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Episode L: Tale of X9

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"Episode L: Tale of X9" is the fiftieth episode in the fourth season of Samurai Jack. The episode featured the story of a robot with emotions, being blackmailed by Aku to hunt down Jack.

Synopsis

As the rain opens the episode, deep in another non-descript city, falling over branch, hovel and lampposts alike, an old-fashioned-looking car and a a red-eyed, robotic driver. He slips a CD into his radio and a techno-trumpet solo steals over the air, time seems to slow to a crawl. 'Lulu.. sweet thing.' he says, following with why he hates the rain, how it makes him sentimental. As a robot, he asks the viewers why we have all these conflicting emotions and recalls how he came to be. As X9 (who we later find to be the robot in question) tells, the modern robot came about as a supplement to Aku's reign, to help him conquer the world and beyond faster. Initially, the robots were wobbly and unsophisticated, eventually ending in the X-series, robotic assassins in coats, hats and wingtips. Their job was to seek out dissidents and eliminate with extreme prejudice. X9 was different, as he was built by an eccentric engineer to learn, understand and feel.

As he does this, he begins to develop emotions and the knowledge of right and wrong and what the X series did was wrong.. very wrong. The other X's couldn't care less, how could they? 9's ability kept him from harms way while the others were gradually destroyed. When the last of them went down, 9 became angry and made a real mess of things, destroying a whole district in his rage. It was then that he met Lulu, a pug dog with a huge smile and an odd, heart-shaped tongue. X9 had never seen anything like her, so moved by this that he took Lulu with him. And so, X9 went into retirement. It was around the same time the bug-droids were invented, establishing the mainstay of Aku's robot army. X9 didn't pay any mind though, he had Lulu and they had their music, the same trumpet tune X9 himself would play for Lulu all the time. Then one day she disappeared, throwing X9 into a hailstorm of confusion. He finds out the Deliverer of Darkness had kidnapped her to force X9 out of retirement to end the Samurai problem plaguing his kingdom. And so, X9 once again put on his best suit and shoes, got the guns out of lock-up and went on one last mission.

It brings us back to the beginning, X9 sitting in his car in a dingy, rain-soaked alley, facing the decommissioned beetle robot factory that he's tracked the samurai to.. pretty ironic, huh? X9 slowly makes his way through the factory, measuring each step and keeping the guns ready. He spots a campfire near a wall, a familiar silhouette. As he nears the target, he nudges a bolt only for a moment, then turns to attack. The samurai has barely escaped the scene. Sounds and motion range X9's bullets all over the factory, the assembly lines activating to further dampen the air with activity. He quickly destroys it all to silence the air. As he moves further after his prey, his near-misses begin to clip the steam pipes and fill the factory with hot mist. More and more, he fires into it, the moisture condensing on him and his guns, like sweat. As he stops and looks around, he spies a tall form in the steam nearby. He quietly draws a bead and shoots.. the figure winces, spouts a fluid and crumples. The assassin moves in to examine the body.. only to find the form of an old X-series who spouted oil. As he pulls back in disgust, he senses someone standing behind him. There is a woosh and crash of metal against metal and X9 falls to the ground, defeated. As the samurai sheathes his sword and moves on, he hears a voice, ' Lulu. Take care of Lulu.', followed by the unmistakable sound of a robot shutting off forever after essential functions have been terminated. He turns and regards the robot sadly, then we see a shot of Lulu's picture in X9's car as the episode fades out.

Credits

  • Casting by
    • Collette Sunderman

Trivia

  • This is the only episode of the entire series to feature exactly one speaking part.
  • Each of Aku's evil scientists look like other doctors from other shows and videogames:
  • One of Scientists looked like an over-weight Hitler.
  • Genndy Tartakovsky was nominated for the 2005 Annie Award for "Directing in an Animated Television Production" for this episode.
  • This episode is styled heavily on Noir films. Common noir themes present in the series is a rainy city, a hero with a dark past, and even a bittersweet ending.
  • This is the last appearance of Aku in the series, however, a fifth season was announced, and Aku will be return, obviously.

Slightly alternate scenes

Before the episode aired, a couple of scenes where altered slightly due their rather mature nature. Both these alternate scenes can be found on the Season 4 DVD.

  • When X9 heard that Aku captured Lulu, he said "Damn feelings".
  • When X9 shot the X robot thinking it was Jack, oil came out of its head.

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