Love might have been enough to defeat Aku's hold over her, however, but it couldn't correct the time paradox of Ashi's existence without an Aku to create her. After 10 episodes of getting to know Ashi and the two of them finally getting a chance at happiness together, the cruelty of her final scene with Jack, fading into nothingness before even getting to the altar, felt inevitable and crushing. At the same time, the poetry of the entire sequence was breathtaking to watch, an interplay of color and movement unlike anything the show has attempted for Jack before, even if it crushed his heart and wrote Ashi out of existence entirely.
The journey Tartakovsky -- a committed creator addicted to action and dedicated to presenting it within very specific parameters in Samurai Jack's artistry -- began in 2001 has really come to an end. There can't possibly be another season in this. "CI" wrapped up in much the same way the show began, even seamlessly working the original Samurai Jack opening sequence into the episode. Putting Jack on the air again years later, more than a decade after the death of Mako, the original voice actor of Aku, was always going to be a colossal challenge. (His replacement Greg Baldwin carried the torch this season with flying colors, especially in this episode, which presented their work side-by-side by including Mako's original opening monologue.) But every second of this episode and the season that preceded it felt like reverent fan service, executed the most artful way possible, to the point where one of Aku's lines in this episode summed up that creative season's approach perfectly: