Samurai Jack Season 5 Review: Episode 9 (C) (SPOILER ALERT)ModernSpongeBobSucks Jack: All these years, I have seen so many innocents fall victim to Aku. Kind and decent people, my friends, my family, every one of them. His evil has taken everything I've ever loved. All I have left are memories. I do not want you to become just a memory.
Hello. You are now hearing the voice of MSBS! Welcome again, fellow TopTenners and visitors! As you may know, the fifth season of Samurai Jack is almost finished and is about to air its final episode this Saturday on Toonami on Adult Swim at 11:00 PM ET as I write this comment. As such, I will review the ninth episode of the fifth season of Samurai Jack before the final episode airs. Man, the previous episode before this was pretty polarizing and I was pretty hesitant to give it a 10/10 considering I was split on both sides that were either for or against the ending to XCIX. Thankfully, episode C is more widely praised and I don't have to worry about any arguments with this episode's execution. As always, make sure you are caught up with the previous eight episodes and be aware that this review WILL CONTAIN SPOILERS! I am sorry for any delays I may have caused while writing this review. Now let's begin!
So the ninth and penultimate episode of the fifth season of Samurai Jack starts by picking up from the eighth episode's conclusion, where Jack and Ashi were last seen kissing. After a few seconds into the kissing, the two then realize they are doing so and back off from each other, spitting and acting simultaneously disgusted and nervous from Lazarus-92's venom. Ashi then offers Jack his gi back, to which Jack refuses and says that she should keep it until she finds some new clothes, along with the fact that "Uh, it's very drafty in here." Soon enough, they spot a crack in the ceiling leading outside as some sunlight shines in on them. With this, Ashi proceeds to search for some new clothes in the ship while Jack goes out of the ship through the crack to explore, to which the latter eventually stumbles upon a broken water pipe. Subsequently, Ashi finds a locker room, where she then also finds a sweater and a pair of boots to wear for her new clothes. Now that she has her new clothes, Ashi searches for Jack outside to give him back his gi. She manages to do so, but also sees him showering under the broken water pipe he encountered from earlier. Thus, she kindly leaves his gi on the ground for him to pick up and leaves, with Jack almost seeing her while showering himself. Afterwards, Jack puts on his gi, only to see a familiar fan favorite in a reflection of himself...
Inner Jack: Be careful.
To all those who missed seeing bearded Jack, consider this episode to be his meaningful last appearance (R.I.P. Bearded Jack). Anyways, what Inner Jack means here is that he is warning Jack to be careful now that he is in a relationship with Ashi and that this could prove risky for not only him, but Ashi as well. Jack acknowledges and agrees, with Inner Jack asking what Jack is going to do. Jack replies back by saying that he does not know, as this has never happened to him before. As night falls, after Jack and Ashi hunt some worms in the desert for dinner, the two then try to eat the unpleasantly chewy grub while having an awkward conversation with each other. In the middle of the conversation, Ashi asks Jack if he ever thinks about his home. Jack replies to this and says that he does so all the time, where he then reminisces his home where he lived with his family in the palace high in the sky to the point that it touched the clouds, and was able to experience the vast beauty of each of the four seasons that passed by in the valley of Jack's home.
Jack: I would just stare out at the beauty of the seasons changing. The summer sun blanketed the valley with long, beautiful shadows. The fall leaves brought a bounty of color. Winter was so white. And the cherry blossoms in the spring.
Moving on, Ashi then asks Jack if there was ever a girl in his life. Jack initially answers mistakenly by saying there were many girls in his kingdom, but then he corrects himself by saying he never fell in love with a girl, as he was only 8 when Aku returned from being sealed and attacked his home. Ashi then interrupts Jack and immediately expresses sympathy for what he had to go through, apologizing for unintentionally bringing up any traumatic memories he may have had of Aku taking everything he had ever loved from him. However, Jack then interrupts as well and says that it is nice to remember the time before Aku had ever came, only to say that his memories of his home are the only way he will ever see such a time ever again. By the next morning, Ashi wakes up only to be distraught at the discovery that Jack had left her again.
Meanwhile, a fan favorite newcomer from this season makes his appearance once again...
Scaramouche: Aha! Yeah, baby! I really made it! Whoo! Wait. What's that up ahead? Aku? What a welcome! Aku, baby, I'm back. Scaramouche has returned!
Third time's the charm, babe! Scaramouche is back for one last time! After having his body blown off in the first episode and having his head thrown overboard into the water from a ship he boarded in the sixth episode where we previously saw him, Scaramouche appears for the third time In the series in the form of his head lodged on top of an octopus as he finally arrives at the location of Aku's lair. Overjoyed by this, Scaramouche proceeds to head to the lair and is even more overjoyed when he spots what appears to be Aku in the distance. However, what appeared to be Aku turned out to be something a little different...
Aku: Hello. You are now hearing the voice of Aku! Unfortunately, I will no longer be available for any more appointments. I'm sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused you. Now, go!
Sounds like it would make a great drive thru speaker box at a McDonald's fast food joint. Anyways, Aku must have been so depressed that he actually put out a recording in the form of a speaker box to say that he no longer wishes to communicate with anyone that wants to see him. However, Scaramouche is undeterred by this and manages to sneak into a secret path that allows him to find Aku and demand that he speak with him. Unsurprisingly, Aku initially refuses to speak with Scaramouche, but when Scaramouche brings up Jack, Aku finally rises up to talk to Scaramouche, though he is shown to be reluctant and irritated towards this. When Scaramouche tells Aku that Jack had supposedly lost his sword (unaware that Jack had already gotten back his sword in XCVIII.), Aku initially does not believe this and asks Scaramouche if he is sure this is true. Scaramouche assures that the discovery is true and that he'll bet his life on it. Now knowing that Jack has lost his sword, Aku rejoices and comes out of his depression, rewarding Scaramouche by using his eye lasers to restore Scaramouche's body, with the two dancing together in celebration.
The episode then cuts back to Jack in the desert, where he eventually stumbles upon a place he knows... This place in question just so happens to be the same robot graveyard where he once fought a powerful warrior titled The Guardian, who was guarding a time portal in Episode XXXII: Jack and the Travelling Creatures and was able to defeat Jack in battle when Jack tried to use it and had to fight for it. Unfortunately, when Jack tries to look for the time portal and The Guardian, he only ends up seeing the time portal destroyed and The Guardian's red sunglasses lying on the ground shattered, implying that he may have been killed by Aku and that Aku really did destroy all the time portals in existence, seemingly showing that Jack may never be able to get back to the past. However, things only seem to get worse for Jack when Ashi finally confronts him and demands Jack to tell her why he left her. Jack explains to her that he has seen so many innocents fall victim to the evil of Aku and that Aku has taken everything he's ever loved away from him: kind and decent people, his family, his friends, every one of them. All he has left are memories, and because of that, he does not want Ashi to become just a memory too. Despite this, Ashi assures Jack that everything that's happened in their lives has brought them here and that together, they will defeat Aku.
And just like that, Aku appears right on cue and finally reveals himself to Jack and Ashi. Aku explains that it has been far too long since he and Jack encountered each other last time and that the reason he's here now is because Scaramouche, complete with the latter being present with Aku, told him that Samurai Jack has lost the one thing in the entire universe that can destroy Aku: his sword. Scaramouche and Aku then laugh joyfully as they mock the apparent fact that Jack has lost his sword and is now vulnerable to Aku. However, just as Aku begins to mock Jack, Jack then unsheathes his sword, causing Aku to flinch back in horror and become angered at Scaramouche. Scaramouche tries to explain to Aku that he did see Jack without his sword last time he saw him and that he didn't know he recovered it, but without even being able to finish his last sentence, Aku then uses telekinesis to destroy Scaramouche's head, officially killing him off for good (well, Scaramouche DID say that he betted his life on Jack losing his sword). Aku then immediately tries to casually leave as he now knows Jack will destroy him here and now, but just as Jack proceeds to slay Aku anyway since Aku is already where he wants him, Aku then smells something familiar...
Aku: I smell me!
Well, you are your own person, Aku...
Aku: Hold it! Time out! Really! There's more Aku here, besides me.
Ashi: Stay back!
Aku: Yes. I smell me inside of her.
Um, Ashi? I think right now might be a good time to go and stay back at the ship so you don't become another memory!
Anyways, with Aku smelling part of himself inside of Ashi, he then tries to find out why he does so. Suddenly, it then strikes him in a flashback where he remembers the time that he personally visited the Cult of Aku. That's right. Those nuns weren't just praying to Aku for nothing like I thought they were! Man, I can't believe he actually visited them! I always thought Aku never knew about the cult! Moving on, at the cult, when he sees that a statue replica of him was made in his honor, Aku rewards the cult by giving them some of his essence. With this evidence, Aku then deduces that the High Priestess of the Cult of Aku must have drank his essence and thus must have given birth to the Daughters of Aku. Therefore, Aku confirms that Ashi is undeniably his biological daughter, making this one of the biggest plot twists in animation history!
The High Priestess: Yes. Aku's fire stirs inside all of you.
Quite literally, indeed! I always thought the Daughters of Aku was just a title for the titular group! I never actually expected them to be the actual biological daughters of Aku! Then again, this plot twist thankfully clears up any questions as to how the High Priestess was able to give birth to children without a male mate even though she was part of an all-female cult. So I guess this means Aku's essence can also act as sperm? Eh, whatever. Getting back to the episode at hand, Jack then tries to attack Aku again after learning that Ashi is of Aku's essence, only to be intercepted by Ashi when Aku uses the essence in her body to control her like a puppet and forces her to fight Jack. And what ensues is an emotionally gripping fight as Jack is forced to fight his own lover and tries to get Ashi to resist Aku's control. Man, I almost felt like crying throughout the whole fight. At least Aku kept things entertaining with his humor throughout the fight as well, such as when he was talking with a dead robot about how his own daughter Ashi fell in love with his mortal enemy Jack and that he is not satisfied with it.
Aku: I mean, you try and raise them right, then they run off with your mortal enemy. What's a dad to do?
Back to the fight, Jack then tries to plead with Ashi to resist Aku, saying that Ashi is not her mother nor her father and that she is good and can defeat the evil within her from the inside. Unfortunately, Aku then breaks up the talk by toppling the dead robot he was talking to over them. Now as evil as ever, Aku then tells Ashi, "Sweetheart, you have to bring out your best to defeat him, and your best part is meeeee!" With this, he corrupts Ashi's body by expanding all of his essence flowing through Ashi's body ever since she was born to completely bend Ashi to his will and transform her into a feminine Aku-like entity. Jack is only able to defend himself initially as Ashi nearly stomps him with her upgraded abilities, but eventually manages to break through Ashi's sword and slash part of her skin, allowing Ashi's face to appear for a brief time. During this brief time, Ashi begs Jack to kill her and then kill Aku before it's too late. Bringing on the feels again, Jack is heartbrokenly reluctant to do this and ultimately drops his sword to the ground in defeat, declaring in sadness that he can't kill Ashi. When Ashi's face is corrupted again, Ashi then proceeds to kill Jack with her bare hands, only for Aku to suddenly tell her to stop. Well... it seems like Aku is putting on an act of mercy... for like about a few seconds. Because instead of letting Ashi finish off Jack, Aku claims Jack's sword and raises it in triumph, ending the episode on a cliffhanger as the screen scrolls down a water-colored piece of artwork showing him doing such as Jack kneels down in defeat at the hands of Aku and the now corrupted Ashi.
It's only been about 3 months and now there's only one more episode until Samurai Jack truly ends for good. It may be hard to believe, but it's a fact. Either way, this penultimate episode was truly a masterpiece that will surely set the grand stage for the series finale that will come after it. To get the usual stuff out of the way, Tartakovsky's crew aced the animation, art, and the action as always. Especially in the ending of this episode where it shows the water-colored art of Aku's victory over Jack. Not to mention it was nice seeing Scaramouche back for one last time. But I think the one thing that appealed to me the most about this episode was its emotion. If you have been watching each episode in chronological order as you go by each one, you will definitely be gripped by how far Jack and Ashi's relationship goes as Jack tries to get through to Ashi and help her resist Aku's control, only to surrender in defeat when he potentially sacrifices his own life to preserve her life even though she's corrupted. See, not everything is going to be easy in shows like this, so you can't just expect Jack to kill Ashi right on the spot or Ashi to suddenly break out of her corruption like some sort of OC Mary Sue from a fanfiction story. After all, the fifth season really developed Jack's character and made him a complex being that wasn't just a blank slate character like he was in the first four seasons. That said, I can't wait to finally see the series finale to Samurai Jack. So here is my final score for the ninth and penultimate episode of the fifth season of Samurai Jack:
10.0 out of 10.0 stars
Thanks for reading and be sure to check out episode 10 of the fifth season of Samurai Jack after doing so. Until then, peace!