Series Issues: Samurai Jack and the end of innocence. Episode CI.

A bittersweet victory for Jack.

(Source: Adult Swim)

What I got from this episode at the end is that Genndy wanted to give his series a finale that would fulfill the other side of the premise that he envisioned a long time ago rather than change it. There’s several ways this could have ended. We could have the idillic finale, and we had it in a sense, or we could have gone heartfelt… Well, we kinda had that too. I guess this was a little of everything, but I could’ve thought of a few alternatives.

I think it couldn’t have gone done without the battle against Aku. We needed to have all of Jack’s allies there. Ashi was bound to break her chains from Aku’s mental grasp. In the actual finale, Ashi is the one that opens a time portal. That could have gone several ways. I think I would have liked Jack to have that moment in which he decides if going through the portal is even necessary if he could kill Aku then and now. Is Jack’s world his past or his future? And wouldn’t Ashi have doubted in following Jack? After all, she’s bound to join/lead this army against the armies of Aku.

I can’t help but sense an opportunity lost in making Jack stay in the future. A little morale tale of how you can’t really go back… The initial premise of the show doesn’t have to be fulfilled. Jack can decide to move on rather than go back. It would have shown how Jack has evolved. He could have stayed with Ashi for a lifetime and then go back to face the Guardian for the portal. Of course, for that to happen, the whole area of the portal would’ve been hidden under a spell from Aku, who would have lied about destroying all portals.

Alternatively you could’ve given him a non-ending by making him stay and keep fighting Aku. That would be far from ideal, kinda leaving it open ended like that.

There could’ve been a point in which it was considered for him to just choose between the past with family and the future with Ashi. That would’ve been interesting unto itself. Technically he didn’t get a chance to do so in the final version. He got transported via portal to the very first time they fought, to end it there before the future would ever know of Aku’s evil. In that sense, he’s restored innocence to the world who would never know of Aku’s evil. The demon will still be remembered as a local myth, but no more than that.

But that bittersweet wedding that almost took place, yeah… You almost hope the gods of his ancestors would have intervened then. Jack’s sacrifice had to be framed as something he almost could’ve had. But now, he still gets something that the entire world has because of him. He won a future for everyone.

Finale Thoughts:

  • So many friends, so many adventures. They all turned into memories. Even his beloved Ashi. Then again, Samurai Jack may have wavered but he never gave up.
  • There was a little too quick of a thought in how Ashi ends up being the one to makes the portal back to the past. More time would’ve been ideal for a goodbye. We missed that opportunity to have Jack decide between the past and the future. Then again, he’s been tested enough.
  • I didn’t want a non-ending in which Jack keeps having adventures forever, or an ambiguous ending in which the screen freezes as he battles Aku. The shapeshifting Aku has survived cuts of the sword before. We had to see him exterminated for good this time.
  • We did get to see the Scotsman again. Most important, Jack did get to meet him again, even in his ghost form.
  • That being said, we could’ve used that time he took to introduced his plethora of daughters by name. It’s crunch time, every minute counts.
  • Finally, it’s a bit sad to say goodbye to Jack, but good to know he returned to his own time and his family. As sad as losing Ashi was, he saved the future. I just wish that he would ended with some company.

That will do for now.

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