2017
05.21

samuraijack1011

It’s finally the end, and I can finally stop doing these. This final ride for Jack’s been an intriguing one ever since it was first announced. That first teaser of the new season, where Jack’s silhouette made him look like Galactus, felt like ages ago. But now, it’s over. The sword’s sheathed for good. And we can finally relax until Cartoon Network makes a final season to something else. I don’t know. Maybe Squirrel Boy? Or perhaps the Class of 3000? Something that will make CN audiences blurt out a flat what and a blank stare.

As for the episode itself, it puts many cards on the table but doesn’t do much with them. Having an Aku versus everybody fight should be epic. They brought the Scots, the Jumpers, the Woolies, the Archers, the Ravers, the Dogs, and that giant robot samurai back to fight Aku, but they mostly amount to fodder to distract him until Ashi comes to her senses. And they just fight smaller Akus, instead of Beetle Drones or robots, leading to little variety in the action. I did like the cavalry doing some damage to Aku by focusing on his eyes, to show they were at least doing something to challenge him. Whereas on Aku’s part, he didn’t display his full array of powers here. Okay, some of the tiny Akus grow bat wings. But other than that, chocolate rain, and turning his hands into blades, Genndy doesn’t show off anything we haven’t seen before. And a character known for imaginative fight scenes and imagery feels by-the-numbers in his swan song.

Something that’s only slightly rectified when Jack and Ashi fight him. Jack doesn’t even fight him in the future time, that’s mostly reserved for Ashi going on a mirror match with Aku. It’s not even a particularlyl long or visually exciting one. As soon as Ashi figures out she has all of Aku’s powers, she goes for the time portal move. Maybe they should’ve killed this Aku before going to the past in case time travel worked under multiverse theory. It apparently didn’t, so they guessed right, but it all happens so quickly without emotion or thrill to it. There are no scenes of Ashi learning how to use Aku’s powers more effectively when fighting him, and the ages-long rivalry between Jack and this Aku never pays off. Instead, we get Jack slashing the shit out of past Aku without so much as a struggle. Yeah, Aku’s weakened at this point in time, but the episode almost seems fatigued at this point. Like Genndy just wanted to get to these scenes as fast as possible and finish this show already. So I agree with what everybody’s been saying: That the last episode was just too short to cover everything so far. Maybe they should’ve made some earlier episodes quicker paced so they could have made this battle take stage in the ninth and tenth episodes.

But yeah, Jack goes back to the past, kills Aku, then copies the ending to another show that aired on Toonami and made viewers go wet in the pantaloons. Because Genndy didn’t rip off enough by getting a half-demon girl played by Tara Strong who was conceived by a cult and only recently learned how to emote while rebelling against her antlered anti-Christ father, he has to make her ignorant of the outside world, rise the character back from his depression, have an evil costume that’s skintight and based on the villain’s aesthetic, help slay the villain even though she needs their existence to continue living, and fade away during the main character’s wedding. I know I praised Genndy before for taking heavy influence from other shows and movies, but because he used them to branch out and create new ideas and renditions with these influences. But here, it turns out that all those influences ultimately led up to a callback to other shows rather than something the series could invent or define as its own. If you want a positive evaluation, I could say Samurai Jack’s ending was a collection of thousands of experiences coalescing into one. But it could’ve been better than that.

For this season as a whole, it was an interesting experiment that slowly lost its steam with each episode. The first three entries were superb, and the rest except for the eighth have some thing enjoyable to them. I guess it’s nice we finally get an ending to the show, and maybe I would be more forgiving if this season aired shortly after the others, or if this was a movie instead of ten episodes, but I can’t help but think there was a missed opportunity here. It’s a little like how Gravity Falls and Korra had some cool things going on, but there were too many flaws and unlikable characters that kept me from wanting to revisit those shows.

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