It’s only been a week, yet I’m still processing the fact that Samurai Jack is over. That his big comeback has left us as soon as it arrived, and in its wake, it left something spectacular: a revival of a beloved TV show that remains true to the spirit of the original while updating it in all the right ways. Outside of the recent comeback for Mystery Science Theater 3000 on Netflix, I don’t think I’ve seen anything quite like this, but even then, the evolution of Samurai Jack is one less of superficial style (all in all, it’s the same), but rather a narrative one. In recent memory, when you see a franchise get a new life, you expect it to draw inspiration and some basic building blocks from its predecessors, but other than that, it feels like a totally different creation. Sometimes that new direction is for its benefit, such as what Marvel Studios has been doing with its movie adaptations. Other times, you end up with something like the live-action Transformers movies. Still, this comparison feels inaccurate. Samurai Jack 2017 isn’t just a revival or a re-adaptation, it’s a continuation of the show’s original continuity with the intention of wrapping up a story that was left open-ended. Over the course of the last few weeks, I’ve reviewed each episode, covering the in-the-moment developments as they were presented to us. I feel like I’ve covered plenty of ground regarding the show’s evolution and sense of theming, but now that it’s all said and done, we can see how far we came and take a look at the season as a whole so we can appreciate what made this conclusion of Jack’s story such a success. But first, we must take a look at what came before…
This is it. The final battle. It all comes down to this.
Where we last left our heroes, Jack was ready to stop running away from his problems and get his shit together, starting with finding his sword. With Ashi in tow, he sets out to restart his mission to save the world. But first, a journey of self-discovery and introspection. Trust me, it’s not as boring as it sounds.
In previous reviews, I’ve brought up the significance of episodes of Samurai Jack that don’t feature Jack as the protagonist. This has resulted in some very unique stories, even some of the best the series has ever seen. What we have here is yet another such episode, but one that probably won’t carry as much memorability…at least the same kind.
Short Version: Well, this turned out better than the last time Jack was travelling alone with a woman…
Last week, Samurai Jack came face-to-face with the unthinkable, possibly the most dangerous opponent he’s ever encountered. An enemy so vile, so powerful, so unpredictable that it pushed him to his very limits, and even then, he was defeated. In fact, Jack never stood a chance. No contest. It might just be the most brutal loss he’s ever had.
Short Version: ALL OF THIS BLOOD
So, 2017 has so far been a good year for stories about grizzled heroes past their prime who decide to grow out their facial hair and must undergo one deadly, final journey that will hopefully allow them to do something right after a long string of failures; a journey that turns out to be far more violent than anything that they’ve done before.
Short Version: Well…this sure was full of firsts for the show.
(MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD! DON’T SAY I DIDN’T WARN YOU!)
Short Version: 12 years later, the future still sucks and our samurai savior may not be up to the task anymore…
So, going into this new season, there are a few expectations that are shaping what people like me would want from Samurai Jack’s return, mainly something that takes me back to the presentation and style of the series’ original run, while delivering on the staff’s promises of adding more mature themes without having to sacrifice the overall feel of the show. So, after this premiere, how’d they do? Let’s see…