Samurai Jack

Season 2 Episode 7

XX: Jack And The Monks

Aired Saturday 12:30 AM Apr 12, 2002 on Cartoon Network
out of 10
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Episode Summary


After Aku's beetle drones destroy yet another gateway to the past, only moments before he's is able to reach it, Jack is overcome with frustration and is about ready to give up the quest. Then, by chance, he meets three monks about to climb the Mountain of Fatoom. Where, legend has it, Truth can be found at the top.


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  • Jack and... The Mountain

    This episode starts off much like the Jump Good episode does, with Jack fighting bugbots in an attempt to reach a time portal, which of course gets inevitably destroyed (such fragile things they are, not to mention all over the place). We last saw Jack in Tibet and he now appears to have reached the Himalayas. Jack, chasing after his hat that was caught by the wind, meets three silent monks who catch and return his hat. Jack asks them where they are going and they respond the top of Mount Fatoom, where legend says the "Truth" lies, but no one is known to have survived the journey.

    Jack follows the monks there and encounters many challenges along the way. The most of the climb appears straight up with only small footholds along the side to climb up with. Just before Jack reaches a plateau, he gets picked up by a golem and dropped off the edge. He swings his sword into the side of the mountain to slow himself and ends up launching himself back up to the plateau, this time taking the golem back down with him. However, this time he misses his sword and plunges further down the mountain. He manages to free himself from the golem and catch hold of a branch with the tie from his gown. He then slowly makes his way back up to the plateau in the freezing cold blizzard.

    The level of effort Jack puts into his climb in this episode is astounding. He looks so exhausted that he may just collapse any moment (and does on a number of occasions). He has trouble keeping up with monks, who have apparently trained all their lives for this climb. However, his troubles have only begun when he runs into a yeti-like creature which beats him to a pulp. Jack is only saved by breaking off an icicle by yelling as loud as he can, which then dropped on the yeti's head.

    However, after all the climbing and fighting and fatigue, he simply can't go on any longer after he climbs a little further. As he falls unconscious, he dreams of his parents once more, as slaves to Aku, and then he remembers the memory from his home town, the vision of his mother hugging him that he recalled in the last episode. The monks spoke to him in his dream, telling him that this is why he must not give up. With this in mind he finally gets a second wind and starts climbing up the mountain in full force.

    When he finally reaches the top, the only thing in sight are the clouds and mountaintops around him. But he realizes that he has already seen the Truth, that he must not give up, the lives of his family and billions of others depend on his quest. He bested the mountain despite incredible odds, only because he had the mental strength to keep himself going, and that's what this episode was all about...a life lesson if I ever heard one.

    A very strong episode, Jack's endurance has never been put to such a test before now, and it was quite a thrill to see him get through it all against the odds that he fought.moreless
  • Who knew?

    Jack gets a look back on his past by visiting a temple like the one he trained at as a boy. They set out to a time portal at the top of a mountain but it leads to trouble when the statues come to life and try to ward them off. The episode ends on a noble but depressing not as Jack turns away from the portal to save the monks who helped him. When they question if he knew the portal closed forever, he replies "I am getting used to that."

    Exciting and nerve wracking, this episode shows us the hidden forces still aposing Aku as well as the toll all Jack's loses are taking on his spirit.moreless
  • The episode begins with Jack fails once again, to get home. He encounters Three Mountain Monks, and climbs the mountain of Fatoom, to find "The Truth". Samurai Jack learns a very important lesson.moreless

    I must note, the other review got the wrong episode. He was refering to the episode, "Jack, the monks, and the Ancient's Son." Season Three.

    My review is for the correct episode.

    In the beginning of this episode, Jack once again fails to reach the portal before it is destroyed by Aku's minions. A typical scene in many episodes, but this time, Jack throws his sword away in frustration and collapses, claiming his quest to be "Impossible". This is one of the few times Jack shows his blade such disrespect. It is symbolic as this shows the toll his journey has taken on his spirit. The sword symbolises a Samurai's spirit and heart, and in tosssing his blade away, it was heart wrenching to see the mighty Jack so defeated.

    He encounters Three Monks, their style resembles a cross between Gregorian Monks and Tibetan Mountain Monks. The monks' movements, voices and behaviour, as well as their seemingly innocent mission to climb the mountain were, very disturbing and creepy to say the least.

    Jack climbs the mountain with them to seek "The Truth", but his lack of preparation and rashness leads to many obstacles. The Monks on the other hand, were prepared and obviously knew what they were doing. Jack may be a master of many trades and skills, he is impatient and still has much to learn.

    When Jack eventually succumbs to exhaustion. He collapses, and gives up, claiming his task "Impossible". The pivotal part of this episode comes in his dreams when he was unconcious. It is here, the monks' purpose were revealed. Flashbacks (From Episode 1) of Jack's people's imprisonment and suffer, as well as that of his mother and father under Aku's rule were seen, as well as the Monks in the background, taunting Jack. Visions of his Japanese Kingdom's glory and its eventual destruction by Aku, accompanied by more taunting by the monks. The Monks expressed their dissappointment, claiming "Have you FORGOTTEN? Will you GIVE UP?!"

    With the taunting, Jack gained a newfound determination, shouting "NO!" the moment he opened his eyes. His determination gave him strength and he climbed Fatoom.

    It turns out, "The Truth" was literally the Truth. This episode showed Jack that he must never give up.

    Almost all Samurai Jack episodes are my favourites, but this one is worthy to be singled out. This is a much needed reminder to Jack, as well as us viewers of Jack's mission.moreless

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