Star Wars, Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (Part V)
Welcome back to Anakin Skywalker Burns It All Down Because He Had a Scary Nightmare! Last time, Anakin decided he had finally had enough of this Jedi bullshit, did some Dramatic Crying and then pledged himself to Ultimate Evil, Obi-Wan’s 212th tried to murder him and I’m still totally fine with that, and Darth Sidious was about as happy about all of this as someone who just won the Publisher’s Clearinghouse Sweepstakes.
In today’s installment, things actually somehow get worse for all concerned, which you’d think wouldn’t necessarily surprise anyone in this show at this point given the nonstop barrage of tragedy and pain that’s been pummeling them since Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan rolled up to talk through some shit with the Neimoidians back in Episode 1, but, whatever. This time around, which covers about 1:30 – 1:47 of this film, Obi-Wan’s going to learn about a thousand terrible things, Padme’s going to have to consider single motherhood, and the government rebrands itself with something that sounds more badass. Sounds like fun — let’s hit the road!
And Then There Were Three
Obi-Wan connects up with Yoda and Bail, who fill him in on the Bad News: they haven’t heard from anyone else but him. What’s more, there’s been a retreat message sent out from the Temple, telling everyone that the War’s Over and Everything’s Fine Now So Just Come Home No Trick No Trap Honest. Obi-Wan is appalled — we have to go to the Temple, then! If there are any other survivors (like Baby Kanan Jarrus!!! Aggghhhh Star Wars why are you like this???!) they’ll be lured back to the Temple and killed! They have to change the message to something more like HOLY FUCK GTFO OF HERE!
Yoda agrees with Obi-Wan’s suggestion, and so they head off to all the Fun and Exciting Revelations that await them back home that will absolutely not traumatize Obi-Wan for life.
Recurring Theme: Visit Scenic Mustafar Volcanoes National Park
We’re now on Mustafar (“Insane Lava Castle, Coming This Summer!”), and the Separatists have assembled as instructed to earlier by General Grievous before Obi-Wan blew his heart up with a blaster. They’re in some kind of control room, holo-Skyping with Sidious.
Sidious, WITH A SMIRK, assures them that his new apprentice, this dude named Darth Vader, is on his way. And he’ll take care of you! Yes, when a Sith Lord tells me his apprentice is en route to “take care of me”, I’m definitely sleeping easy.
Recurring Theme: The World Turned Upside-Down
Meanwhile, in Bail’s Space Minivan, Obi-Wan, Bail, and Yoda are approaching Coruscant. As they get closer, Mas Amedda Regular-Skypes to their ship to tell Bail that there’s going to be a special session of the Senate, and Palpatine wants him to be there or be square. So…could Amedda SEE Obi-Wan and Yoda just now? Or was it a one-way video chat? LOL.
The guys chat about this after hanging up: it could be a trap. Or it could just be like, a special session to discuss renaming a Post Office after Palpatine, or declaring next month to be Space Flu Awareness Month or something. You never know. Obi-Wan points out that in order for the Chancellor and his cronies to rule the galaxy with an iron fist, he’ll need to maintain the mirage of an operational Senate and get them to do everything he says and make it look legit and oh my God I don’t know why I chose to recap this movie at this point in time but it’s FINE I’m FINE everything’s FINE I just need to go down this entire bottle of Scotch, thanks. In any case, Yoda advises Bail to go — and with the Senate distracted, he and Obi-Wan will have an easier time getting to the Temple.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Darth Vader
Darth Vader, a stupid and very handsome man, arrives on Mustafar. He stalks out of his ship, and instructs his BFF Artoo to stay behind and I’m just now realizing that this is the very last interaction they ever have. I’m also now realizing that I want nothing else in this universe more than Anakin Skywalker’s Force Ghost and Artoo to get to hang out together again. OH MY GOD. I don’t know WHY I care so much about the Skywalker Boys and this robot, but I do. I do.
Anyways, there’s Vader strutting around like he’s hot shit, and he leaves Artoo behind as he heads in to go “take care of” the Separatists. Spoiler alert: it is pretty much the same level of “care” he provides to that hallway full of rebels in Rogue One. He walks in and Nute Gunray is like “Hey! Lord Vader! How goes it?” and Vader makes some Pouty Faces of Impending Doom at them as he lowers the doors with the Force for drama.
Recurring Theme: I Am Suing This Show For Pain and Suffering
Back at the entrance to the Temple, Yoda and Obi-Wan are throwing down against the 501st. You know, guys that fought with Obi-Wan a million times and doubtlessly saved his life, many of whose names he probably knows. So it’s totally OK that Star Wars treats us to watching him have to murder his way through Anakin’s Guys, because they’re standing guard here, and trying to kill him. Sigh.
Then we cut to the Senate for some lighter fare: watching Palpatine blame all of the Galaxy’s problems on the Jedi and swearing to hunt them down and eliminate them. Padme and Bail look…like they have had better days at work:
…and yet, they’re not having AS bad a day as these guys! Obi-Wan and Yoda have made it into the Temple and it’s a mass-murder scene!
There are bodies — many of them small children — strewn everywhere. Again: people can say what they want about Star Wars, but “Darth Vader never did anything bad or scary on screen until Rogue One”, or “Star Wars has never been dark” are statements I’m afraid I am going to have to reject here, GIVEN THE CONTENT OF THIS FILM. Ahem.
Obi-Wan is horrified: not even the Younglings survived the massacre. And, while he’s stewing in his own grief, Yoda’s got some further bad news, which he relays with a somber, cracking (oh why!!!) voice: these children weren’t murdered by the Clones. They were murdered with a lightsaber.
And the WORST PART OF ALL OF THIS IS THAT YODA HAS TOTALLY ALREADY FIGURED IT ALL OUT AND OBI-WAN IS IN TOTAL DENIAL/OBLIVIOUSNESS. Obi-Wan crouches down to one of the bodies, and then looks up at Yoda in shock: who could have done this?
NOT FUNNY, George
Lucas decides to play a joke on me by cutting immediately from Obi-Wan’s horrified question to a sequence of Darth Vader absolutely wailing on the Separatists. Thanks, George, I wasn’t sad enough already. I need you to show me more of Anakin being a murderer.
So there he is, flipping his lightsaber around and slicing through people and acting like it’s the most boring thing ever, as is his way.
This is also interspersed with a quick shot of President Sidious blathering on about how His Resolve Has Never Been Greater while Padme makes a face about all of this:
Recurring Theme: Darth Vader, Maker of Terrible Jokes
…as we cut back to Vader doing some more murdering as his victims beg for their lives. At this time, I need to once again provide you with a snippet from this film’s novelization because oh how funny this is:
Shu Mai, president and CEO of the Commerce Guild, looked up from her knees, hands clasped before her, tears streaming down her shriveled cheeks. “We were promised a reward,” she gasped. “A h—h—handsome reward—”
“I am your reward,” the Sith Lord said. “You don’t find me handsome?”
OK, Reasons This Should Have Been In the Movie:
- It’s hilarious;
- Vader should always be making shitty jokes, all the time, forever, because it helps me retain the will to live and I love that this one is Anakin making a joke about how hot he is;
- As other people have pointed out before, the Separatist character’s name here is Shu Mai, which is, of course, the name of a Chinese dumpling. This is indisputably funny.
Regrettably, in the film we do not get any such Entertaining Murder Jokes, and instead we get a shot of Vader riding high on Perco-Sith, which has turned his eyes a lovely shade of Liver-Failure Yellow.
New Look! Same Great Taste
Back in the Senate, Sidious is announcing a rebranding of the Republic: from now on, they’re gonna be known as the First Galactic Empire, which will be “safe and secure” and Padme looks preeeeeetty much like she’s going to puke, and not because she’s pregnant. Everyone cheers and is all USA! USA! and she and Bail look at each other with horror: so this is how liberty dies…
At the same time, on Mustafar, Vader finishes his task, taking down Nute Gunray as he pleads for mercy.
Recurring Theme: Obi-Wan Kenobi, Always Prepared
At the Temple, Obi-Wan and Yoda have been able to replace the coded “retreat” message from before with a message Obi-Wan recorded himself. We don’t get to see said message until the first episode of Star Wars: Rebels, but let me tell you all: it makes me laugh-cry every time, because it is SO POLISHED. This guy just walked through a massacre scene, beheld the bodies of innocent children, knows that a JEDI might have killed them, and the entire government is collapsing around them. Please keep in mind, also, that at this point Obi-Wan possibly assumes or fears that Anakin has been murdered as well. And yet the message he records is SO eloquent and not at all like any message I’d record (“Holy shit! We are all so screwed! Save yourselves! Don’t end up like meeeeeeee!” — yes, I’d be terrible in a crisis like this.) Sometimes I wonder if he kept a message tucked into his boot at all times labeled “For In Case Anakin Fucks It All Up and Kills Us All”).
Yoda then starts to head out and THIS PART KILLS ME OK. Yoda is SO ON to Obi-Wan here. He pauses as he starts walking to the doorway, and turns around and sort of…appraises Obi-Wan warily, like…he KNOWS what Obi-Wan’s going to do next, and he KNOWS it’s a bad idea.
Obi-Wan pauses. There’s something he needs to see.
I Hope I’m Never a Disappointment
Yoda, looking deeply sad, watches as Obi-Wan heads for the security system. Frowning, he tells Obi-Wan not to do it: don’t look at the surveillance footage, dude! There is NOTHING GOOD there and if you do it’ll only make you want to rip your own eyes out and wish you were dead.
Think I’m exaggerating? Let’s see how the Revenge of the Sith novel frames up Obi-Wan’s reaction to watching the security footage for us:
Then the caped man turned to meet a cloaked figure behind him, and he was—
Obi-Wan, staring, wished that he had the strength to rip his eyes out of his head.
But even blind, he would see this forever. He would see his friend, his student, his brother, turn and kneel in front of a black-cloaked Lord of the Sith.
His head rang with a silent scream.
THANKS, Star Wars. I needed this in my life. So, yes: Obi-Wan watches this thing and sure enough, there’s Anakin pledging himself to Team Palpatine. I love that the security hologram is like…pre-edited so that when Obi-Wan hits the rewind button it basically jumps him RIGHT back into a pre-edited highlight reel of Anakin betraying him. I’m gonna blame this one on the Force, which we all know hates everyone and is an asshole.
Yoda looks absolutely crushed, and Obi-Wan looks like he’s going to be ill.
The Worst Assignment
If you thought Obi-Wan was having a bad day before, what follows is the lead-up to a tragedy beyond anything he was likely to have fathomed in his worst nightmares. Totally devastated and in utter disbelief at what he’s just seen, Yoda gives him his next assignment…initially without directly spelling it out. He says to Obi-Wan: you and me, Kenobes, have to destroy the Sith.
Obi-Wan, looking fragile, begs Yoda to send him to kill Sidious, even though he must realize there is no way he could actually take him, because he just…won’t kill Anakin. It’s awful watching the dots connect in his head and this guy, who is usually so duty-and-honor oriented, who’s willing to accept an assignment no matter what (frequently alone and more than once involving Darth Maul,) try to talk his way out of a mission for the first time ever – Anakin is like a brother to him; he can’t do it. He can’t.
Yoda lays it out for him starkly: Anakin is already dead. The person you knew, the person you raised, the person you loved has already been destroyed. You have to do this – you have to.
Obi-Wan tries one last desperate attempt to avoid his destiny by claiming he has no idea where Anakin is, and he’d have no idea where to find him.
Yoda clearly doesn’t buy this, and gives him a look that is sympathetic but has a DISTINCT aura of “bitch, please” about it, because let’s be real, Obes: nobody is buying that you can’t find Anakin if you need to:
He gives Obi-Wan the Star Wars equivalent of “listen to your heart” advice – “search your feelings” – and tells him to go. And with that, Yoda walks out the door, and we move into the final terrible series of events that will tie this all up and get ready to hand things off to the Original Trilogy. And boy, doesn’t our pal Obi-Wan looked THRILLED about it:
I Was in the Neighborhood and Thought I’d Come Tell You Your Husband’s a Murderer — and Also Where is He, Because I Need to Go Kill Him
Padme is nervously pacing back on her posh apartment patio when Obi-Wan shows up. He gets down to brass tacks quickly: where’s Anakin?
She plays dumb, starting to realize that there’s more going on here. Is he in danger?
Obi-Wan tells her (almost) everything: Anakin’s turned to the Dark Side, he’s gone berserker on everyone and even took out the children at the Jedi Temple, the Sith took over the government and Anakin’s in serious trouble. They all are. He needs to know where Anakin is.
Padme is, of course, totally stricken by this, but there is this look on her face that is like “…buuuuuut you know he was acting like a total weirdo and saying all sorts of crazy shit last time he was here aaaaaand then he made some weird vague statements about Going Off To End This War and that he hoped everyone had Stayed True to Uncle Palpatine, so…” As she’s digesting all this, Obi-Wan continues to prod her for Anakin’s whereabouts, and she comes to the same awful realization Obi-Wan did in the last scene: oh my God, you’re asking where he is because you’re going to kill him, aren’t you?
He doesn’t answer directly, to the surprise of no one in the entire world who has even a passing familiarity with this character. Padme, for her part, doesn’t tell him where Anakin is. He gets up to leave, and as he does so, he confirms, through her silence, what he already knows: that baby is Anakin’s.
So, the baby shower is probably cancelled, right? You probably won’t have to give up a weekend to help Anakin build a crib and lug furniture around, now, Obi-Wan, so there’s that, at least. Right?
Recurring Theme: Darth Vader, Breathing in Rage Fumes
Vader, speak of the Devil, is at this moment basking in the afterglow of yet another mass murder by hanging out on a balcony on Mustafar and just…taking it all in, you know? Sometimes you have to savor the little moments in life and let them overtake you until you are consumed with rage and fear and anger and self-hatred and you move yourself to tears:
Padme, now deeply unsettled by the knowledge Obi-Wan’s unloaded on her (which seems to be something he’s good at — traumatizing people by telling them terrible things about his life,) is heading out in that awesome chrome ship she has. And she’s going alone, save for Threepio. This, she says, is personal business. She’ll be back soon. Sure.
Obi-Wan Kenobi, Stowaway/Lazy Man
Naturally, of course, Obi-Wan hasn’t given up on his Anakin Death Quest that easily, so he trails her into the ship and conceals himself by hiding in a closet. I mention this part only because I want you all to know that Obi-Wan uses the Force to close a door that is maybe half a foot away from his hand and does not appear to be especially heavy. I’m not sure if this is better or worse than that time in TCW where he uses the Force to pull up a chair for himself. I’ll cut him slack here only because he IS having a really supremely shitty day.
And Also We Should Plan a Fun Little Team-Building Outing Once This Whole Revolution Thing Blows Over
Vader is holo-Skyping with Sidious now, telling him that the Separatists are indeed, uh “taken care of”. So wait: Anakin waited ALL THIS TIME to call him? He had to go stand outside and Feel Ways About Things for like an HOUR before calling? Oh, or maybe Sidious just wasn’t out of his meeting yet. Either way, I love how corporate their communications with each other are. Anakin confirms that they’ve met this milestone on schedule, and Sidious is like “nice! OK, now go tell the powers that be that the battle droids need to be shut down, too. War’s over! And don’t we all feel so GOOD about it?!” Vader is like “OK.”
Just then, he sees a ship approaching — one he surely recognizes and definitely has never gotten any action in.
Your Becoming a Sith Has Affected My Life Negatively in the Following Ways
And now we have the Anakin Skywalker Intervention Sequence, and let me tell you: it’s not like one of those episodes of Intervention where we’re going to get a feel-good update from “Three Months Later” where we see a clear-eyed Anakin telling us about how he’s working the program and taking it one day at a time and trying to stay away from his Dark Side triggers and bad influences. No, unfortunately this is going to be more like if an episode of Intervention had ended with a guy killing his family, bolting out the door, shrieking about his magic powers, then buying a bunch of bath salts and doing them with a crazy old man in an alley, whom he then goes off on a multi-decade killing spree with. I…feel like I lost where I was going with this. Sorry.
Where the hell was I? Oh right: so Padme arrives on Mustafar with Threepio and her Secret Mystery Guest, and she looks devastated and terrified as she collects herself before disembarking. Oh, Padme. John Williams, knowing I am already in an emotional place right now, decides to throw in a little Across the Stars flair to the music here, too. Thanks John. You and George are monsters; how dare you.
Vader and Padme go running over to each other and let me tell you all: I LOVE Hayden in this scene. It is his most underappreciated moment to me, because his acting here is a bizarre and appropriately deeply creepy mix of Darth Vader flatness and this like…wild-eyed Psychopath Face, which he deploys as he begins to rant at Padme that Obi-Wan was just lying about all that stuff he said about me being a child murderer! LOL! He’s such a jealous little shit and he’s trying to turn you against me!! Obvs, Pads!!
One of The Best Lines Ever
He also gets to say one of my favorite Star Wars lines, which is that “love can’t save you, Padme — only my new powers can do that!”, which my husband and I have said to each other approximately 12,724 times in the years since this movie was released and I laugh every single goddamn time. ONLY MY NEW POWERS CAN DO THAT. Also LOL EVEN MORE BECAUSE WE ALREADY KNOW ANAKIN STILL DOESN’T KNOW HOW TO SAVE PEOPLE FROM DEATH SO WHAT POWERS IS HE EVEN TALKING ABOUT.
Padme is persistent: forget the fact that you just killed a bunch of people and the world is ending, let’s just fuck off to Space Hawaii! We can start all over again, shirking our responsibilities and pretend like none of this even happened and BONUS: Obi-Wan’s already packed in the trunk so we won’t even have to go pick him up after this!
Anakin, still REALLY CREEPILY SMILEY, is like “don’t you GET IT? We don’t have to be afraid of anything! I’m even better than stupid Palpatine — we’ll get settled in and then I’ll just wipe him out! All of him! Then I can be the King of the Galaxy and you can be my Queen and Galactic People Magazine will pay eleven trillion credits for pictures of our twins!”
Padme, for her part, does not look convinced by this obviously unstable person’s weird delusional rant, which seems like the obvious reaction but please remember how many other times in this series an unstable person has given a weird delusional rant and people have been like SEEMS LEGIT:
The Biggest Lie in Star Wars
Padme retorts: OMFG Obi-Wan was RIGHT! You are completely psychotic! She gets all teary and in response, Vader then LIES THE BIGGEST LIE EVER IN THE ENTIRE SERIES THERE WILL NEVER BE A BIGGER FALSEHOOD THAN THIS: he tells Padme that he doesn’t want to hear any more about Obi-Wan. And he makes sure to make an extra-pouty put-upon face before saying it like he is just OMG SO EXHAUSTED with hearing about Obi-Wan:
Bahahahahahahahahahahhahahaha. Oh, right. I believe that one, Skywalker, as you then proceed to fill the next two-plus decades of your life with looking for, talking about, complaining about, reminiscing about, and dreaming about Obi-Wan. Sure. Sure.
This is followed by Padme crying: you’re breaking my heart! I can’t follow you down this path! I don’t want to go to State Dinners with Palpatine! And then, not 4 entire seconds after he JUST SAID he doesn’t want to hear about Obi-Wan, Vader asks her if she feels this way “BECAUSE OF OBI-WAN”. LOL. I love Star Wars so much and I consider Anakin Skywalker a personal gift because this guy is just…I will never run out of material about this guy.
Recurring Theme: Obi-Wan Kenobi, Entrance-Maker
As she’s pleading with him, he catches sight of something hot and ginger and very very PISSED OFF out of the corner of his eye and lo and behold, who do we have here:
Padme tells Vader she loves him, and, upon seeing the guy he just said he totally never wants to hear about again, he shouts out that she’s a liar! She brought Obi-Wan here to kill him!
He then launches into one of his patented Force Chokes:
Obi-Wan, sashaying down the ramp with his ROBE BILLOWING BEHIND HIM, tells Anakin to “let her go” in that “…and I mean business, mister, or there will be NO POKEMON OR NINJAGO FOR YOU” voice that I use when my kids are wrestling in the house and someone’s about to break a bone.
Recurring Theme: Obi-Wan Kenobi, Disappointment Incarnate
BONUS Recurring Theme: Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan-Blamer
Vader looks down at Padme’s unconscious body, and immediately is like WAY TO GO OBI-WAN THIS ONE’S ALL ON YOU, and like HOW FUCKING FITTING. Of course he would do this. “I just choked someone almost to death! HOW DARE YOU, OBI-WAN!”
Obi-Wan, looking angry and mildly disgusted about having to listen to this bullshit again, tells Anakin that he did all the “turning Padme against him” business on his own by being a total trainwreck of a person and murdering people and joining up with the Palpatine Corps.
So the boys are circling each other now and throwing down some shit-talking and blame-gaming, and that’s when Obi-Wan does his final Dramatic Disrobe of this film (and possibly in canon, unless you count the Ultimate Final Disrobe that was his BECOMING THE FORCE in Episode 4.) And this one? Is a doozy:
The bets part is that he just STANDS there for a couple seconds like he just wants to make sure Anakin is getting all this.
Anakin does some more complaining about how all he’s done is make the galaxy great again and why is everyone on his case about this, while Obi-Wan pulls some more “I am SO DISAPPOINTED IN YOU YOUNG MAN MY ALLEGIANCE IS TO THE REPUBLIC TO DEMOCRASAEEEHH!”…
…and eventually it comes down to the inevitable: these two are gonna have to get into it. And not in that way that I usually imply.
With that, Obi-Wan solemnly announces that he will do what he must, arms himself, and off we go. But not just yet — because that’s it for today’s recap! Join me next time, on Anakin and Obi-Wan Are Ruining My Life Again, where we’ll watch the boys do some fancy footwork and say some heart-destroying things to each other, Obi-Wan will pick something up for his new nephew before he leaves Mustafar, Padme will take a final bow and Vader will get an Extreme Makeover. There’s still so much “fun” ahead of us! See you next time, and thanks for reading!