Welcome back, my fiendish friends! Happy Fourth for all those in the US! To say it's been a rough one here would be kind of an understatement, but this is not what we're here to talk about
Today, we're going to talk a little bit about Darth Vader. Something that popped into my head when watching Obi-Wan Kenobi. Because it sometimes helps to talk about a villain that truly did villainy right.
For a lot of people, Darth Vader is the OG of evil characters. He's ruthless, cold, seemingly unfeeling, and extremely powerful. He's also highly intelligent and knows how to command a room simply by walking in it. So it was a huge blow to the gut to see who he was before he donned the black cape. But, let's take a different turn here a little.
Anakin Skywalker. A name that lives in imfamy to a lot of fans. He was kind of a whiny brat for most of the prequel, then managed to pull away from one of the best villains ever created. But, there is another way to look at him because of course there is. Anakin wasn't some spoiled little rich kid with a lightsaber; life tried to fuck him over really quick. His first memories are of being a slave, then he was whisked away into a world where he wasn't allowed to feel anything. Despite the fact he left the only person he'd ever known to love him.
Anakin was in a severe amount of emotional pain. Had they kept the main focus on that rather than the love story between him and Padme, maybe it would have translated better in the beginning. But something the Kenobi show did very well was show exactly what led him from Anakin to Darth Vader.
Back to Vader; he is also in an extreme amount of pain all the time. This show also shows us exactly what he does to attempt to alleviate that pain. He goes to the most extreme lengths for what could only be a moment's reprieve and still doesn't get it.
But then it gets worse. More often than not, when someone is forced to go through the same pain over and over again, your brain numbs it just to protect your sanity.
I would say that's the end result Darth Vader. He's been through decades of pain and torment; of course he feels nothing. He feels nothing in the end because, at one point, he felt everything. That is a horrible tragedy in and of itself. And it helps explain why he was able to strangle anyone under him without even considering anything else.
This adds a new dynamic to his relationship with Obi-Wan too. It reminds everyone they were more than just student and teacher. They loved each other, which made it all the more heartbreaking when Kenobi walked away from a burning Anakin. And it gave Darth Vader's rage a place to grow.
But, I also can't help but remember their final interaction. The moment Darth Vader strikes down Obi-Wan, he looked at the robes almost like he was confused. The obvious answer is “well, duh! Because that bitch just vanished into thin air.” But what if it was more than that?
Now it can be argued that Vader was looking for some feeling of relief at the fall of Obi-Wan Kenobi. After years of pain and torment. But now? He felt nothing. No joy, no sorrow. Just.... blank.
Because by the time he gets this chance, he's already numb to the feeling. So, he's forced to move on.
Anyway, those are my thoughts on Darth Vader. A lot of this has probably been said before in some way or another, but I thought I'd make a mention of it! Hope all of you enjoy your hot dogs and Uncle Sam hats today!
Fare Thee Well!