Obi-Wan Kenobi episode 5's huge return is too little — and possibly too late

Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) in Lucasfilm's OBI-WAN KENOBI, exclusively on Disney+
(Image credit: Lucasfilm Ltd.)

I've just watched Obi-Wan Kenobi episode 5, and while that episode delivered a lot of the goods in very strong ways, I left feeling like that one Blink-182 GIF from the "First Date" video. I was practically exclaiming "WTF?" aloud to myself. 

So, of course, expect this article to have spoilers for Obi-Wan Kenobi episode 5. I can't dive into what I don't like about this episode (which is also the biggest problem with the whole Disney Plus series) without going into detail about this episode.

Now, don't get me mistaken, this episode set the hype strong for the final episode. With the knowledge that we're going back to Tatooine all of the chess pieces on the board are headed towards Luke. Plus, the moments with Leia were strong.

But if I'm completely honest, this Obi-Wan Kenobi episode fell extremely flat when one of its most hyped returns basically felt like a nothingburger (most of the time). And that moment I'm talking about, is Hayden Christensen's on-screen return as Anakin Skywalker.

We should expect more of the chosen one

Before I go any further, I'll admit we have one more episode to go. As Yoda once said, "Patience you must have, my young padawan." And with all respect to the legend, Yoda didn't sit through the promotional hype for Obi-Wan Kenobi where Christensen was front and center. At the time of all the hype, it seemed that he was — just like Obi-Wan said to Anakin — "the chosen one."

But, no, the Obi-Wan Kenobi show has been more about Obi-Wan and Leia than Anakin and Obi-Wan. 

As we've devoured each course of the proverbial meal that is Obi-Wan Kenobi, it's become more and more clear that Anakin/Vader is less of an entrée and more of a side dish. And, so, when Christensen's face is finally shown, what did we get?

Obi-Wan Kenobi on Disney Plus

(Image credit: Lucasfilm)

We got a paltry selection of rapid-fire flashback scenes of Anakin as a padawan, minus any sort of de-ageing technology. So we get a very obviously 41-year old Christensen playing the 20-something Anakin.

These aren't just any flashback scenes, and retread on very familiar territory. As Lord Vader and co. are trying to break into the hideout The Path is trying to escape, we flash back to one of Anakin and Obi-Wan's duels.

Those moments comprised less than two minutes of footage

Anakin, we're reminded, is his Jedi master's inferior in combat because he doesn't think enough, and only allows his rage to guide him. He doesn't believe in mercy, and he always thinks that Obi-Wan doesn't have any way out. Anakin's need for victory blinds him. 

And with that, I've covered nearly all of the Anakin flashbacks we got in this episode. Christensen may be the man in the Vader suit, which has featured more prominently, but when the voice we hear is James Earl Jones, Christensen's presence is all-but non-existant.

Anakin's moments comprised less than two minutes of footage, and it felt like — unless we get a whole lot more Anakin in episode six — that the hype around Christensen's return was a false bill of goods.

The one decent part of Christensen's return

The best part of Hayden Christensen's on-screen return is that it helped the story of one of the Obi-Wan Kenobi show's best new characters: Reva Sevander. In this episode, we learned (as you may have guessed) that she was one of the Younglings that Anakin and the Storm Troopers attacked as a part of Order 66. 

Moses Ingram as Reva Sevander / Third Sister in Obi-Wan Kenobi

(Image credit: Lucasfilm Ltd and Disney Plus)

And that dark, menacing shot of Anakin with his hood up, and the blue light glowing beneath him? That was pretty cool. And it helped fill in Reva's story, and make her a more compelling character.

Outlook: Help us Obi-Wan Kenobi episode 6, you're our only hope!

Below, you'll see the concept art for the series, which showed a moment (which we may still get next week) where Obi-Wan and Darth Vader have their ultimate rematch. Judging by the walkway they're standing on, this isn't supposed to be where they fought in episode 3.

Hopefully this scene will be more than just a fight, and deliver some of the emotional truths about the shattered relationship between the Jedi master and his former padawan.

Concept art for the forthcoming Obi-Wan Kenobi Disney Plus series

(Image credit: Disney)

I'll admit, though, the shot of Lord Vader in the Bacta tank earlier this season doesn't give me much hope for Anakin going mask-off for that scene. After their fight at the finale of Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith, Anakin Skywalker was left bruised and in no shape for a photo-op. 

We shall see, though. For now, I'm just mystified how these crumbs may feel like enough. A friend of mine named Saif told me that what we've had is "still better than nothing." Maybe I'd agree with him if I were a bigger fan of the prequels. But for now, I'm hoping the final course of this meal is perfectly prepared.

Henry T. Casey
Managing Editor (Entertainment, Streaming)

Henry is a managing editor at Tom’s Guide covering streaming media, laptops and all things Apple, reviewing devices and services for the past seven years. Prior to joining Tom's Guide, he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. He's also covered the wild world of professional wrestling for Cageside Seats, interviewing athletes and other industry veterans.