Episode XCII is the first episode of the fifth season (the fifty-third episode overall) of Samurai Jack. While the fifth-season episodes are untitled, this episode can be unofficially titled Samurai Jack Returns or 50 years Later . This was the first episode after the cancellation of the series in 2004 and also the first episode that is being co-produced by Williams Street. It aired on March 11th, 2017 at 11:00 PM after an online marathon of every previous episode and a live Q&A session with creator Genndy Tartakovsky.
After 50 years in the future, Jack has lost hope and is tormented by hallucinations of his parents, his kingdom, and a mysterious figure on horseback.
Meanwhile, seven young girls are raised and trained from birth to become the Daughters of Aku, a team of elite assassins with the sole purpose of killing Jack.
The episode begins as an army of Beetle Drones chasing down a family as they try to flee, eventually encircling the mother, daughter and baby. Just when all seems lost, a lone, heavily armored figure arrives on a weaponized motorbike. The young girl barely recognizes the figure to be none other than Samurai Jack himself, who dispatches the army of robots with his motorcycle weapons and handgun, saving the family before departing.
The scene then cuts to Jack's monologue. 50 years have passed since Episode LII, with Aku thwarting Jack at each and every attempt to return to the past. Meanwhile, Aku's tyranny and influence has ruined the past, present and future. Although Jack has not aged, having apparently become immune to the flow of time, he has begun to lose hope after years of fighting a futile battle. The only thing that keeps him going is a constant reminder to return to the past.
The scene cuts to a shrine, where a group of women wearing robes stylized with the crest of Aku bow before a statue of the demon. A series of cuts is shown of a woman giving birth to seven daughters (with the gong being sounded after each was born), who are presented to the statue as the chosen ones who would kill Jack.
Having spotted a rising plume of smoke in the distance, Jack continues riding through the desert, eventually entering a forest. Stopping to drink from a river, Jack spots some falling leaves and begins seeing hallucinations of his father and mother, who bemoan that Jack has betrayed them due to his failure to return to the past and defeat Aku, leaving them to die. Jack desperately denies this, but becomes overwhelmed by more hallucinations of tormented souls in the form of skin and bones people, tormenting him over and over of his failure. Then, a shadowy figure of an armored samurai surrounded with green mist on horseback with antlered helmet wielding a very long spear and a katana sheathed on its back appears, staring at him. Horrified, Jack flees on his motorbike.
Meanwhile, the seven "daughters of Aku" undergo cruel, harsh training as children, including fighting a heavyweight bruiser acolyte and grueling obstacle courses. One of the daughters, Ashi, is briefly distracted by a vision of the beautiful outside world. At this, her mother, the High Priestess, indoctrinates her by telling Ashi that Jack will seek to destroy all the "good" Aku has created, unless she and her sisters kill him.
As he camps for the night, Jack cooks a rat by the campfire for a meal. Through the fire, he suffers another hallucination of his father, chained and in flames, who once again accuses him of abandoning his purpose and forsaking his people. The image of the dark rider then appears on a boulder. Frightened, Jack is forced to flee as the forest burns.
By the time Jack reaches the plume of smoke, he arrives at a ruined city, filled with rubble and the corpses of its dead citizens. Jack meets the robot assassin Scaramouche, who claims himself to be Aku's most favored assassin and remarks on Jack's nigh-unrecognizable appearance, including the loss of Jack's sword. In a flashback, Jack recalls his signature weapon falling down an abyss as he looks in horror. Laughing, Scaramouche declares that Jack is no threat without his sword, and calls Aku on his mobile phone to make a report, but Jack destroys the phone with a thrown kunai.
Satisfied with this turn of events, Scaramouche begins to fight Jack, first by playing a magical flute that forms a golem out of the city's rubble. Jack quickly discovers that Scaramouche can rebuild the golem easily by reanimating more rocks to replace any part he breaks off. Landing among a pile of rocks after incapacitating the golem, Jack is once again swept up in another hallucination, this time seeing the rocks around him as the children of the city, begging him for help, with the dark rider looking down on the scene. Jack pleads for their understanding, which made Scaramouche remark Jack has gone "beaucoup cuckoo". Eventually Jack destroys the flute, but Scaramouche reveals that his voice was the true source of his magic, and the robot proves his point by scatting. This impromptu singing animates Scaramouche's sword to fight Jack with.
While Jack barely dodges the sword's attacks, Scaramouche brings out another blade which opens up like a tuning fork, demonstrating its ability to vibrate at a frequency powerful enough to shatter Jack's own swords. As Scaramouche fights Jack to a standstill, he gloats over his victory, but Jack throws his remaining sword at Scaramouche, still vibrating from clashing with the tuning fork sword. The sword explodes at the last second, severely damaging Scaramouche's vocal chord equivalent, leaving him unable to fight. Scaramouche admits defeat as Jack cleaves him in two with Scaramouche's first blade, after which Jack keeps the tuning fork sword for himself as he leaves.
At the same time, the daughters of Aku have aged to adulthood and finished their final test. With their training complete, the High Priestess gives them masks of Aku, and orders them to seek out Jack and kill him.
- Directed by
- Genndy Tartakovsky
- Storyboards by
- Bryan Andrews
- Genndy Tartakovsky
- Casting by
In the United Kingdom, the season was aired on FOX's Adult Swim block at 12am on March 16th.
- In this episode, it is revealed that Jack has lost his sword. Jack has managed to keep this secret however, as Aku is unaware that Jack no longer has it.
- A mysterious and ominous armored samurai on horseback haunts Jack, causing him a severe fright every time he sees him.
- Jack's motorbike bares a strong resemblance to the bike design used by a robotic biker gang in the episode Jack's Sandals.
- Aku does not appear in this episode, although he can briefly be heard on Scaramouche's phone.
- Interestingly, unlike the other episodes whose roman numerals correspond with the episode number, Episode XCII is the fifty third episode but XCII is roman numeral for 92.
- This is because Genndy decided to use the time gap difference (50 years), as if this episode would be named "LIII" it would've been considered as a continuation of Episode LII. The final episode will correspond to the year as "CI"
- When Jack jumps onto the Beetle Drone, about to ram his spear into its head, his beard is missing. After jumping off of it, it reappears.
- There are a couple of instances where the High Priestess only has four horns on her costume instead of six.
- When Ashi dangles on the cliff while being lectured by the High Priestess, her vocals are done by Kari Wahlgren instead of Tara Strong.
- Scaramouche has a black sheath for his scimitar at the beginning, but when he pulls the sword out, it is nowhere to be seen.
- Main article: Episode XCII (Gallery)