After 13 years of waiting, Samurai Jack fans have been given some closure. The series returned to our screens in March after a long hiatus and the fans have loved it. It was a revival that fans were clamoring for since 2004 when the series was initially canceled, as we still didn't know whether Jack would complete his mission — and for a while, it seemed we would never know.
But after the news that the show would be resurrected for a fifth and final season, many fans wondered if Jack would achieve what he set out to do. Now, we finally have the answer.
Note: This post contains heavy spoilers for the finale of Samurai Jack.
Jack's Final Battle
There was speculation going into the finale that Jack would elect to stay in the future or be unable to return to the past. After all, Jack had found love with Ashi, and Aku had destroyed all of the time portals, so it seemed hopeless.
During his travels, Jack had inspired a huge number of people to stand up against Aku — and if he did return to the past, these people would never have existed. His influence was huge, and when Aku broadcast that he had captured Jack and taken his sword away, there was a veritable army willing to come to Jack's aid.
The fan service in this battle was incredible, from Jack's best friend, the Scotsman (and his army of daughters) to the Woolies, it was a treat. The episode even managed to get Aku's original voice actor, Mako Iwamatsu, to feature in a posthumous cameo.
Ultimately, though, it was Ashi who proved to be the decisive player in the battle. As a daughter of Aku, she discovered that she also had all of the demon's powers, including the ability to create a time portal. After Jack's declaration that he loved her, she broke free of Aku's command and used his the demon's own powers against him.
Gotta Get Back. Back To The Past. Samurai Jack.
It was here that Jack completed his mission. There were no last-minute twists, no deus ex machina plot devices — simply the story we had been promised all along. Aku himself said that sometimes the simplest solution is the best one, and Genndy Tartakovsky certainly delivered this. Rather than convoluting things, he simply gave us the story we were promised 16 years ago: Jack returned to the past and killed Aku, saving the world.
Yes, there is the question of whether the finale should have had an extended runtime, but ultimately, it delivered on its promises. It didn't totally forget the events of Season 5 though; because of Ashi's parentage it was only a matter of time before she was removed from existence and so it was proven. Just as Jack was waiting to marry her, she collapsed and faded. Jack was heartbroken.
A Much More Mature Cartoon
Even before it returned to #AdultSwim, Samurai Jack was much more mature than anything else on television — and, if anything, the finale proved this. Though Jack had won by defeating Aku and preventing the dystopian future he spent 50 years in from coming to pass, he still lost the woman he loved. It was a bittersweet ending to a hero's journey, and Jack went into a depression, hiding himself away from the world.
While alone, Jack sat under a cherry blossom tree and a ladybird landed on his finger. After staring at it for a moment, he was reminded of Ashi and he began to smile. He realized that Ashi had given her life so that many others could live free of Aku's tyranny; though she had gone, her sacrifice was not in vain. Jack also remembered the friends whom he had met on his journey and thought about how much better their lives would be in the years to come. He then stood defiant underneath the tree.
Samurai Jack's return was a triumph and gave fans the closure they so desperately wanted after 13 years away. It also allowed its creator to tell the story he wanted to and didn't change its endgame. There were so many things that the original run got right, and the revival managed to improve on every aspect. The switch to Adult Swim allowed for much more mature content; just as the fans had grown up, so did Samurai Jack.
It's sad in some ways that Jack's story has come to a close, but the execution of the finale will certainly leave many fans satisfied.
What did you think of the Samurai Jack finale? Let me know in the comments!