Korrasami has a new rival.

Korrasami has a new rival.

You know what would convince people to hate Mad Max: Fury Road? If Max and Furiosa had a romance plot. Their connection to each other was based on comradeship and a shared goal at hand, fighting alongside like blood brothers. If you took that away and made them fall for each other without the simplest hint of set up, you get a mess. And that’s what this episode of Samurai Jack was, a mess. Jack and Ashi becoming an item is something I was fearing would happen, and now it’s confirmed despite all the reasons not to do it. Only a few episodes ago, Ashi couldn’t comprehend the sight of two deer nuzzling each others’ noses. I don’t think any relations with her would be emotionally healthy without enough proper time, and I doubt said time occurred unless one of the production staff adds a last-minute explanation that months or years occurred between some of the episodes.

I think about the idea of Jack as a celibate hero, seeking little in the way of romance and more focused in his goal to finally vanquish Aku. Jack’s seldom been portrayed as a romantic lead, and any chance of finding true love was instantly yanked away from him like Ikra. That’s not to say he should be written as a completely sexless being. To give him some slack, several decades without a relationship would probably grow irritating. But does it really fit to be introduced in the third to last episode, where the writers should be more busy establishing the rising stakes involved in the final battle? But maybe it’s Genndy experimenting with Jack’s character while also counting the show’s five to doomsday. It could be his way to further develop a character he’s had over sixteen years to work on. For instance, perhaps those sexual feelings come from Jack wanting to be more like his father, and wishing to start a family of his own. Maybe some part of Jack still sees a fragment of Aku in Ashi, and having sex with her is his Freudian way of finally dominating Aku. Or possibly, Jack’s so desperate for a fuck that he’ll make out with his emotionally traumatized and stunted partner in crime while in a broken down prison ship.

And the thing is, Jack/Ashi could have worked if there were slow, emotionally mature moments brewing. Cautious steps taken. But instead, there all these teases that come off as juvenile and something even cartoons aimed purely at little kids have long moved past. Like having Jack and Ashi get pushed together by a large crowd, and Jack’s sword hilt bumps into Ashi to make a boner joke. Or having their synchronized screams stop the monster of the week while they immediate make out after the battle’s done. Or having Ashi suffer from clothing damage and becoming completely nude while Jack’s there, causing him to react like a harem protagonist and blushing like he doesn’t know what a naked woman is. That annoys me the most, since Jack’s mentally 75 at this point. And rather than just giving her his gi without a second’s thought, he instantly regresses to that of a shy teenager who’s too sexually confused to handle such a sight. Imagine a later Clint Eastwood movie where he sees someone naked and starts palpitating. This is shit I expect from light novel adaptations, not Samurai Jack.

Because it’s the ante-penultimate episode, we all know how this will end up. Ashi will die to give Jack more reason to kill Aku. Never mind the dead parents, dead countrymen, or decades worth of dead civilians, they’ll have to kill Ashi to give Jack motivation to finally strike. Ashi can’t survive because Jack will have to go back to the past, and I don’t expect him to bring her with him to meet the Shogun. At most, Ashi might survive in the redeemed future that Jack creates after killing the past Aku. Or maybe Genndy will do something wild and have Ashi get pregnant, where Jack has to choose between going back to the past to save his old family or stay and raise his new one. After that Dean Martin song, I don’t know.

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