"Episode XXV: Jack and the Spartans" is the twenty-fifth episode in the second season of Samurai Jack. Jack must help an army of three-hundred Spartans fight against an army of machines to help end a war that has lasted five generations.
The story begins with Jack climbing the side of the mountain, until he reaches a passage in it to continue onward. Once he has reached the other side, he bears witness to a battle going on near a narrow passage. There, nearly 300 Spartans are fighting against what appear to be mechanical minotaurs. The Spartans seem to be holding their own, able to defeat as many as possible, but a handful of the minotaur bots surround a single warrior; the prince. Before they can defeat him, Jack, who had been watching from afar, jumped in to help and easily helps the warrior defeat the handful surrounding them. The robots retreat, while dragging the remains of their fallen. Jack believes they have won, but the Prince says they have not as they would return.
Later on, Jack and the troops meet the Spartan General and King (possibly a play to Leonidas), who asks why Jack helped, to which the samurai simply says that one of his men were outnumbered and needed help. Realizing Jack was a friend and not foe, the King explains what has been going on. A mechanical creature resembling an octopus in some manner (possibly a reference to the Persian King, Xerxes), has ravaged the land, feeding on it to become powerful, and has sought out the Spartans' homeland. Unable to get past the mountain that protects the kingdom, the creature sends robotic troops to capture the kingdom instead. But a narrow ravine serves as the only entrance into the kingdom, and the Spartans' army position provides as a defense that the robots can't break through. For five Generations, the Spartans and robots have fought to a draw, with the Spartans always pushing them back and the robots always retreating and rebuilding their fallen, but despite their victories the constant fighting is wearing the Spartans down. Each battle becomes harder than the last and the Spartan's fear that one day soon, the robots will successfully invade their kingdom.All seems lost, but then Jack states that there's a pass to the mountain that a small platoon could go through and attack the Monster's base of operations. Inspired by this news, he King devises that his son would stay with the army to defend the next attack, while he, Jack, and a phalanx of men attack the Creature once and for all.
The next day, all goes according to plan, as Jack and the Spartan King manage to infiltrate the stronghold, seeking out the beast. Once they find it, an all-out attack between the warriors and the Robotic Monster begins. The King's sword breaks in the battle, but Jack throws him his sword, as the King tosses him his shield. The two are able to critically injure the monster, with the Spartan King throwing the sword into the Monster's head, destroying it, along with his minions being destroyed. Jack shields the king, seemingly dying in the explosion.
Years later, the king appears to be on his deathbed, surrounded by his people and his son, now happily married and a father, who hear him as he regales them of this tale. Only Jack's shield was found, and he was remembered along with the other 300 Spartans. But the King believes that Jack didn't die in the explosion, as he quotes, "A Warrior that great could not possibly be defeated so easily."
And flashing back into the past, Jack's silhouette is shown through the smoke of the destroyed fortress.
- Casting by
- Collette Sunderman
- According to Cartoon Network, this episode is also known as "Jack and the 300 Spartans".
- This episode is based on the Battle of Thermopylae.
- This episode came out 5 years before the movie 300, based on the same event, the Battle of Thermopylae within the Persian Wars (though the movie 300 was also based on 1998 comic series of the same name by Frank Miller and Lynn Varley, a comic that likely inspired Jack and the Spartans).
- One of the Hoplites threw his shield in the same manner as Marvel superhero Captain America at one of the robots.
- In this episode, Jack ties his sandals to his waist when climbing, allowing him to grip with his toes, despite impractically keeping them on when he's previously climbed much steeper terrain such as the mountain in "Jack and the Monks".
- This may imply that he's learned not to climb with them on.