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Recap / Samurai Jack - S5 E10: "CI"

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Somewhere in the Scottish Highlands, pounding hooves carry Flora to her father's stronghold as she rides atop a stag. There, where the rest of her kin await, she rushes to tell him the bad news, but he stops her.

The Scotsman: I know, lass. The whole world knows.

The scene montages all around the world to every surviving creature, family, and person of importance who has ever helped Jack or been helped by him who has access to a monitor: the Jump Good monkeys, the Triceraquin, the Scotsman and his daughters, Sir Rothchild and his grandchildren, the Blind Archers, the ravers. Everyone. They all watch in dismay as Aku broadcasts live:

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Aku: Long ago, in a distant land, I, Aku, the shapeshifting Master of Darkness, unleashed an unspeakable evil! But a foolish samurai warrior wielding a magic sword stepped forth to oppose me. Before the final blow was struck, I tore open a portal in time and flung him into the future, where my evil is law! Now, the fool seeks to return to the past, and undo the future that is Aku... NOT!

Aku gleefully explains that he has captured Samurai Jack and his sword, and that he will kill the samurai to end hope for the world for all time. But — now that the big moment has come, Aku just can't seem to decide which way to end it all. He extrudes several different weapons, each pointier than the last...then considers less extravagantly huge ones. He finally commands his daughter, the possessed Ashi, to kill Jack instead.

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Jack pleads, over and over, for Ashi to fight. And inside the roiliing black miasma that is Aku's power, Ashi is fighting, but she's getting weaker and weaker from the struggle. But Jack can see from her stilted movements that she is fighting, and losing. He continues pleading with her to fight, but she is moving inexorably closer...

Above, there is suddenly a huge commotion. Aku looks away and rises to the surface to see what it is. Jack looks up, blearily as well. It turns out that all of Jack's friends, acquaintances, and everyone he has helped, have come to the stronghold of Aku, ready to fight the great evil to help Jack, even if it means ending their own lives in the process.

Jack is filled with gratitude and hope. He fights back, trying to go after his sword and dodging the possessed Ashi.

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Above, Aku scoffs, then realizes that they're all serious about attacking. He calls them all bugs, and smashes the ones nearest with a giant fist, imbuing them with his essence as he did Ashi. The force-transformed friends of Jack, now serving Aku against their will, turn against the others. It looks like all is lost as the Aku morphs begin knocking fighters out of the sky left and right. Then the Scotsman's ghost arrives with his enormous battalion of daughters. The bagpipe's magic shoves back against Aku's magic and hope is restored.

Jack and the Scotsman have a friendly reunion. He introduces all his daughters by name and invites Jack to take his pick. When Jack politely declines, the Scotsman is about to become offended, when Jack explains and ...introduces him to Ashi.

Jack: I met someone.
Ghost of the Scotsman: (gleeful) Ah, who?
Jack: Her. (points at the Possessed Ashi)
Ghost of the Scotsman: ...I don't think she's yer type, laddie.
Above, the robots have arrived in a stone Samurai robot whose size rivals Aku's own. Aku scoffs, but the robot puts up a fight. After it tears off his head-antlers, he decides enough is enough. He draws all his essence back, save that which possesses Ashi, and rises into the sky, raining down his essence in deadly spikes that drive his enemies from the sky, penetrating the robot and destroying the robots inside. The spikes are enough to pierce even the domes of the Dogfighter and other flying creatures, so anyone who could not avoid them falls to their death.

Those with shields protect themselves, and the Scotsman, worked into a fine fury at his daughters being threatened, rises into the sky, the bagpipe driving back Aku's attack. With Aku busy having to pull himself together and fight the Celtic magic, Jack takes the opportunity to rush to Ashi. He throws himself into the black gunk that has overtaken her and calls her name. He keeps calling, and she responds in a weak voice. Hearing her weakening, he desperately tells her not to give up, that she can't.

Jack: I love you!

The blackness expels Jack and the possessed Ashi is about to wring his neck. Having failed to get through to her, Jack closes his eyes and waits for his inevitable fate. But she pulls her hand away. A moment later, Ashi's face appears, and she pushes back against the possessing darkness, reasserting herself!

Unfortunately, Aku has also managed to reassert himself, and commands her to kill Jack. Ashi flatly refuses. Aku bellows that she will obey him because he's her father. Ashi replies that he is not. Aku rushes in to fight her, and she extrudes a blade weapon just as he does. Aku fires eyebeams at her, and she fires her own eyebeams back.

Jack: You have Aku's powers!

Ashi, upon realizing this, understands from Jack's story what this means. Aku realizes what is about to occur and lunges at them. Ashi screams open a time portal, drops Jack and herself through it and then closes it behind them while Aku can only watch in horror, realizing his mistake too late and his fate is now sealed. Jack is momentarily seized with terror that Aku will snatch him back again, but it doesn't happen. He and Ashi join hands and fall back to the past...

...where a younger Samurai Jack is embroiled in the original fight with Aku. He is about to strike the final blow when Aku screams open the time portal and throws him into the future. Aku breathes a sigh of relief, only for Ashi's portal to open and bring Jack back with Ashi at his side. Jack doesn't hesitate to destroy the shapeshifting master of evil once and for all, managing to trap Aku in his sword and unleashing the killing blow, destroying Aku and his castle. Ashi falters for a moment, but tells Jack she's all right and that she simply felt Aku's presence leave her when Jack destroyed him.

The world is set right! Trade begins again, and friends and family from Jack's life all come to Japan to see him and congratulate him. Flash forward slightly and the preparations are being made for Jack's wedding to his beloved. Jack stands at the altar, gazing adoringly at Ashi, resplendent in her wedding dress. She steps down the aisle, all smiles, but the smile falters. Then Ashi falls to the ground. Jack wastes no time racing to her side and taking her in his arms. When he asks what is wrong, her answer is devastating:

Ashi: Without Aku...I would never have existed.

She has only a second to lovingly stroke his face before she vanishes as the timeline is altered due to Aku's demise in the past and leaves him holding only the empty kimono. Jack tearfully grieves over the loss of his one true love.

Sometime later, Jack rides into the forest to be alone with his grief and his thoughts. Not only is Ashi gone, but so is the entire future world he knew and everyone in it. He sits beneath a cherry tree as it begins to blossom, but then a tiny ladybug lands on his finger. He opens his eyes, gazes at it, then stands to let it fly free. A tiny glimmer of hope has been restored to him. Although the friends he knew are gone, perhaps forever, the world is finally free of Aku's evil. And yes, Ashi is gone now too, but he still has the memories of their time together. The samurai then watches the sky with a slightly less heavy heart, knowing the day will come when he will have another chance at love. In the new and bright future to come, Jack will live on and make a new life for himself, one day at a time.

THE END


Tropes in this episode include:

  • 11th-Hour Superpower: In the previous episode, Aku awakened the power Ashi inherited from him to make her a more effective slave. After The Power of Love frees her, she still has those powers. Realizing what this means, she immediately creates a time portal so Jack can finally get back to the past.
  • Achievements in Ignorance: As suggested by her reaction to the realization, Ashi seemed to have been using Aku's powers against him unconsciously.
  • Act of True Love: Ashi demonstrates how much she loves Jack by making the choice to send Jack back to the past to defeat Aku and save his home and family, even if it would be at the risk of her own existence once Aku is defeated.
  • An Aesop: Every victory comes with a price.
  • And Then What?: Aku never figured out how he should kill Jack once he captured him.
  • And There Was Much Rejoicing: Jack's allies and mentors from all over the world gather in Japan to celebrate the Shogun of Sorrow's demise and Jack's wedding to Ashi. The joyousness is cut short when Ashi finally ceases to exist, and even Jack can't find a reason to celebrate.
  • Anguished Declaration of Love: Jack admitting that he's in love with Ashi is what allows her to regain control of herself.
  • Anti-Antichrist: Ashi. Jack clearly could not have defeated Aku and Set Right What Once Went Wrong had she not turned his dark magic against him, in effect, becoming this.
  • Ascended Demon: The Power of Love allows Ashi to regain control of her body, retaining Aku's powers. Tellingly, grabbing Jack's sword by the blade doesn't harm her at all where a small prick from it before badly hurt her, implying she retained his powers while losing the evil.
  • Avengers, Assemble!: Everyone Jack has ever helped in his travels witness Aku's broadcast.
  • Back for the Finale:
    • The Scotman and his daughters return, as well as the bird from episode XCVIII along with several characters from previous seasons arrive to rescue Jack.
    • Various characters that Jack knew prior to being sent to the future, such as his parents, return in non-speaking cameos, now welcoming him as the hero he has become.
    • In a meta example, Mako, Aku's original voice actor, appears within the episode: broadcasting the show's original opening credits to the world as part of a broadcast stating his capture of Jack. This appearance is archival, as Mako had passed a decade before this episode aired.
  • Badass Army: One made of every ally Jack has made over the course of his adventures, and they don't do half-bad.
  • Badass in Distress: Jack is captured and chained by Aku and Ashi in his fortress.
  • Barrier Warrior: One of the Scotsman's post-mortem powers is to create a shield from Magic Music.
  • Battle Trophy: Carrying over from the previous episode, Aku hangs Jack's sword on his wall as a trophy. He comes to regret this decision.
  • Beam-O-War: Ashi and Aku have a brief one with their Eye Beams after she's freed. After a few seconds, they simply explode harmlessly.
  • Bishōnen Line: After being freed from Aku's control by The Power of Love, Ashi retains his powers (but with conscious, better control of them), but is simply herself in her black catsuit.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Jack goes back to the past with Ashi and finally kills Aku, undoing his reign of terror and saving his parents, as well as many who would have otherwise perished under Aku's reign. But as the dark future no longer came to be, Ashi ceases to exist, along with most (if not all) of Jack's old allies. While Jack is grieving over this loss, he regains his spirits when he looks forward to a new future of peace.
  • Bond Villain Stupidity: Aku has Jack at his mercy and seems ready to kill him before the entire world... only to waste time deciding what weapon to use. Jack's sword, the single instrument capable of killing Aku, is also still sitting in plain sight instead of being taken away or destroyed, meaning that even if Jack was killed, someone could still take it and finish the job for him.
  • Book-Ends:
    • It was a ladybug landing on Jack's hand that caused Ashi to start questioning what she knew which eventually led to new hope for Jack. Now a ladybug landing on Jack's hand in the finale showcases Jack has hope for the future.
    • The original opening plays one last time, but now it is in-universe. The final shot also mirrors Jack sitting despondently next to a tree in this season's opening, except he's now coming to terms with his losses.
    • Jack's adventures in the future began with Aku sending him to the future. Jack's adventures in the future end with Aku's daughter sending him back in time.
  • Boring, but Practical: Aku spends an awful amount of time looking for the perfect weapon to kill Jack with, but when he asks Ashi to do it instead, she shapes her arm into a plain needle. Aku compliments her for that.
  • Broke Your Arm Punching Out Cthulhu: Jack slaying Past-Aku makes Ashi Ret Gone, since she was born from Future-Aku's essence. Even after his own death, Aku managed to hurt Jack one last time.
  • The Bus Came Back: Many, many allies of Jack's return for the final battle. Specific mention goes to Rothchild, the Robo-Samurai and the Spartans because they haven't appeared in Season 5 until now. Also, those he trained with in the past also make a return for his wedding.
  • Call-Back:
    • Before Jack destroys Aku, Aku gets trapped the same way The Emperor trapped him in "Birth of Evil part 2".
    • Rothchild, now elderly, has taken up residence in the ruins of Malph's Market first seen in the pilot movie.
    • This exchange hearkens back to the ending of "Jack Learns to Jump Good":
    Aku: Huh!? Flying monkeys!?
    Man-Ape No, jump good!
    • The giant stone Samurai is one of the few things capable of genuinely harming Aku. In the episode it debuted in, it's explained it was from a magical city of giants, and thus is a magical weapon itself.
  • Came Back Strong: The Scotsman is finally seen in action as a ghost, using his music to form a path for his daughters to ride on and dispel Aku's attacks.
  • The Cameo: Many characters that trained Jack, such as his African tribe, attend Jack's wedding.
  • Cast of Snowflakes: All of The Scotsman's daughters all have unique designs despite only being seen briefly.
  • Casual Danger Dialog: When the Scotsman arrives on the scene, they both have a small friendly conversation, completely ignoring the chaos that is going on around them. The Scotsman even tries to hook up Jack with one of his daughters.
  • The Cavalry: The Scotsman's army and several characters Jack helped in the past show up in his hour of need.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Remember Aku's ability to infect innocent victims with his essence? He uses this en masse on a portion of the army.
  • Clipped-Wing Angel: Past-Aku tries to assume a monstrous form to fend off Jack, but the already significant gap between him and Jack has gotten so big after Jack's 50 years in the future that it doesn't even give Jack a moment's pause.
  • Close-Call Haircut: One of the ravers has part of her pigtails sliced by one of Aku's minions.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Ashi takes Jack back in time to right after he left, resulting in a more powerful and experienced Samurai Jack fifty years in the making vs the much weaker Past-Aku who he soundly defeated before going to the future in the first place. Aku never stood a chance.
  • Death from Above:
    • Eventually Aku has enough of Jack's allies, so he turns into a black mass in the sky that shoots deadly spikes. Most of Jack's allies die during that assault, with only those who are able to shield themselves or take cover in time surviving.
    • Jack finishes his fight with Past-Aku by "jumping good" into the air and coming down with a diving thrust straight through his head.
  • Defeat Equals Explosion: When Jack kills Past-Aku, his essence spreads throughout his palace before violently exploding and taking his whole lair with him.
  • Delayed Ripple Effect: Rather than being Ret Gone immediately, first Ashi loses Aku's powers, then sticks around long enough to get to the wedding before causality kicks in.
  • Didn't See That Coming:
    • Aku never anticipated his announcement of Jack's impending execution might rally Jack's supporters rather than crush them and cause them to mount rescue attack, let alone that they'd be strong enough to actually hold him off in any meaningful capacity.
    • Aku didn't expect for Ashi to be able to break free of his control and turn his own power against him via The Power of Love, much less that she'd have his time portal ability and would use it to send Jack back to kill Past-Aku.
    • For obvious reasons, Past-Aku decidedly did not expect Jack to suddenly show up 10 seconds after he sent him to the future to finish the job.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Now that Aku has Jack as his prisoner, he can't choose a method of which to kill him.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: The robots controlling the stone samurai manage to deliver a beating to Aku.
  • Died in Your Arms Tonight: Ashi disappears into nothingness while Jack holds onto her.
  • Do Not Adjust Your Set: Aku broadcasts his capture of Jack and the sword to the world across all television sets and magic viewing screens and plans to execute him to break the world's hope.
  • Downer Beginning: This episode starts with Jack being held captive by Aku.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: All of Jack's allies who perish in the Final Battle (and may have been erased from time as well), but they all go down swinging to save Jack and fully willing to pay the ultimate price for him. Ashi is erased from existence, but in the process finally brings Aku down once and for all.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: After being trapped in the future for 50 years, Jack is finally back in the past and Aku is dead. Although he has struggled greatly and had to sacrifice many things, including Ashi when she disappears, he has freed the world from the Ultimate Evil; and it now has a chance to grow up in a more peaceful future, and Jack can finally live a normal life and move on from his struggles.
  • Embedded Precursor: The episode partakes in some episode-ception by showing the original opening in it's slightly-altered, yet still faithful glory.
  • Empty Piles of Clothing: As Ashi fades out of existence, her empty bridal kimono is left hanging in Jack's arms.
  • Ending Memorial Service: What started out as a wedding became a memorial for Ashi at the same tree Jack showed her, and Jack's the only one mourning her loss.
  • Eureka Moment: When Jack says that Ashi has Aku's powers, she gets the idea to take Jack back in time so he can defeat Aku there.
  • Exorcist Head: Ashi does this when Aku orders her to kill Jack, because she's more Made of Evil now than human.
  • Eye Scream: Aku gets hit in his eyes several times in the Final Battle, and although it doesn't really hurt him, it does really annoy him.
  • Face Death with Dignity:
    • All of Jack's allies arrive, presumably knowing fully they may die and gladly willing to do so to save Jack.
    • Ashi was presumably aware that erasing Future-Aku from time may well erase her as well but gladly helps Jack go back to kill Past-Aku. It's especially notable that, unlike her sisters, at least she went out a good person and found a sense of peace in death—or in her case, non-existence.
    • Subverted with both Akus. The last we see of Future-Aku is his horrified expression as he realizes he's doomed. Past-Aku's default expression after Jack returns is blind terror as he desperately tries to escape his demise.
  • Famous Last Words:
    • Both the past and future versions of Aku have one last line before Jack puts an end to his reign. The future gives a horrified "oh no" while the past shouts "No, wait!"
    • Before fading away from existence, Ashi's line shown above in the recap is the last thing she ever says to Jack.
  • Fighting from the Inside: The episode gives a rather unpleasant view of the inside of Ashi's mind, where she's struggling futilely against darkness trying to consume her. She only succeeds after Jack makes an Anguished Declaration of Love.
  • Final Battle: The ultimate battle between Jack and Aku and their respective allies.
  • Flashback with the Other Darrin: Averted with Aku's broadcast, but played straight with Jack being sent to the future shortly before Jack's return to the past. A recreation of the original opening narration uses the original audio of the late Mako Iwamatsu's performance, with Greg Baldwin seamlessly jumping in once those scenes are over. However, the final portion of the original battle in the past is recreated using Baldwin's voice for Aku.
  • Flechette Storm: When Aku gets tired of Jack's allies, he draws in all his darkness, forms a giant cloud in the sky, and rains massive spikes upon them.
  • Foreshadowing: As Jack and Ashi are travelling back to the past, look at Ashi's face. It has an expression of uncertainty, meaning that she knew about her nonexistence that could stem from killing Aku. Unfortunately for Jack, he later learns this from her the hard way.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Since Aku is technically Ashi's biological father, Ashi only existed because of him—it was a given that the ripple effect would get her eventually.
  • Forgot Flanders Could Do That: Every time portal and method of return to the past has been destroyed, except ironically, Aku's own power to open them, a power Aku only used once which Jack never dreamed he'd be able to access. Because Ashi has access to all her dad's powers, this is indeed how he prevails.
  • Gondor Calls for Aid: Aku inadvertently does this for Jack, by hijacking video monitors across the entire planet so that everyone in his empire could witness Jack's Public Execution. This leads directly to several hundred people uniting together to storm Aku's fortress and rescue their hero.
  • Grand Finale: This is truly the end of Samurai Jack's long adventure. It's time to say farewell to all of your favorites. Jack's long quest finally concludes.
  • Grandfather Paradox: This is what ultimately results in Ashi being Ret Gone, since killing Aku (who is technically Ashi's biological father) in the past means she never could have been born.
  • Hero Killer: Aku fights without a care in the world, assimilating several people and turning into a rain of spikes that kill the robots piloting the stone mech, the Triceraquin, and the dog people. Only the Spartans and the Scotman's daughters are shown still alive by the time Jack gets back to the past.
  • Heroic BSoD: Jack briefly goes through this after Ashi's death, but he is shown starting to move on.
  • Heroic Sacrifice:
    • Ashi helping Jack defeat Aku in the past ultimately leads to a time wipe such that she never existed because Aku never lived to give his essence to his cult.
    • All of the various characters Jack has saved or befriended over the series are killed by Aku, or cease to exist due to the butterfly effect once Jack stops the Bad Future from happening.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard:
    • By trying to use Jack to break the hope of the survivors by broadcasting it worldwide, Aku instead drove them to rally to Jack's aid, ultimately spelling his demise.
    • Aku's own daughter had a vital hand in his final death, providing Jack with the time portal needed to finally get back to the past.
    • Past-Aku sent Jack to the future...resulting in Jack being much stronger and more experienced when he returns, making short work of him.
  • Hold the Line: This is said verbatim by the Spartans warriors. It serves as a Call-Back to their debut episode, where they did exactly the same thing.
  • Hopeless Boss Fight:
    • A non-video game example. Jack's allies are powerful and capable warriors in their own right, but at the of the day, the only thing that can hurt Aku is Jack's sword, and their purpose was to keep him occupied until Jack either delivers the final blow, or until Jack returns to the past.
    • Aku is on the receiving end after Jack returns to the past. He tries to fight back at first, but it soon becomes apparent Past-Aku doesn't stand any chance at all against the older and more experienced Jack.
  • Hope Spot:
  • Horse of a Different Color: Quite a few regiments of the army have them; the Scotsman's family have reindeer, the Rave kids have giant birds, the Triceraquin have flying submarine drones and the Archers use the Woolies as mounts!
  • "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: Jack urges Ashi to fight Aku's influence, but she is weakening. It's only after Jack tells her "I love you" that she regains control.
  • Immortals Fear Death: Both Aku and his past self respond to the realization that they're doomed with complete horror, and Past-Aku's last few moments of existence are spent fleeing in terror of Jack.
  • Irony: Aku's ability to create time portals, the very same ability that sent Jack to the future and kicked off this whole adventure, is used by his own daughter to return Jack to the past so he can finally complete his quest.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: In the previous episode, Jack confides to Ashi about the good life he had in the past that is now just precious memories. Here, Ashi understands how much it meant to Jack that she chose to send him back to finish things with Aku at the cost of her own existence, willing to put aside their love for his happiness.
  • Karmic Death: Aku is so vile that he gets two.
    • Future-Aku meets his end when his daughter, who he'd turned into a living weapon and put into an And I Must Scream situation, managed to turn the tables on him via The Power of Love. She promptly uses the power he himself awakened in her to send Jack back in time, allowing him to kill Past-Aku and erase the Future-Aku from existence. Doubly karmic, as Aku had his victory practically dangled in front of him, only for it to be torn away from him and turned into his most crushing defeat, the exact same thing Aku purposefully did to Jack when destroying the last time portal.
    • Past-Aku meets his demise when Jack returns from the future... and because Aku cast him there in the first place, Jack is now so much stronger while he's still injured from past!Jack's fight and so easily annihilates him. In addition, Aku died the same way he loved to kill others: facing a being who outclassed him to such a degree that any meaningful offense is impossible and dying as terrified as his victims often were.
  • Kick the Dog: Aku decides to have the controlled Ashi, who he knows has mutual feelings for Jack, kill him just to make his death more agonizing. To a greater extent, broadcasting Jack's execution to the entire world to break the hope of his remaining enemies once and for all (though this one ends up seriously backfiring).
  • Killed Off for Real: Jack manages to travel back to the past and finally deafeats Aku, who explodes into nothingness.
  • Kill 'Em All: Every character in the future that saved Jack are either killed by Aku or no longer exist when Jack undoes the future.
  • La Résistance: The army lead by the Scotsman resists Aku's oppression.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Mako's narration of the opening for the first four seasons is used when Aku broadcasts his capture of Jack to the world, down to the images.
  • Little "No":
    • Aku says one when he fails to stop Ashi from sending herself and Jack into the past, knowing he's doomed.
    • Jack utters one after Ashi disappears.
  • Load-Bearing Boss: Once Aku is finally killed, his tower explodes.
  • Lonely Funeral: Jack goes to the same tree he showed Ashi the truth, and spends the final scene alone mourning her loss.
  • Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: The infantry warriors manage to survive Aku's deadly rain of spikes with their shields, even as the dog people's battleships are blown out of the sky and the robot people are crushed inside their armored giant samurai mech.
  • Machiavelli Was Wrong: Aku assumes fear is best, but in the end, it doesn't. His attempt to scare the world into submission fails miserably, and brings an army of Jack's allies down upon him.
  • Magic Music: The Scotsman is able to provide support despite being incorporeal with his ghostly bagpipes. He's able to create a magical road for his daughters, create a sound which hurts Aku, and shield everyone from Aku's Flechette Storm.
  • Make an Example of Them: Aku decides to break the entire world by making an example of those who dare defy him, starting with Jack, the one who opposed him all these years. Problem was, how was he going to do it?
  • Mass "Oh, Crap!": Jack's allies when they realize that Aku has finally captured Jack.
  • Mauve Shirt: Characters who survived their debut episodes and original one-off appearances die in the finale, most notably the Andromeda robots from "Jack versus Mondo Bot," who are absolutely obliterated on-screen.
  • Me's a Crowd:
    • Aku brings forth mini-versions of himself to deal with the attackers while he focuses on Jack.
    • Past-Aku was sliced in two...and one fights Jack while the other runs like hell. Jack's so much stronger than Past-Aku by that point that he slaughters the double with ease.
  • Mirror Match: Aku and Ashi have the same exact power set, so their brief fight ends up like this even though they look completely different.
  • Mook Horror Show: When Jack returns to the past, he outclasses Past-Aku to such a massive degree that all Aku can do is try desperately to flee the Samurai in terror as he's hacked apart.
  • The Mourning After: Jack is seen wandering a cherry blossom orchard with his hair down following the loss of Ashi. Also doubles as Shown Their Work because in Feudal-era Japan, a top knot is meant to symbolize not just royalty but fidelity, and its unraveling symbolizes bereavement.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: It would seem the one most responsible for Aku's ultimate undoing was Aku himself:
    • Aku's indecision over how best to kill Jack allows his allies time to get there and rescue him.
    • Aku awakening his daughter's demonic powers allows her to take Jack back into the past to finish him there, and it's implied she got the idea from Aku showing how he sent Jack forward in the first place.
    • Aku sending Jack into the future in the first place turns out to be this, as it allows a much more experienced Jack to Curb-Stomp Battle him and end him.
  • No-Nonsense Nemesis: Jack does not waste any time finishing off Aku once and for all once he makes it back to the past, and Aku barely gets out one sentence before he's killed.
    • With Ashi discovering time-travel and Jack recovering his sword, future-Aku finally throws theatrics out the window and swiftly moves to crush them under his massive hand; they make it without a moment to spare.
  • NOT!: Aku appends it to the original Opening Narration for a mocking finishing touch.
  • Oh, Crap!: Aku has a Little "No" when he finds out that Ashi has his time-displacing powers... which means that she can send Jack back to the past and he's as good as dead. Past-Aku has one of his own when Jack returns and attacks him.
  • Older Than They Look: Rothchild looks rather spritely for someone who, in dog years, should be at least 350 years old. Again, his physiology may perhaps be different than his ancestor's, but it's still surprising to see any of the canine archaeologists barking around.
  • Opening Shout-Out: Aku's broadcast begins with the original series' opening sequence.
  • Overly Long Gag: The Scotsman name-checks all of his daughters in one massive info-dump.
  • The Power of Love: What ultimately allows Ashi to regain control over Aku's essence, which was how Jack was able to do so previously, is love confession.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: The army assaulting Aku's tower could not be more diverse. While the Scotsman's clan and the Spartans are trained and skilled soldiers, most are simply allies of Jack under Aku's rule with nothing to lose, including Monkey-Boy's tribe, the Rave kids, the dog archaeologists, the Archers, and the Triceraquins, with the ancient Robo-Samurai thrown in for good measure.
  • Rain of Arrows: The archers fire hundreds of arrows towards Aku.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • Even though Aku is more or less immortal, hitting him in the eyes will still have a bit of an effect on him.
    • Changing the past has great consequences (both negative and positive), as Jack witnesses for himself.
    • Past-Aku sent Jack to the future in the first place so his stronger future self who already won and had more experience could kill him, and Jack now has 50 years more experience than he did when they first fought, in addition to arriving immediately after he nearly defeated Aku the first time meaning the demon isn't at 100%. As such, Jack simply cuts Aku to ribbons and destroys him with zero effort.
    • All of the memorable, quirky, endearing characters Jack has met through his travels come to his aid during his darkest hour. Too bad the vast majority of them get ruthlessly butchered. Apparently, if you pick a fight with an Eldritch Abomination who conquered the world all by himself, you're nothing more than a distraction at best.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Of all the things Ashi has been through to free herself of Aku's influence and turning against him, she makes the ultimate sacrifice by sending Jack to the past to allow him to slay Aku, but at the cost of her own existence. Her sacrifice not only brought Jack home, but saved a lot of people who have perished under Aku's rule, and unlike her sisters, got to go out as a good person.
  • Ret Gone: Ashi's final fate is being erased from existence. It's implied to be the fate of everyone or most who existed in the Bad Future (although we can't be sure), and definitely applies to Future-Aku, as his erasure is the cause of Ashi's.
  • Ripple-Proof Memory: Jack remembers Ashi after vanishes, despite the fact that she never existed in the first place. This implies that his mind and memories are as immutable to time's changes as his body is.
  • Roaring Rampage of Rescue: The Scotsman's army and the people Jack helped in the past unite to save him.
  • Rule of Drama: Ashi's Delayed Ripple Effect only begins to take effect during her and Jack's wedding, just as she's walking down the aisle.
  • Rule of Symbolism: The ending shot ends with the sun shining to represent both peace and hope.
  • Sapient Steed: The Woollies willingly carry the Archers into the battle.
  • Secretly Dying: It's implied that Ashi was fully aware of the fact killing Past-Aku would erase her from existence along with Future Aku, but did so anyway. She doesn't inform Jack of this until she fades away, instead spending the time between Past-Aku's death and her own living happily with him.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: Jack finally succeeds in his goal to return to the past thanks to Ashi, and wastes no time undoing the future that is Aku. Sadly, it came at the cost of losing Ashi via a Reverse the Polarity sort of thing.
  • Skewed Priorities: Uh, Scotsman? Now is not the time to introduce your family to Jack, let alone try to play matchmaker! We got a giant demon king here trying to kill them!
  • Splash of Color: The ladybug is the only brightly colored object in the final scene until Jack releases it and the sun rises.
  • Squee!: The Scotsman's Ghost is positively gleeful that Jack has finally found someone, though that is fleeting when Jack points out that she is the Humanoid Abomination flinging his daughters around.
    The Scotsman: *beat* I don't think she's yer type, laddie.
  • Talking Is a Free Action: Downplayed; the Scotsman takes enough time to introduce Jack to his daughters, who are fending off Ashi, but as soon as he comments on the Samurai-bot beating up Aku, Jack is immediately swept up back into the battle. Definitely averted with Aku as he still couldn't decide how to kill Jack, and that time spent talking gave everyone the ability to rally against him.
  • Tempting Fate:
    • Aku uses the original intro as a preamble his execution of Jack, ending by saying "NOT!" to the prospect of Jack succeeding in his goal of undoing the future that is Aku. Guess what happens before the end of the episode?
    • After Jack and Ashi look on at the ruins of Aku's tower after his defeat, Jack tells Ashi that Aku can't hurt anyone ever again. Then during their wedding, Ashi vanishes from existence because Aku being killed prevented her from being born.
  • Theme Tune Cameo: Aku broadcasts the original theme (minus the will.i.am song) for all the Big Damn Heroes to see before he executes Jack. Instead of having Greg Baldwin take over for the narration, Mako's original recording is used.
  • This Means War!: Aku regards the army as little but a bunch of pests, until they actually manage to hurt him. Then he turns murderous and creates a Flechette Storm to wipe them out.
  • The Time Traveller's Dilemma: Averted. Once Ashi discovers she has Aku's powers, she immediately makes the decision to send Jack back in time when it would be easier to defeat Aku and save more lives that way, understanding and accepting the risk it would be to her own existence.
  • Timey-Wimey Ball: Time-travel in the Samurai Jack universe is revealed to work this way - Ashi sends Jack to the past, where he kills Aku before Ashi was ever born. Aku's absence in the future erases Ashi, but Ashi's absence does not undo Jack's victory, despite the fact that it would not have occurred without her. Thus, causality is selective.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: 100% averted. Since the finale is so big, special, and highly anticipated, it received absolute Spoiler protection. Scenes from the final episode got absolutely zero exposure in the preview for it, keeping it totally pristine and unspoiled. Instead, a special trailer (featuring both a short and full-length version) aired teasing the event of the airing of the final episode, not the episode itself.
  • Trash the Set: Aku's tower gets destroyed, twice. Once in the future, and then once in the past.
  • Traveling at the Speed of Plot: The Cavalry manages to arrive just before Jack was executed in spite of all of them being separated by thousands of miles from Aku's lair, so either Aku took a really long time in deciding on just how he was going to kill Jack, or this trope is in play. It appears as though most of Jack's army were closer to Aku than the Scotsman and his daughters or the robots were, since they arrived later.
  • Underestimating Badassery:
    • Aku isn't impressed with any of Jack's allies that arrive to save him. While they can't beat him, they put up a way bigger fight than Aku expected, and buy enough time for Jack to free Ashi and set up Aku's demise.
    • Particularly true of the Robo-Samurai, which he laughs off...until it gives him a beat down and even rips his horns off. The Robo-Samurai isn't just a Humongous Mecha, but a magical stone giant Jack had to be chosen to awaken before, and thus able to harm him.
  • Undignified Death: Jack's friends that die against Aku and Ashi losing her existence all go out with dignity, Aku? Not so much. He dies fleeing Jack in pure terror like the Dirty Coward he is, too weak to even assume a remotely threatening form.
  • Undying Loyalty: Jack's allies are willing to lay down their lives, even their existences, to save him and help him finally destroy Aku. Despite knowing how poor their chances of survival are, they come to help him without hesitation and never stop fighting no matter how dire things get.
  • The Un-Reveal: Jack's real name still remains unknown even as the series closes.
  • Villain Ball: Aku spends a few minutes trying to find what would be the best Shapeshifter Weapon to finish Samurai Jack off with, which allows Jack's allies time to mount an attack to rescue Jack.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Past-Aku only gets one sentence out when Jack returns. The rest of his very short existence is desperately trying to escape Jack with a look of absolute terror on his face.
  • Villain Forgot to Level Grind: Heavily justified with Past-Aku; he sent Jack in the future, but ten seconds later, Jack came back with way more experience from having been stranded in said future. Furthermore, the Aku of the past was still weakened after his original defeat at Jack's hands.
  • Vocal Evolution: The scientist among the Andromeda robots has a much less bit-crushed voice than in his first appearance, making it a lot easier to understand what he's saying and decipher that Daran Norris is voicing him. Considering that he's a robot who's likely gotten through the past 50 years maintaining himself and implementing improved technology, it's probably a voice upgrade.
  • Was It Really Worth It?: After Jack witnesses Ashi disappear out of existence, he spends the last scene wondering if returning to the past was worth her sacrifice. Later on, he comes to terms with this, understanding that without her, a brighter future would not have been possible.
  • Wham Shot: Ashi, after being freed from Aku's control and reverting to human form, morphing her hand into a blade to block Aku's attack, revealing she still has his complete power set.
  • What Does She See in Him?: When Jack initially mentions that he started dating Ashi, the Scotsman wasn't really amused with his best friend's choice of woman. In his defense though, she had gotten all One-Winged Angel, was fighting on Aku's side, and was fighting off the Scotsman's daughters.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • The ending doesn't elaborate on what the future that isn't ruled by Aku turned out to be, or what was the aftermath of the war in the future. We can, however, presume everyone there just blinked out of existence thanks to the Reset Button Ending.
    • We never did learn what happened to the Scotsman's Wife, but given that the future has been changed... The same goes for Rothchild's two associates, who may or may not have been alive anymore.
    • The identity of the figure who guided Ashi to Jack in "XCVII" remains a mystery.
    • The Woolie elder never returned, who also may have died.
    • The Totoro-esque Creature didn't show up on the battlefield.
    • Did Princess Mira ever know true happiness and freedom?
    • There are two mentors from the first episode who don't show up among the crowd of the rest, the mustached Russian who taught him how to throw hatchets with precision, and the Himalayan man on horseback. Both of these mentors had the shortest scenes among the bunch, so it's possible they were forgotten, if not lost among the crowd.
    • It isn't known if returning to the past and completing his mission has relieved Jack of his immortality.
    • It's not known as to whether Jack's sword retained its power after Aku's death or not. Chances are it's likely not needed anymore, in any event.
  • Where It All Began: Jack returns to the past, where the series began before Aku teleported him.
  • Widowed at the Wedding: Jack and Ashi are about to be married after finally getting back to the past and killing Aku once and for all, but as Ashi is walking down the aisle, she crumples to the floor and fades from existence, as since Aku was killed in the past, the Bad Future never happened and so she was never born.
  • The Worf Effect: The robot people come over with their stone samurai mech and despite Aku finding it laughable, they beat him up for a while and even rip off his horns — the most damage done to him so far. This only causes Aku to take the kiddy gloves off and become a rain of giant spikes that tear apart the mech and its pilots like tissue paper. The fighters on the ground manage to defend for long enough with their shields until the Scotsman intervenes, thus implying their shields are better than the stone giant's "skin".
  • Worf Had the Flu: The robot people piloting the Robo-Samurai are literally piloting it, as opposed to Jack in the original episode who merged with it to control it. Not only are they far less skilled than Jack, they're also in a vulnerable cockpit whereas Jack was the Robo-Samurai and unharmed even when the Mondo Bot repeatedly impaled its head where the cockpit was. As a result, Aku kills them rather easily.
  • Year Inside, Hour Outside: By the time Jack returns to the past, he spent fifty years in the future (and without having aged), but was only gone for ten seconds after the weakened Aku flung him out.
  • You're Not My Father: Spoken by Ashi to Aku, nearly word for word. She probably meant in the "I don't recognize you as my father" way, since it's obvious that, biologically-speaking, Ashi and Aku are clearly father-and-daughter, as inheriting his powers was essential to defeating him.
  • You Have Got to Be Kidding Me!: Aku's initial reaction to the giant Samurai mech, until it belts him in the face.

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