Spoilers will stand up and be recognized.
That being said, this is so sad yet fitting. It’s a cruel twist of fate but an unexpected plot twist that makes the impossible possible. Jack has recovered his sword, but Aku almost casually gets the bonus of a lifetime: a weapon that cut the Samurai deeper than any other. If you have not seen the episode, this one has to be seen to be believed.
The relationship between Jack and Ashi has become pretty darn close since last week’s kiss (don’t complain if you didn’t know, I literally start every entry with the word spoilers). However, there’s something to be said about love in the time of war. The timing is terrible. The other part, which Jack ignores, is the secret behind Ashi’s origin. What he does realize as she asks him about his past, is that she will also be in Aku’s crosshairs the minute they run into him.
Following this logic, Jack decides he’d rather protect her by taking off on his own. This would’ve worked better if she wasn’t specifically trained in tracking him down, which he manages to do just as he nears that last portal – yes, we’re talking about Season 3, Episode 6: “Jack and the Traveling Creatures” where the Samurai meets the Guardian. And it’s actually the same place, based on the broken red glasses Jack finds in the sand. Ashi has found him by then, upset at being left behind.
Before we can debate on the wisdom or shortsightedness of that decision, Aku appears alongside Scaramouche. They’re both relishing the fact they have the upper hand, but soon enough Jack draws the supposedly lost blade. Upon seeing it, Aku disposes of Scaramouche and prepares to leave. The demon is willing to write this one off as a waste of time until he senses his own essence. We’re witness to an Aku flashback where the Cult of Aku receive his essence in a cup to worship. The High Priestess opts for drinking it, giving birth to the Assassins.
As we cut back to the present, Aku claims to recognize Ashi as his own daughter. This sounds completely ridiculous until the Samurai attempts to strike at Aku and his blow is blocked by Ashi’s blade. She has no control of her actions, something she states over and over. Aku finally casts a spell bringing her darkness forth, covering her in Aku-shade of black and turning her into a killing machine.
The Samurai faces an enemy that he knows and loves. There’s little to nothing he can do while he parries away the blows. In one of such attacks, he breaks his opponent’s blade and makes a small cut in Dark Ashi’s arm. The pain seems to momentarily bring Ashi forth. Before her face is engulfed by darkness she manages to make one last request to Jack: Kill me.
That shatters Samurai Jack’s world to the core. He can’t do it. He falls to his knees as Dark Ashii prepares to claw him open, but Aku stops the fight. The Demon picks up the sword. Aku has won.
Or not… The final episode of Samurai Jack is next week.
- Mind blown. I wasn’t expecting Ashi to become Aku’s weapon of choice and neither was he. This twist was carefully set by Genndy Tartakovsky, and I should’ve seen it coming. I kept thinking that Ashi’s story running parallel to Jack was simply a love story angle. It didn’t occur to me that it would also become entrenched in the final battle with Aku.
- The Guardian’s red glasses, broken and discarded. Are we supposed to think that the Guardian fell? The portal looks very destroyed. Tartakovsky has stated publicly he has not forgotten the Guardian, and it shows. The Guardian did state that Jack would come back to defeat him in a future time. Will it all be reconciled in the end?
- Knowing Aku, it’s very possible that this destroyed portal is a mirage and the real one is hidden from view.
- Ashi’s nightmarish origin has come back to doom her in the end. However, she asks the impossible. Jack cannot kill someone he loves. A tragic love story, but how tragically will it end?
- The Scotsman will need to make a comeback somehow, even in ghostly form. There is a battle to be fought.
- We don’t know if Jack finally gets to go back in time. He’s bound by honor and by duty to rescue his world. At the same time, he’s got a battle to fight, the odds of which have shifted dramatically against him. Should he go back in time? Is his world this one or the other one?
That will do for now.