After a 12 year hiatus, JACK IS BACK! The hit show Samurai Jack returned last month on Adult Swim to the cheers of millennials everywhere, and this season things are much darker.
Samurai Jack is an American science fiction-action animated television series created by Genndy Tartakovsky for Cartoon Network. The series follows “Jack”, an unnamed samurai sent through time to a dystopian future ruled by the tyrannical shape-shifting demon Aku. Jack quests to travel back in time and defeat Aku before he can take over the world. The series premiered on August 10, 2001, with a TV movie called The Premiere Movie, before ending in its fourth season on September 25, 2004, without concluding the story.
WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD
From the first episode of the new season it’s clear that the last 50 years, you heard that right “50 YEARS”, have not been kind to Jack. He’s lost his sword and from the looks of things he’s losing his mind as well. The story picks up with Jack decked out in new, more samurai styled gear and a Mad Max style “wasteland bike” as he travels aimlessly in an Aku imprisoned future. Jack is haunted by the memories of those he left behind in the past, and has seemingly given up hope. But what the episode really teases are Jack’s new enemies — The Daughters of Aku.
These seven daughters of The High Priestess, leader of an all female cult of Aku, have been trained since birth to “succeed where many others have failed” in the mission to track and kill Jack. We’re given several short montages of their birth, training and eventual graduation before they’re sent out into the world to hunt the samurai.
Leading into the second episode, we see a scene that could’ve easily come from the previous seasons with Aku waking up and going through his daily routine; Turning off the alarm clock with a punch, applying his flaming eyebrows he apparently takes off every night, doing his morning stretches, and taking tributes from those “fortunate” enough to live in his world. He then goes into a strange therapy session with himself where he explains that he is still bothered by Jack’s existence, but also seems to expose that Jack is his raison d’etre. It’s the good ole yin and yang, good vs evil chemistry that makes up any good story.
Later, Jack has his own “therapy” with a reflection of himself. Jack’s reflection however is much darker. There even hits a point where he contemplates seppuku as the honorable way out of his predicament. Once the daughters of Aku confront him, he’s forced to flee to a temple leading to some of the best action sequences in the series as a whole. Eventually one of the daughters confronts Jack in a narrow hallway and he slashes out at her neck, horrified when blood comes out realizing she was human and not a robot as he previously thought. He quickly comes to his senses however when he notices he’s been stabbed in the gut. Jack manages to escape, destroying the temple in the process, and falls into a river.
Jack later makes friends with a wolf previously shown in episode two. They followed a similar path and were both gravely wounded as a result. The wolf takes care of Jack and vice versa until Jack is healed. During this time he dreams of a time when his family was attacked and his father was forced to kill. This gives Jack the affirmation he needs to fight back against the daughters of Aku who are still pursuing him. The following confrontation is too amazing to rightly put into words.