Spoilers for Obi-Wan Kenobi – Episode 3 are discussed in this article.
Can we really forget the past? A popular cliché is “forgive and forget,” but is that really possible or something we should strive to do? Throughout the Obi-Wan Kenobi series, he is having an especially hard time moving on from his past. Even though he just wants to accept and forget it, he is constantly reminded of the way Anakin turned to the Dark side. His new friend, Tala Durith, after an explanation of the difficulties she witnessed and experienced, says, “You’re right, Ben. Some things you can’t forget. But you can fight to make them better.”
Throughout the episode, we see multiple flashbacks. Some are with Obi-Wan and Vader, and others are of Reva (The Third Sister) and Vader. Each of these glimpses from the past show us that each character is having trouble forgetting and moving on, even being held back by that, which keeps them from improving their present and future.
Obi-Wan was hurt, understandably, by Anakin. As stated in Revenge of the Sith, he was “the chosen one” who would “bring balance to the force, not leave it in darkness.” In many ways, Obi-Wan blames himself for what happened to Anakin. He rethinks decisions and statements from the past, wondering if he could have done something different that would have prevented this turn.
Reva was one of the Younglings that Anakin attempted to murder during Order 66. In fact, she should have died like the others, but somehow she lived. And since then, she has set out on a plan to retaliate and kill him. She even rose up within the ranks of the Inquisitors to get as close as she could to him. It’s something that drives every decision she makes.We must look to our current situation and the future. And in all that, we must also remember that the only thing we have control over is ourselves. How are we going to react? How are we going to plan?
Vader’s flashbacks are seemingly connected with Obi-Wan’s, remembering the lessons he learned after “losing” to Obi-Wan time and time again. In fact, during one flashback of the two sparring in the Jedi Temple, Obi-Wan even says, “You’re a great warrior, Anakin, but your need to prove yourself is your undoing. Until you learn to overcome it, a Padawan you will still be.” He hated Obi-Wan for statements like this and for times where he felt he was held back, thinking that he could have been even more powerful earlier in his life. I could not help but also think of what Vader tells Obi-Wan in A New Hope: “When I left you, I was but the learner. Now, I am the master.” Maybe Vader eventually got over it, but at this point in the story, this still bothers him. We do see that Vader does not always learn from the past, though, as this episode will not be the last time he misses stopping an escaping ship.
Our past is powerful. It’s one of the most influential pieces of our lives, and yet we cannot change what has happened to us. We may want to forgive and forget wrongs done to us, but how do we not let the past dominate our thoughts, instead fighting to make the present and future better?
When I think about this, my mind also goes to two Bible verses. In Isaiah 43:18-19 (NIV), it says, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” And Philippians 3:12-14 (NIV) says, “I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.”
With this in mind, we have to remember what was said earlier: the past is the past. We can learn from it, but we cannot go back and change it, no matter how hard we try. Instead, we must look to our current situation and the future. And in all that, we must also remember that the only thing we have control over is ourselves. How are we going to react? How are we going to plan? We must remember that no matter what has happened, God is still God and He has a plan for us.
Tala’s words ring through this entire episode, and perhaps the whole series—and arguably throughout all of the Star Wars saga. Some things we can’t forget completely, but we cannot let those thoughts hold us back. Instead we must ask ourselves how we can learn from the past in order to make our current situation better. How can we fight to improve life for ourselves and others moving forward?