The new Disney+ series Obi-Wan Kenobi started with a bang, reminding viewers just how brutal the Jedi Purge was. Now, we’re halfway through the series, and the thrills are just getting started. Let’s dive into the first three episodes and recap everything we’ve seen so far!
We open on the Jedi Temple on Coruscant, right as the pivotal moment of the Clone Wars takes place. Chancellor Palpatine orders the clones troopers to “execute Order 66,” triggering the control chip in their brains and causing them to mercilessly gun down all the Jedi. The show focuses on a group of younglings led by a Jedi Master instructor.
As the children flee the advancing clone troopers, we see Jedi dropping like flies as their former allies turn on them. Perhaps one of the children in this group of Force-sensitive younglings will grow up to be Reva, the Inquisitor antagonist of this series?
The show fast-forwards ten years, to the Era of the Empire, and gives us our first glimpse of an older, more weathered Obi-Wan Kenobi. The former Jedi Master is living in exile on Tattooine after having brought an infant Luke Skywalker to the former home of his father, Anakin. The events of Revenge of the Sith still haunt Obi-Wan, who can’t get over how badly things went at the end of the Clone Wars.
As far as Obi-Wan knows, he killed Anakin on Mustafar and the villainous Darth Vader is simply another disciple of the Emperor. Obi-Wan whiles away his days in a desert meat factory, with the show evoking the feeling of repetition by showing us the former Jedi’s mundane routine three times, each one an exact shot-for-shot recreation of the last.
Meanwhile, we meet Reva and the Inquisitors, who are searching for a Jedi on Tattooine. The show fakes us out here, revealing another young survivor of Order 66 is also hiding out on the desert planet. He reaches out to Obi-Wan for help, but the grizzled former master tells the youngster to bury his lightsaber among the dunes and flee.
Then, the show pivots to its best reveal so far. The series won’t be focusing on Obi-Wan’s vigil over a ten-year-old Luke Skywalker. Instead, we meet a ten-year-old Princess Leia Organa, Luke’s twin sister, who lives with Bail Organa on Alderaan. When criminal thugs kidnap the precocious young princess, her adoptive father calls the one man he knows who can help without making the situation public: Obi-Wan Kenobi.
Bail, a senator in the Imperial Senate, doesn’t want to draw attention to Leia’s sudden disappearance. Obi-Wan, likewise, doesn’t want the Empire to realize that Leia is actually the child of Anakin Skywalker and Padme Amidala. However, he initially resists the call to action, telling Bail that he’s too old and too far removed from his adventuring days to be of any help. His final battle with Anakin has left clear scars on Obi-Wan’s mind, and he finds himself unwilling to take up arms again.
As he told the young Jedi survivor, “There is no fight. It’s over, the Jedi lost.” Obi-Wan only relents when Bail pays him a visit in-person, begging for his friend to help save his young daughter. And thus, Obi-Wan is off to Daiyu.
Thankfully, the show swiftly moves away from the sands of Tattooine in its second episode. If we never waste another scene on that boring desert planet, it’ll be too soon. Daiyu, by contrast, is home to a sprawling urban center and numerous villainous mercenaries. Obi-Wan bumps into Haja, a con artist who poses as a “Jedi” by using magnets and remote-controlled technology.
Haja promises to help Obi-Wan find Leia, and the show kicks into high gear. Once Obi-Wan saves the youngster from her captors, we learn that Reva, one of Vader’s apprentice Inquisitors, engineered the kidnapping to lure Obi-Wan out of hiding. Leia and Obi-Wan don’t quite hit it off, with the young princess sensing that her would-be savior is hiding something from her.
Leia tries to flee Obi-Wan on Daiyu, creating chaos for the Jedi as Reva puts a bounty on his head and sends countless mercenaries after him.
Haja redeems himself from his charlatan ways by delaying Reva and promising to get Obi-Wan and Leia off the planet. He directs them to a spaceport and intercepts Reva for long enough to allow the two to flee.
When the Inquisitor finally catches up to Obi-Wan, he’s hesitant to even show his face. She taunts him by telling him that Anakin is still alive and that he now serves the Emperor as Lord Vader. This causes Obi-Wan to visibly go into a state of panic, and the audience sees flashes of the pair’s final duel back on Mustafar. This revelation is clearly too much for him to handle, but Obi-Wan is unexpectedly saved when the Grand Inquisitor appears and orders Reva to stand down.
While Reva is distracted, Obi-Wan and Leia hop in a transport and jump off-world. Meanwhile, Reva brutally cuts down the Grand Inquisitor with her lightsaber. While we know he’s going to survive the encounter, since he’s in Rebels five years after these events, the show definitely plays it as though the Inquisitor doesn’t survive.
Episode 3 picks up with Obi-Wan and Leia landing on Mapuzo, a mining planet that has a substantial Imperial presence. Their scheduled pickup doesn’t happen at the time Haja told them it would, so Obi-Wan gets antsy and tells Leia they’re walking to the next spaceport to get off-planet.
They bump into a mole-themed alien named Freck, and, while they’re initially thankful to hitch a ride in his truck, the pair are dismayed to see an Imperial flag hanging from his vehicle. They reluctantly agree to ride with Freck, leading to several tense encounters with stormtrooper regiments.
Finally, an Imperial probe droid identifies Obi-Wan at a checkpoint, bringing the full attention of the Inquisitors–and Darth Vader–to Mapuzo.
An Imperial officer betrays her stormtrooper guards and reveals herself as a Rebel sympathizer, saving Leia and Obi-Wan from capture at the checkpoint. She tells them about The Path, an underground network of Jedi sympathizers who want to help victims of the Purge. Obi-Wan is delighted to hear that his old friend Quinlan Vos survived Order 66, and the group prepares to flee Mapuzo.
Their flight is delayed when Vader and his Inquisitors touch down on the planet. The relentless Sith Lord viciously attacks the populace of the mining village, and Obi-Wan promises to help lure the Sith away while Leia makes for their escape craft.
The ensuing “duel” is rather one-sided. Vader is clearly more of a fighter than his former master, and Obi-Wan quickly finds himself outmatched. The Sith Lord cruelly creates a roaring bonfire and holds Obi-Wan’s face against the flames so he can feel the same pain that Anakin felt on Mustafar.
Obi-Wan is saved by the timely arrival of his new Rebellion contact, and the two manage to slip away from the Imperial forces. Meanwhile, Reva finally catches up to Leia, recapturing her before she can reach the escape vessel.
The show, so far, has portrayed Obi-Wan as a psychologically-scarred and under-qualified former warrior. He’s out of his depth against the Sith, and he seems unable to do much more than grumble about how things used to be. It will be interesting to see if the show gives the hero a chance to shine once more, or if the series has more bizarre twists in store for the title character.
For our part, we’re just hoping to see more Vader versus Obi-Wan action! Hopefully, Kenobi will find his inner warrior again soon so we can get a worthy follow-up to their epic final battle on Mustafar in Revenge of the Sith.