[Editor’s note: The following contains spoilers through the season finale of Obi-Wan Kenobi, “Part VI.”]
Sure, it’s a metaphysical impossibility in the real world (for anyone outside of an X-Files episode), but it’s still a good thing that none of us know for certain how our friends and family are going to die. It’s the kind of knowledge that would hang over every interaction, make us wonder if every decision they make is one which will bring them ever closer to their ultimate fate — it’d be hard to connect with your friends and family, if you knew how they were all going to die. It might make it hard for you to care about what happens to them.
Which brings us to the season finale of Obi-Wan Kenobi, an action-packed hour of television where all of its major climaxes had, for a Star Wars fan, totally nonexistent stakes. In “Part VI”‘s two semi-parallel sequences, we got to see Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) once again face off against his former apprentice Darth Vader (Hayden Christensen/James Earl Jones), while back on Tatooine Owen Lars (Joel Edgerton) and his wife Beru (Bonnie Piesse) protect their nephew Luke (Grant Feely) from the vengeful ex-Inquisitor Reva (Moses Ingram).
Both sequences, as directed by series helmer Deborah Chow, were technically competent. But it was pretty hard to engage, because there was little question about who would live and who would die here. Owen and Beru can’t be killed by Reva, because stormtroopers do the job 10 years down the line. Vader does eventually duel with Obi-Wan to the death, but not until they meet again on the Death Star. And baby Luke Skywalker, of course, has a long and expansive future in front of him, including a brief stay in the Uncanny Valley.
The only character in the mix here whose ultimate fate wasn’t pre-established by canon was that of Reva’s, and to be honest it was hard to get too invested in her ultimate fate, given how muddled her character motivations felt at that point. She wanted to kill Luke as revenge for Darth Vader… killing other children? Perhaps it makes sense on the page, but the meaning was lost in translation to the screen, ensuring that when she finally proves unable to turn fully to the dark at the end of the episode, it doesn’t quite feel earned.