Obi-Wan Kenobi episode 2 review: “A thrilling, neon-tinged chase across a new Star Wars planet”

This review contains spoilers for Obi-Wan Kenobi episode 2. If you haven’t watched the episode, turn away now! For the previous episode, check out our review of the Obi-Wan Kenobi premiere.

There’s a reason why Disney Plus released two episodes of Obi-Wan Kenobi at once. The first, a more meditative treatment of the Jedi Master in his post-Order 66 life, is the perfect setup for a second episode that slowly turns the screw on the main narrative in a thrilling, neon-tinged chase across a new Star Wars planet.

Enter Daiyu, a location that wears its Blade Runner roots on its sleeve and is filled with a whole host of lowlifes and those in search of a second chance – including a fun cameo from Temuera Morrison as an aging, destitute clone. It’s also now home to a certain senator-in-waiting from Alderaan, with Leia having been kidnapped and whisked off-planet during the premiere.

On the hunt for Leia, Obi-Wan soon bumps into Haja (Kumail Nanjiani), a conman who is masquerading as a Jedi. Obi-Wan inevitably sees through Haja’s parade of tricks, remotes, and magnets and is soon sniffing around some of the seedier elements of Daiyu to get on the right path. As a premise, Obi-Wan: Space Detective is a fun one – as it was in Attack of the Clones – but it isn’t used to its full potential because the show remains preoccupied with the Inquisitors’ incessant bickering.

The episode perks up when Obi-Wan finally catches up to Leia. What could have been an awkward pairing is actually something surprisingly sweet and endearing. It’s not quite on par with Mando and Grogu’s double act, though Obi-Wan and Leia’s verbal sparring, plus pointed references to Padme, are warm character moments that are needed as buffer points in a pretty action-heavy episode.

It’s quite telling, then, that the chapter loses its way a little once Leia flees the scene. As a plot point, the child getting scared after discovering the bounty on Obi-Wan’s head is contrived; you can almost feel the writers contorting themselves into pretzel-shaped knots trying to figure out an organic way for the duo to be separated as the Inquisitors close in.

Obi-Wan Kenobi

(Image credit: Lucasfilm)

The rooftop chase is similarly mixed in execution, with Reva’s floating Force jumps and Stormtrooper-level shooting from the bounty hunters robbing what could have been a high point of all dramatic tension. It’s also one of the very few times the CGI and visual effects start to noticeably creak.

Thankfully, the final 10 minutes are a vast improvement. Haja’s face turn as he puts the brakes on Reva is a tad rushed, but Nanjiani brings enough of his abundant, goofy charm that it works in his favor. The Inquisitor still manages to track Obi-Wan and Leia down, however, as the episode hurtles up the home stretch with a tense showdown. McGregor’s stellar facial acting is on full display here as he wrestles with using his lightsaber for the first time in, presumably, a decade. Then, the hammer blow: the shock written all over his face as he discovers Anakin is still alive is a powerful, delicate moment that carries with it three movies and several decades of emotion.

The reaction is fleeting as Rupert Friend’s Grand Inquisitor arrives and soon finds himself on the hot, searing end of Reva’s ambitions – being stabbed in the gut for his troubles as Leia and Obi-Wan make their hasty escape.

Dyed-in-the-wool Star Wars fans are going to take umbrage with the Grand Inquisitor’s exit. It’s unlikely Rupert Friend’s Force-wielder is dead – he has a long, long future ahead of him in Star Wars: Rebels, after all – but it doesn’t say much for the upper ranks of the Empire that one is dispatched so quickly. From a narrative perspective, it at least streamlines the series considerably, leaving the core collision to be between Reva and Obi-Wan – despite a certain Sith Lord lurking…

Yes, Darth Vader is back. The closing moments of the second episode feature Hayden Christensen’s Padawan-turned-Sith in recovery mode. “We don’t know when Obi-Wan and Anakin will meet again – that’s still left up in the air – but the final shot is tantalizing enough to have all but the most jaded Star Wars fan feverishly setting their alarm clocks for the next episode. Lucasfilm has already promised the “rematch of the century” and, if the opening rounds of Obi-Wan Kenobi are any indication, it could be a knockout success.

For more on Obi-Wan Kenobi, check out our interviews with Ewan McGregor and Hayden Christensen on their favorite memories filming the show and how their characters’ relationship has changed, as well as Christensen on why he didn’t speak to George Lucas before returning as Darth Vader and Moses Ingram on playing the galaxy’s newest villain, Reva.

For everything else coming soon from the galaxy far, far away, see our guide to all the upcoming Star Wars movies and TV shows.

The Verdict


4 out of 5

Obi-Wan Kenobi episode 2 review: “A thrilling, neon-tinged chase across a new Star Wars planet”

Despite not hitting the heights of the premiere, Obi-Wan Kenobi’s second episode mines a great deal out of the Obi-Wan/Leia pairing – and sets up two fearsome villains for the Jedi Master to do battle with.

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