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Obi-Wan Kenobi defies expectations in episode 4; it's refreshing
Obi-Wan Kenobi episode 4 is now streaming on Disney Plus, and it’s a great new chapter in the ongoing miniseries. Bucking fan theories to forge its own path, Obi-Wan Kenobi setting the stakes high while offering a compelling portrait of the early days of the Rebellion.
The series follows the Jedi Master as he lives in exile on Tatooine, watching over young Luke Skywalker. Pulled back into the fray by his old friend Bail Organa, Obi-Wan Kenobi is now on a rescue mission, trying to get Leia back home safely from the Imperial Inquisitors who have kidnapped her. But Obi-Wan may be walking into a trap, as Reva, an Inquisitor and follower of Darth Vader, wants to prove herself by bringing him in.
See also: Obi-Wan Kenobi episode 3 recap
Read on for our Obi-Wan Kenobi episode 4 review. As always, be aware that the following post contains spoilers. If you haven’t watched it yet, you can check it out by hitting the link below.
Obi-Wan Kenobi episode 4 review
Like the aging Luke Skywalker in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Obi-Wan is at a crossroads. He’s cynical and wants to be left alone. He has seen first-hand the failures of the Jedi and isn’t itching to join the resistance. That changes here, in Obi-Wan Kenobi episode 4, and it’s a refreshing turn away from expectations.
Check out: What to watch on Disney Plus
We should all know better than to put too much stock in fan theories, but after episode 3, the internet was buzzing with some plausible predictions for this week’s installment. With Obi-Wan injured and dazed after his duel with Vader, maybe we’d see flashbacks to his glory days. Hayden Christensen is back as Anakin/Vader, so this would be a great place to drop in a moving reunion from before the former apprentice’s turn to the Dark Side.
Not so. Instead, the episode saw Obi-Wan pulling himself out of a bacta tank before he was fully healed. Not a moment to spare, even for his own wellbeing.
Obi-Wan Kenobi refuses to offer up empty action.
Likewise, last week’s reference to Jedi Master Quinlan Voss, who has appeared in Star Wars shows and novels, didn’t earn a follow-up this week. O’Shea Jackson Jr.’s role in the show had not been revealed yet, leading many to speculate that he might appear as the Jedi to help Obi-Wan.
Instead, Jackson played a Rebellion fighter and widower named Roken this week. There was no mention of Voss at all.
This was all for the best. Obi-Wan Kenobi has been plagued by fears that the stakes just wouldn’t be high enough. We don’t have to worry about Obi-Wan or Leia, after all. That’s because we know they’ll be fine. Focusing on empty action and montages of the Jedi’s glory days would only feed into those low stakes. Obi-Wan Kenobi refuses to do that. Instead, it sets the stakes high around Obi-Wan and Leia, by giving us secondary characters to care deeply about.
Portrait of a budding rebellion
Obi-Wan Kenobi episode 4 reminds us that the Rebellion is more than a few massively powerful heroes saving the day. It’s an ongoing effort by countless ordinary people fighting for what’s right.
Roken counters Obi-Wan’s arrogance by reminding him he’s not the only person to have seen or experienced pain at the hands of the Empire. His wife, whom he hints was a Jedi, was taken from him. The Rebellion is surely full of people with similar stories.
The stakes are high because the Rebellion is full of ordinary people taking extraordinary risks for what's right.
Thus far, we’ve seen hints of a simmering Rebellion, including Tala, and “The Path,” a network of escape routes. Here, we saw it more fully: a smaller version of the Rebellion as it exists in the original Star Wars trilogy. With that comes the reminder that regular folk are willing to stand up to evil — even while some gleefully comply, like episode 3’s Freck. And it comes at a cost. One of the pilots sent to rescue Obi-Wan, Leia, and Tala from the Inquisitors’ stronghold dies on the mission. His comrades mourn him.
Related: Take our Star Wars quiz!
Star Wars does take place within a war, after all. It’s a messy war. A prolonged war. And it’s a war where the odds are stacked against an underdog. Obi-Wan seems to see and understand this for the first time in episode 4. It’s moving and in keeping with the broader message of hope that appears throughout Star Wars.
Reva: Obi-Wan Kenobi MVP?
Among the best supporting players is Reva. The ambitious Inquisitor continues to add a layer of complexity to the bad guys. She’s vying for Vader’s approval, and so far she’s good at getting it.
Moses Ingram, who plays Reva, has been on the receiving end of major pushback, including racist abuse online. While that kind of toxic fandom is never welcome or acceptable, it’s also just baffling that her performance (or character) hasn’t received more praise. Reva hints at a tragic background, including when she tells Leia that everything, including her droid, was taken from her in childhood. It seems clear that she was once a Jedi Padawan, maybe one of the children escapees we glimpsed in Obi-Wan Kenobi’s first scene. Her alliance with Vader, who murdered much of her cohort, has dark implications if this is true.
Reva plays the long game. She wants to become the next Grand Inquisitor, and she takes risks, as with the revelation that she let Obi-Wan and Leia escape. Leia’s droid is now a tracking device, and the hunt is on.
Each week, I find myself more curious about Reva. Who is she? Where does her devotion to Vader come from? Is there enough good in her that she might be saved or turned to the Light Side? These are questions that may not even be answered in Obi-Wan Kenobi, and that’s fine. These are facets of a character who keeps the show engaging and builds on the Star Wars mythos.
Are you enjoying Obi-Wan Kenobi? What did you think of episode 4? Let us know in the comments.