In this episode, we finally figure out how and why Jack lost his sword: he killed some baby goats in self-defense. You know in the Lost Children arc of Berserk, where Guts kills a bunch of crazy elves who turn out to be children? It’s like that with Jack, except it’s treated like a bad thing instead of a necessary thing. And the sword leaves him because it can’t bear to be used to kill animals. I’m not sure about this explanation, because what else was Jack supposed to do? The baby goats turned into feral monsters who would’ve killed him and probably whoever else was there. Was he supposed to run away? Find a way to talk them into submission? If anything, it seemed more kind to put them out of their misery by that point. I know baby goats are cute, but that’s what broke Jack and put him into a 50-year slump? Something farmers do all the time?

Whatever, I guess Jack’s so pure that he can’t harm animals even when put into a corner. He’s so kind he won’t hurt a ladybug, but not so kind that he kills X9 and doesn’t rescue Lulu for him. Instead, let him pray and meditate to get his sword back. Pray in the middle of the deadlands while Ashi has to defend him. I like Ashi’s fight scene here. She finally get to show off her hellish training as a child instead of it used as fodder to show how much stronger Jack is. It also emphasizes how even though she’s firmly on the path of good, she’s still ferocious on the battlefield by murdering all of these soldiers in grisly ways. The kind of bloodshed that makes you wonder what Ashi would have done had she stayed evil and attacked Jack’s legions of friends.

But then Ashi’s mom, the High Priestess, finally shows up again. And while I like her fight with her daughter, full of dialogue on how Ashi differed from the rest of her sisters, it doesn’t answer quite a few questions. We never find out why she wants to kill Jack so badly, or why she worships Aku despite never sharing a single scene with him. For all we know, a random woman pregnant with sextuplets just decided to start a cult and kill the closest thing the show has to a savior. You could always chalk it up to insanity, but insanity only goes so far when you’re making long-term plans to kill Jack that take at least sixteen to eighteen years to develop. And considering she put up a tense fight with Ashi, why didn’t she try to kill Jack herself earlier? It’s like thinking of Darth Maul’s personality without getting into any of the expanded universe stuff. A cool looking character with fun action scenes, but so many gaps in their motivation that you wonder what’s the point.

That’s what the later episodes of this season have done, leave too many holes that I’m not sure Genndy will ever develop after the show’s over. I get why the Gods haven’t killed Aku by themselves. Because they want to see if humanity is worthy. Same thing with why they didn’t just retrieve Jack’s sword for him. Because he needed to prove himself. And I appreciate the tea ceremony scene, but why did it take this long for Jack to go down the chasm to find his sword, or meditate enough to perform the ceremony? If it was because he needed a friend to guard him like Ashi did, then why not ask the Scotsman? I know Jack was probably depressed, but not once in the past fifty years did he try this before?

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