The search for the sword is on in this latest episode of the Samurai Jack revival. This time, we are provided a more traditional Samurai Jack experience. Make no mistake, this episode maintains the tone and direction of the rest of the revival series, and the main, overarching plot moves forward. At the same time, the episode provides moments to breathe. Albeit in a more humorous manner than fans might be used to.
We visit the place where it began. When Jack (Phil LaMarr) lost his sword. When Aku (Mako Iwamatsu [original] and Greg Baldwin [revival]) destroyed the final time portal. We learn why Jack no longer has his sword. We have seen Jack kill a human before, in the second and subsequent third episode of this revival series. But it is not the first time Jack has killed a living creature. No, Jack has killed innocents before the beginning of this revival. That is the reason. In his own words, “I realize now that I did not lose the sword. But the sword left me”.
To reacquire the sword, Jack must now meditate, travelling a mystical journey to reacquire his magic sword and be proven worthy of the mystical weapon of good, like his father before him.
Meanwhile, Ashi (Tara Strong) stands guard and spots an army of lizard-men approaching. Ashi works to defend Jack from this army. If you were impressed by Ashi’s skills in previous episodes (and make no mistake, those alone more than established her as a force to reckoned with) you will not believe what Tartakovsky has created here. Ashi just became more amazing than she was previously!
Ashi vanquishes the entire lizard army! Or so she thinks. She notices a lone warrior has snuck past her, to finally kill Jack once and for all. Ashi calls upon an eagle-like creature that bought her and Jack to the mountain, stopping an arrow just in time from killing Jack. The warrior reveals herself to be Ashi’s mother, The High Priestess (Grey DeLisle) of the Cult of Aku!
The High Priestess, like any psychopathic leader of a cult, tries manipulating Ashi once more into killing Jack, but Ashi refuses. The two duel, determined to destroy each other. Ashi’s mother briefly taunts her about betraying her family, letting Jack live in spite of killing her sisters.
Ashi: “No. You [mother] killed them. We were made for one purpose: to kill! Our fates were sealed the day we were born.
The High Priestess traps Ashi under rubble, and moves in to kill Jack. Ashi escapes just in time to throw an arrow through her mother, sending her falling off the mountain, finally killing her.
Meanwhile on Jack’s spiritual journey. Jack meets a mysterious monk (Keone Young) in his quest. The monk tells him to make tea, and the episode proceeds to actually show the elaborate process by which Jack makes tea! Believe me, it’s much better than it sounds. You will love watching it. Jack makes this wonderful, very well-crafted tea. When the tea is finished the monk, in the humorous, monotone way only a monk can deliver, tells Jack, “This is terrible”.
Jack: (Pause) “Really?”
Monk: “Yes. Yes, quite terrible. This tea has all the necessary ingredients, but it lacks the most important one: balance. I see why your path to the sword remains clouded.”
Jack: “I do not understand. You must show me the way!”
Monk: “I cannot. It is not for me to show you your path.”
Demonic/Evil Jack: “That’s fortune cookie nonsense! He knows where it is, he just won’t tell you.”
Yes, Jack’s evil reflection has returned. In the spiritual realm, he can do much more damage however. This will no doubt remind fans of “Mad Jack” from the original series. Perhaps this evil reflection really is Mad Jack, having returned as a result of Jack’s swelled anger when Aku destroyed the last time portal. Evil Jack demands the monk return “what is rightfully ours!”
Jack: “Enough. We have lost the sword because of you.”
Evil Jack: “I HAVE KEPT US ALIVE! He’s the one who has taken it from us! HE KNOWS WHERE IT IS!”
Jack: “No. I’ve let you consume me for far too long.”
Evil Jack: “You’re in my way!” (Slaps Jack aside)
Jack: “You. You are the one who has kept the past hidden. Your anger. Your frustration.”
Evil Jack: “YOU’RE A FOOL!”
Jack: “You have blinded us. But now I can see.” (Jack’s eyes glow)
Evil Jack: “YOU NEED ME!”
Evil Jack has finally perished, and Jack is balanced once more. Worthy of the magical sword again. The one weapon that has any hope of stopping Aku. Jack has woken from his quest, and he finds Ashi. Now, it is time to find Aku.
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