If you aren't watching the stellar fifth (and likely final) season of Genndy Tartakovsky's Samurai Jack animated series for Adult Swim, you just missed out on one of the greatest angst beards in all of history. We're talking Letterman retirement beard, or The Simpsons' Mr. Burns-in-Howard Hughes-mode level of achievement.
To set context, the original four seasons of Samurai Jack aired from 2001 to 2004 featuring the feudal prince (nicknamed Jack) in his traditional Shitagi robe, clean face and perfectly coiffed hair. He roamed the dystopian futuristic Earth with his magic sword seeking to defeat the evil wizard Aku.
After a 13-year hiatus, Samurai Jack returned to TV on March 11, 2017, and damn if he isn't one changed man. We discover at the start of the new season that he's been stuck in the future for 50 years without access to any time portals that will allow him to return to his own time. Jack is a warrior resigned to a fate that has stripped him of hope ... and the will to shave.
Here's how we first see him in "XCII":
I mean, look at that beautiful chin duster!
And his face carpet only gets more resplendent as the season proceeds:
Until episode "XCVIII," where Jack goes on a meditative journey that reveals that his inner rage, and outer fuzziness, has rendered him out of balance. He can find no purpose, or path to his lost sword, until he let's go of what is making him at odds with his true self. The episode ends with the iconic look that audiences, and his adoring allies, have come to know him by.
It's a triumphant moment for sure, but to be honest, we're going to miss that hot, angsty scruff.
New episodes of Samurai Jack air Saturday nights on Adult Swim.