Some spoilers ahead.
Immediately after watching Part 5 of Obi-Wan Kenobi, my initial thought was that this fifth installment was created almost completely independent of the prior four. Though obviously an episodic compartment of the primary story, it is so good that it works nearly as its own independent tale. Best of all, it is remarkably faithful to the core characters of Obi-Wan, Anakin, and even Leia (yes, even Leia), and weaves in new flashbacks to buttress the storytelling as well as tie up loose ends introduced by the series.
My biggest gripe about the series, especially after the first three parts, was how humiliatingly pathetic this post-10-years-RotS Ben Kenobi was portrayed. I was worried that Disney/LucasFilm dusted off their game plan for destroying classic Star Wars charcters, introduced to us naive fans first for Han Solo (The Force Awakens) and then sent into overdrive with Luke Skywalker and Yoda (The Last Jedi). After Kenobi’s embarrassing smack down by Vadar at the end of Part 3, it appeared that Old Ben’s trajectory was fated to be the same, especially as the last untainted of the original core Star Wars heroes.
But Bacta apparently bestows wonders for Jedi who have lost their Force groove, and in Part 4 Ben, though slowly, was starting to act like a Jedi again, having little problem with cannon fodder Stormtroopers at the Inquisitor base. And here in Part 5, Kenobi is true to expected form, easily holding off a platoon of Imperials, sans the newly-minted Grand Inquisitor.
But it was even better than basic Jedi combat, for Kenobi leveraged his wits and unique knowledge of Anakin to play a figurative chess match with Darth Vadar. Both Vadar and Kenobi anticipated each other’s moves based on their prior relationship. As both a reminder of Anakin’s failure and a foreshadowing of Kenobi’s ultimate victory, the Sith Lord is bested by his former Master, once again, though this time not in raw combat, but by experience, cleverness, and knowing Anakin better than Anakin knows himself.
It still makes little sense to me that Kenobi effectively lost his Jedi powers while slaving away as a Kryat Dragon meat cutter, but at least he seems back, for now. The series is stronger and enjoyable because of Part 5, and we shall see if this remains the case for Part 6.
The portrayal of young Leia felt a tad contrived through the earlier parts, like she was reading scripts far too wordy and verbose for any 10-year old. Keeping in mind that the Anakin of The Phanton Menance still seemed a kid, grounded and believable (at least in hindsight), here in Part 5 Leia is mostly that, in a situation removed from her noble upbringing that a slave boy from Tatooine could very well have been in. She showed intelligence and ambition not unlike the boy version of her father. “Yes, I can see how this is Anakin’s daughter,” I thought.
I am sure the counter to my position on the earlier Leia is that the budding diplomat was echoing her mother.
Finally, loose ends were cleaned up, to some degree. We learn how the Third Sister knows that Darth Vadar is Anakin Skywalker, and it is a good explanation. That someone (other than Palpatine, Yoda, Kenobi, and Senator Organa) knew Vadar’s identify seems almost sacrilege, but it is “fixed” in Part 5.
For fans of Star Wars Rebels, set a few years after Obi-Wan Kenobi, continuity is restored with the re-emergence of the Grand Inquisitor from Rebels. I suspect the finale Part 6 may have similar cleanups of continuity questions from earlier in the series.