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"Episode XLIX: The Four Seasons of Death" is the forty-ninth episode in the fourth season of Samurai Jack. Jack must face four evils, each one on a different season of the year.

Plot

Summer

Jack is attacked by apparitions while journeying across a vast desert. He tries to fight them off, but the sword does not affect them and their numbers keep on growing. He continues fighting anyway, despite the fact that the heat and his continuous movement are wearing him down. At the final moment, when he is about to be struck by one of the attacking apparitions, the wind rushes past and he realizes that they are not even real; he has nothing to fear. He continues on and the image of a lush, tropical oasis appears before him. Jack keeps walking, determined not to be fooled again, and falls into the lake; pleasantly surprised. He faced his hardship and came unto a better place.

Fall

A short, mischievous, evil scientist gathers ingredients for a poisonous potion that will be invisible, tasteless, and scentless when mixed with water. He successfully creates it and then pours the potion into a well before he hides in a nearby bush to wait for his first victim. Jack comes across the well and goes to have a drink, but the scientist unknowingly gives himself away in his excitement and Jack realizes that it's a trap. He pretends to drink, goes into death convulsions, and plays possum; when the scientist goes to check on the "body", Jack suddenly spits the tainted water into the scientist's mouth instead. His surprise forces him to swallow the water and he cries out in horror: he dies as his body mass is turned into leaves which blow away in the wind. Jack destroys the poisoned well with one sword swing as he moves on.

Winter

In the depths of a snowy mountain, a tribe of ogre-like creatures create a powerful sword from the elements of their home; forged from crystals, heated with lava and dragon-fire, cooled in the heart of a glacier, and imbued with lightning from a storm so powerful that it kills the shaman who summoned it. When the weapon is completed, the chieftain of the tribe plants it in a stone and gathers every warrior in the tribe to fight for the right to wield it. After a fierce battle, only one warrior is left standing; he claims his new sword and goes to await Jack's arrival in a snowy tundra. After a tense standoff, he swings his sword at the samurai...only for it to be shattered in a single strike from Jack's own. The warrior falls to his knees in shame, dropping the remains of his sword in the snow as Jack continues on his way.

Spring

Jack enters an area full of nothing but thorns. As he continues, the thorns sprout flowers, the barren dirt grows lush greenery, and the entire atmosphere changes. Then out of a giant flower sprouts a woman who convinces Jack to rest with her and take a break from his quest. He obliges, and lays his head in her lap, completely relaxed, but he is plagued by visions of Aku that keep him alert. As he tries to leave, he is forced back down and realizes that he has been tricked. But, as he goes to attack her, the greenery rushes up around him and the illusion is dispelled, he is back in the barren field of thorns. The woman watches as he flees, but instead of being angry, she settles into an almost-knowing, unsettling smile...

Credits

  • Casting by
    • Collette Sunderman

Trivia

  • In addition to the obvious motifs of each story, the episode's title also references the fact that this is the fourth season of the series.
  • This is the second episode to have more than one story.
  • This is the last episode of the series in which Makoto Iwamatsu voiced Aku. Iwamatsu died two years later in 2006. In the fifth season, Greg Baldwin voices Aku.
  • This is the last episode in the series where Grey Delisle is credited by that professional name. From Season 5 onwards, her appearances credit her as Grey Griffin (due to her marriage to Jared Griffin).