Episode CI. Okay, I did like the ending, but it's not my absolute favorite ending for a show in general. The episode starts with Aku broadcasting his capture of jack by...playing the old opening from the previous seasons, which while it's great to hear it again, it also had some horrifying implications that it was a propaganda device the entire time. Aku decides that the best way to kill his hated enemy was by having Ashi do the honors. Before Jack was going to meet his maker, several of his allies and those he had saved come to his rescue. That's right: even though they now realize that they would cease to exist if Jack returned to the past, they were still going to fight for him, even if they couldn't even hope to defeat Aku without the sword. It's poignant, but it also implies that they were so miserable under Aku's rule, they actually were rather die. That's dark.
As for the episode, I did make a few predictions to how it would go down, so I saw that I was right in some parts. I know that many people have mixed opinions on the finale some saying that it was too rushed, or that it should've been longer. As for me, I was honestly content with the ending. It felt only fitting that the end result would be Jack returning to the past after failing for 50+ years. While I wanted him to stay in the future so that his allies and friends wouldn't disappear upon Past!Aku's demise, I understood that getting home was Jack's main priority, and that he desperately wanted to see his family again. So, yes, after all those years, I felt that Jack deserved this ending, even though it was bittersweet. What many people fail to realize about this episode is the fact that it was Genndy's vision. He told the story as best as he could, and I commend him for sharing his story with us even though I would've liked a different outcome.
There were several things that I loved about this episode. For one, the action was pretty on par as usual. I also loved how Aku once again implemented the original opening in his boast. His speech was just as good as Bill Cipher's announcement when Weirdmageddon befell Gravity Falls. It was also pretty cool how Ashi, as his daughter, inherited his powers, which were awakened because of his possession of her. However, I did find it a little too rushed for her to suddenly be able to use her powers fluently, especially because they were recently awakened within her. And there was the absolute shock on Past!Aku's face as he desperately tried to escape Jack who proceeds to make mincemeat out of him. Yeah, it comes off as anti-climatic, but here's the thing: when Jack was sent to the future for fifty years, he acquired a great bit of experience, and Aku was pretty weakened already by the time that he opens a time portal. So with that being considered, it was pretty much given that he would be pulverized without much effort.
Of course, many have also expressed anger towards Genndy for the tragic ending of Jack and Ashi's romance. As she was sired from Aku, and he was killed before he could give the cult his essence, she no longer exists as the timeline she was born in was completely erased. As such, she fades away when she was to be wed to Jack, no less. I was greatly saddened by this, of course, but I began to look at it another way. In the previous episode, Jack shares his memories of his home to Ashi and stated how much he missed it. Instead of asking Jack if she wanted to send him back, she decided to do so on her own volition. That's right...she loved Jack so much, that she willingly jeopardized her own existence in order for Jack to be happy. That, and to be frank, she was never really essential for the story: it was always about Jacks' mission to return to the past, so she seemed more like an after thought. It's not to say that I despised the pairing, but in truth, she wasn't really his main priority. Don't flame me for saying that, please.
As for the issues that I had for the episode....there aren't that many. I guess the only real negative thing I can say for it is that I wanted the fight between Jack and Aku to be longer. It had been building up to one epic final showdown, but it was a big letdown. That, and the rules of time travel according to the show are kind of confusing. So Jack goes back in time and kills Aku before he could rise to power. When that happens, Ashi ceases to exist...but she was the one who sent Jack into the past in the first place, so if Aku is erased from the future and she wasn't conceived by the High Priestess, then how could Jack go back to the past?
Other than that, it was a great ending for the show after 13 years. It may not have been how I wanted the show to end, but I respect Genndy for sticking with his vision than wavering to pressure.
Final score: 8 1/2 out of 10 stars