"What was the point of satin and lace if it didn't make a man struggle to speak?" ~ Alexandra Ivy
"A mysterious female warrior joins Jack in his quest, but is she really an ally?"

We find Samurai Jack wandering the streets of some Arab community out in the desert looking for a particular shop. Upon finding it, the owner shows him to a back room where she performs a light reading. Jack then learns the way to find a mystical jewel out in the desert that has the power to take him home. Only someone pure of heart can gain its power. They are interrupted by some sword wielding robots. Just as Jack seems to be in the throws of defeat, a mysterious green woman dressed in black comes to his rescue. They venture out through the desert and eventually come across the jewel. Upon being tested for purity, the jewel becomes part of a giant djinn looking beast, who is quickly defeated by Jack's female companion. She then destroys the jewel as it is revealed that it was really Aku the entire time. 

Let us first talk about this city Jack finds himself in. There are some really cool things going on here - some street performers, dudes smoking from some incredible pipe (I want to make this pipe some day), and blue men with scorpions under their eyes. I cannot think of a better way to intimidate people than to have scorpions using your face as a playground. 

It is interesting how every turbaned man is an alien of some sort. This is rather clear picture of how Americans view everyone else in the world except for themselves. We are a pretty ignorant country, and this shows it. Not that they are bad - because they do some pretty cool things here - but we just do not understand their culture. It is alien to us. 

I hate this about America. But I digress... 

Jack is trying to blend in by wearing his own hood and cape, but the fact that he isn't dressed like a mummy makes him clearly a traveler. Once he finds the place, we are greeted with the picture above. Also terrifying. He starts speaking with the owner, who seems to know why he is there. Running around opening windows, this small dot of an alien seems to be putting Jack in the spotlight - talking up what sounds like a solution to Jack's quest. She really wants to sell him some rug. 

Belonged to some BS king or something... 
Once Jack shows her the scrap of paper that simply has her store name on it, she immediately understands who Jack is. He was sent here by the Woolies back from Episode IV. However, we know Woolies can't possibly write, and there cannot be enough information in her sign to know that Jack is the pinnacle of all good. However she finds out, she takes Jack into the back room to the Light of Eternity. 

Suddenly, they have no time and must hurry to read Jack's "light line." Too bad they wasted so much time talking about rugs. Once Jack puts his hands in the light, the reader is able to tell him of a mystical jewel somewhere in the desert. Only the purest of heart may use its power. To find it, he simply must follow the sun and moon. Then some weird squiggle shit appears...

Ah! Oh! Hey... What you serious? This didn't come outta me... 
As soon as Jack hears everything he needs to, there is a bay-splosion and three wild sand-robot-machine men appear! The explosion separated Jack from his sword, a cardinal sin on his part, and soon, he finds himself fighting with whatever he can find in the room. Which is not a whole lot. 

Women do not know how to fight...?!
Upon certain defeat, he is suddenly saved by a mysterious witch like lady dressed in black with high boots and a beauty mark. Jack is speechless, but manages his sword and shows that he doesn't need a lady's touch. The store keeper yells at him as they jump through the window that she is evil, but Jack just doesn't understand and they run through the city away from these sand-robo-death-sabers. 

As they escape on Ooklas - blue camel looking things with snail eyes - the sand machines seem to grin at each other, again pointing to some sort of shenanigans that Jack does not yet fully understand. 

Jack is put off that some stranger helped him - let alone a woman. Being a weary traveler, Jack apologizes and they nestle down for the night. Here, Jack gets her full story as well as her name - Ekra. Her father was encircled with a ring of fire to which Aku holds him as punishment for his crimes against his great empire. Jack thinks this is a sign that they were meant to find the jewel together so they can serve justice to Aku. 

As they bat butterfly eyes at each other, I am pretty sure that they are seduced by each other's power and skill. It is under this crescent moon that my friends and I joke that they get down. And why not? The rest of the episode plays out like a honeymoon - with adventures kept in a photo album through montage: Fighting a giant sand worm, running through the desert (why did they lose their blue camels?), saving Jack from quicksand, meeting a Sheik, and some sensual dancing. 
Oh, How I adore me... 
There can seriously only be one lord of dance: And he's a large Arab man with maracas. 
The dancing and the food make this green woman uncomfortable. Perhaps it is just the adventure of being with Jack, or the long starry nights, or the hue of green that the Arab dancing man is, but sooner or later she has to ask if it is worth it. 

Finally finding this desert oasis, Ekra immediately cries out that they have found water. Jack does not even go for a drink, but she is chugging it down. They have found the jewel and Jack addresses it as an honorable time warrior would. It then begins to judge them - something that Ekra did not anticipate. 

And what is this?!  The Djinn of Jewel Death is here to smite them. Jack does not understand why. His heart is pure and their cause is noble. It has not occurred to him what the truth is about Ekra. Although... this sorta gives him a big hint... 

Oh! You're Aku. I get it now. 
Ekra flies around, becomes huge, knocks out the giant, takes the jewel, and smashes it to the ground. She then reveals herself as Aku. Jack is now real mad. He made sweet sweet love to this woman, who had more than a few chances to just let Jack die, and it turns out to be his sworn enemy. Forget the Oedipus complex, try being with the most evil thing in the cosmos, building rapport, and then having it all smashed to pieces out in the desert of love. 

I'd say he took the break up pretty well...?
Aku flies off, berating Jack for what a fool he was and how he could never possibly succeed against evil. Jack is fighting a power that seems to guard every door and hold every key. Aku is playing a much more diabolical game now - by crushing Samurai Jack's spirit. This is certainly the closest Jack has gotten to going home. He did it with team work. Now, he knows there is no help for him anywhere. 

"All the world is made of faith, trust, and pixie dust." ~ J.M. Barrie : Peter Pan

In this episode, Jack tries trusting a stranger for the first time - and it did not pan out. It is not that it is wrong to trust people, but it is important to weigh them carefully. What makes this episode horrifying is that they trusted each other with their lives (although it seems nothing can really kill Aku except Jack) and built a friendship with each other. It is sad when friendships/relationships break, especially when everything seemed to be going so smoothly. What's more, Jack handles it well as he continues his battle for the next 3.5 seasons. 

Jack learned that it is important to never make yourself 100% vulnerable at any given time and be weary of his own character. If he can handle himself in any situation with our without someone then there is nothing that anyone can do to break him. He willingly risks himself for others because he knows what is within his capabilities. There is never a sense of danger - just duty and justice. Having others around makes life enjoyable, but not always meaningful. That is something you have to synthesize on your own. 



"The best things in life make you sweaty." ~ Edgar Allan Poe
"Jack and a group of scientists join forces to try to escape the wrath of Aku."

Robots, rockets, scientists, and more! Jack haplessly walks through woods and suddenly finds himself battling praying mantis kill-bots. Their target, a group of scientists trying to leave Aku's planet, are simply helpless. Fortunately, Samurai Jack rescues them all. The scientists had constructed a rocket to propel themselves through space to a new home. However, with the destruction of the robots, Aku sends an even larger army - to both cut of their escape in space and on land. Samurai Jack has no choice but to help them again and fly through space. They had a plan to send him back to the past, but when duty calls, Samurai Jack must help others before himself. 

Having started breaking down every episode, I have found a common trend: Each episode begins with Jack in the wilderness peacefully wandering around looking for his way home. This is already a terrible curse. Then, he will randomly find himself in the middle of a scuffle of some kind and inevitably help whomever he comes across. Here is no different.
Except today, he found a rocket ship. 
Now, this may not seem like much of a surprise given all that he has found already on this new developed planet. However, it should be noted that he Never Goes Back Into Space Again. Ever. He sees all kinds of technology, but this is the first and the last time he will have an adventure quite like this one.  He finds all kinds of scientists.

And just like any team of scientists, all they can find is trouble. That is why Samurai Jack has to fight the killer mantis robots - who only assess the situation after they arrive. Here is what goes down: 1) Jack gets chased by missiles. 2) Jack finds a rocket. 3) Scientists. 4) Kill-bots arrive and assess the situation.

These bots look directly at Jack and view him as a non-threat. Then they look at the rocket and say that they have broken Aku laws 101 and 203 - "Habitation in unauthorized facility" and "Construction of escape vehicle." Aku needs to have his hardware up to date. There should never be a time when Aku does not know where Jack is on his planet. If Jack is there, it is not like he will ignore the robots either. He will destroy them. So it isn't even like Aku is saving himself trouble by just going after the scientists.

Aku is not saving even a lil' trouble. (Jack's got some mad hops.) 
The kill-mantis-bots say the only punishment is extermination. Jack disagrees and flips his way to victory. One of the beheaded robots is actually a homing beacon that blasts off into the distance in order to alert Aku something is up. With this, the scientists ask Jack for his help because there is no possible way they can fight anything off. Even with all their science. They even admit to having been the ones to make Aku's bots...

"Our odds of survival are now 6,352,271 to 1!" 
We also get some other odds presented to us. That purple dude with the glasses points out that it the odds of Samurai Jack saving them in the first place were 6,923 to 1 and that Jack can be victorious fighting a space battle is 5,437 to 1. Little did they realize that Jack never has a chance less than 100% of helping people. These scientists haven't even asked him if he will help yet. Fortunately, simply mentioning Aku and he's all game.

Yep, Aku is definitely coming for us... 
If Samurai Jack didn't just randomly find peoples/species of the world whom needed his help, then that means Aku is just ransacking the globe constantly - murdering everyone and anything that tries to stand up against him. This makes Samurai Jack even more of a thorn in his spine because it doesn't matter what Aku does - he just simply can't make Jack bend. Furthermore, there is no real timetable that discusses how far apart these instances are - they could be days, weeks, months, years, hours and sometimes, minutes!

After some meaningless tests, they equip jack with a space suit and attach a nuclear fusion jet-pack to him. Instead of taking their petty instructions, Jack flies around trying to figure out what he's doing. However, this is no test for him as he is quickly able to learn the controls and pull off some intense acrobatics - such as cutting the tops of trees off as he flies and using his sword as a pivot to turn him around.

Once Jack is situated, we learn about what the problem is with these scientists. Aku has been abusing their intelligence to create robots. They describe it as slavery. They only wish to go to their "new home" (which exists somewhere I guess?). They wear space suits all the time to deal with the pollution. Jack doesn't seem to mind it at all - and he is from a time when pollution was not even a thing. Then they party.

An interesting thought - if there is a planet willing to take these scientists, then surely there is a whole group of planets that are all against Aku. Perhaps there is a legion of planets simply working to bring this crazed demon down. The universe of Samurai Jack is likely very complex - but Jack is a simple man with a simple life. We see only what he sees.

The following morning, they all blast into space. Then Jack starts fighting robots. Again, in space. He is able to fly around without getting disorientated and continue to fight all kinds of bugs-like robots. This is literally Galaga. They were able to devise a place to send Jack back to the past: When their ship hits sub-light speed, they can shoot Jack in a pod in front of them so that he goes past light speed and travels through time. Though Steven Hawking has already described how this is impossible (because instead you just approach the speed of light but never reach it), we all wish the best for our hero.

I Have the POWER!
From ticks, then to mosquitos, and finally bees. Jack does not care. It is hard to determine, but I have the inclination that Aku could have a moon base. All of these bugs simply appear in the sky and are already out in a perimeter in front of them. If Aku deals with trans-planetary traders and smugglers and people trying to escape, it would make sense that he has some sort of system in place to keep everything in line.

After scaring the rest of the hornet space kill-bots away, Jack takes his place in the ship preparing for light speed. However, the robots wise up and form a giant gun to blast them. The odds are "325 to 1" that they actually hit them, but the best way to ensure the outcome you want is to not take the chance. Samurai Jack pulls out of the space ship in order to ensure that the scientists make it safely. Mortality be damned.

Just as the scientists blast off into space, Jack defeats the mega bug gun and explodes - cartwheeling his way back through the abyss. Fortunately, he sets himself on a collision course for Earth by some bizarre chance. And crashes.

Is now a good time to fart?

Again, Jack does not care. He simply accepts his fate and turns it into what he wants. There was never a doubt in his mind he wouldn't survive space or re-entry or crashing onto Earth. He just ... DOES.

Here is one of the most incredible moments for Samurai Jack. He is crossing the gray area from Myth to Legend and it is only episode V. This was an excellent turnaround from the last episode... all 'pain' from watching this series is really trivial. Jack is just so good.

Mr. Smith - "Do you believe you're fighting for something? For more than your survival? Can you tell me what it is? Do you even know? Is it freedom? Or truth? Perhaps peace? Yes? No? Could it be for love? Illusions, Mr. Anderson. Vagaries of perception. [...] You must know it by now. You can't win. It's pointless to keep fighting. Why, Mr. Anderson? Why? Why do you persist?"
Neo - "Because I choose to."
Matrix Revolutions 2003

Why does Jack continue to fight? How does he know he will ever succeed? He talks a great deal about meeting his destiny and fulfilling his fate - but Jack actively decides the outcome of every situation he comes across. Here, he took what could have been a grim situation and morphed it to the outcome he was satisfied with - helping others. In the fight against Aku, where Jack's death could be the ultimate end of the universe, the best way to deal with chance is not to play. Instead, change the game. 

It is difficult for a lesser man accept what he has been given. It takes a great man to question why he has what he has. However, it takes a tremendous man to make a change and give back more than he was given. Samurai Jack only knows how to give. This series blames modern society (and Aku I guess), for us not sharing this mindset. 


Episode IV : Woolie Slavery

"Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves." ~ Henry David Thoreau
"Jack helps free the Woolies from the tyrannical Chritchellites."

It is just another adventure in the wilderness for Jack until he meets an escaping large, very hairy animal. This beast is in pursuit by small, mysterious blue men whom thank Jack for capturing it using his own incredible super-hero-like skills. After being taken back to their village to celebrate, Jack becomes perplexed with the obvious: These blue men seem far too advanced technologically to live in such a run down place in the middle of the forest. After a trippy nightmare, Jack puts on his detective hat and discovers that these blue invaders have enslaved these "Woolie" people and then proceeds to rescue them. 

In the vast but shallow universe of Samurai Jack, this episode definitely ranks among one of the least interesting stories. Jack does not do anything particularly incredible and the character design is stale. But let us first begin with what we know. 

I think Eeyore's parties would be more intoxicating.  
Jack is comprised of the best parts of human society: Fact. Therefore, catching and eating an entire boar is child's play. Likewise, so is being dragged behind a mammoth by his leg, righting himself up after getting hit by jungle brush, jumping the beast, and driving its face into the ground. Jack, in a matter of 30 seconds, did more than any boy scout could ever hope to accomplish without meaningless merit badges. 

After these super dry, frowny blue devil dudes give the Woolie shock therapy, they find themselves mesmerized by the wonders of this tall, white faced robe man. With such cowboy daring, balance, and respect, the only honorable thing these blue people can offer is a free meal. Which jack finds to be disgusting. 

Most beings aren't as good at helping as I am. 
What... Trickery is this?!
Rare do we see Jack actually ingest food. But it is even more rare that we find him crying. What n treat have these two events diverge so soon in the series. That is just how lousy these monotonous blue men are. They all have the same nasally, complaining voice. Jack should consider this episode a success by virtue of enduring such terrible people. 

These "Chritchellites" have some pretty interesting technology. The lightning rod of ruin, the energy shackles, and the power of hate. The supposed city above is theirs. It is really difficult to find the connection. But Jack, using his keen powers of observation is already at work recognizing how sad these Woolies are and how nonchalant and vague these Chritchellites are. 

These creatures account a history of the land that seems broken and inconsistent. They describe the Woolies as "bloodthirsty creatures" whose "mind control will fry your brain!" The Chritchellites seem really aggressive to big creatures that do not retaliate in any form save from their long sad faces. 

The redeeming part of this episode is Samurai Jack's dream sequence. The styling and art continue to amaze me. Jack is a royal servant to the globe symbolized by purple. It also explains him jumping around through the unknown jungles. (In the days when people had to actually find natural resources to create dyes, purple was among the most rare - because it came from slugs found on the northern coast of Africa.) Then he comes across this gate, illustrating the passage from being a wanderer to a warrior in the struggle against terror. Even with all the terror he slays in this red washed realm, the sandman poisons his mind with a terrifying Woolie. 

But Jack is steadfast. He has no inhibitions or hesitations to prevent him from keeping a firm grasp on his own reality. He knows better than to jump to conclusions and investigates. After finding the Woolie he helped capture (sneaking around blue man group's camp while they sleep), Jack quickly learns that the Woolies are actually prisoners. The PG form of slavery. 

After dodging some guards, they find their way to the main 'pen' that holds all the other Woolies. Jack is a pro lock picker as well who can then put his hair back up instantly. It is hard to believe that his unkempt hair style is so well stylized by a simple black pick. What an age he live(s/d) in. 

It is here, while talking to the oldest (and I guess the first?) Woolie that Jack sees what a prosperous and Utopian society these Woolies used to have. That is, until these blue martians came out of space and enslaved them. However, I wish there was more information on the motives of the Chritchellites. Furthermore, how did Aku not know about them being here on Earth? How did Utopia exist on the same planet as Aku? All this and more, we are unsure. 

Knowledge is best transferred by laser vision. Schools should work on this... 
Oh Snap! Why did we outlaw giant cats and/or Gargamel?!
 So, all the power that the blue smurf people from space have comes from this giant orb that has energy enough to power all their weapons and keep the chains on all the Woolies. Jack does not agree with this, so he and his new friend go to destroy it. But first this happens.

You ever hear a thousand of the same man snore? 

Yes. Jack causes something to fall and catches the rocks with his feet. This would seem impossible, but people are awesome and can do some pretty phenomenal things - including playing a guitar with their feet. Jack just had way too much time on his hands... Feet. 

This buffoon then falls just as Jack is about to make it to the top - crushing one blue man to jelly and then waking up all of them. Jack rushes back down only to throw his sword into this foolish Woolie's side - breaking the light restraints and freeing him to throw some punches. Then they start tossing blue dude's around like confetti. 

Dear God. What have we done. 
Jack blows up the orb, a wall full of Woolies come to share in the fun of massacring a space race, and all seems right in the land. Then the mystical Woolie tells Jack that there is a way that could get him back to his home if he headed North. It is very... Mufasa-ish.

Really? Do you know WHO I AM?
"My vision would turn your world upside down, tear asunder your illusions, and send the sanctuary of your own ignorance crashing down around you. Now ask yourself, are you ready to see that vision?" ~ Huey Freeman : The Boondocks

We all know people that suffer from extreme ignorance (with side effects of arrogance). I know that I usually do, to some degree, find myself ignorant of a great many things. What I feel separates me from many of the people I know who share this, is that I am able to reconcile my own faults to learn about what I do not know. Those individuals who simply refuse to understand, cope with, or solve the things they are surprised to learn about are the very same people that cause many of the problems in our country today. 

In this episode, some lousy bigot aliens enslave a peaceful race of mammoth men. Without considering the possibilities of friendship, or recognizing their own short comings, these blue dudes continue to to fill their own egos with narcissism. Once they are put on the level, they find themselves helpless. 

For me, this episode might be crumby, but it covers a lot of simple things that could benefit the greater good of all really easily. The golden rule, mutual respect, being symbiotic over parasitic, judging a book by its cover... the cliche's might go on, but they are cliche for a reason. How many people actually follow any of them? These things are not meant to be difficult, simply a good measure of moral standard. 

Huey Freeman's quote directly relates to this. By exposing how people abuse these basic moral and social principles, and contort them into their own distorted perception of reality, they make life more difficult for the rest of us. 

Do not hate or judge. Simply cooperate and synergize.