Saturday, May 27, 2017

My Life in Fandom: Sayonara, Samurai Jack

Last week, the final episode of Samurai Jack aired. Tonight, as I write this post, Adult Swim's running a marathon of the entire final season so that people who missed it can watch it all in one go and catch up that way. (Not that I think many will, due to the prevalence of streaming these days.) I think I'm safe in saying that this was a fantastic finale to a fantastic series, one that is so under-appreciated for being as brilliant as it is. If you want to learn visual storytelling, you won't waste your time watching Samurai Jack.

I knew that this would going to deliver when this happened, and man was this a payoff literally years in the gaming- and it wasn't even the final one. Sure, there's plenty of retarded rhesus monkeys out there that flipped their shit when it happened, but goddamn it was way overdue for Jack to finally get something good and lasting for all his efforts. And the best part? This? This was foreshadowing.

You have to see the final episode where it all comes together to truly appreciate what that picture did, on multiple levels, for we that watched it. As much as I don't care about spoilers, far too many of you do, so I'll do the dance as I explain it.

Jack's problem was always that he relied too much on himself, which put his character in conflict with his mission without need because he had no one else he could rely upon to shore up deficiencies in his capabilities. By finally surrendering to reality and accepting long-term help, he acquired the means to (a) resolve long-running character conflicts that interfere with his mission (and Genndy, crafty son-of-a-bitch that he is, symbolized this perfectly: Jack's mission-critical MacGuffin gets found only after this acceptance of aid occurs).

Man and Woman are not meant to live apart, but come together towards a greater purpose. Jack stubbornly refused this for years, and only after relenting did he succeed at his mission. Sure, this ended bittersweetly, as you'd expect about any story putting a proper samurai front-and-center, but it did end and it did end properly for everyone. This was a hero's end, and a hero's fate, fulfilling a hero's purpose. If the Star Wars prequels showed us where creators go wrong, this final season showed us where creators nail it perfectly- down to knowing when to stop and walk away. I can only end this as so many others have:

You made a story that is both Pulp and Superversive many years before we found it necessary to bring those words back, something with the quality to last for generations. Thanks, Genndy, for everything.

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