Are you looking for a show that deals with subject matter such as psychosis, depression and suicide? Then why are you not watching Samurai Jack!
Sometimes a person can only hope that what they watch on television actually makes them think a little bit. It’s even more a rarity when a show starts to challenge you on a deeper level. In this episode we finally get to see Aku and it’s a sight to see let me tell you. Seeing the main antagonist like this was a bit jarring but it was so hilarious to watch. Aku, reduced to lying down as he explains his troubles to his “doctor”…resigning himself to the fact that the Samurai will never go away. (Oh but this is a safe place, so we don’t say his name here.) Points for Aku calling Jack’s beard “stupid” and for literally sinking into his sorrows. It’s not as if Aku had a plan. By his own admission, he figured he wait it out after destroying all of the time portals but all it did was give the Samurai inadvertent immortality (at least from aging). Don’t worry, we’ll get there…we see later that Jack is anything but.
I enjoyed seeing Jack basically being caught off guard and paying for it. It’s good to have your heroes overcome an obstacle so they come off as sympathetic and don’t look like the bad guy. After disposing of another robot, Jack is jumped by the Seven Daughters of Aku and they just go in. They attack with such force that Jack loses his protective armor, his handgun and his motorcycle…all destroyed. His sonic dagger (that he obtained from last episode) is taken from him (remember this) and when he has his “Rambo” moment with his semi-automatic, all it takes is a chain to relieve him of his weapon, and then they bash it to bits with mace-like bat. So after he uses a smokescreen by throwing a pack of grenades to give him cover, we get the (in my opinion) the best scene of the entire episode.
Before I get into this…as far as how the rest of the episode plays out; the Seven chase Jack into this temple where they try (and I do mean try) to kill him. The use of shadows in these exchanges highlighted by the green firefly that provided the only source of flashing light at certain moments was an excellent use of visuals. Jack gets stabbed by one of the daughters but he manages to cut her throat, realizing that it was not a robot but an actual human being laid waste by his hand. He retrieves the sonic blade from earlier (and if you remember its destructive power from the first episode) uses it to bring down the entire temple as he falls into the river, blood staining its waters.
Now before all that, Jack is hiding inside this robot beetle and he is confronted with the one thing that all of us must face at some point…our mortality. I have always been a person who fought for every inch, fought for what I believe in. But I remember a point in my life where I was tired of fighting, I was just tired of everything. What was the use of going on day after day when things just seemed to never get any better? I’m sure you out there have experienced this feeling at one moment in time or another. Jack’s hallucinations from the previous episode came from people he felt he let down, his family. Now this on the other hand is the Jack of old, the Jack that all of us had followed, seemingly distraught with this life with no end in sight. It’s a difficult and maddening thing to face yourself and try to maintain your resolve when there’s a part of you that’s just done. Jack has to face his own doubts and remain steadfast in the belief that he will as he says, “find a way.” Important to note, Jack has been battling machines this whole time before we get introduced to the Seven. Also, Aku hasn’t revealed himself, (at least to Jack) in years but he doesn’t know Jack is without his sword. To the seriousness of this moment, suicide is not an easy thing to talk about, address or even deal with. Just the fact that is was only “alluded” to is kind of tough to watch. Jack’s past telling him that there is no more honor and that the only honorable thing left to do is…before our hero tells him to be quiet and the emotion, the desperation coming from Jack here is so chilling. There is clearly a part of him that does not want to be stuck in a time that he doesn’t belong to for the rest of forever. The thoughts of suicide were on full display here, trying to convince with rationality, with emotion, with the anger of not continuing with how things presently are. That’s all real. I know exactly what that feels like and the most impressive thing through all of it was Jack keeping himself together and not surrendering to his innermost madness.
Sometimes all we have left is hope and faith and that may have to be enough in order for us to get to the next day. But we will and a new day gives new opportunities to try and to go forward. Seriously, check out Samurai Jack. I think it’s better than it was before and that’s hard for a preexisting property to achieve.