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Recap / Samurai Jack - S5 E2: "XCIII"

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Jack continues his travel across the world, but is going to face new opponents who aren't just "nuts and bolts".

The Daughters of Aku make their move, thrusting Jack into a wild run for survival against his deadliest enemies yet. The chase leads them to the tomb of a warrior-king where in the darkness, Jack finds that his longtime experience with robots will have a nasty surprise in store.

Meanwhile, Aku has grown weary of the battle against Jack. He's no longer the enthusiastic conqueror he used to be, and more or less putters around his lair like a tired old geezer, wondering what to do about that one loose thread that refuses to be cut.

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Tropes:

  • Ancient Tomb: Jack and the Daughters of Aku have the bulk of their fight in an old temple that also seems to be some sort of mass tomb for an emperor and his army. At one point, Jack hides inside one of the coffins.
  • And Then What?: Deconstructed in the therapy scene. Aku says he was quite proud of destroying all the time portals over the years and assumed Jack would then eventually die of natural causes. But 50 years later, Jack is not only still alive, but immortal, and Aku thinks he's got an opponent with nothing left to lose.
  • Animal Metaphor: Jack fighting the Daughters of Aku is interspersed by a subplot of a lone white wolf walking through the forest being ambushed by a pack of alien tigers. The episode ends with a shot of the tigers lying dead in pools of green blood, and a trail of red blood leading to the body of the wolf a short distance away, itself lying seemingly dead in a pool of blood.
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  • Being Good Sucks: Jack is even more of a mess than Aku, having spent 50+ years stuck in a Bad Future, and much like Aku, is at the point of talking to himself. But ironically, despite being evil, Aku's self-therapy sessions are much more positive than Jack's. While Aku's sessions essentially amount to giving himself a pep talk, Jack's involve self-loathing, despair, and thoughts of suicide. It's ugly to watch, to say the least.
  • Blatant Lies: Aku tells his scientist he no longer cares about killing Jack, then he immediately goes to have a therapy session with himself about just that.
  • Brought Down to Badass: The entirety of Jack's gear is destroyed, but he's still able to put up a fight in nothing but his undergarments.
  • Bungled Suicide: Jack's vision of himself tries to tell him to end it all.
  • Call-Back: The Evil Scientists who appeared in "Tale of X9" appear again briefly at the beginning of the episode to present their upgraded model of robot. (Which Jack destroys in about ten seconds.)
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  • Close-Call Haircut: One of the Daughters comes within inches of hacking into Jack's neck, but he tilts his head up and all she manages to do is give him a long-overdue shave, lopping off about half of his unruly beard.
  • Clothing Damage: The Daughters progressively chip away at Jack's armor, eventually leaving him in nothing but his shorts.
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: Averted, the Daughters are manageable when there is one or two but Jack can't land a hit when they gang up on him. It's rather telling that Jack is only able to kill one when she's separated from the rest of the group.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: At the start of the episode, Aku's scientists unveil a new and improved, house-sized model of beetle drone that they're sure will be able to defeat Jack. He defeats it in less than a minute.
    • The Daughters of Aku deliver one to Jack en masse. All he can do is run and hide.
  • Darker and Edgier: The grimmest episode by far, with Jack contemplating suicide, an explicit onscreen human death, and a lot of blood (both of the red and green variety).
  • David vs. Goliath: The wolf vs. the alien tigers. It wins, but seemingly at the cost of its own life.
  • Determinator:
    • Jack reminds the hallucination of this.
      "It always seems bad at first, but then I find a way."
    • The Daughters of Aku are truly relentless.
  • Didn't See That Coming:
    • Even Aku admits surprise over effectively making Jack immortal.
    • Jack initially thought he was fighting robots. Then came the Slashed Throat.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Aku finally resorted to simply destroying all the time portals and wait out Jack until he succumbed to old age. Unfortunately for Aku, Jack was rendered immortal due to the effects of Aku's time portal. As Aku is unaware that Jack lost his sword, he has continued to hunker down inside his lair and is now bored to near insanity at being unable to kill his old enemy.
  • Downer Ending: While escaping the daughters of Aku, Jack kills one of them believing she was a machine (the first time he kills a person) and later collapses on a river after being stabbed. Meanwhile, the white wolf kills the tigers but seemingly at the cost of it's life.
  • Dramatic Irony:
    • Aku is depressed and fearful of an effectively immortal Jack eventually killing him, but viewers know Jack's already lost the one weapon that could actually do that.
    • The Daughters of Aku are the most effective assassins sent to kill Samurai Jack, coming closer to their goal further than any of Aku's previous minions, and Aku apparently doesn't know they exist, let alone having any faith they would succeed.
  • Foreshadowing: A subplot in the episode shows a lone wolf going up against three tiger-like creatures, only one of which the wolf kills on-screen. Jack himself only manages to kill one of the Daughters of Aku.
    • A lone ladybug is seen crawling across a leaf and then flying away right before the white wolf appears. Ladybugs will become an important motif to the series very soon.
  • Go Mad from the Isolation: Downplayed example. Aku has become depressed with Jack being immortal because of him, and after destroying all the time portals he has holed himself up in his lair and hasn't confronted Jack in years. This has taken a toll on him and he now is seen depressed and uncaring to his subjects and scientists. The only person he can talk to about his problem with Jack is himself.
  • Hammerspace: The Daughters all wear skintight black catsuits, but also pull large weapons out of thin air. In fact, after Jack kills one, the weapon she took from him suddenly appears.
  • Hollywood Mid-Life Crisis: Aku has gotten depressed because although he's destroyed all the time portals, Jack has stopped aging, and since his robots will probably never kill Jack, he'll probably be around forever.
  • Implacable Man: The Daughters relentlessly, continually, and tirelessly hunt Jack like predators, attacking from every angle as a team, in utter, cold silence.
  • Internal Reveal: Jack learns that his new pursuers are human and not another round of Aku's androids, in the cruelest way possible.
  • Just a Machine: Jack has this opinion on all the robots he's been fighting. Even killing the sentient ones rarely bothered him at all, at least not as much as killing one of the Daughters.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall:
    • When scientists say they've built new beetle drones to kill Jack, Aku ignores them—saying he's a new Aku. This is a subtle acknowledgment of both a new actor playing the character and of the despair brought about by years of hunkering down.
    • During therapy, Aku openly wishes that someone would just take care of Jack for him. We, of course, already know the Daughters of Aku are gunning for Jack.
  • Long Game: After all of his failed attempts to kill Jack, Aku decided to simply destroy every source of time travel on the planet, and then retreat back to his lair, planning to just wait it out until Jack died of old age. Sadly, Jack is now biologically immortal due to a side effect of the initial time travel, and now Aku's just hunkered down in his lair, because that was his last resort.
  • The Man in the Mirror Talks Back: After fighting the Daughters for the first time, a vision of Jack's younger self talks to him in a way that doesn't sound like him at all, telling him it's pointless and that he should give up (Amazingly, the "real" Jack sounds more lucid and more in-character than the vision, even though the vision resembles the younger one).
  • Mood Whiplash: Possibly the darkest episode in the entire series opens with Aku getting out of bed and having a therapy session with himself.
  • Mundane Solution: Attempted by Aku. After many failed attempts to kill Jack, he figured that destroying all the time portals and letting age finish the job would rid him of Jack. Jack being The Ageless foiled that plan.
  • My God, What Have I Done?:
    • Jack is horrified to discover he has been fighting actual humans, and has killed one of them.
    • Played for Laughs with Aku who's seriously regretting accidentally making Jack immortal.
  • Needle in a Stack of Needles: Jack hides himself in a coffin in a mass tomb of identical coffins. The Daughters find him, but it takes a while.
  • Noodle Incident: Aku states he destroyed every possible time portal on the planet.
  • Not So Different: It turns out both Jack and Aku have started talking to themselves within the past fifty years. Aku, however, uses the conversations to cope with his depression while Jack's hallucinations suggest ending it all.
  • Orcus on His Throne: Aku has pretty much given up on trying to stop Jack after the plan to kill him via old age failed when Jack turned out to be The Ageless, and seemingly just stays in his lair. Jack hasn't even seen him in years.
  • Pet the Dog: Aku was unusually merciful towards the mud people. Normally, he'd vaporize people for committing even the slightest offense, but here, he just tells them to scram.
  • Reality Ensues: During the mausoleum scene, Jack grabs the Battle Axe of the King/Warlord/General at the center of the crypt. In another story, a legendary blade would be a hero's salvation during their Darkest Hour. Unfortunately, legendary also means old, and it breaks after a few hits.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: The hallucination of Jack reminds him of his failures and problems: forced to run from danger, losing the sword, that Aku will eventually learn of that, and being trapped for all time in a Bad Future.
  • Rule of Symbolism:
    • The wolf vs. the alien tigers parallels Jack's struggle: a lone wolf against multiple, powerful foes. In the end, Jack is gravely wounded after killing one Daughter of Aku, and we see that the wolf was seemingly mortally wounded after killing the alien tigers.
    • Jack's battle with the Daughters moves from the forest into a crypt, with Jack hiding in a stone coffin. This is the closest Jack has come to death.
  • Screaming Warrior / Shouting Shooter: Jack while using the machine gun.
  • Seppuku: Obliquely referenced when Jack's hallucination of his past self points out that in his situation, there's really only one honorable thing to do.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Slashed Throat: How Jack kills one of the Daughters.
  • Sound Track Dissonance: Despite ending on the biggest Downer Ending in the show's history, they still play the theme song as normal.
  • Status Quo Is God: Deconstructed; both Jack and Aku are tired of their stalemate, which has changed their personalities a lot.
  • Survival Mantra: Jack tells himself "They are just nuts and bolts. Just nuts and bolts." while hiding from the Daughters of Aku. Unfortunately, as he later learns, the Daughters are not the machines he is used to fighting.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: Aku tells his scientists that he doesn't care about Jack anymore. They can try to kill him if they want, but he doesn't care, not one bit at all.
  • Talking to Themself: Aku is undergoing "therapy" sessions, which consist of him talking to a clone of himself that talks, acts, and is dressed like The Shrink. Meanwhile, Jack hallucinates a blue-tinted hopeless and suicidal version of himself.
  • Unrobotic Reveal: For his whole fight with the Daughters, Jack fights like they were just more machines thrown at his way. Then he slashes at one of their necks, and sees blood. After she dies, the Daughter's mask breaks showing a human face.
  • Victor Gains Loser's Powers: Jack takes the weapon of the Daughter of Aku that he killed. Unlike with Scaramouche, this is out of desperation for the situation he's in.
  • Victory by Endurance: Aku had hoped that he could trap Jack in the future and wait for him to die of old age, but Jack's initial temporal jaunt making him The Ageless sent that plan the way of the Dodo like all the others, and now he's given up hope of ever defeating the samurai.
  • Villains Out Shopping: The episode begins with Aku starting his day, getting visited by his subjects, and having a therapy session with himself for his depression.
  • Wham Line: "There's no more honor! Come to think of it, the only honorable thing to do is—"
  • Wham Shot: Jack slicing the throat of one of the Daughters... and getting a spray of blood in response.
  • Why Won't You Die?: After Aku destroyed all the time portals, he simply assumed that if he or one of his assassins didn't kill Jack that he'd just die of old age. The fact that Jack hasn't died or even aged has deeply shocked Aku and sent him into a deep depression.
  • The Worf Effect: Almost, but ultimately downplayed. Jack's first battle against the Daughters doesn't go well, with Jack wounded, outmatched, and actually frightened. However, Jack manages to kill one of them, and trap the rest in an exploding tomb - plus, for all the threat they presented, the Daughters only ever land a single blow against Jack. It's a deep stab wound, sure, but still.
  • Wrecked Weapon: Jack's bike, armor, and all his weapons except Scaramouche's dagger (which he still ends up losing when he falls into a river) are destroyed by the Daughters of Aku.

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