This recap contains spoilers for Obi-Wan Kenobi Episode 5.
Reva Sevander’s backstory comes to a head this week, confirming a neat little foreshadowing from Episode 1: Reva was a Jedi trainee who witnessed Anakin’s massacre at the Coruscant Temple. Since then, she has been hell-bent on revenge, climbing the ranks of the Inquisition to get closer to Darth Vader. This culminates in an unexpected alliance with Obi-Wan in Episode 5, where he and Reva use each other to outwit Vader in different ways. In theory anyway.
With Leia and Obi-Wan under siege by a group of refugees, this episode plays out as a remote duel between Vader and Obi-Wan. In a locked bunker, Obi-Wan must buy enough time for the fugitives to escape. Vader has already infiltrated their lair with Leia’s droids to block the doors and is waiting in his spaceship for Reva’s troops to break in.
Interspersed with all of this, we see flashbacks to the early era of the clone wars as Anakin and Obi-Wan go head-to-head in a practice duel. Obi-Wan tries to teach his Padawan a lesson that never really comes true: there are more ways to “win” than simply defeating your opponent in combat. Today, this takes the form of two tricks. Obi-Wan uses a decoy ship to get the fugitives off the planet, and he uses Reva to distract Vader. He allows the Inquisitors to arrest him, giving Reva the ultimate chance to gain Vader’s trust – and get close enough to kill him.
Given Disney’s love of nostalgic fan service, I’m surprised Hayden Christensen didn’t get more screen time. If anything, the show has too much Darth Vader and not enough Anakin. Best used sparingly, Vader is intended to be both frightening and imposing – a difficult goal when his main role is “Reva’s challenging boss”. By comparison, there’s a real hunger among Star Wars fans for Christensen to get his justice. People think he got dirty from the prequels and want to see him and Ewan McGregor compete. This week’s flashbacks gave us a taste, but the show really should give us more.
However, we see that Vader has become a better strategist since his Padawan days. It turns out he knew Reva’s secret motives all along and was setting her up for an easy defeat. Obi-Wan obviously didn’t know this, but he used them as cannon fodder anyway. He definitely didn’t think Reva had a chance of winning this fight. Vader eventually stabs her in the stomach, though in the grand Star Wars tradition she survives to fight another day.
Reva’s betrayal of Vader is the kind of twist that works whether you predicted it or not, and highlights the absurdity of the anti-Reva backlash. After the first two episodes, there were many ungenerous complaints that Reva “didn’t make any sense” because she appeared to have killed the Grand Inquisitor (a character later canonically alive) and inexplicably knows Darth Vader’s real name. These apparent plot holes were easy fodder for people who hated Reva out of poorly disguised racism – ignoring the fact Obi Wan Kenobi is a serial TV drama and this kind of mystery would surely be explained in later episodes. What actually just happened.
Featuring a vendetta reminiscent of the samurai movies and westerns that inspired the original war of stars, Reva is the kind of character that will thrive in the expanded spinoff canon. The only problem is that their defining characteristic is a dead end. She can never defeat Darth Vader. With a good writer, this could be a gripping tragedy. but Obi Wan Kenobi is not very well written.
*Initial publication: June 15, 2022 at 11:01 am CDT
Gavia Baker-Whitelaw is a staff writer at the Daily Dot, covering geek culture and fandom. Specializing in science fiction films and superheroes, she also appears as a film and television critic on BBC radio. Elsewhere, she is the co-host of the pop culture podcast Overinvested. Follow her on Twitter: @Hello_Tailor
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