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"Episode XIX: Jack Remembers the Past" is the nineteenth episode in the second season of Samurai Jack. In it, Jack finds his old home and reminisces about his past.

Plot

The episode begins in the sky, as Jack rides a huge flying insect and is being pursued by a group of robotic felines, called Cossacks, dressed in red cavalry outfits atop robotic flying insects. The robot insects shoot rapid-fire blue laser spheres at Jack, who cleverly makes most of the felines destroy themselves before going on the offensive with his magic sword.

Jack's steed alights on the ground and only one Cossack remains, bearing a flagged lance. The insects are now both hopping on the ground and Jack wheels around to joust his pursuer. Jack readies his sword, the feline lowers his lance and the tilt is on. Jack makes short work of the final Cossack, destroying both it and the lance with his sword, causing the feline to explode.

Triumphant, Jack is then greeted by a diminutive race of robed beings who look rather like Ewoks from Return of the Jedi, but resemble raccoons more than bears. Jack is thanked for freeing them from the tyranny of the Cossacks. Jack bows, the gesture is returned, and he continues his quest.

Jack wanders through a bronze-colored grassland full of crickets, a desert filled with sand dunes, and climbs up perilous mountains before reaching a gap that proves impossible to bridge. Jack turns around, bearing bitter cold but at last makes his way to more temperate climes, walking next to a beautiful river where he stoops to drink some water. He looks at the sky and then ponders his reflection, until he sees a weathered statue next to him. He brushes away some moss and then scans the horizon. "Can it be?" he asks himself.

He then finds and rings an ancient bell that has long since sat in ruin, he brushes away some overgrowth when he beholds the symbol of his nation, which causes him to back away in shock. Realizing that his former home is now a ruin, Jack begins to reminisce about his home, thinking back to what the buildings looked like in the past, images that are juxtaposed by those of ruins. Jack breaks down in tears at the sorry sight of his boyhood home.

We next see a flashback of young Jack playing in a field of reeds hunting a grasshopper, mimicking how it hops away from him. He runs into a young girl who is at the same game, chasing her own grasshopper. They combine their efforts and begin to chase a grasshopper before Jack falls into a puddle. Seeing his distress, the girl jumps into the puddle as well.

The girl and Jack continue their pursuit, before the grasshopper at last spreads its wings and flies away. Seeing this makes the girl distraught, Jack makes an origami grasshopper for her, which upon receiving, she kisses Jack on the cheek in appreciation. This may very well have been Jack’s first kiss.

Next, Jack comes to a ruined bridge that no longer spans a long dried riverbed.  Another flashback begins, as young Jack is feeding some fish in the same river. A ronin pushing his son in a baby-cart with squeaky wheels reach the bridge, where they suddenly stop and gaze at the bridge. Jack turns and sees four shadowy figures wearing fukaamigasa hats standing abreast on the bridge, blocking the way. The ronin lets the child out of the cart, who goes to stand next to Jack. The ronin walks up to the shadowy figures and stops. He pauses a moment and then rushes forward, drawing his sword and dispatching one of the four figures with a slice of his sword. After some sword-play, the ronin quickly defeats the other three warriors fall into the river, joining their comrade.</p>

During the short but brutal battle, Jack, at times, closes his eyes and looks away briefly, horrified by the mortal combat which began so suddenly. Without a word, the young boy returns to his father, who picks him up. Jack stares in awe at the pair and we notice that the man and his son have the same intense eyes, shishogan eyes, eyes that have seen endless slaughter and death.

Though never stated explicitly, it is safe to assume that the ronin and his son are none other than Ogami Ittō and his son Daigorō, also known as Lone Wolf and Cub, and the men he dueled were ninja from the Ura-Yagyu clan, who killed Itto's wife, discredited his name and clan, and upon whom Ittō has sworn revenge, abandoning bushido and walking the path of the assassin until he can get revenge upon the Yagyu clan or die trying.

Amazed by this display of swordsmanship, young Jack picks up a stick and begins to swing it about like a sword.

Next, we see a road to a castle, flanked by many warriors. Jack sees his young self embrace his parents, whom Jack calls out to and finds that tears have sprung into his eyes once again.

The time-flung warrior continues to wander the ruins of his home until he notices in amazement the remains of a ball with which he used to play as a boy. Another flashback beings and we see young Jack running and tossing around the ball happily, until he is tripped by a bully who takes the ball away. Young Jack tries to retrieve the ball, but the bullies begin to play keep away before knocking Jack down. This makes young Jack begin to cry.

We next see young Jack sitting with his father, who tells Jack that some things are worth fighting for. Young Jack is then seen sitting outside while some birds flock around him. Young Jack sneezes and the birds fly away, frightened. This gives young Jack an idea.

The three bullies walk down a path where we see hundreds of birds a lit on the ground. Young Jack frightens the birds, who all fly off at once. This startles the bullies who drop the ball. In this confusion, young Jack retrieves his ball and proudly walks away as the bullies try to find it.

Suddenly, in Jack's present, a small robot on fire rushes towards Jack, begging for his help, saying his village is under attack. Jack places the ruined ball in his kimono and turns to assist the robot. The episode closes with a final shot of Jack's parents, who seem to be looking across time at their son, with obvious pride at the man he has become.

Credits

  • Casting by
    • Collette Sunderman

Trivia

  • The samurai and the baby that young Jack encounters are Ogami Ittō and his son Daigorō from Lone Wolf and Cub.