"Episode XII: Jack and the Gangsters" is the twelfth episode in the first season of Samurai Jack. The episode featured the story of Jack working alongside a group of gangsters, in order to get to Aku.
The episode begins with Jack entering a sketchy 1920s-style club. Jack enters behind a group of strange robotic thugs in tuxedos, and soon a performance by a female lounge singer named Lula Lilywhite begins. The robots are shown giving a yellow envelope to the bartender, who slinks away behind the bar counter. Suddenly, the robots pull out Tommy guns and aim them at a table of short gangsters.
Jack hears the sound of the guns being loaded and quickly dispatches all of the robots, including one wielding a flame thrower. As the bar erupts in chaos, the security guards working there threaten to kick Jack out, but not before the boss of the gangsters steps up and offers Jack a proposition. Jack quickly learns that the gang is involved in crime, such as money laundering and Mafia-like "protection" services. He declines an offer to join gang, but then overhears them discussing their connections with Aku, which piques his interest. Jack them willingly joins the gang for a chance to come face-to-face with Aku.
First, the gang makes Jack "teach a lesson" to a poor man running what appears to be an animal shelter, who apparently didn't pay his "protection money." Jack instead helps him and his animals escape, blowing up the building and lying to the gangsters that "he never knew what hit him." The gangsters then buy Jack a full gangster suit as an honorary member of the group.
The boss then tells the gang about a "big job" at the Public Works and Utilities Building. He had previously assumed the job to be too tough, but Jack's performance at the Blue Monkey convinced him that it could be done. The "job" is to swim into the building through a water pipe and steal the Jewel of Neptune, a powerful jewel that Aku wanted to use to control the world's water supplies for his own evil uses. The jewel is guarded by three Elementals, representing fire, earth, and air. Jack makes it into the building and defeats the Elementals, retrieving the jewel and bringing it back to the gangsters.
The gang then goes to visit Aku, who is annoyed by their presence. However, he quickly realizes that they had finally done something of worth in obtaining the jewel. He asks them how they could have possibly stolen it, and the boss introduces him to "their newest member." Jack then appears and begins to fight Aku, nearly defeating him. Before he delivers the final blow, the gangsters knock Jack out, believing that Aku would kill Jack despite the fact that he was clearly winning the fight.
When Jack wakes up, he is in a hotel room with the gangsters, who explain why they knocked him out. Jack then comes clean and apologizes for deceiving the gang in order to get closer to Aku. He asks them for the jewel, which they deny having until Jack specifies that Mr. Pibbles is the one in possession of it. When Jack says that he intends to return it, the boss makes an offer to do so instead, saying he wants to "go legit" and turn over a new leaf. Jack allows him to keep it and leaves, only for the boss to turn his back on Jack and say "sucker!" before using the jewel for his own selfish means as a way to generate and sell purified water at a high cost.
- Written by
- Storyboards by
- Casting by
- Collette Sunderman
- This episode is similar to three films from the 1990s: Dick Tracy (1990), Goodfellas (1990), and Reservoir Dogs (1992). All of these titles deal with gangsters in one form or another, with the third taking place in recent times.
- One of the gangsters in particular bears a striking resemblance to actor Michael Madsen, who portrayed Vic Vega/Mr. Blonde in Reservoir Dogs.
- The gangsters in this episode are also given nicknames (such as Knuckles and Mr. Pibbles), in order to hide their identities. This is similar to Reservoir Dogs, in which six of the film's protagonists are given color-based nicknames (such as Mr. Pink and Mr. White) to make sure they don't get caught by the police.
- One gangster in the episode, Mr. Pibbles, asks for a better name, similar to Mr. Pink in Reservoir Dogs.
- One final similarity between the episode and Reservoir Dogs is that both have a scene that takes place in front of a chalkboard marked with strategies on it, in which a bald mob boss gives instructions to his nicknamed henchmen on the job they're about to pull.
- The diminutive gangsters are also highly reminiscent of the Ant-Hill Mob, a group of equally short gangsters featured in Hanna Barbara's Wacky Races and The Perils of Penelope Pitstop. The Gangster's boss is equally similar to Clyde, leader of the Ant-Hill Mob, in both voice and attitude.
- The elementals Jack fights rather noticeably correspond to the band Earth, Wind and Fire.