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Recap / Samurai Jack - S5 E6: "XCVII"

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Ashi searches for Jack following his disappearance, while encountering some of his old allies along the way. Elsewhere, the head of Scaramouch reactivates and seeks to inform Aku that Jack no longer has possession of his sword.


Tropes:

  • Adorkable:
    • Ashi dancing with the party-goers at the rave.
    • Jack telling Ashi that he likes her new look.
  • An Aesop: The effect you have on the lives of others is a reason to keep living even if you haven't achieved your personal goals.
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  • All There in the Script: The ending credits names the Horseman from the previous episodes as "The Omen".
  • Always Save the Girl: Jack is finally motivated to act when the Horseman nearly cuts down Ashi, though her speech about the people he saved certainly helped.
  • Avoid the Dreaded G Rating: Season 5 has either had TV-14 ratings or TV-PG ratings depending on their content, the higher rating always owing itself to violence. Episode XCVII pulled a TV-14 rating for coarse language, as though the creators of the show were experimenting with its use this one time. In fact, this is the only episode in the entire series that uses true profanity and obscenity, seven uses in total: "penis", "hell", "screw off, jerkhead", "damn", "damn it", "S.O.B.", and "badass", in that order.
  • Back from the Dead: Demongo, although it's only a Continuity Cameo.
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  • Bad-Guy Bar: Ashi runs into a bar owned by Da Samurai whose patrons include several of Jack's former enemies, except now they're washouts. A downplayed example, since despite their sinister appearance, they are not hostile against Ashi even though she is his ally looking out for him, although this may be because she never clarified whether she was a friend or foe of his.
  • Barbie Doll Anatomy: As it turns out, Ashi's sneaking suit is actually glorified Body Paint that was attached to her body after she was shoved into hot coals. Despite it more than likely just being ash, coal, soot or her own burned flesh, she doesn't show any visible genitalia. Up to Eleven in the flashback showing it, where she's not shown having anything resembling naughty bits despite being stark naked, and her arms not covering her chest for a second (though probably because of it both needing to be tasteful enough to show on Adult Swim, and because she was a child at the time).
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished:
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    • Ashi and her sisters were dumped in a pit of burning rocks that coat their skins with charcoal and ash, likely numerous times, yet Ashi gives herself a thorough scrubbing to remove it and reveals perfectly unblemished skin underneath.
    • She also gets back up from her climactic fight with the Omen without a visible scratch.
  • Body Horror:
    • The penis-headed man that helps Scaramouche board the ship has an extremely tiny, disfigured head and he claims something happened to him to become like this, instead of just being an unusual-looking alien.
    • The tin-armored warrior that faced Jack in the past removes his helmet to reveal a mass of wires and plugs that resemble nerves and blood vessels that are holding together a very organic-looking couple of eyeballs and mouth. It's as unnerving as it sounds.
  • Body Paint: Ashi's outfit (and by extension those of her sisters) is evidently ash or something similar, as shown in a flashback when the High Priestess shoves her into hot coals. Ashi scrubs it off and switches to a dress made of leaves.
  • Bouncer: Scaramouche has to deal with a very stubborn one who refuses to let him onboard the boat without compliance of the dress code. Trying to pull rank on the guy doesn't help, as it seems two of Aku's other assassins have higher standing.
  • Breather Episode: Most of the episode is equal parts heartwarming from Ashi's journey and equal parts hilarious from Scaramouche's. The only real tension comes from the climax when Ashi finally finds Jack, and it gets darker there.
  • Brick Joke: This is the second time Scaramouche's call was interrupted. Naturally, being cut off before the reveal, Aku only heard "Jack" and got depressed again.
    • It was raining the first time that pagoda bar appeared, and Da Samurai complained about it raining when Jack asked him to step outside to fight him. 50 years later, it's still raining.
  • The Bus Came Back: The episode centers on Ashi meeting various characters that Jack has helped over the course of the series, amongst them:
    • The Woolies, who mistake Ashi as an enemy when they meet on the airship.
    • The Three Archers, hunting Aku's robots and protecting their village in Jack's memory. It is also revealed that the curse they had been afflicted with was Aku's doing.
    • Olivia from "Jack and the Rave", now the DJ of a new generation of ravers that have been honoring Jack's rescue all these years. They even do his improvised dance.
    • "Da Samurai" is now a senior citizen, running the Bad-Guy Bar where he first met Jack.
    • Demongo somehow recovered, and continues to seek the essence of the greatest warriors.
    • The identity of the short old woman who points Ashi to the graveyard is unclear, but based off her height, eyes, and the implication that she's somebody Jack helped in the original seasons, it may very well be Kuni, the little girl from the haunted house episode. Alternatively, she may be the baby Jack rescued and protected in the Season 4 finale.
  • Butt-Monkey: Scaramouche's role in this episode; having been reduced to only his head, he struggles to get to a seaport, only to be rudely abused and insulted by everyone. (Not that it isn't mostly his fault, as he seems to be Tempting Fate a lot.)
  • Call-Back:
    • Ashi meets numerous characters Jack had previously encountered, who all tell her how he saved them, complete with flashbacks.
    • One that does not involve Ashi is the seedy seaport that Scaramouche goes to, which seems to be the one from "The Scotsman Saves Jack".
    • The place where Jack prepares to commit seppuku looks similar to the graveyard from "Jack and the Zombies".
    • Ashi bathes in the land from "Jack and the Traveling Creatures". The Guardian does not appear, so the fate of both him and the time portal he guards (one that even Aku may not know about) remains a mystery.
    • It's still raining at the bar where Jack and Da Samurai first met.
    • As Ashi is walking to the rave, she walks over the very same log bridge that Jack did. We also see the same town, though unlike Jack, she didn't go inside.
    • Astro from The Jetsons cameos as one of the dogs who throw Scaramouche overboard, continuing Genndy Tartakovsky's tradition of featuring Hanna-Barbera characters in his shows for Cartoon Network.
    • When Ashi and the dancers dance to the "Samurai Jack" song at the rave, it appears that they are doing the same moves that Jack himself did from "Episode XXVII: Jack and the Rave" to keep himself from getting attacked by the brainwashed dancers.
  • Character Development:
    • "Da Samurai" says Jack showed him the error of his ways, so he hung up his sword and decided to live a more quiet life.
    • Ashi describes all of hers to Jack to snap him out of committing suicide, even telling him that he saved her life. This is a huge turnaround from two episodes ago, when she was at Jack's throat.
  • Climax Boss: The Horseman/Omen finally takes center stage as the antagonist while trying get Jack to commit seppuku for his dishonor. After a fight with Ashi, she finally gets through to Jack by telling him You Are Better Than You Think You Are and reminding him of all the good he's done. Jack then battles the The Omen and bisects him, finally breaking out of his depression and resolving to reclaim the sword to destroy Aku once and for all.
  • Continuity Nod: In addition to the numerous Call Backs, the ravers copy Jack's improvised fighting dance (which he used to blend in with the crowd) in tribute to him.
  • Continuity Porn: Ashi meets the people that Jack helped in the past and how he saved them. And a brief encounter with one villain he beat.
  • A Day in the Limelight: The A-plot focuses on Ashi and the B-plot on Scaramouche, Jack doesn't appear till the final act.
  • Decon-Recon Switch: The first five episodes of the season feature Jack in despair, because it's been 50 years and he still hasn't defeated Aku or gotten home, making his efforts seem hopeless and for naught. This episode features Ashi meeting several characters from the previous seasons, all of whom, because of Jack's efforts, continue to help others in Jack's stead or were inspired to become better people because of him, a fact Ashi points out, which finally reinvigorates Jack's will to continue his journey and live.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Ashi washes off the ashes covering her body only to remember that she isn't wearing anything underneath and is completly naked. Thinking quickly, she makes a leaf dress out of a nearby tree to have something to wear.
  • Disney Death: Scaramouche's body may have been sliced in half and blown up, but his head's still fine.
  • Dress Code: Scaramouch can't get on the boat at first because shoes, shirt, and a body are required for entry. He tries to get on acting as a dog's head, only to find that dogs aren't allowed on either.
  • Driven to Suicide: Jack is about to attempt seppuku, before Ashi talks him out of it. The Omen was floating over Jack with his sword drawn, acting as Jack's Second. Traditionally, samurai committing seppuku drive the blade into their stomach. This is a very slow, painful death. However, as a mercy, they're allowed a Second who will, upon seeing the samurai go through with it, put them out of their misery by killing them quickly.
  • Expository Hairstyle Change: In addition to Ashi scrubbing the ash and soot off her body, her Heel–Face Turn is further symbolized by her harsh widow's peak and stiff swept-back hair becoming a softer, looser bob.
  • Failed Attempt at Drama: Demongo makes his return by claiming he'll collect souls of the greatest warriors, only to find that there's none to be had in the bar.
  • Fan Disservice: The sleek, sexy appeal of the "stealth suits" worn by the Daughters of Aku is revealed to be charcoal seared onto their skin.
  • Fanservice:
    • During the rave, we see a number of booty-shaking closeups. Keep in mind this is from the same people who brought you the legendary "booty-quake" scene in Sym-Bionic Titan.
    • Ashi bathing in a river and her naked backside.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: If you look closely at the beginning of the episode, one of the people traveling on the blimp is Zorak.
    • The rearmost of the Dog Men doesn't get a line but is Astro. Doubly funny since Astro was capable of speech and walked on two legs as often as not. This may be the same pooch having lived through to Aku's time.
  • Friend or Foe: A lot of people that Jack met and inspired have nearly attacked Ashi, as she could easily be mistaken for one of Aku's servants.
  • Furry Confusion: The "Dogmen" on the boat take offense at being called dogs. (And no dogs were allowed according to the sign, so the bouncer must have agreed.)
  • Gag Penis: The person who Scaramouch bribed to borrow their body looks like a literal dickhead. And acts like one, too.
  • Garden Garment: Ashi makes herself a dress out of leaves.
  • Glass Cannon: As terrifying as the Horseman is, he is defeated easily once Jack gets his confidence back.
  • Good Costume Switch: Ashi washes the soot off of her body, makes a new outfit out of leaves and gives herself a new hairdo. Partly justified, because before then, she could easily be mistaken as being one of Aku's.
  • Groin Attack: One person at the bar mentions that he has to use a colostomy bag because of what Jack did to him.
  • Harmful to Minors: During a flashback, the priestess forces young Ashi to drop into a pile of scorching hot coals naked.
  • He's Back: Ashi convinces Jack that there's still hope by reminding him of all those he saved, so he destroys The Omen and resolves to retrieve his magic katana.
    Jack: It's time to find my sword.
  • Hijacked by Ganon: A late one, but it turns out the wishing well from "Jack and the Three Blind Archers" was tainted by Aku the whole time.
  • Hope Bringer: Jack is this to the world, inspiring people to stand up against Aku. Ashi serves this role to Jack herself, keeping him from killing himself. Consequently, Ashi becomes one to Jack.
  • Insistent Terminology: The dogmen insist that despite their appearance, they are not dogs, so that would explain why they were allowed where dogs aren't.
  • Karmic Death: Jack bisects The Omen with the very sword he was trying to get Jack to commit seppuku with.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Scaramouche's head sneaks onto a boat as someone's "head". When he gets on board, the alien takes him off and walks away. Scaramouche waits until he gets out of earshot, then looks at the audience and says that the "freak's" head looks like a penis.
  • Losing Your Head: Scaramouche.
  • Mistaken for Servant: While on the boat, Scaramouche asks a girl to give him a drink, only for the girl to angrily say she doesn't work there.
  • Mood Whiplash: Most of the episode is either Scaramouche's antics and being a Jerkass, or continuity porn of people whose lives Jack has affected. After the humorous scene at Da Samurai's bar, Ashi finds Jack and has to keep him from killing himself.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Doubling as a Shout-Out, one of the bar patrons is a robotic version of Popeye, referencing the CGI Popeye movie Genndy was planning to make for Sony.
    • This is the second time Tartakovsky has produced an animated work on Cartoon Network to feature explicit language — the first was the former Lost Episode "Rude Removal" of Dexter's Laboratory, which makes the language used in this episode look clean enough for Sunday school.
  • Naked People Are Funny: The revelation that the Daughters of Aku actually had coal burned to their bodies this whole time isn't played for laughs, but Ashi realizing she has no other clothes after washing the ash off her body clearly is.
  • No Indoor Voice: One of the bounty hunters Jack fought with in Da Samurai's bar talks as loud he can be.
  • Noodle Incident: The penis-headed guy apparently didn't always have his head shaped like that, and something caused it to shrink.
    "The last guy I trusted did this to me!"
  • Not Afraid of You Anymore: Jack has spent five episodes (and likely years) terrified of the Horseman, driven to near madness and nearly plunging over the Despair Event Horizon; Ashi's reassurance that hope still exists causes him to fight back and crush the Horseman.
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: Scaramouche is played completely for laughs, but the knowledge he is trying to relay would be very bad for Jack should Aku learn it.
  • Not-So-Innocent Whistle: Scaramouche scats to himself while waiting for the penis-headed man to get out of earshot before commenting on his appearance.
  • Not Quite Dead: Turns out Scaramouche (that is, his severed head) isn't quite dead just yet. For some reason though, his eyes changed color from blue to white.
  • Not Worth Killing: Demongo shows up at the Bad-Guy Bar looking for souls to take, but finds the potential candidates woefully lacking and excuses himself.
  • Oh, Crap!: Once Ashi reveals Jack didn't fail to save the children, The Omen realizes his feeding despair into Jack no longer has any power.
  • Older Than She Looks: Olivia looks pretty good for a woman who must be more than 60 years old by now.
  • Our Ghosts Are Different: The Omen is a spirit, but is solid enough that he can be kicked by Ashi and his sword is as dangerous as any real sword.
  • Precision F-Strike: This episode is the first and only one in Samurai Jack as a whole to delve into real profanity (except, ironically for the F-Bomb itself). Seems like the writers wanted to push the show to an adult audience in stages.
    • Scaramouche's is especially jarring, partly because it has the honor of being the very first use of genuine dirty language and it took many by surprise by coming out of nowhere when none of the previews nor the past five episodes have exploited TV-14 language privileges. Even though he prefaced it earlier by calling Jack a Samurai schmuck (Yiddish for penis, but widely accepted as a slang term for the same).
      Scaramouche: Woah, what a freak! Looked like a talking penis!
    • Olivia's song "Samurai Drop" contains the lyric "Aku enslaved the children with his beats from Hell". "Pit of Hate" was the closest thing used to describe Hell in the show up until now.
    • Three from Da Samurai (no surprise given his nefariously rude character):
      Da Samurai: Ay man, close the damn door! You're lettin' all the heat out!
      Da Samurai: (to Ashi) Damn it, girl! Speak up!
      Da Samurai: I was a badass samurai! I was Da Samurai!
    • One from a robot:
      Robot: Samurai Jack is the toughest S.O.B. out there.
    • One of the alien women Scaramouche talks to gets supremely pissed when he makes an inadvertent sexist remark:
      Scaramouche: Hey, babe, be a doll and fetch us a drinky-poo. (how he'd retain a beverage without a body to hold it in is anyone's guess)
      Woman: SCREW OFF, JERKHEAD! I DON'T WORK HERE. (kicks him aside)
  • Real After All: The Horseman that has been following Jack all season, revealed to be called The Omen, is shown to be a real being (albeit not from the mortal realm) when Ashi interacts and fights with him, instead of just a hallucination of Jack's mind.
  • The Reveal:
    • That magic well that enslaved the archers? Turns out Aku cursed it, so it's a good thing Jack didn't use it.
    • The mysterious Horseman really is Death... of sorts, and despair.
    • What was once thought to be a skintight suit Ashi was wearing now turns out to be a layer of darkness from the Pit of Hate fused to her body.
  • Rule of Symbolism: Jack slices the Omen in half, symbolizing Jack deciding to cast away his despair.
    • Earlier, Ashi scrubbing off her suit/burnt skin in the water is not only meant to symbolize Ashi washing away her past as a "daughter of Aku", but it generally represents her rebirth as the good person she was meant to be.
  • Seppuku: The Omen convinces Jack to commit it for his shameful actions (or so Jack believes). Ashi arrives just in time to stop it.
  • Sexy Silhouette: Behind the waterfall shower, you can clearly see Ashi's silhouette. It also helps that she was naked.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: Ashi did everything she could to prevent Jack from performing Seppuku. To interfere and prevent an official ritual of Seppuku would be considered flagrantly abetting a dishonored samurai's shame that would meet serious repercussions. It took a lot of guts and bravery from someone like Ashi to fight the Omen for what is right rather than honor what is expected of the Samurai's ways.
  • Sensible Heroes, Skimpy Villains: A variant. While her Garden Garment makes Ashi somewhat more of a Ms. Fanservice than before, Ashi feels no shame over nudity until a Heel–Face Turn makes her realize it.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: Not that she had been unattractive before, but Ashi is clearly shown to be prettier when she scrubs the charcoal burns off of her skin, lets her hair down and fashions a floral dress for herself. Jack even compliments her after she saves his life.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Shown Their Work: The Omen acts as a kaishakunin for Jack's seppuku, standing by to behead him after the initial stomach cut.
  • Skinny Dipping: Ashi swims naked in the river after shedding her entire ashen suit.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: As it turns out Scaramouche isn't Aku's top assassin, at least not anymore.
  • Stealth Insult: When Demongo arrives at Da Samurai's bar, he is a little disappointed in what it has to offer.
    "I, Demongo, have come to collect the souls of the greatest warriors!"
    Beat
    "... but, I see I have come to the wrong place."
  • Talking Down the Suicidal: Ashi finds Jack about to commit seppuku, but the Omen refuses to let her interfere. So instead, she tells Jack of all the good he's done to talk him out of it.
  • Traveling at the Speed of Plot: At the end of "XCVI", Jack left with the Omen and began his journey to the graveyard. Ashi, by comparison, spent a few days at the very least trying to find him, which includes visits to places Jack may not have visited recently . She even spent a significant amount of time removing her old stealth catsuit and creating a new garment. Yet despite the delay, she arrives just as the ritual is about to begin, as if Jack, the Omen, and the ancient spirits were all waiting for her specifically.
  • Two Lines, No Waiting: The A-plot has Ashi try to find Jack, while Scaramouche's head tries to get to Aku to inform him that Jack lost his sword in the B-plot. Ashi succeeds, while Scaramouche is dealt a major setback.
  • Undying Loyalty: All of the people Jack has helped are very quick to defend him upon thinking Ashi might be an enemy, and make it clear they're glad that he came into their lives like he did.
  • Unexplained Recovery: Demongo is looking surprisingly spry for someone Aku apparently killed. Then again, he was first summoned from the Pit of Hate and Aku was shown to banish one of the Badaquians there when he displeased him and indicated that they would return, so it might simply be that Demongo was sent back to whence he came and later returned from it because the Pit of Hate is not a one-way trip.
  • Villain Decay: Scaramouche is no longer a threat to anyone now that he's just a head, though what he knows would be a serious problem if Aku ever found out. Thankfully, the fact that Failure Is the Only Option for him only eases concerns about this.
  • Villainous Breakdown: The Omen gets increasingly angry as Ashi continues to argue that hope isn't lost; when she confirms the children from the last episode are alive he outright loses it and lunges at her while screaming "NO MORE WORDS!!!!"
  • Wham Line:
    • A relatively minor example, not so much for what was said, but rather for who it was that said it. (See Unexplained Recovery.)
      Demongo: I have returned!
    • "It's time to find my sword."
    • Also, Scaramouche's comment about a certain individual's head, serving as a profanity icebreaker for the show as a whole.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Ashi stops Jack from going through with suicide by pointing out all of the good and hope he's brought to the world and to her.
  • You Fool!: Da Samurai calls one of the robots Jack had defeated "you robot fool" for telling him that his backstory isn't as bad as the rest of them.

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