tells him they know they are on Jabiim, he rewards her work by granting her the role of the Grand Inquisitor (something we all know from Star Wars Rebels she won’t have for long). When Obi-Wan goes to stall the initial siege, talking to Reva, he confronts her on how she knew Anakin Skywalker was Darth Vader and begins putting the pieces together on his own.
It’s a gut punch to Obi-Wan’s doubts about himself, this living embodiment of everything his failure wrought, and his lack of an answer is what causes her to continue pressing the attack.
When Obi-Wan surrenders, he attempts to strike a deal with her, to help her take down Vader together, by being the distraction so the Dark Lord won’t see her coming, and reluctantly she agrees, even though she’s more than right she’s done enough without him already, but he makes a good point how focused Vader should be on him.
It’s a testament to Varma’s acting and the series’ writing and directing teams how much her death hit, and even NED’s for how she interacted with him, and I’m going to miss her but hope one day we’ll get more stories, set prior to this, that could feature Tala again…maybe one of her dealing with Quinlan Vos as part of the Path? Obi-Wan wasn’t even a proper opponent for him when they dueled in “Part III,” and while Reva can’t defeat Vader either, at least she’s a challenge to some degree, allowing Obi-Wan Kenobi to showcase Vader in his fury-laden prime again.
After taunting her, Ol’ Grandy leaves with Vader, the only thing sustaining Reva her burning anger (like Maul after being bisected or Vader limbless and burning on the sands of Mustafar) over being used, by both the Sith and by Obi-Wan, who sort of left her there to face Vader when he couldn’t bring himself to do it. I know it was more to maintain the secrecy of Leia, to prevent Vader from finding her, but it’s still a poor deal when Obi-Wan leaves Reva, knowing she likely won’t survive the encounter, but he sees it as a necessary sacrifice to protect both the girl and boy.
But it’s not just anger that looks to propel Reva forward in the show’s finale despite her stinging defeat, she happens upon Obi-Wan’s communicator (dropped by Haja after Obi-Wan gave it to him when he surrendered) and hears Bail’s very important words about not just the girl, but a boy as well, warning Obi-Wan he, and Reva knows whom the “he” refers to, can’t learn who they are.
With that huttlet out of the cage, and the episode ending on a sleeping young Luke Skywalker, Obi-Wan will face the repercussions of his actions of leaving Reva to suffer at Vader’s hands alone far sooner than he ever imagined (which probably was never, as he probably assumed she’d die).
Flashbacks and revelations abound on an emotional and thrilling penultimate episode of Obi-Wan Kenobi, “Part V,” setting up for a finale that, while we know overall what will happen, has a bunch of threads that remain tantalizingly unresolved!