In this episode: Obi-Wan gets Leia back, but now the Empire is tracking him through Leia’s little Batteries Not Included droid.
If you want a succinct recap of what happens in this latest Obi-Wan Kenobi, that about covers it. Which is to say, at a scant half-hour, not a lot happens here—and what does happen doesn’t add a hell of a lot to this already-superfluous tale.
The episode opens already spinning its wheels before it gains the light traction it finally finds. After the actual recap, we get an in-episode recap as Papa Ben finally gets his Star Wars Disney+ series-demanded healing bath (when is Mando climbing in the tub!?) and dreams of what happened last episode.
After we’re reminded how Obi-Wan got his arm owied, it’s time for our hero to meet his fellow resistance fighters. Indira Varma’s character—who we’ll continue to refer to as her Game of Thrones name “Sand,” because that’s easier to remember than “Tala Durith”—introduces him first to Ice Cube’s son, O’Shea Jackson Jr.
Obi-Wan is immediately like, “Hey, so I need to save Princess Leia. Will you help me go get her.”
Ice Cube Jr. is like, “Fuck you, dude! I’ve already lost my wife to this! So what I’m ultimately saying is… you son of a bitch—I’m in!” The guy is a rollercoaster of emotions.
Next, Obi-Wan is introduced to Maya Erskine and this other guy. The 35-year-old Erskine is often weirdly convincing as a teen on her own, superior series, PEN15, but these Obi-Wan people really did her quite literally dirty to go the other way in roughing her up on this one. Feels like there could be a middle ground between middle-schooler and Graham Greene in Die Hard with a Vengenace, but alright.
Like with Benny Safdie, her really interesting casting is (at this point) utterly wasted on a thankless role. But if we get Safdie and Erskine action figures we can mod into Good Time and PEN15 collectibles, that will be this show’s saving grace.
Real fast aside before we move on, though: can we get into how obnoxious this show’s deliberate handheld camera is? It’s like this modest Paul Greengrass thing where it just needlessly sways around to try to be exciting, and it’s been doing it on and off since literally the first scene. This whole show is shot like dogshit, but this is an egregiously added offense.
From this point, the episode basically has a lazy A-plot and an even lazier B-plot. The A-plot is that Obi-Wan and his team have to bust in to get Leia. The B-plot is that Leia is, in the meantime, being interrogated by Third Sister.
As for the latter, this is all we’ll say about the B-plot: it is pretty stupid. It’s this tough person in tight-fitting black armor and cape interrogating this pale kid clad in green and purple as the most laughable pastiche of The Dark Knight.
And the A-plot isn’t a real winner either.
Here’s that plan: Sand will use her phony Imperial credentials to get in; she’ll use the Empire’s open floor plan to just sort of pull up to an empty computer without too much of an issue; she’ll open a duct into the grotesque swamp; Obi-Wan will use his Prequel-approved breathing apparatus to swim aboard; and he will just kind of wing it from there.
Which is to say, it’s just a wetter version of the same plan they later use rescuing Leia in A New Hope: just put on Imperial costumes and vaguely “sneak” around these completely sterile hallways where there is absolutely nowhere to hide.
Lucas saying the different Star Wars episodes are “like poetry; they rhyme” is such a pox on this franchise. Every new, increasingly-pointless entry can just do the exact same beats again and it’s defensible because IT’S LIKE POETRY. We live in a Star Wars Hell that will never end.
Moving on, though: off to find Leia, Obi-Wan learns that the Empire has trapped other Force-sensitive people in ember or something. This is how Disney will make its own Jurassic Park franchise. Or something that rhymes with it, at least.
But it’s quickly back to business. Obi-Wan gets to Leia and finds she’s about to be tortured for information. Since Disney is not in the business of showing a kid prodded with some shit—they are in the business of soon creating a Jurassic Park of Jedi—he calls an audible for Sand to create some kind of distraction.
So Sand summons Third Sister, saying it’s urgent, then pretending she’s a spy for their side. It works well enough!
This lets Obi-Wan get in there to Leia, and it finally uses the show’s ever-dark photography to his (and the show’s) advantage as her emerges from the blackness with the blue glow of his lightsaber to slice some nameless idiot Stormtroopers in half and rescue his charge.
Obi-Wan and Leia begin their escape, but with Stormtroopers in pursuit and blasting with their typically-lazy accuracy, a glass window between the swamp and the sub-aquatic structure is broken. Obi-Wan has another Impossible situation on his hands, everyone!
Of course, it’s fine. Also, Sand is back already somehow. Who cares?
So, Obi-Wan simply Force-holds the window until he and his crew can scamper away yet again, the Jedi finally releasing his hold on the cracked glass to kill another dozen or so Stormtroopers on his way out. Once you’ve blown up a couple Death Stars-worth of these guys, killing a few more is honestly just like finishing the crumbs of the full bag of chips you just ate. Who cares?
A lingering shot of the sealed-off corridor, Stormtroopers floating in the viridescent waters that have filled it, reveals the lives lost in this escape. It also reveals that there could be far better weatherproofing on these Imperial doors. Look at all the seepage!
Anyway, Sand, Obi-Wan, and Leia get back to the docking bay—the latter paired in the near-cartoon disguise of “kid doubled-up in an oversized trench coat.” Unfortunately, before they can escape, Third Sister and a legion of Stormtroopers arrive to call out the most conspicuous motherfuckers in the galaxy.
Serendipitously, this is when Maya Erskine and that other guy fly in and start blasting. Maya makes a quick landing, picks up our other known characters, and speeds off. The other guy is, predictably, not so lucky. Rest in peace, other guy. We will remember you as we knew you: not at all.
Just as predictably, Darth Vader is SO pissed off about this development. He cannot believe Leia’s capture last episode has immediately been resolved with what’s basically a half-hour bottle episode.
But Third Sister assures Lord Vader she has actually advanced this thin story in the eleventh hour.
While Maya and Ice Cube Jr. are mourning the loss of whoever that other guy was, there’s something far more dire they should be bemoaning: Third Sister apparently snuck a tracker in Leia’s bug droid.