“Gotta get back, back to the past…Samurai Jack.”
It was surreal hearing the signature theme coming from a monologue by Jack himself. Fifty years have gone by and our hero has yet to return. I could give a rundown of the episode proper, but I want to share my thoughts on how I felt as I watched.
We’ve seen characters before return from a long hiatus with a rugged look but the way they didn’t reveal Jack until midway through the battle with those cybernetic spiders really added to the direction this show is going to take. The sounds were so crisp from the mother and daughter resigning their selves to fate through use of their antennae to when the spikes of the motorcycle (yes you heard that right) protruded out to cut down the array of spider-bots. It was as if Jack saw a situation, handled it and rode off into the distance…like a dystopian outlaw.
I love Jack’s battle with the pied-piper inspired Scaramouch the Merciless; who he says is the favorite assassin of Aku (who we do not see this episode). Reminded me a lot of Bebop from the Nickelodeon Ninja Turtles series, Scaramouch presents himself as a real threat through his conjuring of stone monsters and his sword play. Speaking of which, seeing Jack resort to battle armor indicative of the time period, electric-ended staff and automatic weapons we’ll say…is a far cry from his katana (which we see in a flashback, he loses some time ago). Also the violence that Jack displays from both this and his earlier battle visually make you see the desperation in Jack’s psyche.
Oh and what a job did this episode do in visually putting us inside the mind of Samurai Jack. The torment that this man is going through…one leaf falls and another, each symbolizes his family, wondering what has happened to him, why hasn’t he returned? Then when all the leaves fall into the river and a sea of zombified people in agony saying that Jack has forgotten about them, has failed them…I could just feel his pain coming through the television. Even the campfire scene where Jack sees his father amidst the flames condemning him, saying that he has lost his purpose. Have you ever had a moment where you felt trapped inside your own mind, haunted by the memories and demons of your past? I even thought the emotion from the seven daughters of Aku was pretty captivating. Especially the moment where one of them was bout to fall to her death and the headmistress literally had the end of her staff pressing down on the hand being used to hang on the ledge, screaming repeatedly, “Are you weak!?”
This show was always a treat to watch but now it seems that we are going to look at a narrative which gives us distinct and emotional reasons to care about these characters. I don’t think we’ve seen the last of Jack’s nightmares but he at least commandeered a blade after his battle. This is a new Samurai Jack. One who has become a byproduct of his time even though he has not aged, parts of his mind are starting to take a toll on his resolve. And what of the Seven? I assume at least one will stand out from the rest considering their mission is to put an end to our hero.
Tell a friend…Jack is Back.