In Obi-Wan Kenobi Episode 2, Obi-Wan (Ewan McGregor) has decided to give up the security of Tatooine, most likely ghost his boss, and set off on a journey to find Princess Leia (Vivien Lyra Blair). One of my main issues with Episode 1 was the way Obi-Wan himself faced barely any conflict – Owen and the villagers deal directly with the Inquisitors, and little Leia is kidnapped, but Obi-Wan stays in the shadows, and the narrative break in the status quo affects him less than others. This is not the case in Episode 2, where the series throws him into some intense situations.
The episode begins with Obi-Wan landing on the urban-neon planet of Daiyu in search of Leia. He’s approached by a young woman selling drugs (played by Esther-Rose McGregor, McGregor’s real-life daughter) and a young boy named Jayco (Jecobi Swain), who tip him off to the location of a “Jedi” named Haja Estree (a surprising appearance by Kumail Nanjiani). Haja is a fraud who uses tricks to con people out of their money. Obi-Wan sees straight through the act and demands he help him find Leia.
Obi-Wan sneaks into the back-room of a lab, which turns out to be the kidnapper’s secret holding place. He gets into a scuffle with some goons, and we see him actually struggle here. This is not the powerful and precise Jedi fighter we last saw in Revenge of the Sith. This is a tired man doing his best to find the daughter of the mentee he feels he failed.
Despite winning the mini-fight, Obi-Wan still walks right into a trap laid by chief kidnapper Vect Nokru (yes, that actually is Flea, bassist of Red Hot Chili Peppers). He escapes, finds Leia, and together they head out onto the streets of Daiyu, but Third Sister Reva (Moses Ingram) is hot on their trail. The Grand Inquisitor (Rupert Friend) rebukes her; she, however, is not so easily dissuaded from her plans. She sends Obi-Wan’s hologram to bounty hunters on Daiyu to help her search.
Obi-Wan and Lei have a lot of endearing chit-chat in Obi-Wan Kenobi Episode 2. She’s bursting with curiosity about all there is to see and hear on Daiyu – it takes half of Obi-Wan’s focus to keep her contained and the other half to stay watchful for enemies. She asks if he will make her float, but he says if he uses his powers, it’ll draw attention to the two of them.
Eventually, Leia sees the hologram and decides Obi-Wan is lying – he wasn’t sent by her father, he’s not a Jedi, and he’s possibly the real kidnapper. She runs away and he has to chase her through the city to catch up. This didn’t quite check-out for me. I couldn’t figure out why the hologram would lead a kid that smart to assume the worst, and I wish we had gotten a better explanation from her as to why she arrived at this conclusion. It’s also unclear what Leia plans to do or where she’ll go once she runs away. Whatever the case, her flight sets up necessary conflict for the episode.
The chase leads the two of them to the rooftops, where Leia attempts some unsuccessful parkour. The one who is successful at the parkour game is, of course, Reva. When thinking about her, I keep coming back to the phrase “graceful rage.” She’s furious, but Reva’s leaps across the rooftops feel poised and balletic. She’s emotional, yet in control of her actions. She knows what she wants, and she goes after it with every bit of muscle and energy she has.
Eventually, Leia’s attempted escape leads her to try crossing between buildings that are just too far apart. She falls, catching momentarily on a wire before losing grip. I saw it coming – I knew Obi-Wan would make her float as soon as the episode set it up – but I still loved seeing Kenobi use the force again to save Leia. “You really are a Jedi,” she says. Of course he is, kid – ragged and exhausted or not.
Although the episode sets up Haja as someone who will go after the bounty, he offers transport out of the city and the coordinates of a destination where Obi-Wan and Leia can meet allies. But is he telling the truth? He does buy the two of them time as he faces off against Reva, but she uses the Force to mind-read him and discover where Obi-Wan and Leia are headed.
When Reva catches up, Obi-Wan sends Leia ahead to safety and prepares to fight if needed. While he hides, Reva taunts him. She plans to take him to Vader, but the big reveal is that Anakin is still alive and has been looking for Obi-Wan for a long time. However, the Grand Inquisitor shows up to stop her since he wants to take credit for capturing the Jedi. Reva, indefatigable, drives her lightsaber straight through the Grand Inquisitor while Obi-Wan catches up with Leia. They fly away together, leaving Reva on the platform.
Obi-Wan reels from the revelation. The last line of Episode 2 is him simply saying “Anakin” before we cut to Vader in a bacta tank.
And that’s it for Episode 2. This one feels much stronger than the series premiere since, as I said, it puts Obi-Wan in the middle of the action rather than simply having him observe. It also develops his bond with Leia – something I never knew I needed but clearly do now.