If you didn’t read my review Samurai Jack Season 05 premiere review, I suggest you go read it, as it’s important to this episode. The second episode of Season 05 was a near flawless masterpiece that proves why Samurai Jack is one of the best cartoons ever made, which is something I don’t say lightly.
Not only does the episode delve deep into the history of the visuals of the shows past four seasons, it delivers one of the most poignant moments. Again, something I don’t say lightly.
But…I don’t think anyone could’ve expected that opening with Aku. I noted it was odd that Aku didn’t appear in physical form in the premiere, and this episode makes up for that with a glimpse into Aku’s life as it is now. Needless to say…he’s not very happy. Aku notes that he destroyed the Time Portals, and that Jack should’ve been dead by now, but the effects of time traveling have made it so he can’t age. Thus, for Aku, it’s a waiting game to see when/if Jack will die. But with 50 years passing with no success…it’s easy to see why that would make him grumpy. A special note here, Greg Baldwin is the voice of Aku in this final season, as the man who voiced him previously, Mako Iwamatsu passed away in 2006. He does a good job, though, and it’s hard not to laugh at this rarely seen side of Aku.
But the true crux of the story was with Jack facing off against the seven daughters of Aku, and oh what a battle it was. The premiere showed how reliant Jack is on future weapons and tech now that his sword is lost. But the daughters turn that status quo on its head by disarming him in record time, destroying his bike, and ripping off his armor piece by piece, leaving him near naked, very afraid, and weaponless.
In this moment of panic and doubt, Jack’s mind betrays him once again, and we see the “classic” Samurai Jack return for the second time (first time was in the premiere in a flashback). Phil Lamarr does a good job voicing the two versions of Jack both past and present and showing the dual sides of the argument of whether Jack should keep living, or just accept his fate and die.
Once the fighting continued, there was literally no dialogue for the rest of the episode. While in this modern age of animation that wouldn’t work, it was just another day at the office for Samurai Jack, as this show has often made legendary episode featuring nothing but visuals and sound effects, and this was a classic case of that.
The tension was real, the stress was real, and the foreshadowing and foreboding make every second feel like an eternity in the best way possible. The battle took place over many areas, and not one aspect of it felt stale, not an easy thing to do.
Yet, the true jawdropper was that when one of the daughters tried to corner and kill Jack, he killed her first. And when he saw the red blood flow from her, and the mask break, the gravity of what he had done hit him. Recall, that in the history of Samurai Jack, Jack has mainly killed robots, cyborgs, androids, machines, and other such objects. Yes, some of these had personality and life (like the assassin from the premiere), but they weren’t human, they weren’t creatures of flesh and blood. These daughters are, and they’re first human kills Jack has ever done, and he knows that, which is why he reacted like he did.
Before I end, I need to talk about the “side story” feature the white wolf. To the untrained eye, this may seem random, or even a pointless mirror of Jack, but it’s much more than that. It’s a symbol of who jack is. To see a simple white wolf (the white fur no doubt mimicking Jack’s original attire) traversing the future and seeing new and terrifying beasts that are no doubt higher up on the food chain than him is exactly the struggle that Jack has faced every day of his life. And just like Jack, the wolf doesn’t back down from a fight, even when it seems he’s going to lose. The ending scene with Jack being bloody and being washed down the river, only to slide over to the wolf, who won the fight, but at the cost of his own life is a harrowing reminder that this may be the fate of Samurai Jack by the end of this season.
Check out my review of the next episode!
Samurai Jack Season 05 Episode 02 Review
Samurai Jack Season 05 Episode 02 was a basically perfect Samurai Jack story. With striking visuals, epic fights, and a haunting story of how far we go to survive. Eight episodes left, gotta get back…back to past…