There is much that could be discussed over the series finale of Obi-Wan Kenobi, but to be honest it all feels secondary to the Obi-Wan-versus-Vader duel that dominates it.
It is, in almost all respects, the perfect climax. While it is definitely heavy on the computer-generated backgrounds – creating an artificiality that has been the bane of Star Wars’ Disney+ efforts – it is beautifully designed, edited, and shot. The use of colour is remarkable. Most impressively of all, it feels perfectly balanced. There is a vast difference between the balletic, wuxia-esque fights of George Lucas’ prequel trilogy and the pragmatic to-and-fro of the original lightsaber duel in the original Star Wars. Obi-Wan Kenobi’s climax somehow manages to slide into the middle, still athletic and energised but also worn and tiring. It fits seamlessly between pre-existing conflicts, and further strengthens the bridge between prequel and original trilogies.
There has always been a disconnect – for me, at least – between the brooding and petulant Anakin Skywalker and the bleak, terrifying calmness of Darth Vader. For the first time they finally feel like the same character. One key moment of Vader, his mask partially shattered and Anakin (Hayden Christensen) glaring out, his voice garbling both Christensen’s and James Earl Jones’ voice (or, at least, an AI derivative of it), is particularly effective. It feels actively tragic.
Elsewhere the episode manages to tie up its loose ends with solid results. Leia (Vivien Lyra Blair) is returned to her family without too much damage to franchise continuity. Reva (Moses Ingram) gets her own confrontation with Obi-Wan (Ewan McGregor) that feels well suited and logical based on previous episodes. There is even a brief appearance by a young Luke Skywalker, which could have been disastrous but ultimately works out okay.
This series has honestly felt the most authentic to date in terms of capturing the innate charm and tone of Star Wars. While it could be faulted for its lack of ambition – it does rely, after all, almost entirely on pre-existing characters and situations – it has delivered precisely what it seemed set up to do. It fills a narrative gap, enriches key characters, and provides an entertaining space opera for a mass audience. A qualified success? Perhaps, but even with qualifications still a success.