Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Obi-Wan Kenobi Episode VI Reveiw

This evening, I had a chance to watch Obi-Wan Kenobi, Episode VI. 

Now that this thing is over, I can't wait to start spending some time playing games. This evening, I mulled over what I saw while weeding the garden. 

I mention the garden because that is what a long-time series becomes. What came before is recycled into what comes next. However, in shows like Obi-Wan Kenobi, the creators have to thread the needle. Can you plant one more thing between what the viewer knows from before and knows what came after? 

The show cannot upset what happens in either direction. Obi-wan can't really change from what he was, nor can a lot of new characters pop up without causing a disruption in the original material. 

In this show, they manage to do things nicely. Roughly, but nicely. 

They had to run with the Inquisitors because of the background already established. I personally think it was a bad call to let the Grand Inquisitor get benched for a while, but this pushes a more modern, realistic view of combat. 

Back when I was a kid, I wasn't sure what a lightsabre could do because they actually didn't say. Loose hands for sure. Being cut in half wasn't an option. They didn't do that back in 1977 or any of the 80s. Personally, I thought that perhaps a lightsabre had a stunning feature. Not many characters went to the ground in a splatter of blood. 

In this current iteration of the Star Wars story, we get into what happens when someone gets tagged with a lightsabre. Many people get stabbed, but for some stupid reason, they don't stay down. That really isn't surprising as the Empire has monopolized everything, including medical care. However, old-timers like me want to believe that one good sabre strike is the end. Not especially realistic, but reasonably based on the first 3 films. 

Two things that this point of view does not take into account are easy and cheap special effects plus most of the people doing the stabbing are sadists. They didn't mean to kill, therefore they didn't kill anyone. Mmm. Unsatisfying as it is a completely different type of character and process than what the viewer is used to. The cheap special effects are cool to look at but often don't further the story because the story wasn't about a body count. 

One thing this last episode does well, mirroring the original films, is what I call "IF-THEN" storytelling. Star Wars rarely invokes "simultaneous" events. We see the clock progress as this bit then that bit. Maybe they happen at the exact same time, but the audience doesn't know it and doesn't need to know it. This episode uses that in spades. 

At the outset of this episode, all of the teams are together. Vader and the Inquisitors, Ben and Leia, and poor Reva out on her own. It doesn't take long for Ben to leave Leia, Vader to ditch the Inquisitors with Reva limping along on her own. 

Divided, the matchups begin with Ben and Vader's duel being the most exciting. As their duel progresses, Leia finds her way home, and Reva finds Owen and Beru. But the storytelling doesn't make it explicitly clear if all three of these events are happening at the same time. It's actually refreshing knowing that the incoming calvary charge doesn't have to be timed to the millisecond. The heroes get there when they get there because that is what heroes do, not because they planned it that way. 

The storytelling creates these opportunities. And in this particular episode, that is all the story has to do. We get all that was promised at the outside of the series, a rematch between Vader and Ben. It was well done and satisfying. 

Beyond that, nothing else is needed. I don't see any word on a season 2. This was promoted as a "mini-series", so there may not be a strong need for season 2. The other part of it is Obi-Wan Kenobi was supposed to be a movie. This series was maybe 4 and a half hours. Chopping out an hour wouldn't have done the story any favors and perhaps adding an hour would not have given the viewer more quality. 

I thoroughly enjoyed it. I don't care if there is another run of the show, as I felt this really satisfied. Plus there might be a chance that the new Ahsoka Tano series could give us another glance at Anakin and Ben in a different way. 

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