XCII

“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.

 

justTerry

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The Man Who Saved Central City

My name is Barry Allen, and I am the fastest man alive. When I was a child I saw my mother killed by something impossible, my father went to prison for her murder, then an accident made me the impossible. To the outside world I’m an ordinary forensic scientist, but secretly I use my speed to fight crime and find others like me, and one day, I’ll find who killed my mother and get justice for my father. I am The Flash!” – Barry Allen (Grant Gustin/Season 1 Intro)

First of all, how great is it that the Scarlet Speedster is back…or is he? When we last left the Flash, a singularity (or for all intents and purposes: a black hole) had opened up in the sky and was about to consume Central City until our hero raced upward to somehow counteract the ever-increasing vacuum.

This is not the usual blow-by-blow of the episode proper but rather a walk-through of it with some personal commentary to provide thinking points of not just the show but thinking points to apply on our own daily adventures.

I’ll admit right off the bat, I’m not crazy about the six-month jump in the story. I didn’t like it in Young Justice, I don’t like it here. This will give credence to the many flashbacks that will be on display this season. Second thing of note, Adam Copeland guest stars in this episode…better known as the Rated-R Superstar; former WWE superstar Edge. One day I plan on writing why Edge was one of my favorite wrestlers and how his career was very inspiring for me to watch. Speaking of stars, the MVP of this episode was definitely Professor Martin Stein: which I will get into shortly.

Line of the Night: “Stop asking questions” – Iris talking to Joe

Some context: Barry Allen has basically alienated himself from the rest of his friends for the past six months and it is finally starting to catch up with him when he takes on Atom Smasher (the villain of the week). While Joe feels giving Barry his space won’t cause him to further distance himself, Iris on the other hand uses the same fatherly advice she once received from him. Sometimes when a person repeatedly tells you no when you try to ask to help them, you have to decide to take the decision out of their hands. Effectively eliminating the question altogether… It’s easier to ask for forgiveness than for permission, you know. As people we can’t always wait for an invitation to do good. You don’t do what’s right because someone gave you the okay, you do what’s right because it IS right. Being a good friend does not always mean that they are right in everything that they do and being supportive can break through even the most stubborn of friends.

On the other side, we can’t shoulder the load all alone when we don’t have to in attempt to provide solace or justification for our actions. Central City was going to honor the Flash with a Key to the City for saving the day six months prior. In flashback, we find out that while Barry was able to destabilize the singularity; there was another force that was able to stop the wormhole itself. Enter Professor Stein and the newly-wed husband of Caitlin Snow: Ronnie Raymond. Together, they were Firestorm; DC’s answer to the Human Torch. Long story short, Ronnie sacrificed himself to the wormhole expelling Stein for the Flash to catch him before he hit the ground. In Barry’s eyes, he already had the burden of Eddie’s sacrifice in the Season 1 finale, now coupled with this he does what many of us do sometimes. Barry immerses himself in his work, stays to himself and refuses the help and support from everyone around him under the pretense of “it’s what’s best for everybody else.” We all have people in our lives that love us, that care, that worry. Whether that number is small or many, we have to let them. It does a disservice to what they might be trying to do or achieve in their own lives. My grandmother used to tell me to not keep someone from being a blessing to you…if not for yourself, for them.

Professor Stein was the one to figure out how to ultimately stop the destruction of Central City in the flashback. He was the one who gave our villain the name Atom Smasher; due to the radiation he absorbs (sorry Cisco) as well as the means to defeat him with the help of the reunited Team Flash (Caitlin, Cisco, Iris, Joe) Lastly he gives the big motivating moment at the end of the episode with a single word: Kadima which means “forward” in Hebrew. Let us all move forward in all that we do and achieve!

Flashlines: Barry receives a final “gift” from the now deceased Harrison Wells/Eobard Thawne; a recorded confessional of his admittance of killing Barry’s mom, Nora Allen…which subsequently gets his dad Henry out of jail after 14 years. Zoom is coming. The Flash logo on the suit now has white which was pointed out to make the lightning bolt stand out. Oh and the episode ends with the appearance of Jay Garrick, enough said.

The time travel thing might be a bit tricky but all in all, a great start to season 2. See you next week! Flashout!