After the first episode of the Obi-Wan Kenobi series reintroduced us to where Kenobi was in the timeline and introduced us to most of the key players, the second episode brought the action and propelled the story forward quickly.
WARNING: Spoilers ahead, so if you have not yet watched this episode perhaps you may want to pause and go watch the episode first.
Obi-Wan has made his way to Daiyu, a seedy underworld of bright neon lights where it seems anything and everything goes. He is immediately discouraged in his quest to find his daughter (that’s his cover story for who Leia is to him) by a young Spice dealer who says she was once someone’s daughter and gives him some free spice to forget he ever had a daughter.
However, a young man comes up to Kenobi and says he can bring Obi-Wan to a “jedi” who can help – for a price. Hence we meet Kumail Nanjiani’s character, Haja, who uses parlor tricks and deceit to make marks believe he is in fact a Jedi. Obi-Wan watches from the shadows as he deceives a mother and child and then plays along for a moment as the charlatan makes his pitch on how he will help Obi-Wan. There is no fooling the real thing, of course, and Kenobi quickly turns the table and reveals he knows it's a ruse calling Haja a bottom feeder who preys on weakness and a rat, but notes that rats often know the sewers and enlists his help in his quest.
Kenobi makes his way to what appears to be a spice laboratory that is reminiscent of something out of “Breaking Bad.” After creating a momentary distraction, Kenobi finds himself face to face with a pair of henchmen and a fight ensues, which Kenobi quickly wins although not without taking some damage. He gets the information where in the facility Leia is being kept and ... it’s a decoy. It was all a part of the ruse. The kidnappers appear and the head-hired gun played by Flea taunts Kenobi that he’s no Jedi anymore and he thought he would be smarter than this. Kenobi turns the tables and throws down the spice while quickly putting back on his gas mask, incapacitating the kidnappers and finding the real location of Leia.
Leia being Leia, even at 10 years old, has escaped her bindings and tries to attack Obi-Wan and escape. He catches her and explains he’s been sent by her father to rescue her. In a moment evocative of “A New Hope,” Leia seems less than impressed with her rescuer.
Reva meanwhile has arrived on Daiyu and goes looking for Kenobi. Obi-Wan and Leia have already left the facility by the time Reva arrives and have made their way into the market. Leia, once again foreshadowing her future personality, sees through Ben and says he’s hiding something. She continues to question him, but plays along with the rescue and there’s even a nice moment where Obi-Wan spoils her at a market stall and buys her a pair of gloves he initially told her no to. It almost plays as a wistful “what if” moment, as if imagining a world where things hadn’t gone sideways and Leia would have been like family to him, or as she mutters more like a granddaughter.
Seeing they’ve escaped and that the Grand Inquisitor has arrived and plans to pull a Tarkin-on-Krennic-like maneuver by stealing the credit for Kenobi’s eventual capture, Reva decides to turn up the heat by putting a bounty out on Obi-Wan on Daiyu, alerting everyone on the planet to his presence.
This leads to Leia correctly realizing she was kidnapped to draw Obi-Wan out, but incorrectly deducing that he was lying about being a Jedi and her rescuer leading her to run away from him. The ensuing chase sees both shot at by bounty hunters and reveals their location to Reva.
Eventually, Leia attempts to leap from one building to another and falls. She grabs ahold of a rope but is quickly losing her grip. She drops and Obi-Wan has no choice but to use the Force to slow her descent and gently place her on the ground, thus making her realize he is really a Jedi as he said he was.
The port has been shut down in the meantime and Imperial forces are massing in their efforts to snuff out the dying embers of the Jedi Order. Obi-Wan and Leia hide in an alley but are saved from a bounty hunter by Haja, who points them toward a cargo port. Obi-Wan questions whether he can trust him but Haja correctly replies by asking what choice he has.
Obi-Wan and Leia make their way to the cargo port and Leia once again shows off her trademark personality, noting that since meeting Obi-Wan she’s been chased, shot at, almost fallen to her death and hunted by Inquisitors, thus they should take the help they’ve received. In that moment, Obi-Wan becomes wistful and notes that she reminds him of someone he once knew who was a leader and was fearless and stubborn.
It’s easy to read that as being a reference to Leia’s birth mother Padme Amidala, but I don’t know that I would necessarily describe her as stubborn. Those adjectives do describe Kenobi’s own late forbidden love, Duchess Satine of Mandalore from the Clone Wars animated series. And given the surprising number of breadcrumbs left by Lucasfilm regarding Satine — from several references in the new Kenobi novel “Brotherhood” which was released earlier this month to a watchlist tweet from Disney+ UK in which all but two Clone Wars episodes listed involve the Duchess – make me wonder what role, if any, her memory could play moving forward.
Reva is hot on their trail, however, after having used the Force to get the information of their whereabouts from Haja in an alley (so much for those Han Solo blaster theories from the trailer). Obi-Wan sends Leia ahead while Reva menacingly taunts Obi-Wan that she can feel his fear and not to worry that he won’t die ... today. Instead she says Lord Vader will be pleased and takes joy when she feels Obi-Wan’s panic and realizes that he did not know that Anakin had survived their duel on Mustafar.
Just when it seems Obi-Wan is corned and he is clutching his lightsaber in preparation for a fight, the Grand Inquisitor arrives and says he will capture Kenobi and orders Reva to stand aside, only for her to betray him and deliver a lightsaber through his gut, taunting him by asking “Who’s in the gutter now,” a call back to his earlier insult.
In the confusion, Obi-Wan escapes aboard the cargo ship, with Reva yelling that he can’t hide and that they would destroy him. Obi-Wan is shaken by the knowledge that Anakin Skywalker lives and quietly says Anakin ... leading to a shot of Anakin/Vader opening his eyes in his bacta tube to close out the episode.
- In the lead-up to this series, many wondered if we would see Temuera Morrison reprise one of his many Clone roles from the prequels. Many speculated about Rex or Cody, however when we did see him it was as a homeless “veteran” begging on the streets of Daiyu. Obi-Wan is momentarily shaken by seeing one of those who eradicated his people, but in a nod to his ever-present empathy, Obi-Wan still gives him a few credits.
- Haja is a very Kumail Nanjiani-type character. In some ways, he was evocative of Nanjiani’s character from “Eternals,” albeit with the reversal of him not actually having any powers whereas in that Marvel film he is really a powerful being attempting to pretend to be human. Either way, Nanjiani brings a pleasant light touch to the proceedings.
- It seems strange to seemingly kill off the Grand Inquisitor in the second episode of this series, especially given the portrayal by an actor the likes of Rupert Friend. There is also the matter of what that means for canon since a similar-looking Grand Inquisitor was seen in the animated series Star Wars Rebels which takes place after Kenobi. Although it is conceivable that it’s just a case of two Inquisitors being of the same species and looking alike (it would also put to rest the complaints from some that the Grand Inquisitor did not resemble his Rebels appearance).
- Reva’s chase allows her to show off her abilities and it would appear that she is quite a formidable foe. In the first episode, it is alluded to that she came to them late but was allowed to join despite her lack of societal stature because of her abilities. This episode seems to pay that off. Thus far she is also proving to be quite cunning, with his plans coming to fruition. It will be interesting to see how her chess game with Kenobi plays out as the series continues.
Be sure to check back after every episode for my thoughts. If you have questions or just want to talk Star Wars, hit on me up on Twitter — my username is @a_silva32. May the Force be with you!