"Episode XXXII: Jack and the Traveling Creatures" is the thirty second episode in the third season of Samurai Jack. Recognized as a mighty warrior, Jack is guided to a mysterious portal capable of returning him to the past. However, he learns that only one man can use the portal: the man who defeats its legendary Guardian.
Having just helped another group of people, Jack is told to journey north to the city of Kojima and meet a guide. The guide takes Jack out to the foothills beyond the city where he must then climb a mountain and cross a narrow land bridge. Once across the bridge, Jack reaches a mystical land at the shore of a beautiful lake. When Jack tries to swim across, he finds that he cannot float in the waters of the lake but sinks to the bottom as if he were made of stone. Struggling back onto the shore, Jack realizes that not even a fly can stand upon the lake without sinking. Suddenly, Jack notices a procession of small one-eyed creatures in robes wading into the lake. Jack runs over to warn them of the danger, but the creatures stop and summon an enormous lake creature with extremely long legs, which ferries the robed creatures and Jack across the lake to a small island.
One of the creatures tells Jack that the Lake Creature is very ancient and very wise. Jack asks the him if he knows where one can find the time portal he seeks. The Creature notices Jack's sword and, after the robed creatures have disembarked, takes Jack up a river to a mountain range where it summons another creature, this one having six legs and huge mandibles. The Lake Creature and the Mountain Creature discuss whether Jack is "the one" and Jack continues his journey with the Mountain Creature. After reaching a narrow cliffside, a trio of shadowy monsters appear and the Mountain Creature tosses Jack into the fray. Jack draws his blade and defeats them all, passing the Creature's test. Jack is then passed on to a huge pterosaur-like creature that flies Jack across a vast wasteland and drops him into a field of broken and rusted machinery. Jack follows a shining light through the rubble and finally reaches the time passage, where he meets its Guardian.
The Guardian tells Jack that it was prophesied that there is only one man who will defeat the Guardian and earn the right to use the portal. The rubble Jack crossed was the remains of all of the ones who came before and were defeated. Jack refuses to accept this and draws his blade. The Guardian draws a katana of his own and the two battle. After a long, arduous battle, Jack is defeated. The Guardian is about to crush Jack to death with a boulder but is stopped by a sound from the portal. The Guardian listens and replies that he understands. He whistles for the Flying Creature which appears and flies Jack away. The Guardian watches sadly and says that the Samurai can't use it just yet. Behind him, the portal shows an image of a much older, bearded Jack with many scars and hardened eyes.
- Casting by
- Collette Sunderman
- Despite the foreshadowing scene at this episode's end, The Guardian's vision ultimately never comes to pass, as the portal was ultimately destroyed, nor does Jack ever appear as he does in the vision.
- On the other hand, though, the vision shows Jack as a much older man, with his hair starting to grey and become duller. In Season 5, it was confirmed that Jack couldn't age in the future timeline created by Aku, as a result of being displaced from his own time period. Jack could not have gotten any older in this vision if it were to be him in the future, regardless of how many years he had spent there, as he spent 50 years wandering the future Aku sent him to, and was still a man in his prime. It's possible that the vision may actually depict Jack several years later in his respective timeline after returning to the past and defeating Aku.
- If so, it's possible that the Guardian's claim that Jack couldn't use the portal yet likely meant that he was not really supposed to use to the portal to return to the past, but through other means.
- Alternatively, it meant the older, post-Aku Jack would defeat the Guardian and use his time portal after Episode LII, though for what purpose is unknown.
- The Time-Portals seeming sentience, and the face it has been guarded for countless years, maybe a reference to the Star Trek episode "The City on the Edge of Forever". As the crew encountered a living time portal known as the Guardian of Forever.