Samurai Jack has been one of the few action cartoons that has been within the viewing circles since its creation back in 2001. It’s appeal and fan base has grown since that time and even though it “ended” back in 2004, fans have been dying for a true ending to the tale of the wandering samurai.

For many of us, we know the episodes by heart, but for those who haven’t had the chance to watch the series or missed our chance to binge on every episode via the Adult Swim stream (, here’s a quick breakdown of the important points from the series by season and episode.

To clarify what “important” means here (as it’s very subjective) I’m only going to delve into the detail of the following:

  • Jack and his past
  • The Sword
  • Aku
  • Important side characters

Or at the very least, must watch episodes in my opinion.

Season 1:

Episodes 1-3: The Pilot Episodes

The_BeginningYou pretty much have to watch these episodes to understand anything about Samurai Jack. It covers Jack’s beginnings and the basic explanation of what Aku is and his origins. It also explains his family history and how the sword relates to the destruction of Aku as well as what Jack did as a child in terms of training and learning. It sums it up quite well and doesn’t dwell on too much for too long favoring short moments and interactions over substantial dialogue or combat. Then it goes into Jack’s attempt to reclaim his homeland from Aku and how he ends up in the future. Simple and direct it shows Jack nearly destroying Aku but, as we learn very soon, Aku isn’t as dumb as most action villains. He quickly conjures a portal that sucks Jack into the future. Keep in mind all of this, is just EPISODE ONE. Episodes two and three have the introduction to Jack’s name as well as his first battle with what is now a much more powerful Aku. Jack’s name comes from a bunch of thugs who, after seeing Jack jump and climb out of a garbage alley, begin to get excited at his skill while shouting “Jack.” Afterwards, while trying to find refreshment, ends up in a rave club and meets with the archeologists dogs who have been forced by Aku to dig for jewels to power his beetle drones. Seeing an opportunity to do good, he helps and defeats the drones in the first of many battles.






Episode 11: Jack and the Scotsman

Since most of the episodes of the show are standalone, we get a look into a variety of different creatures and races that inhabit the future. However, none are more iconic then the Scotsman. A crude, rude Scot that has a panache for being a brute in combat and is in every way Jack’s foil. He’s not evil but in their first encounter on a bridge you see how he is basically Jack’s opposite, even to how they fight. Samurai bushido versus Celtic berserker. Katana versus Broadsword. Polite versus cussing in every way possible but not causing any FFC violations. However, even because of this, they end up finding a way to work together after being shackled together by a band of redneck gators (or at least the leader was) and manage to fend them off.


Episode 13: Aku’s Fairy Tales

I’ll admit this is a requirement if you want a good, broad look into the character of Aku. While the early episodes paint him as more of a faraway final boss. This episode makes him front and center with an attempt to regain the trust of the new generation of children who have been smitten by Jack’s heroism and begin to mock Aku. Watching on, he muses on how to convince the children that he is the good guy and Jack is evil by, of all thing, summoning them to him and reading them twisted version of old fairy tales. Placing himself as the lead characters and, with some extreme liberties, goes about being the hero of each tale with Jack as the villain where appropriate. Ranging from the evil genius to just an outright angry guy by the end, Aku goes through all the possible vocal ranges until he finally, in a last attempt, explain the whole fight by saying he destroys Jack before leaving in a huff. I cannot explain how this episode is so necessary in showing off Aku.


Season 2:

Episode 4: Jack and the Scotsman II

Once again we return to the Scotsman, though this time we get a much more detailed character breakdown. His family, his clan and one of the better jokes about Haggis. It also casts the Scotsman in more of a natural light as he’s trying to save his wife from a tower (in basically fairy tale fashion) morning over his “sugar lump” and gloating how beautiful she is. More Scotsman, more fun.

165926hqdefaulthqdefault (1)





Episode 5: Jack and the Ultra-robots

This episode, while fairly standard, is the first episode to delve into the mystical power of the sword. We’ve only known that the sword was the only thing to hurt Aku so far. But this, abet a small moment, shows that the sword has a creation that extends into the heavens themselves. Showing the smith that forged the sword sending down a beam of light to empower the blade. It’s not much but it gives us more than we had.


Episode 6: Jack remembers the Past

Backstory critical here folks. While wondering through an area, Jack realizes that he’s in his homeland. Memories begin to flood back filling us with multiple moments that expand on his family, home and life was like before Aku destroyed the world. The most critical of which was him seeing a samurai and child(taking inspiration from Lone Wolf and Cub) take down several assassins which lead him to begin using a stick as a sword. However, the whole episode is a walk down literal memory lane.


Season 3:

Episode 4: Jack and the Zombies

Similar to Season 2 Episode 5, is fairly standard but gives another look into the sword’s power. That being that it cannot be used for evil. If so, the sword become no better than a blunt stick as Jack witnessed when Aku managed to overpower him with the undead and he had given up hope. Not much details about why but it’s a powerful moment in the details of the sword itself.


Episode 6: Jack and the Traveling Creatures

I would call this ending critical. It has an interesting side character in the form of the Guardian but the main thing is how it ends. By showing Jack in a much older, worn and wearing armor similar to the armor he was wearing in the issue 20 of the comics (now technically non canon.) Hopefully the new season will come back to this fight as it seems the gate knew about Jack’s future but only watching it will show how it ends.


Episodes 10-11: The Birth of Evil

The second “movie” in the series, this is a giant origin story to Aku and the sword. I won’t detail much as watching it is far greater but it gives a much larger explanation to Aku was. A fragment of a greater evil that multiple gods attacked to prevent the universe from being destroyed. The gods, Ra, Vishnu and Odin forged the sword with mystic smiths (last seen in Jack and the Ultra-Robots) and celestial powers and the story of how his father fought and banished Aku the first time he arose in the world.


Season 4:

Episodes 6-7: The Scotsman Saves Jack

The final “movie” bring back the titular side character in his own adventure of sorts as he finds Jack without his memories and must figure out what happened. This showcases the Scotsman’s smarts (or whatever he has in his brain) as he works out how a trio of Sirens are using their song to lure sailors to the island to steal their treasure. The Scotsman is immune to this because apparently he’s tone-deaf or something. This is the last time we’ll see our beloved Scotsman before the series ends but it goes out with a wonderful tone of bagpipes so it’s totally worth the watch if you love him.


Episode 9: Jack vs Aku

The final episode of the season (before the lost episodes aired) showcases one final battle between our hero and villain. Though the start isn’t what you’d expect as tropes are subverted and fights delayed to create a “fair” fight. Though it’s far from fair as Aku is Aku and Jack is Jack and you’ll have to watch the episode to see what I mean. It’s ends ambiguously leaving Jack’s fate unknown but we’ll find out once we get to Season 5


Episode 12: Young Jack in Africa

Another backstory episode as we expand on what Jack did in Africa while he was a kid and also expands on Jack’s father and his plans if Aku was to return. A good look into how Jack was in a certain point in his life prior to the main series.


Now I’ll admit many people may be shouting of other episodes to be included but, at least to me, this is probably the best list of what you should watch to understand the overall points of Samurai Jack. So let’s welcome Jack back and see where this final season ends at.