Obiwan sensed the Dark Side’s deception

Though Episode I is still tough for me to watch, it has many merits.  One of them is the opening scene where we see Obiwan and Quigonn arriving on the Trade Federation ship to negotiate the end of their blockade of Naboo.  This is an interesting scene that includes a premonition by Obiwan.

It’s not about the mission Master, it’s something… elsewhere.  Elusive. ~ Obiwan Kenobi

Qui-gonn admonishes him for not being mindful of the present.  But we also shouldn’t discount this scene’s importance in the overall story.

Obiwan is, in many ways, the ideal Jedi.  Above all, he is deferential and obedient to the Jedi way and the teachings of his Masters.  But his insights served him well, and they were denounced by his Master.  That’s an important element to this character and to the overall Star Wars Saga, yet it’s only presented subtlety in the opening to Episode I.

The entire sub-text of the prequels and The Clone Wars are that the Jedi were incapable of sensing the Dark Side due to their accumulated arrogance.  It is telling that Qui-gonn, the more experienced Jedi, didn’t sense the plot while Obiwan (seemingly uncontaminated by arrogance) did.

It’s this lack of insight that led the Jedi to be manipulated by Palpatine/Sidious.  The Clone Wars was the moral quagmire that enabled Sidious to weaken their ranks and kill off (nearly) all of them.