‘Obi-Wan Kenobi’ Finale Recap: One Last Stand

We analyze the final hour of the Disney+ “Star Wars” show

Obi-Wan Kenobi

Hello there. “Obi-Wan Kenobi,” the six episode limited series (OR IS IT???) devoted to our favorite Jedi hermit (played once again by Ewan McGregor), in the years before he fully embraced his hermit lifestyle, is coming to an end. And honestly, the final episode was fairly satisfying, offering plenty of action, some lovely character beats and a handful of nice emotional moments.

But enough preamble, let’s get down to it!

Major spoilers for the final episode of “Obi-Wan Kenobi” follow. Turn back now!

A Desperate Escape

The episode opens on Tatooine, in a line seemingly for water. A rude man cuts other customers, and then gets told off by a mysterious figure in a cloak – it’s Reva (Moses Ingram), the disgraced Third Sister (and, briefly, the Grand Inquisitor). She walks up to the merchant and tells her what she’s after. “I’m looking for a farmer named Owen,” she says. The threat alluded to at the end of the last episode is now made explicitly clear: if she can’t kill Vader (Hayden Christensen), she’s going to go after his kid.

Meanwhile, Vader’s Star Destroyer (let’s go ahead and assume it’s the Executor) is chasing the band of proto-Rebels as they try to escape. Roken (O’Shea Jackson, Jr.) says some encouraging words about diverting the shield to the back of the ship and that they’ll make it to a nearby planet but Obi-Wan sees through his bluster. “We’re not going to make it, are we?” Obi-Wan asks. He concocts a plan: he’ll make a getaway, which will divert Vader’s attention and allow for the soon-to-be Rebels to escape. Obi-Wan meets with Leia (Vivien Lyra Blair), who is using Lola to calm some of the other passengers. “They’re scared. She keeps their minds off of it,” Leia says. Obi-Wan cracks a joke that maybe he could use Lola.

On Tatooine, the shopkeeper from the first scene visits Owen Lars (Joel Edgerton) and Luke (Grant Feely), who are in one of the shops. (The shopkeeper alien in this scene was very cool.) “Owen,” the shopkeeper from earlier says. “There’s something you need to know.”

Kenobi is fully committed to his devil-may-care scheme. He’ll leave Leia with the Rebels and face Vader on his own. “You are all the future,” Kenobi tells them. He turns to Haja (Kumail Nanjiani) and makes him promise that he’ll deliver Leia safely to Alderaan. Haja makes some crack about how Obi-Wan probably doesn’t believe him because he’s a liar and a scoundrel but Obi-Wan sincerely knows that Haja will get her home.

At the Lars homestead, Owen and Beru (Bonnie Piesse) bicker about how they’re going to defend themselves and young Luke. As she’s talking, she’s moving furniture out of the way and opening up a hidden compartment. She pulls out a very large gun.

Back on the ship, Leia is distraught. “You said you’d take me home,” she cries to Obi-Wan. He says that Haja will do it and that he has to do what he has to do. He hands her Tala’s holster, the one with the notch marks inside. He says that she would have wanted Leia to have it. When Leia says that the holster is empty, he says there’s no way he’s giving a 10-year-old a blaster. It is a very cute exchange. “Please come back,” Leia says.

We then see Obi-Wan looking at his lightsaber and trying to commune with the Force (and, of course, the as-yet-unseen Qui-Gon Jinn). “I have to face him, Master. This ends today,” Obi-Wan says. One of them will probably wind up dead but it’s got to be done. Roken comes over and says, “It’s about you and him.” Obi-Wan says that it’s about them and tells Roken not to stop fighting. Roken says he’s just getting started. Obi-Wan, in a small craft, jets away from the larger ship.

Vader sees the smaller ship from his Star Destroyer. “That’s him,” he says, in the computer-augmented voice of James Earl Jones. The Grand Inquisitor (Rupert Friend) suggests that they stay the course. If they wipe out the larger ship, they’ll decimate The Path. Maybe end them altogether. Vader is undeterred. “Follow Kenobi.”

Beru and Owen prepare for Reva’s arrival. It sort of feels like they are setting this sequence up to be a booby-trapped style showdown in the style of the third act of “Skyfall.” Not to jump ahead but … it’s not.

Vader follows Kenobi’s ship to some craggy, desolate planet. He parks the Star Destroyer just outside of the planet. “Prepare my ship, I will face him alone,” Vader says. IT’S ON.

Another Duel of the Fates

Kenobi lands on the planet and reaches inside of his robes – Leia has secreted Lola there. He places Lola on the dashboard. Back on Tatooine, Reva approaches the Lars homestead. It should be noted that, in a wholly baffling move, the attack on the Lars homestead, which is modest in scale and honestly kind of sleepy, is intercut with the Darth Vader/Kenobi showdown on the empty planet. Since “Return of the Jedi,” “Star Wars” movies have frequently had multiple climaxes happening at once, something that honestly dulls the emotional impact that the sequences would have had individually and makes for a less thrilling conclusion. (Look at the concise, singular climax of the original “Star Wars” versus the cluttered, multilayered climax of “Return of the Jedi,” with several action sequences playing out simultaneous on several planets. We rest our case.)

On the empty planet, Kenobi waits for Darth Vader. “Have you come to destroy me?” Vader asks. “I will do what I must,” Kenobi says. Kenobi and Vader fight. They swing their lightsabers around with great fury. You can tell this duel is personal. They throw boulders at each other and eventually Vader makes the earth crack and buries Kenobi in the ground. This gag was great and shows just how powerful Vader is at the time. It also harkens back to the oversized powers animator Genndy Tartakovsky gave the Sith and Jedi in his traditionally animated (and still superior) “Clone Wars” micro-series.

“Did you really think you could defeat me?” Vader cackles and walks away. It seems like Obi-Wan’s goose is cooked … or at least buried under tons of rock and soil.

On Tatooine, Reva enters the house and fights with Owen and Beru. She tells Owen that he protects him as if Luke was actually his own son. “He is my own,” Owen says (Edgerton is very good). Luke escapes out of a hatch and sets out across the desert. Reva, wielding her evil red lightsaber, follows him. This scene is exciting but also stands out as a lapse in continuity – at age 10, Luke was chased by a woman with a lightsaber, something you’d think would maybe lessen the wide-eyed awe that he approached Kenobi’s lightsaber in the original “Star Wars.” Because he’d probably still be terrified.

Surprise! Obi-Wan has made a little Force-pocket for himself in the avalanche. He hears voices and sees flashes of Luke and Leia. It gives him the strength to survive. (Still no Qui-Gon!) Obi-Wan blasts out of the ground. Vader is almost to his ship and Obi-Wan throws a boulder at him. Rematch! (Back on Tatooine, Reva is still running after Luke. That’s a lot of cardio!)

With Vader, Obi-Wan has gotten the upper hand. He’s cracked open the mechanical box on his chest and slashed open his helmet. He can see inside, to the Padawan that Anakin used to be. “Anakin?” Obi-Wan asks. It’s an effective moment and a testament to just how good Ewan McGregor is and how much of this oftentimes ridiculous miniseries rests on his capable shoulders. Kenobi apologizes to Vader but Vader isn’t having any of it. “You didn’t kill Anakin Skywalker,” Darth Vader hisses. “I did.” “Then my friend is truly dead. Goodbye Darth,” Kenobi says. He walks away, leaving Darth Vader screaming and wheezing his horrible mechanical wheeze. Kenobi races to Tatooine.

In a rocky outcrop on Tatooine, Reva is closing in on Luke. She’s about to strike him down and then sees herself in Luke’s huddled position. She remembers looking to Anakin for help and seeing the face of a murderer. She can’t do it.

Kenobi lands on the Lars homestead. Beru and Owen are calling out for Luke. They see Reva, like a phantom on the dunes. She’s carrying Luke. They fear that he’s dead. She puts him down and it’s clear he’s alive. “I couldn’t do it,” Reva tells Kenobi. But she feels like she’s let down the other Jedi that Anakin slaughtered. “You haven’t failed them by choosing mercy,” Kenobi says. Who she becomes now, Kenobi tells Reva, is up to her. She tosses her scary saber into the desert sand. “Now you’re free,” Kenobi says.

Tying Up Loose Ends

Inside Vader’s very chic castle on Mustafar, he’s talking to a tiny hologram of the Emperor (Ian McDiarmid). Vader is ranting about Kenobi and how he’ll snuff out the Jedi. The Emperor says, “You seem agitated” and insinuates that maybe his connection to his former teacher and friend has made him weak. Vader refutes this. “Kenobi means nothing,” Vader says. His allegiance is solely to the Emperor. Some real dom/sub stuff going on in this scene. The camera pulls back, lingering on Vader on his throne, as John Williams’ timeless Imperial March plays.

Back on Alderaan, we see little Leia getting ready. She’s getting ready to meet a dignitary, as we’ve seen before. But she puts on some familiar boots and slings her new holster over her hip. When her mother, Breha (Simone Kessell), comes in to get her she sees her holster, asks if that’s what it is, and tells her she loves it.

They go out to a landing platform outside her castle. Leia asks who they’re going to meet. Another snooty cousin perhaps? And, of course, the ship lands and out steps Kenobi. And Lola.

Leia is thrilled to see them. Kenobi and Bail Organa (Jimmy Smits) have a nice exchange. Bail says that he could never repay Kenobi but Kenobi says he doesn’t need to. “If you ever need my help again, you know where to find me,” Kenobi says. Then he goes over to Leia and, in what is arguably the most touching scene in the entire episode, tells Leia the personality traits that she got from her mother and father. It’s a beautifully written exchange and McGregor totally nails it. Leia asks if she’ll ever see him again. He says maybe. He also says that “No one must know” that they already know each other, which seems to be the series’ catchall explanation for why Leia doesn’t remember Obi-Wan from their adventures together in the first “Star Wars.” Big “have the droids’ memories erased” energy. Leia puts Lola in her holster. It’s a perfect fit.

We then see Obi-Wan cleaning out his cave on Tatooine. He sees the toy that he tried to give Luke earlier in the miniseries. He leaves the cave behind and travels to the Lars homestead. Owen approaches and says that he thought Obi-Wan would be keeping his distance. Kenobi says that he will, soon enough. Kenobi tells him that Owen was right. “He just needs to be a boy. The future will take care of itself,” Obi-Wan says. After some more light dialogue Owen says, “You want to meet him?” We’re finally seeing it. The first meeting of Obi-Wan and Luke. Obi-Wan brings the toy over and utters the only phrase that would have been appropriate in this moment: “Hello there.”

Next, we see Obi-Wan, on his Eopie, headed towards a very familiar rock formation from the first “Star Wars.” As he gets closer, a shimmer appears beside him. It’s the Force ghost of Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson)! FINALLY. “Took you long enough,” Obi-Wan quips. He tells Obi-Wan that he’s been there the whole time, it just that he wasn’t able to see him yet. “Come on,” Qui-Gon says. “We’ve got a long way to go.” And together they walk towards the rock formation.

What might be most striking about the final image is how open-ended it seems. While heavily marketed as a limited series, the very end of “Obi-Wan Kenobi” feels like an opening salvo rather than a concluding statement. It suggests that, should the desire arise, there could be future installments of “Obi-Wan Kenobi.” Reva and the Grand Inquisitor are still alive, the proto-Rebel operation The Path is still functioning, lil’ Luke and Leia are growing up rascals on their respective worlds, and Obi-Wan is communing with a ghost in the middle of nowhere. There are several directions a subsequent season (or seasons) could take. We’ll see if the Force remains strong with “Obi-Wan Kenobi.”