One of my favorite, albeit gut-wrenching, scenes in ROTS is this one where Obi-Wan confronts Padmé in an attempt to find where Anakin went after his massacre at the Jedi Temple. The relationship between these two has been an odd one; they both love the same guy in different ways and yet they are on eggshells around each other because of the huge unspoken bantha in the room. But now it’s time to crack those eggshells because Anakin is a Sith on the loose.
It’s hard not to feel sorry for Obi-Wan in this scene. It’s not bad enough that he has just realized Anakin has joined the enemy and helped kill scores of Jedi. Or that the Emperor was playing him and everyone else all along. But now he has to tell this horrible truth to Padmé in the hopes her own conscience would be shocked enough to give Obi-Wan the information he needs, because he instinctively understands Anakin would’ve confided in her.
But Obi-Wan underestimates Padmé and just how conflicted she is. She cannot bring herself to believe what Obi-Wan is telling her because in spite of whatever doubts or concerns she might have about Anakin, she still believes in Anakin’s goodness. And of course, she wants to protect the father of her child(ren). Especially when she realizes what Obi-Wan wants to do: “You’re going to kill him, aren’t you?”
If this isn’t dramatic enough, as Obi-Wan realizes Padmé isn’t going to snitch on Anakin, he decides to break the one last unspoken secret between them. “Anakin is the father, isn’t he?” Padmé doesn’t answer, but it’s all over her face. “I’m so sorry.” Prior to seeing this film, I had pictured a more Jerry Springer-esque reaction from Obi-Wan once he discovered Padmé’s pregnancy. Eyes bulging, mouth hanging open, spitting out whatever he’d been drinking, a full-on freakout. But here, it is less Obi-Wan discovering the extent of Padmé and Anakin’s relationship as it is sorrowfully revealing he’d known what was happening all along. And I suppose at this point, knocking up a Senator is the least of Anakin’s transgressions.
Tragically this scene sets into motion Padmé’s sad fate because she is inspired to go find Anakin before Obi-Wan does.
Three things sell this scene: John Williams’s mournful score, Ewan McGregor, and Natalie Portman. It demonstrates why it was a great idea to bring in actors best known for indie flicks and dramas because when it comes time to do these sorts of scenes, they’re the kind who can deliver. The only two of the main actors to appear in all of the prequels, they finally get the opportunity to play off of one another that isn’t an action scene. I thought Ewan approached it with a mix of gentleness, concern, and urgency while Natalie’s Padme was heartbreakingly vulnerable. She’s still trying to be strong as everything is falling down around her, but the cracks are coming off of the armor.